Middlesbrough Res v Manchester City Res
Boro: Turnbull; Hoyte, Grounds, Digard (Smallwood 65), Riggott (Franks 16), Hines, A Johnson, Walker, Emnes, Porritt, Bennett. .
Unused subs: Steele (gk); Martin, Shead..
City: Hart; Logan, McGivern, Mee, Berti, Kay (Poole 80), Etuhu, Johnson (Tsiaklis 60), Ball, Bojinov, Weiss.
Unused subs: McDonald, Johansen, Ramsey.
Michael Johnson played for an hour on his comeback after a seven-month layoff, but it was not enough to prevent City’s reserves from slipping to defeat at the Riverside.
Valeri Bojinov also saw some valuable match-time, playing for the whole game, but the Bulgarian striker will be kicking himself for missing a couple of gilt-edged chances early on. Ben Mee had already headed a Kelvin Etuhu corner wide when Bojinov twice sliced the ball wide with the goal at his mercy in the opening quarter of an hour.
Vladimir Weiss looked lively down the left, and had just missed the target with a raking drive when Boro, against the run of play, took the lead through Adam Johnson’s audacious shot that flew past Joe Hart from the edge of the area.
The City keeper had to be at his best to outsmart his England Under 21 colleague before the break, diving smartly to his left to keep Johnson from adding to his earlier goal. Weiss went close before half time, and Michael Johnson also did his best afterwards with a shot that took a deflection wide.
David Ball tried to restore parity with two decent attempts, but it was the home side that got the next, and as it turned out final, goal with 20 minutes to go. The ball was crossed over to Josh Walker at the far post, who had the simplest of chances to score with Hart unable to stop him. Hart stopped Adam Johnson from doubling his tally late on, and Glauber Berti headed wide as time ran out. A disappointing result but an entertaining game, and the good news for City was that Michael John son appeared to come through his hour of play unscathed, so Blues fans will be hoping that his recovery continues and that he can provide Mark Hughes with an option in midfield in the closing weeks of the season.