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JEFF IN THE SUNDAY SUN
REGION'S BIG STORY IS AT STOCKTON, NOT BORO

1st April 2018

It seems a long time since the opening day of The Championship season when Boro, revitalised by the plethora of new signings, headed to Molineux as favourites to win the title against a Wolves side themselves with a total new look to their squad after serious financial backing.

Indeed three quarters of the players on the field at kick off were making their debuts for their new sides. Wolves edged it 1-0, in the main due to a terrible mistake from Daniel Ayala and a glaring miss from Martin Braithwaite.

Wolves seemed happy in the second half to sit on the lead and didnít really show too many signs that they were quickly going to mature into the side that has led the league table for the majority of the season and look odds on certainties to be playing Premier League football next season.

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Friday night's game was perhaps more important to Boro as their scrap for a play-off place appeared more difficult than Wolves holding on to their automatic promotion place. It turned out to be one of the most eventful games played at The Riverside in recent times.

Boro fans were left frustrated as after a good start they fell behind to two goals, somewhat against the run of play. Starting with one man upfront has always been a bug bear with supporters and even with a two man advantage we failed to claw back the deficit.

Whilst three points against the leaders would have created a healthy gap over seventh place, because of the days' other results Boro still managed to retain their position in the play-off places.

A total different challenge awaits Tony Pulis's side on Monday against struggling Burton Albion on their tight pitch and then the return of Aitor Karanka with his Nottingham Forest side next Saturday. Every game from now until the end of the season is going to be like a cup final.

Whatever is happening at The Riverside at the moment, the big football story on Teesside right now is at Stockton Town FC. Last Saturday a full house saw them edge out Northern League neighbours Marske United in an intriguing semi-final second leg. They hung on and battled to defend their one goal aggregate advantage for most of the second half and are now set for a Wembley date on Sunday May 20th.

They are sure of a large fanatical travelling support, most of whom will be hoping to go back down south for a Boro play-off final game the following weekend.

Because of cost and on-field disappointments many north east football fans are becoming regular attendees at non-league grounds and they are not being disappointed.




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