Johnson Wonder Show At Scunthorpe!

Last updated : 19 August 2009 By Boro Mad


SUFC: Murphy, Williams, Byrne, Jones, Spence, Sparrow (Thompson 84), McCann, O'Connor (Josh Wright 53), Woolford, Hayes, Hooper.Subs Not Used: Lillis, Togwell, Forte, Canavan, Morris.

BORO: Coyne, McMahon, Williams, Huth, Grounds, Yeates (Arca 84), O'Neil, Wheater, Adam Johnson (Hoyte 90), Lita (Sanli 74), Emnes.Subs Not Used: Taylor, Hines, Franks, Steele.

Att: 8,274

Adam Johnson added to his burgeoning reputation with a stunning performance that helped Middlesbrough maintain their unbeaten start to life back in the Championship as the visitors won a stormy contest at Glanford Park.

The England Under-21 winger, getting his chance for Gareth Southgate's men following the departure of Stewart Downing, opened the scoring against Scunthorpe after 28 minutes with a delightful volley before slotting home a controversial second-half penalty just seconds after he had seen another spot-kick saved by Joe Murphy.

Johnson's emergence has been a key reason behind Middlesbrough's admirable start to life outside the Premier League and his performance here, combined with his display in Saturday's 3-0 win at Swansea, has helped Boro secure back-to-back league wins for the first time since May 2008.

The north-east club, making their first visit to Glanford Park in 43 years, were given little time to settle by their eager hosts who registered the first effort on goal, with Matt Sparrow's goal-bound drive well blocked by Robert Huth.

Defender Huth, celebrating his 25th birthday, was soon able to watch his side in action at the other end as Johnson's fizzing cross caused Cliff Byrne to clear from under his own bar.

Leroy Lita, making his 150th career start, then fashioned a chance for the visitors, turning Rob Jones on the edge of the area 22 minutes in, only to find Murphy equal to his stinging drive.

Johnson put Middlesbrough ahead, but not before Scunthorpe had nearly broken the deadlock themselves.

Martyn Woolford, their match-winner in their 3-2 win over Derby on Saturday, forced Danny Coyne to tip his acrobatic volley wide and from the resulting corner Mark Yeates cleared Paul Hayes' effort off the post.

Boro did not waste the opportunity to make the most of their good fortune and Gary O'Neil immediately launched a counter-attack which was finished in spectacular fashion by Johnson.

He beat Murphy to O'Neil's long ball and, on the volley, lobbed home from just inside the area.

Grant McCann sent a half-volley dipping over the bar for Scunthorpe before the interval, but two minutes after the restart that the game exploded into life.

The initial controversy came when referee Michael Oliver gave a penalty against Michael O'Connor for a foul on Rhys Williams.

The home side continued to debate the decision with the official as Johnson saw his low effort saved by Murphy at his near post, and then argued some more as a second penalty was awarded after Johnson, going for the rebound, tangled with Murphy.

Johnson insisted on taking the second kick despite the protests of his team-mates and won the mind games with Murphy, again going to the goalkeeper's left as the Irish international went the other way.

With tempers frayed, Hayes and Huth clashed in an incident which brought about a 20-man brawl before David Wheater did well to clear Jones' header off the line as Scunthorpe desperately sought a way back into the game.

With the pace frenetic, Gary Hooper and Lita traded efforts but Boro, who were held together superbly by Huth and Wheater, held off Scunthorpe's late pressure to keep a third clean sheet in as many games this season.