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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 16:53 GMT
Middlesbrough 0-0 Man City
Middlesbrough's Franck Queudrue (l) challenges Andy Cole
Both sides picked up their first point of the festive period after a hard-fought draw at the Riverside.

Middlesbrough had the best early chances with Yakubu bringing a good save out of David James and James Morrison firing over the bar.

But City went close after the break when Mark Schwarzer saved Andy Cole's instinctive near-post shot.

And the visitors almost snatched a late victory when Schwarzer brilliantly kept out Joey Barton's diving header.

A draw was probably the fairest result - but both teams were in desperate need of a win.

Boro had won only one of their last eight Premiership games while City had lost five of their previous six outings on the road.

That lack of form showed in the early exchanges and neither side managed to carve out a clear chance in a scrappy opening half-hour.

The home side's best spell came shortly afterwards, when Yakubu and Morrison both went close.

Mark Viduka thought he should have had a penalty when he span away from Sylvain Distin before kicking the City defender's foot - but the ball still dropped for Yakubu who fired a powerful shot straight at James.

Minutes later Morrison found Emanuel Pogatetz in space on the left before racing in to meet the Austrian's cross at the far post, only to send his shot high over the bar.

City's only real effort on goal before the break came from Cole who shot weakly after Trevor Sinclair found him in space outside the box.

But the visitors did not lack invention, with Sinclair giving Pogatetz a torrid time on the right flank and Antoine Sibierski posing a constant aerial threat.

Both sides could take encouragement from the first 45 minutes but they went backwards immediately after the break.

Gaizka Mendieta's long-range shot was the best Boro could muster, while it was only late in the game that City began to threaten.

Cole's near-post volley from Nedum Onuoha's cross was acrobatically saved by Schwarzer, who also did well to get down to his left-hand post to keep out Barton's diving header soon after.

Towards the end the Boro crowd voiced their disapproval at their side's lack of penetration, but manager Steve McClaren will at least take some consolation from a first league clean sheet since 23 August.


  • Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren:
    "It was important to stop the rot.

    "I asked for a clean sheet and a battling performance and I certainly got that. It was important for the confidence of the team.

    "We have not scored in our last three games but with the quality we have up front we know we will score soon."

  • Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce:
    "We conceded cheap goals against Wigan but in our last two games we have been very tight at the back.

    "Arguably we had the better chances here too. Their keeper made two good saves to keep them in it.

    "I am not sure we deserved to win but I am delighted we got something from this game. I am very proud of the effort that we put in."


    Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue, Parnaby (Bates 79), Morrison, Doriva, Mendieta, Pogatetz (Maccarone 85), Viduka, Yakubu (Hasselbaink 79).
    Subs Not Used: Jones, Cattermole.

    Man City: James, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Sinclair, Jihai, Sibierski (Ireland 45), Barton, Cole, Vassell (Wright-Phillips 80).
    Subs Not Used: Sommeil, De Vlieger, Croft.

    Booked: Onuoha.

    Att: 28,022

    Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).


  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Interview: Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren


    Interview: Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce



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