Match report: Boro friendly abandoned

Middlesbrough A-A Sunderland

Sunderland’s final pre-season game ahead of the 2018-19 season was abandoned due to a spectacular thunderstorm at the Riverside Stadium.

The Black Cats were unlucky not to be leading Middlesbrough at the interval, with debutant Jerome Sinclair forcing a fine save before Lynden Gooch and Josh Maja went close.

But another impressive outing from Jack Ross’ was cut short ahead of the second period, as the stormy conditions resulted in a power failure and the wet conditions were deemed unplayable.

Debutants Glenn Loovens and Sinclair were named in the starting XI, with Jack Ross making one change in midfield as 16-year-old Bali Mumba replaced Lee Cattermole.  

Jon McLaughlin was handed the gloves and Bryan Oviedo started on the bench following his World Cup exploits.

Adama Traore toiled early on and Paddy McNair connected with a corner from the lively frontman with seven minutes played, but the former Black Cat shoved his marker the referee ended the attack.

At the other end, Gooch menaced to similar effect, driving towards the penalty area before flicking a cross towards the back post where Darron Randolph unconvincingly ushered it behind.

As the game ticked past the 10-minute mark the rain began to thunder down at the Riverside, but it did little to dissuade the persistent Traore.

And after leaving Adam Matthews trailing in his wake, the former Barcelona man powered into the box and rattled the crossbar from 10 yards.

Plenty of eyes were on Mumba during the opening stages as youngster embarked on his biggest test to date, but he didn’t look out of place in the centre of midfield.

The Lads were forced into a change after 20 minutes, as Dylan McGeouch, who picked up where he left off following impressive displays against Grimsby Town and St Mirren, was forced off.

Alim Ozturk replaced the Scotland international, but soon came to another halt as Traore fell awkwardly on his shoulder and was unable to continue.

After captain George Honeyman fired over the top from distance, Sunderland’s next chance fell to Sinclair as the loanee showed what he’s all about.

The forward shifted through the gears and exchanged a quick one-two with Maja, but Randolph somehow managed to stick out a leg and divert the goalbound effort behind.

Another chance arrived from the resulting corner, but Tom Flanagan headed well wide.

The Black Cats continued to pile on the pressure before the interval, but the boro stopper once again came to the rescue to palm Gooch’s venomous strike to safety.

And there was further drama before the break, as McLaughlin denied McNair before Maja struck the woodwork.

An intriguing second period was set up as 45 minutes separated Ross and his players from the action we’ve all been waiting for, but the conditions brought a premature end to the game.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Friend, Clayton, Flint, Gibson, Traore, McNair, Assombalonga, Howson, Downing.
Substitutes: Braithwaite, Wing, Bamford, Johnson, Leadbitter, Fletcher, Wood, Fry, Chapman, De Sart, Dimi.

Sunderland: McLaughlin, Loovens, Flanagan, Love, Matthews, Honeyman, McGeouch (Ozturk 19), Mumba, Gooch, Maja, Sinclair.
Substitutes: Ruiter, Hume, Oviedo, Taylor, Hackett, Kimpioka.

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