Middlesbrough FC 0 Leeds United 0

The toothless Teessiders ground out a draw against Leeds - the third successive goalless game at the Riverside – to take their barren run to a new club record 615 minutes

Kei Kamara in action for Boro against Leeds
Kei Kamara in action for Boro against Leeds

Aitor Karanka has told his shot-shy Boro team not to become fixated by their lack of goals.

The toothless Teessiders ground out a draw against Leeds – the third successive goalless game at the Riverside – to take their barren run to a new club record 615 minutes.

Blunt Boro have now gone six full games with a goal - ten and a quarter hours.

The current scoreless sequence has surpassed the worst league run of 527 empty minutes from Gareth Southgate’s relegation-bound Premier League side in the spring of 2009.

It has also edged past the worst all competitions record of 593 minutes, a run in September 1978 which featured three top-flight defeats and a League Cup exit over two legs and extra time.

The bleak run has seen Boro slip away from the play-off zone after taking just four points from a possible 18.

However, while the Boro boss confessed the record-breaking drought is frustrating, he insists goals will come.

Karanka said: “Yes it is six games without a goal and for that I am very disappointed.

“However, I don’t want my players to be obsessed with the situation.

“If we play well and create chances, the goals will come.

“We were playing very well and scoring a lot of goals around Christmas. I was very happy with them then and I’m very disappointed and frustrated with the way they’re playing now.

“I am always disappointed if we do not win, but if we play like we did today every week then the goals will arrive.

“We cannot become obsessed. We must just continue to play the best way we can as a team and will create chances and the moment will come.

“Last week at Watford I was not happy because the team did not function as I asked. This week they did so, for that I am happy.

“We had good chances, the team was good. I am not saying we deserved to win but we played well.”

Boro did have the best of a scrappy game against Leeds.

A rock-solid defence – Boro have kept ten clean sheets in the last 16 games – shackled Ross McCormack, the Championship’s top scorer with 23 and a summer transfer target for the Teessiders.

They carved out a string of golden chances only to be denied by Leeds goalkeeper Jack Butland, making his debut after a loan switch from Stoke.

Boro almost broke the deadlock on 43 minutes when a corner was headed away as far as the edge of the box for Jacob Butterfield to unleash a screamer that Butland did well to tip over.

Then early in the second half George Friend crossed from the left towards Danny Graham but stretching defender Warnock got there - forcing Butland into a point-blank reflex save to prevent the own goal.

Soon after Butland was in action again as Curtis Main headed down in box for Kei Kamara and he took a swing but failed to get a good contact and when it screwed to Graham eight yards out he fired in an overhead kick which bounced at the feet of the keeper and up into his hands.

Boro went close as Emmanuel Ledesma picked out Albert Adomah in the box and he chested down and stabbed goalwards, but Butland was out quickly to block.

Leeds rattled the woodwork on 83 minutes as McCormack fired through a crowd and Shay Given – playing his last game in a successful loan from Aston Villa – did well to tip it onto the post - although the whistle had already gone for a foul in the box.

Premier League News

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer