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Boro vs Brighton 1-1 Boro are promoted

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Venue - The Riverside Stadium


KO - 12:30, May 7th




So this is it then, the game we've all been expecting and dreading. The Market Leaders, Middlesbrough (TM, Shaun Dyche Enterprises) in a season deciding final showdown against Brighton & Hove "they'll drop off soon enough" Albion. Unfortunately they haven't and a win for them at The Riverside guarantees them Premier League football - and games against titans of football like Leicester, Spurs and West Ham - unfortunately at the expense of our beloved Boro.


The Opposition


Brighton were founded in 1901, joining the Football League in 1920. They played in the top flight from 1979-1983, reaching an FA Cup final, losing it on the replay and being relegated in that final season. They were almost relegated to the conference and liquidated in the late 90s, but a boardroom takeover, better management from the top downwards and, more recently, greater investment into players and facilities has seen them drop no lower than league 1 since 2002 and allowed them to mount meaningful promotion campaigns in 3 of the last 4 seasons.


They play at the Amex stadium (absolutely cracking ground) and are very well supported at home. Their previous game against Derby saw over 30,000 pack the Amex to watch the inauguration of Andreas Weimann as a Middlesbrough legend as his crucial goal ensured Brighton come into this game firmly in the passenger seat.


Having not won a game by more than 1 goal all the way through to February 5th, with some fortunate results along the way, many (myself included) were dead certain they'd drop off. How wrong we were. Chris Hughton's January recruitment was excellent - Knockaert has been a revelation since coming in, providing fantastic service to the likes of Wilson, Baldock and of course the real goal threat Hemed. They also plucked a promising Croat - Skalak - whose inch perfect set pieces have contributed several goals and assists towards the promotion charge. In recent weeks they truly have been charging as well, thrashing Fulham and QPR in ruthless fashion. They're now the league's top scorers, and the worry (unlike against Vokes & Gray FC) is that they have goalscorers throughout the team.


The fortunate news is that set-piece dangerman Lewis Dunk will be suspended following a truly idiotic second yellow against Derby. He's a massive Boro fan as he got himself sent off before our last game too, texted me this morning wishing us well for the weekend and informing me of his desire to knee slide the length of each stand at the riverside before french-kissing Stevie G. Top lad our Lewis.



How does it stand and how could it pan out?


(Table shamelessly stolen from BBC Sport)



Coming into the final game of the season, the top 6 teams cannot change. The team in third at the end of it all will play Sheffield Wednesday in the playoff semifinals and Hull and Derby will fight it out for the other final place at Wembley.


As it stands Burnley are already promoted and expected champions. They face relegated Charlton in their final game - a win guarantees them the Championship. A draw will do the same as long as the winner in our game doesn't beat the loser by 3 or more (Brighton's goals scored would win them the title on level GD with Burnley). Even a loss would guarantee them the title assuming our game ends as a draw. Best to forget about the 2nd rate nightclub bouncer lookalike's team and the title really.


O/T, Game of Thrones Theory - Shaun Dyche is the many-faced God.























That face when you get promoted before the market leaders.

Ourselves and Brighton are both locked on points with our superior (slightly) GD keeping us one place above them. We're firmly in the driving seat for this one - Brighton have to win, anything else hurls them into the pit of suffering we endured last year commonly known as the playoffs.










The mighty Boro come into this game unbeaten in 9 following the Charlton collapse and having won 6 of those. Brighton come into this one unbeaten in 13 (bloody hell) and have won 9 of those. Their last loss was an unusual 4-1 thumping by Cardiff.


Boro have no suspensions and the only real injury concern is George Friend who's missed the last few matches through a hamstring issue.


Brighton lost our mate Dunky in the last game against Derby thanks to a daft second yellow.



My XI vs Brighton would be as below:




----------Clayts----------------------Big Grant-----------




*Replace with De Laet if unfit


I appreciate Stuani may be a contentious choice, but he was crucial last time out against Brighton when they were missing Dunk and the physicality of Stuani, Kike and Ayala caused all sorts of problems on set pieces. Downing vanished against Birmingham and De Laet was all kinds of bad. At home I think we need that extra man in the box from crosses and I definitely believe we'll need an outlet who can hold the ball up. Brighton will eventually come at us and when they do we'll need to keep the ball as far from our goal as possible for as long as possible.


Here's how I'd expect Brighton to line up:










They'll attack us - they're the top goalscorers, it's what they're best at. We'll need Dani, GIbbo and Dimi to be on absolute top form against the pace of Wilson and the power of Hemed. Knockaert's quick feet are very much a worry. He seems to share with Fabbrini that ability to breeze past a man and keep the ball glued to his foot to draw fouls. The worry is that Knockaert has this with more of a sense of urgency and a far more dangerous end product. 


I doubt our ability to break teams down, especially when a draw would do them. I'd have had us down to fail to win promotion had Brighton beaten Derby, but Boro legend Andreas Weimann ensured that didn't happen. I doubt we're going to go out there to play football. I can see us pushing forwards and trying to nick a goal in the first half and the most intense, nervewracking attack vs defence performance you'll ever see in the second half.


MMC Prediction - 1-0, Boro promoted, Brighton to smash the playoffs.


View From the Opposition


As you can imagine, and as indeed on here, there's talk aplenty about this on the highly active 'North Stand Chat' board. 


Links Here, Here and Here


For any Brighton fans who may be reading, may the best team win and may t'other one smash the playoffs and beat (hopefully Derby, smug so & so's) at Wembley.

The Stats - To be added


Discussion Starters:


-Starting XI's, predictions?


-Who do you want to smash the playoffs?


-What would your championship team of the season and player of the season be if it were down to you?


-Brighton players who you think will cause problems?


-Who will we/Brighton replace in the Premier League?


-Will you risk wearing white underwear on Saturday?




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Who would have thought the Riverside Stadium would be hosting the unofficial Championship play off final on the last day off the season? What an absolutely incredible match we have in store this weekend. It doesn't get much bigger than this.


Yesterday's result is massive, it slightly eases the pressure we no longer HAVE to WIN. And it gives Aitor another reason to stick to his 4231 set up. :P


Can I just say to any Brighton fan lurking on here between now and Saturday, well done for getting this far but hope you have a miserable weekend on Teesside. ;)


I hope to God Friend is fit for Sarurday. I'd potentially bring in Nugent for Rhodes we could do with his high pressing/work rate on Saturday.


There's going to be some absolute scenes on Teesside if we do it and I will be crying either way.


1-0 Boro Downing to be the hero and Burnley to get beat at Charlton meaning we will be Champions.


Come on Mark Page, do the dam ting and COME ON BOROOO

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My heart is beating out of my chest already.. I can't cope with this.


I'm not sure whether its a good our bad thing but I won't be able to watch the match as I'll be stuck watching Cardiff City v Birmingham with work nervously checking this very thread every two seconds on my phone

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I'm going 1-1... Brighton take the lead early in the second half through Knockaert, then Jordan Rhodes pops up in 90+3 to give us the all important goal!


Hope I'm wrong, like... Well, to an extent. Not sure my heart could take it...

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Not for the faint hearted and I am impressed with BHAFC for what they have done so far this season.


Their speed in attack concerns me somewhat and I think we will have to score first to change their game plan as I see constant pressure from them until they score.


As others have said Gaston could thrive on the open space in midfield when we are on the ball.


For any Brighton fan joining us in this thread which Boro players are of a concern to you?


Just hope it is a great game, that the best team on the day wins and that the unfortunate club stomps the play offs

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That opening post made me sweat  :( Saturday needs to hurry up.


Let's not lie - it was the Shaun Dyche close-ups that made you all sweaty.  ;)

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-Starting XI's, predictions?

Stick to the strongest 11, Friend in after hopefully overcoming his hamstring injury.


Nsue Ayala Gibson Friend

Clayton Leadbitter

Adomah Ramirez Downing



I'm going for 2-1 Boro.


-Who do you want to smash the playoffs?

Whoever doesn't get promotion out of this game, for sure. I will genuinely feel bad for Brighton following any resultant promotion hangover.


-What would your championship team of the season and player of the season be if it were down to you?


Bruno Ayala Dunk Friend

Knockaert Clayton Kayal Ramirez

Gray Hemed


POTS - Clayton or Kayal. Going for Clayts, of course.


-Brighton players who you think will cause problems?

It's easier to name the players who might not cause us problems, that should be Stockdale. They've got good height in Goldson and Greer will want to take this chance seriously. Bruno and Rosenior both get forward well. Kayal and Stephens boss midfield. Skalak and Knockaert's influence speaks for itself. Hemed, Wilson, Baldock, all capable of threatening.


-Who will we/Brighton replace in the Premier League?



-Will you risk wearing white underwear on Saturday?

I never risk wearing white underwear.

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Due to our home record and their very poor record against the top sides in the championship I am confident of not getting beat and that's all we need to do!


Whatever the result I will be very very drunk by tea time!!



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