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Middlesbrough

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Championship Verdict: The Observer fans' network on Saturday's matches
Observer fans' network - 4 years ago

Barnsley 0-0 WatfordWas it a good match? It was nil-nil, but a good nil-nil. Watford tended to put 10 men behind the ball for most of the game, and we had two or three good chances, but the ball just wouldn't run for us today. In the second half, we hit the post twice within about two minutes – all they needed was a touch or a ricochet and they'd have hit the back of the net. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Stephen Foster played well in defence, and Adam Hammill was his usual tricky self – he always had two Watford defenders marking him. Their No5 [Martin Taylor] is a big lad, and looked menacing when he came forward.

Owen Scrimshaw, BFCST.org.uk

Bristol City 3-0 Sheffield UnitedWas it a good match? It was our best performance by quite some distance – a real team effort in which everyone contributed to the victory. Brett Pitman took his penalties very well, but from one to 11 we were fantastic. Against 10 men in the second half, we held the ball up really well and stretched the play. It was just a really professional performance today. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Steven Caulker, who's on loan from Tottenham, is top class at centre-half and won absolutely everything in the box, though it's hard to pick out individuals in such a great team display.

Rich Brown, OTIB.co.uk

Burnley 2-1 Derby CountyWas it a good match? Overall, it was a deserved result, but we certainly made hard work of it. In the first half, we didn't really get going – Derby looked happy to simply sit back and soak up the pressure. In the second half we went to a 4-4-2, and looked more likely to score. The substitutions gave us a bit more threat up front – once Steven Thompson came on we looked more potent, though it was more the change of formation than personnel that transformed the game. Who played well/who had a nightmare? My man of the match would be ex-Derby player Tyrone Mears, who didn't celebrate when he scored from a free-kick. Martin Barnes, When The Ball Moves

Crystal Palace 1-0 DoncasterWas it a good match? It was nice to get a win after the controversies of last week – good performance, good clean sheet, and good to have 11 players on the pitch at the end. The goal ended a pretty decent move and a good finish from Pablo Counago, though Neil Sullivan probably should have done better. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Counago played pretty well throughout, and was probably our man of the match. He's starting to get sharper and fitter, and that was the best game he's had at the club so far. Neil Danns has been out with injuries recently, but got stuck in when required. Peter Guntrip, holmesdale.net

Middlesbrough 2-2 Hull CityWas it a good match? I suppose the conditions made it quite a novel game – something for both teams to get to grips with. Some decent football was played considering the state of the pitch, though it was a difficult afternoon for our goalkeeper Jason Steele – he made a definite mistake for their first, and could have done better for the second. I think a draw was probably a fair result. Hull didn't really threaten later on, but neither did we have enough quality in the final third. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Both scorers, Leroy Lita and Scott McDonald, played well and linked up well together. Andrew Glover, FMTTM.com

Preston North End 0-0 MillwallWas it a good match? Well, it was a freezing cold Deepdale today, with two sides more intent on keeping a clean sheet than attacking. In the end, I thought we were lucky to come away with a point – Millwall showed more initiative and looked more organised than us. We had the ball in the net once, but the best chance went to Millwall on the half-hour, with Andy Lonergan making an excellent save. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Among a lot of average performances, Lonergan and Iain Hume were the definite stand-outs. Steve Morison looked dangerous and was probably Millwall's best player. John Roper, PSG.me.uk

QPR 2-1 Cardiff CityWas it a good match? It was the best quality I've seen this season from both sides – a real end-to-end battle. I wasn't too worried when they went ahead – I know we've got some real quality in our front line so we'll always create chances. It was a good cross from Tommy Smith and a phenomenal header from Kaspars Gorkss to level. The winner was typical Adel Taarabt – he wasn't going to give that ball away, and thumped it into the top corner to lift the roof off. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Taarabt owned the ball. For them, Craig Bellamy was a constant threat, but luckily we didn't give him much in front of goal. Adam boxer, QPR.VitalFootball.co.uk

Was it a good match? Even with my biased hat on, it was a very good match – a tight game between two good teams with QPR edging it. In the end, the goals came from little errors from both sides, though it's difficult to be too disappointed – we had a lot of the ball in the second half, and two good penalty shouts. But credit to QPR for holding on. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Craig Bellamy played well in the first half, but he suffers because everyone knows who he is. On a good day that leaves room for everyone else – but QPR had us worked out. That said, Jay Bothroyd and Chris Burke did well. Matthew Gabb, 1927club.com

Reading 0-0 Leeds UnitedWas it a good match? In the first half, neither side really penetrated that well, and basically cancelled each other out – there wasn't much action to speak of. The second half was a different game – we came out of the blocks well, and the introduction of Jimmy Kebe gave us a bit of spark. We were quite unlucky not to take all three points. Kasper Schmeichel made two brilliant saves, but we just can't seem to finish at the moment. Who played well/who had a nightmare? I'm pleased with the performance of the back four, particularly Zurab Khizanishvili, who was outstanding today. Nick Deaves, Observer reader

Scunthorpe United 0-2 Coventry CityWas it a good match? I'm slightly warmer now, but no less frustrated. It's the fifth home defeat on the spin, and to be brutally honest, it was tripe. There was no invention, no guile, and we wouldn't have scored if we'd been playing against snowmen. It was particularly frustrating because Coventry didn't need to play well. They were average, but average was still miles better than us, unfortunately. Who played well/who had a nightmare? Some were obviously worse than others, but I couldn't turn around and say anyone for Scunthorpe played well. For Coventry, Gary McSheffrey looked a handful.

Max Bell, Scunthorpe.Vitalfootball.co.uk

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

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Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, 22, has the chance to help the club return to the big time. The nephew of chairman Steve Gibson, is hoping they can secure promotion to the Premier League.
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