Relief for Mowbray as Boro hold on

PA Sport
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray felt his side made hard work of their win against Palace
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Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray felt his side made hard work of their win against Palace

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray was relieved to hear the final whistle as his side held on for a 2-1 Riverside win over Crystal Palace.

The home side looked in complete control for large spells and comfortably led after a scrambled opener from Seb Hines and then a Merouane Zemmama free-kick soon after the restart.

But Palace grabbed a lifeline as Jermaine Easter was hauled down and then rammed home the resulting penalty on 55 minutes, and after that nervous Boro were left to dig in through a frantic final spell.

"It was a bit uncomfortable in the final 15 and we made hard work of it," admitted Mowbray.

"But any three points is a good three points. For an hour I felt were in complete control and we peppered their goal in the first half and we were disappointed to only go in one up at half-time. We had chances in the second half too.

"But then we gifted them a goal with the penalty and that let them back in it. That changed the psychology of both sides. They pushed on a bit more and we retreated a bit.

"We were left hanging on. But ultimately it doesn't matter. We got the points and did well with a young team that is only going to get stronger."

Palace boss Dougie Freedman insisted that morale in his camp remains high despite starting the season with three successive defeats.

"We haven't played badly at all," he said. "Middlesbrough were good in the first half but we did enough to stay in the game and after the break improved. Once we pulled one back we had a few good chances to get something out of the game.

"A couple of errors in important areas of the pitch cost us but generally we were okay. We were competitive, we worked hard and we could have got something. And it is pleasing that spirit in the squad remains fantastic despite the results so far. If we keep working and believing it will come."

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