Middlesbrough ease drop fears

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BOSS Tony Mowbray feels there is still a lot more to come from Middlesbrough after they eased their relegation concerns with last night’s routine 2-0 victory over Scunthorpe.

The hosts were rarely troubled as they cruised to victory at the Riverside.

Misfiring forward Kris Boyd proved he still has the finishing skills that brought him to the Riverside by opening the scoring after eight minutes and a killer second goal arrived with 21 minutes remaining as Tony McMahon’s free-kick sailed into the far corner, with Leroy Lita claiming the final touch.

Boro are now unbeaten in six league games, but Mowbray said: “I thought we were as poor as we have been in the first half. It was very disappointing.

“Ultimately we are where we are and it’s about getting three points. We’ll take the points and move on, but there’s still a long way to go. You can’t play as badly as we did in the first half today and expect to win most weeks.”

Mowbray was left baffled by a second-half incident that saw referee Rob Lewis award a penalty for a foul on Lita, only to then change his mind following a consultation with one of his assistants.

“I can’t remember a referee giving a penalty in this country and then changing his mind because his linesman talks him out of it,” said the Boro boss.

“The fourth official told me there were three or four men in his way, but surely he’s got to see it to give it. Why is he letting his linesman, who is 60 yards away, talk him out of it?”

Both German defender Maxi Haas and tricky midfielder Merouane Zemmama arrived before the deadline, but Haas only made the bench while Zemmama waits for a work permit.

The opener arrived when Seb Hines booted the loose ball forward to find Boyd in acres of space on the edge of the box with eight minutes gone.

Scunthorpe keeper Josh Lillis darted off his line but the big Scot clinically lobbed the ball over him first time and watched as it arced perfectly into the net.

It was 2-0 when McMahon swung in a deep free-kick from the left. It somehow evaded everyone as it curled across the six-yard box to bounce into the far corner of the net with 20 minutes to go.

Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough was less than impressed with Boro’s second goal.

“I’ve seen it again and for me it’s offside,” he explained. I don’t know whether it’s (Seb) Hines who makes the run from an offside position, but he puts the goalkeeper off.”

Baraclough also felt midfielder Abdi Ibrahim was unfortunate to be dismissed for two bookable offences, adding: “That mystified me a little bit as well.”