After a hard fought midweek victory in Bolton, Middlesbrough fans and players alike had every right to be brimming with confidence despite welcoming in form Sheffield Wednesday to the Riverside. This bubble of optimism was soon burst by a superbly executed game plan from a well drilled and determined Wednesday side. Middlesbrough struggled to cope with the towering Atdhe Nuhiu, alongside a tireless Stevie May all afternoon.
5 minutes in 6′ 6″ Nuhiu bundled in a corner after a misjudged punch from Middlesbrough goalkeeper Tomas Mejias. This was followed by a clever flicked finish just before the break from Stevie May, granting the new boy from St. Johnstone his first championship goal. A change of formation and the addition of new signing Adam Clayton into the midfield wasn’t enough to change Middlesbrough’s fortunes after the break. Nuhiu found time and space to glance a header past Mejias for his second after some schoolboy Boro defending from a set piece. Boro managed to save some face with two Grant Leadbitter penalties late on, but it proved too little too late for the Teessiders.
Tomas Mejias – Flapped at the corner for Wednesday’s first goal. Looked uneasy all afternoon.
Damia Abella – An unfortunate casualty in a much needed half time tactical switch up.
Daniel Ayala – Didn’t win enough aerial challenges allowing Sheff Wed to build pressure.
Kenneth Omeruo – Not strong enough for Wednesday’s final goal. Did well otherwise.
George Friend – Solid afternoon from the reliable left back. Strong in the challenge and fully committed.
Grant Leadbitter – Had the confidence to step up and convert two penalties.
Dean Whitehead – Never got in the game and struggled to cope with Wednesday’s determined midfield.
Albert Adomah – Was nice and direct always looking to take on the full back.
Lee Tomlin – Struggled to find space to feed Kike.
Adam Reach – Didn’t have the confidence to take on his full back and delivery was poor.
Kike – Battled well and won a penalty. Service to him was average all afternoon.