Patrick Bamford goal a bright spot in Middlesbrough's dark home finale
Middlesbrough's final home game of the season ended in another depressing defeat as Southampton sauntered through an easy afternoon's work. The atmosphere at the Riverside turned decidedly toxic at 2-0 -- with local lad Stewart Downing a particular focus of the fans' fury. Patrick Bamford gave some pride to the occasion with his first goal back at the club when he headed home an impressive corner by Viktor Fischer.
Quite simply the only positive from the game is that Boro escaped with the score at merely 2-1. Shane Long passed up the chance to score from the spot after being felled by Brad Guzan in the second half. Fischer and Bamford linked up well effectively and pointed to the potential of brighter things from that pairing in the Championship next season.
It was quite fitting that Boro simply sleepwalked into a two-goal deficit, something that they've done all too regularly this campaign. The fury from the fans filled the stadium with sections moving between berating the performance on the pitch to chants supporting departed manager Aitor Karanka. The club now needs to unite on and off the pitch as it prepares for the long and tough battle awaiting in the second division.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Steve Agnew deserves endless praise for the class and dignity he's shown since taking over one of the most troubled Boro sides in recent memory. He can be criticised for persisting with players that won't feature next season -- the likes of Guzan and Alvaro Negredo included -- but he put out the side he thought best placed to win the game. Giving an opportunity to the previously struggling Bamford is to be applauded.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Brad Guzan, 4 -- Visibly poor in commanding his defence, notably at set pieces. Slow out to the attack of Long and crudely ended his run with a sloppy foul.
DF Fabio, 5 -- Resembled a headless chicken at times with some odd decision-making positionally and poor execution of passes.
DF Calum Chambers, 7 -- Showed his class with some great interceptions and was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet from a rasping drive.
DF Ben Gibson, 6 -- Lionhearted performance from the Teessider, who may well have played his last game for his beloved Boro at the Riverside.
DF George Friend, 5 -- Battled to push things forward on the left-hand side but ultimately lacked quality.
MF Marten de Roon, 6 -- Covered a lot of ground for the cause but looked out of his depth.
MF Adam Clayton, 7 -- Constantly showed to receive the ball and was one of the better performers on the day.
MF Adam Forshaw, 4 -- Slow and turgid in possession, a shade of the player who started the season.
MF Stewart Downing, 4 -- Did very little to effect the game and received some stinging criticism from the crowd upon being substituted.
MF Patrick Bamford, 7 -- Fizzed around the right wing and was rewarded with a deserved goal to take into the next campaign.
FW Alvaro Negredo, 6 -- Tried to bring others into play but his tricks and flicks didn't always come off in an underwhelming home finale.
MF Grant Leadbitter, 6 -- Spread the play well as Middlesbrough forced the issue in the final third.
MF Viktor Fischer, 7 -- Looked energetic and tricky, delivering a lovely set piece for Bamford to finish. A key player for the next campaign.
Catherine Wilson ESPN FC's Middlesbrough blogger. You can follow her on Twitter: @Basslady