Middlesbrough v Hull City, Saturday 9th April 2022, 3pm

When Harry and I got the half-season cards I bought an additional seat thinking that he might want to bring a mate along every now and then. It was only twenty odd quid for the eleven games so if it got used twice it would pay for itself. Plus it has proved useful for cup game tickets.

My niece’s son, Alistair, is into football and whilst he’s often busy at a weekend he was available for the home game with Hull and so he tagged along.

Alistair is seven, although he informed me that it is only “fifty-six sleeps” until he is eight. He is a polite and friendly kid and a contender for the under-eight’s Parkour Champion of the World. He seemed incapable of just walking anywhere in a straight line. If there was a tree to climb, he was up it. Pillars and posts taller than him were summitted. He walked along railings and dodged in and out of bushes. He even slid down the handrails in the ground at the steps up to our seat. He’ll be leaping from one skyscraper to another before he’s ten.

He was fascinated with the group of Army cadets in the North Stand and adamant that every time a Boro player went down it should have been a red card for the opposition offender. He was also amazed by how far the keepers strayed from their goal lines when play was at the other end. I suspect that it’s always ‘stick-goalie’ when he has a kickaround with his mates. Besides, the further you move from the goal the harder it is to shin up the posts and swing from the cross-bar.

Harry and I had been confident of a win before kick-off, but it didn’t work out that way and it seemed a flat performance from early on. Tav did well filling in at wing-back but we missed his drive in midfield and with Isaiah Jones absent again we had nobody to perform that bit of magic needed to bail us out.

Joe Lumley should have kept their winner out and rightly got some stick from Chris Wilder. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time for Sol Brynn to get his chance. In the two U23 games that I’ve seen him play in this season he looked confident and commanding. I don’t think we have much to lose by giving him a go.

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