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Reserves end campaign with 1-1 draw

Valeri Bojinov training 0708

Valeri Bojinov training 0708

Manchester City's reserves drew 1-1 against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night and moved up to second place in the Barclays Premier reserve League North table.

Bulgarian striker Valeri Bojinov played almost 80 minutes at the Riverside Stadium as he stepped up his match-fitness in the hope of being involved in any of the final three games of the season.

Middlesbrough started the match brighter than the Blues and it was no surprise Gaizka Mendieta was pulling the strings in the Boro engine room. But it was City midfielder Paul Marshall who almost opened the scoring just short of the 15 minute mark with a swerving shot that needed Steele to make a smart stop.

City survived a penalty claim on the half hour as Tom Craddock's shot across goal was blocked by Clayton McDonald - the referee rightly pointed to his shoulder and playing on though.

Adam Clayton then went close with a 20-yard strike which had the beating of Steele, but curled just wide of the post.

Mendieta was at the heart of everything good that Boro did during the first half, but he couldn't prevent Adam Clayton giving the Blues the lead after 44 minutes.

A corner from the left was won in the air by McDonald and midfielder Clayton was on hand to prod home the rebound from close range.

The lively Alex Nimley almost started the second half with a goal. He charged down goalkeeper Steele's clearance and as the ball rolled towards the goal, Williams managed to clear off the line and away to safety.

And that clearance was to prove vital as on 70 minutes the home team pulled level. Tom Craddock latched on to a long ball from Mendieta and fired home high into the goal beyond Isaksson.

Middlesbrough pressed for a winner they maybe deserved, but in the end it took a fine save from Isaksson five minutes from time to deny Franks' and Boro a winning goal.

So the point is enough to move above Manchester United in the table and Ian Miller's men will be guaranteed the runners-up spot behind Liverpool if Blackburn Rovers fail to beat Sunderland tonight.

Isaksson, Obeng, Williamson, Marshall, McDonald, M.Daly, Clayton, Mouritsen, Nimley (Poole 70), Bojinov (I.Daly 78), Moore.

unused subs: Martin, Ramsey, Cunningham.


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Nery Castillo 0708

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