PERSPECTIVE is always important in pre-season friendlies and tonight’s game at Heritage Park represented a good run out for Middlesbrough against Bishop Auckland.

In their season opening friendly Boro went on to beat the Northern League by two goals to nil thanks to a wicked introduction from Uche Ikpeazu and a great contribution from Djed Spence.

Boro manger Neil Warnock shared a lovely moment with fans before the game, the first time he has been able to do that as the boss, taking pictures and chatting away as the players warmed up.  

Boro started the game well with Marcus Tavernier looking to pose the biggest threat with his lively runs and movement. Initially playing in the number 10 role, he found Duncan Watmore on the edge of the box but his tame shot was well managed by the Bishop Auckland keeper low down to his right.

The game sprung to life moments later when Uche Ikpeazu officially announced himself as a Boro player. His beautiful strike from 25 yards clipped the underside of the bar and went in to rapturous applause from both the Boro and Bishop fans.

Even though the game was a formality and Boro weren’t tested too stressfully, they didn’t take their foot off the pedal with Watmore providing a real threat going forward.

Last season’s top scorer had the ball in the net twice, one for a low finish in the box and one for a header, but the linesman’s flag denied him the goal.

You would think Neil Warnock might have toned it down for a pre-season friendly when it comes to giving the officials an earful – not a chance.

Boro swapped their entire eleven for the second half giving the likes of Lewis Wing, Chuba Akpom and Djed Spence a run out at Heritage Park alongside a number of youngsters from the academy set up. Nathan Wood wore the captain’s armband for the second half which will have been a nice moment for the 18-year-old.

Callum Kavanagh, son of Graham, looked lively in the opening stages of the second period with some low efforts that tested the keeper. He’s impressed at youth level the season before.

Akpom showed a glimpse of what he’s capable of by breaking free from the half way line to run at the Bishop Auckland defence. He twisted his way onto his right foot in the box but his effort just curled wide. Probably should have scored.

Bishop’s resilience was eventually broken again in the 73rd minute when Djed Spence provided a long busting run down the right hand side, broke into the box and prodded the ball off the post and into the net. With Boro willing to listen to offers for Spence, that will have done his cause for a place in the Boro starting eleven no harm.

Towards the closing stages, Jeremy Sivi rounded off the performance with a goal he’ll remember. A floating cross from the left was met with a volley with the outside of his foot which flew into the left hand corner.

Warnock and his squad head down to the South-East coast for a week long training camp in Devon where they’ll face Tavistock, Haltash United and Plymouth Argyle.