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Middlesbrough boss frustrated by Burnley defeat

Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was disappointed to see his side go out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, following their 2-1 home defeat to Burnley.

Clarets keeper Tom Heaton was outstanding as Burnley repelled a string of Boro attacks to claim a place in the fourth round.

 Heaton made excellent saves from Diego Fabbrini, David Nugent and Albert Adomah as goals from Rouwen Hennings and Stephen Ward secured Burnley a 2-1 win at the Riverside.

 The visitors were second best for long spells against the Championship leaders, but took their chances when they arrived and boasted a goalkeeper at the very top of his game.

 Karanka said: “I’m really disappointed because I never like to lose, especially in a game that we should have won by four, five or six goals because we had a lot of chances.

“That is what happens when you play and lose your concentration though.

“When you play in the way that we played the second half, that is what happens. When you lose your concentration, you make mistakes in the way that we did.

“I only hope that it is a game that helps us learn for the future.”

With his side sitting at the top of the Championship, it was hardly a surprise to see Karanka make seven changes in order to protect some of his leading names ahead of this week’s league games with Brentford and Bristol City.

However, with the likes of Forshaw, David Nugent and Fabbrini returning to the fray, there was still plenty of quality in the home side’s ranks, and they duly dominated the whole of the first half.

Fabbrini and Carlos de Pena both drew routine early saves from Heaton, but the Burnley goalkeeper should have been beaten when Nugent galloped clear midway through the opening period.

Nugent successfully latched on to Fernando Amorebieta’s looped header over the Burnley defence, but despite enjoying a clear run on goal, the former England international lashed a wasteful effort straight at Heaton.

His blushes were spared somewhat when Boro finally claimed the lead nine minutes before the interval, with his blocked shot helping to set up Fabbrini’s opener.

George Friend forced a superb save from Heaton when he drilled in the loose ball, and Fabbrini reacted quickest to stab home the second rebound.

Burnley had offered nothing as an attacking force at that stage, but the visitors claimed a surprise equaliser in first-half stoppage time as Boro’s much-vaunted backline unexpectedly switched off.

Sam Vokes swung over an inviting cross from the right, and Hennings found himself completely unmarked as he slid home from the edge of the six-yard box.

The goal was completely against the run of play, but it persuaded Burnley to throw more men forward and the game became a much more even contest after the break.

Boro continued to create the better chances though, and Heaton produced an excellent save on the hour mark, hurling himself to his right to keep out Albert Adomah’s angled drive.

The hosts missed a glorious opportunity to reclaim the lead when Forshaw headed Adomah’s cross wide of the target even though he was completely unmarked 10 yards out, and Burnley punished their profligacy when they scored against the run of play for a second time with 18 minutes left.

George Boyd’s initial effort from a corner was blocked, but Ward swivelled adroitly to hook a superb first-time volley past Tomas Mejias.

Middlesbrough: Mejias, Kalas, Amorebieta (Nsue 54), Ayala, Friend, Forshaw, Clayton, Adomah, De Pena (Stuani 76), Fabbrini (Garcia 76), Nugent. Subs Not Used: Agazzi, Gibson, Leadbitter, Downing. Booked: Forshaw. Goals: Fabbrini 36.

Burnley: Heaton, Darikwa, Keane, Mee, Ward, Ulvestad, Jones (Barton 76), Boyd, Hennings, Kightly (Arfield 69), Vokes (Long 90). Subs Not Used: Lowton, Taylor, Gilks, Anderson. Booked: Barton. Goals: Hennings 45, Ward 71.

Att: 18,286 Ref: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).