7:00am Monday 16th September 2013
By Paul Fraser
Full-time: Ipswich Town 3 Middlesbrough 1
SCORING goals is seen as the main problem to address at Middlesbrough in the coming weeks, but equally important for Tony Mowbray is the need to tighten things up at the opposite end.
Mowbray has made no secret of a desire to bring in a new striker if the right man becomes available in his bid to make his team more potent in front of goal.
There has also been strong inquiries for defenders Daniel Ayala and Craig Dawson, of Norwich and West Brom, over the course of the last month or so.
And a crushing 3-1 defeat to Ipswich Town merely highlighted to him that work still needs to be done in both boxes if his side are to have serious aspirations of a top six push this season.
Much has been made about Middlesbrough's inability to score goals. While they have often struggled to create clear cut chances, the results state they have found the net in all seven games so far.
Keeping goals out, however, has been much harder to do. Despite positive individual displays from all of the men to have formed part of the backline, including goalkeeper Jason Steele, this season, there has only been one clean sheet so far.
At Portman Road, unlike in the case of most of the previous eight goals conceded since the first ball was kicked in August, set-pieces did not prove Middlesbrough's downfall. They failed to deal with the threat of David McGoldrick and crosses in to the box.
Mowbray said: “It's basic football. You have to mark men in the box. It was all pretty basic and that's the disappointing thing. We can't lose basic Championship goals, where teams put balls in to the box. We need to do better.”
After Adomah had acrobatically volleyed Middlesbrough in front in the 12th minute when he hooked Grant Leadbitter's header in to the area over the line, that seemed to slow the visitors down.
“The funny thing is, in training I tried an overhead kick and missed the ball completely on Friday,” said Adomah. “I fell on my backside and everyone laughed at me. This time it went in when it mattered. Practice makes perfect! It's just disappointing that we didn't win.”
With debutant Jacob Butterfield looking comfortable and busy in the centre of the pitch, looking for the positive pass, there had seemed a real vibrancy about the confidence in the Boro camp.
But slowly Ipswich grew in confidence. When McGoldrick skipped too easily around the sluggish Dean Whitehead, the former Nottingam Forest striker arrowed a clinical 22-yard drive inside Steele's right hand post.
If that was the first mistake that was punished, worse was to come after Steele had denied both Paul Anderson and Luke Chambers.
Twelve minutes after the restart Chambers was allowed to coast in from right-back completely unspotted to nod Ipswich ahead from Aaron Cresswell's deep centre.
David McGoldrick evades Boro’s Rhys Williams
Middlesbrough did improve, particularly when Marin Emnes and Kamara were introduced from the bench, and the former's centre almost created a late equaliser from Kamara when the cross narrowly evaded his head.
Seconds later there was a punt down the Middlesbrough left, McGoldrick beat Jonathan Woodgate for pace after the defender's poor header. The former Southampton front-man then brushed off Woodgate's attentions before slotting in a sweetly taken third.
That condemned Middlesbrough to a second defeat of the campaign, meaning Mowbray has overseen just one win in seven this season. It is still just four wins in the Championship since the turn of 2013.
Mowbray said: “I don't think we can argue too much about the result. We had a great start, we were excellent, got in front and then stopped what we were doing. They did the basics of the game better than we did.
“It was frustrating in the dressing room. Ipswich wanted the victory and did the basics, clearing things, changing things. Credit to them. We didn't do it as well.”
Prior to this latest set-back, Middlesbrough have been showing signs of promise and progress. Mowbray, ahead of tomorrow's trip to the City Ground, must concentrate on making sure his players do not dwell on any frustration in Suffolk. He said: “Winning and losing games is what football is about, we have an opportunity to put it right in a few days time.
“We are standing here after a defeat. It was a difficult day for us all. The new players will be fine for us once they have settled in to their roles in the squad as the season unfolds. We have to try to get them ready for those.”
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