Debutant Swift secures opening point for WBA at Middlesbrough

30 July 2022 0 By Total Football News

Middlesbrough and West Brom shared the points in their opening Championship game of the 2022/23 season after a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.

Chris Wilder's Boro - who missed out on a play-off place by five points last term - struck first when Isaiah Jones mopped up a square ball from Chuba Akpom (10), before Duncan Watmore saw an effort chalked off for offside.

The Baggies emerged from their shell after the break and, following a dominant spell, levelled when debutants Jed Wallace and John Swift combined for the latter to fire in the equaliser (51).

How promotion candidates cancelled one another out

As two promotion candidates who fell short of the top six last term, Middlesbrough and West Brom were keen to start on the front foot as they looked to set the record straight and get up and running with three points.

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Isaiah Jones gives Middlesbrough an early lead in their first Championship match of the season against West Brom

It was the Baggies who threatened first, with Boro stopper Zack Steffen - on loan from Manchester City - forced to back-pedal rapidly to push Wallace's overhit cross onto the crossbar and behind.

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Duncan Watmore could have made it two for Middlesbrough, but can't sort his feet out to put it in the back of the net

But Boro soon made the dream start. Ryan Giles cut in off the left and threaded the ball through to Akpom, whose square ball fell perfectly for Jones to slam home when Watmore could not.

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John Swift finishes off a well-worked West Brom move, as they equalise in their match against Middlesbrough

Watmore thought he had a second when he took one neat touch six yards out and finished cutely with a second, only to be denied by the linesman's flag, before he sidefooted a Giles cross wide with the goal gaping.

West Brom worked their way back into the game quickly after the break and deservedly pulled level when Wallace rampaged down the right and pulled the ball back for Swift to finish.

Steffen made a series of important saves from Swift and Wallace as the game became an end-to-end affair, but there were few chances of note after that and the teams left with a point apiece.

Man of the match - Ryan Giles

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Man of the match Ryan Giles and Darragh Lenihan reflect on an 'end-to-end' 1-1 draw between their Middlesbrough side and rivals West Brom

Sky Sports' Don Goodman:

"He provided, down that left-hand side, what Isaiah Jones had been providing last season. That's width, that's dynamism and he put more open play crosses in and put more balls into the penalty area than anyone else on the pitch. He was brilliant."

What the managers said...

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Chris Wilder says it was a great effort by his Middlesbrough side against a tough West Brom side in their 1-1 draw

Middlesbrough's Chris Wilder: "I thought we were great. I'm delighted with the players. All they need to be bothered about is myself and the coaching staff's opinion. It was a helter-skelter game. I think Steve said afterwards that he really enjoyed it - I'm not so sure.

"I thought it had everything, but what I will say is that we should be out of sight in the first half, which wouldn't have allowed West Brom to get back into the game. They've got good players and they did get back into the game, so overall, on the opening day, if you can't win, you don't get beaten. We've got a result."

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Steve Bruce praises his side's second-half performance but also credits both teams' desire to win the game in West Brom's 1-1  draw against Middlesbrough

West Brom's Steve Bruce: "We started off OK but didn't really recover after the goal, if I'm being honest. The second half was much, much better and it could have gone either way, couldn't it? I'm going to be greedy and say maybe I would tip it our way, but I thought was a very decent game with both teams trying to win it.

"It's never going to be easy to come in here for the first game of the season, so we've taken something and it's something to work on."

What's next?

Middlesbrough travel to Loftus Road to take on QPR at 3pm on Saturday August 6, while West Brom host Watford at The Hawthorns at 8pm on Monday August 8.

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SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/middlesbrough-vs-west-bromwich-albion/report/467830