Stalemate at the Riverside
Middlesbrough and Sheffield United played out a 0-0 draw at the Riverside Stadium on Friday night in the first match of the new Championship season.
The Blades had a forceful start with early chances from Keith Treacy and Stephen Quinn but slowly allowed Boro into the game, who arguably had the better of the first half.
New signing Mark Yeates and Adam Johnson caused problems down the flanks for Boro, but the few chances they had were either wasted or dealt with comfortably by Bunn making his debut for the Blades. United looked to spring a surprise on rare counter-attacks, but failed to commit enough men to the cause.
Both teams struggled to deal with set pieces. The Blades seemingly having the better chance to take the lead. Stephen Quinn should have done better when the ball was presented to him unmarked in the box, but resulted in scuffing a volley tamely into fray of bodies.
Boro`s Didier Digard's troubles with injuries continued , which saw him limp off moments before the break with a groin strain.
The second half took similar form, with Middlesbrough having the majority of the possession. A penalty appeal for a Kyle Walker challenge on Johnson was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock. However, was waved away as a fair challenge
With neither side able to create a clear chance following half-time, both teams introduced new firepower, with Boro handing a debut to Leroy Lita and United replacing Brian Howard with Ched Evans
The new strikers made little impact in the time that was left, both seemed still short of match sharpness
The pace of the game slowed in the final 5 minutes and both teams seemed happy of a share of the spoils
Boro: Coyne, Yeates, Digard (O'Neil 42), Aliadiere, Emnes (Lita 65), Huth, Johnson, Grounds, Williams, McMahon, Wheater
Unused: Hoyte, Taylor, Arca, Franks, Steele
lades: Bunn, France, Montgomery, Morgan, Kilgallon, Henderson, Taylor, Howard (Evans 68), Treacy (Cotterill 63), Quinn, Walker.
Unused: Reid, Bennett, Bromby, Sharp, Little
Looked industrious and alive. A good signing for Boro, will cause problems all season and could be the difference between play-offs and automatic promotion.