Our first pre-season friendly ahead of the 2018/19 season saw Boro edged out by Sturm Graz in Austria.
After ten days of early morning wake-up calls and three-session days, Boro concluded the trip to Austria with a friendly against the Austria Bundesliga outfit.
Markus Pink’s goal just before half-time proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Tony Pulis used all his available players to give them some much-needed game time.
Harry Chapman, Ben Gibson and Britt Assombalonga missed out due to minor niggles, Dani Ayala was back at Rockliffe Park to receive treatment on a calf problem and there were debuts for Aden Flint and Paddy McNair.
Both sides were unable to capitalise on any early opportunities, with McNair high and wide on 36 minutes after some good build-up play from Patrick Bamford.
The home side went close after Lukas Grozurek sent his effort over, but they did take the lead when Pink nodded in a cross from the right with a few minutes before the interval.
Boro made several changes in the early stages of the second half to give everyone an opportunity to get some minutes into their legs.
Ashley Fletcher, who added fresh impetus from the bench, had the ball in the back of the net with just over an hour gone, but it was ruled out by the linesman’s flag for offside.
Boro: Randolph, Shotton, Fry, Flint, Friend, Clayton, Howson, McNair, Traore, Bamford, Gestede
Subs (all used): Dimi, Fabio, De Sart, Leadbitter, Wing, Tavernier, Downing, Johnson, Fletcher
Sturm Graz: Siebenhandll, Schrammel, Avlonitis, Lackner, Grozurek, Pink, Huspek, Spenldhofer, Hierlander, Koch, Maresic
Subs: Schutezenauer, Lovric, Jantscher, Fadinger, T. Koch, Schubert, Obermair, Piras, Lema