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Middlesbrough 2-1 Barrow

Afonso Alves
Middlesbrough won at home for the first time since the end of October

An Afonso Alves brace ensured Middlesbrough progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Blue Square Premier side Barrow.

Alves put Boro ahead on 23 minutes when Stewart Downing put the striker through and the Brazilian had plenty of time to place the ball low beyond Alan Martin.

After the break, the lively Downing crossed from the left to set up Alves who headed home from close range.

Jason Walker headed in Steve McNulty's cross for what was a consolation goal.

The goal did at least give Barrow's 7,000 vociferous travelling supporters - the largest number of away fans to ever have visited the Riverside Stadium - something to cheer on a day marred by a serious-looking injuries to Mike Pearson and Jeremie Aliadiere.

Both Pearson, who had earlier struck the post as Barrow searched for the equaliser, and Middlesbrough striker Aliadiere had to leave the field on stretchers after lengthy treatments in separate incidents.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate later revealed that x-rays showed Aliadiere's injury "might just be deep bruising".

Aliadiere's injury failed to derail Middlesbrough's progress as the home side, featuring six changes to the team which narrowly lost to Manchester United, dominated.

Barrow were not without their chances as Walker wasted a golden chance to give the visitors a 14th-minute lead when he made space to shoot but mis-kicked across goal.

But Middlesbrough took the lead soon after and even though Walker's goal set up a grandstand finish, the result was never really in doubt.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate: "I knew it'd be far from easy. Although we'd chances to win by six or seven, it could have been 2-2 and that's the FA Cup.

"We made it difficult for ourselves for the last 10 minutes and we should have been out of sight by then.

"We've learned some lessons to take forward. We're not ruthless enough in either box and that's what we need to win matches."

Barrow co-manager Dave Bayliss on Mike Pearson's injury: "It's a double break and he will stay in hospital in Middlesbrough overnight. We're gutted for him."

Bayliss added: "It's always disappointing to lose but it's no disgrace to come here and get beaten 2-1.

"If they'd taken their chances it could have been double figures but they didn't and it made the last five minutes a little bit edgy."

Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Johnson, Walker, Digard, Downing, Alves, Aliadiere (Emnes 34), Emnes (Mido 84).
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Taylor, Riggott, Sanli, Bates.

Booked: Digard.

Goals: Alves 23, 62.

Barrow: Martin, Pearson (Bond 52), Jones, McNulty, Logan, Henney, Joyce, Boyd, Paul Brown, Walker, David Brown (Curtis 65).

Subs Not Used: Deasy, Rogan, Tait, Sheridan, Bayliss.

Booked: Boyd.

Goals: Walker 80.

Att: 25,132

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Barrow's Alan Martin 8.71 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
FA Cup photos
03 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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