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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 18:01 GMT
Boro and Charlton fire blanks
Boro's Gareth Southgate is challenged by Jason Euell
Gareth Southgate is challenged by Jason Euell
Middlesbrough 0-0 Charlton
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Middlesbrough and Charlton played out a 0-0 draw in a tedious contest at the Riverside.

Neither side demonstrated any quality going forward, and chances were at a premium.

Boro's Franck Quedrue (right) makes a challenge
Franck Quedrue (right) challenges Scott Parker

Middlesbrough's Franck Quedrue provided the one moment of quality with a blistering free-kick in first-half stoppage time which brought a fine save from Dean Kiely.

But in truth, neither side deserved to win a match which was a desperately poor advert for Premiership football.

Jorge Costa's 11th minute header for Charlton - which drifted yards wide - was typical of the attacking quality during the opening period.

Boro had a half-chance when Paul Ince's well-placed corner was headed back across his own goal by John Fortune, the ball hitting Dean Windass before bouncing behind.

A Windass free-kick was hit tamely into the wall, while Noel Whelan headed off-target after a decent cross from Robbie Stockdale.

It wasn't until the 29th minute that either keeper had to make a save, Charlton's Mark Crossley catching Chris Bart-Williams' venomous drive.

  Key moments
45 mins: Franck Quedrue's free-kick forces a great save from Dean Kiely
63 mins: Marinelli replaces Windass
88 mins: Whelan heads straight at Kiely

Injury forced Charlton's Mark Fish off after 35 minutes, Paul Konchesky replacing the Addicks' defender.

There was little to get the spectators' pulses racing until the second minute of first-half injury time.

Middlesbrough's Franck Quedrue's superbly-struck free-kick was acrobatically tipped over by Charlton keeper Dean Kiely.

It was a thrilling moment, completely at odds with the preceding 47 minutes.

No control

Early in the second half, the Middlesbrough defence were called into action to block a tame shot from Graham Stuart, then a considerably harder drive from John Robinson.

But, again, neither side was able to display much control in midfield.

Boro boss Steve McLaren, evidently frustrated by his side's lack of a cutting edge, replace Windass with Carlos Marinelli in the 63rd minute.

But it was Charlton who were next to attack, Stuart finding Robinson, who hit in a cross which just eluded the onrushing Chris Powell.

The Londoners were enjoying their first sustained spell of possession, and Boro seemed unable to get the ball clear.

But Powell was guilty of making a mess of Charlton's best chance when he miscontrolled Jason Euell's perceptive pass, giving Boro a chance to clear.

Boro came back, although Gareth Southgate failed to connect with two half-chances.

Noel Whelan headed straight at Kiely in the last minute - but in truth, neither side deserved a victory.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Dave Woods
"Fairly tedious on Teesside"
Middlesbrough midfielder Phil Stamp
"It was a poor game from a spectator's point of view"
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley
"The conditions were very difficult"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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