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Immediate Reaction: Middlesbrough v Bolton Wanderers

Dennis has an unabashed reaction to today's performance in the northeast.

Doesn't miss Leeds, only misses penalties.
Doesn't miss Leeds, only misses penalties.
Paul Thomas

Wow.  Just wow.  That may have been the most dour and hopeless first half I have seen since the Gary Megson era.  The difference is that in the time of The Ginger Mourinho we had talented players like Nicolas Anelka who could provide a moment of brilliance.

And after that rubbish, no changes at halftime.  I like Dougie Freedman, and I think he can succeed at the Reebok, but this is turning into an achilles heel.  His substitute patterns are so predictable.  Sometimes you need to make a change earlier than the 60th minute.  And Freedman just flat out refuses to do so.

When the sub finally came on, in the form of Andre Moritz, the tone of the match completely changed.  The Brazilian was playing clever passes and finally creating opportunities for Wanderers.  In the 75th minute he actually had Bolton's first shot on target.  Did Boro have a bit more space with Pratley off the pitch?  Yes, of course.  But the home side were ripe for the taking, and Freedman waited too long to go for the jugular.

It was just too reactive.  Only after Tim Ream gave away a penalty and Bolton went down 1-0 did Freedman make a tactical change.  David Ngog and Joe Mason came on in the 83rd minute for Medo Kamara and Chung-Yong Lee.  Some will blame Jermaine Beckford for missing the penalty, and that was bad.  But the manager just waited far too long to make the changes.