Middlesbrough v West Brom, Saturday 30th July 2022, 3pm

I’ve already been to a competitive game this season in the Women’s Euros at Southampton and a couple of pre-season friendlies, but this one felt like the proper opening fixture of the season. Alistair was away for the weekend, so it was just Harry and I that went along.

You never really know what you might see on the river outside the ground and there was a new structure there this week. I suspect that it was something to do with the oil and gas industry but that’s about the best I can do in pinning down its identity.

Pre-match talk was inevitably about the personnel changes, mainly the arrival of the American goalie and Tav’s move to Bournemouth. Zack Steffan’s loan signing looks a good move, both for him and us, but I was disappointed with Tav’s departure, particularly without a replacement having been brought in. I appreciate the pull of the Premier League though and hope he does well.

One of the biggest surprises has been the re-integration of Chuba Akpong after his banishment to Greece and then the U21s. He started this one and did well, combining well with Ryan Giles to set up an early goal for Isaiah Jones. We had a second one disallowed shortly after and at that stage it looked like an easy three points.

It rarely pans out in the way that you expect though and West Brom equalized soon after the restart for the second half. They could have won it too, as despite us having most of the possession the better chances fell to them. I reckon a draw was a fair result though and with another forty-five games and hopefully a few more signings to come, I’m happy enough with the point.

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