Middlesbrough v Burnley, Friday 7th April 2023, 8pm

I’d been out of the country since just before Christmas and so hadn’t seen the Boro live since the corresponding away fixture at Turf Moor. Disappointingly, the fixture had been switched from a 3pm kick-off to 8pm. After flying in that morning, I’d planned to spend the afternoon at the match and then the evening having a drink, but the need to drive to the game and the late finish meant that getting re-acquainted with beer would have to wait one more day.

I caught up with the grandson, Harry, and noted that he had grown about three inches since December. I suppose that’s how it works, and it may not be long before he’s taller than me. Maybe I should stop taking the piss out of him.

He reckoned that a point would be a decent result and I tended to agree. Burnley are having a great season and even with our outstanding form since Carrick arrived, we’ve not really made any inroads into the gap between us.

The other reason why a point wouldn’t be too bad was that automatic promotion now looks out of reach. There’s a chance of overtaking Luton for the third spot but really, who cares? Third or fourth both give you a home second leg tie, so it’s not really an issue. Not for me anyway.

In the end it panned out pretty much as might have been predicted. Burnley took the lead with a goal that looked offside to my subjective eye before Chuba equalized with a penalty and his billionth goal this season. What a turnaround in his career it’s been.

As mentioned though, Burnley are a more than decent side and it was no surprise when they responded with the winner. Even so, it was good to be back at the Riverside.

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