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Match Reports

Match Report : 08/03/2014

8 March 2014

Two first-half goals from Danny Graham gave Middlesbrough the points at the Riverside. 

The striker forced the ball in from close range on the half hour mark and then headed in from Grant Leadbitter’s corner just before the break. 

Paul Taylor had Town’s best chance before the opener, firing over but Blues rarely threatened over the 90 minutes, with Boro deserving the three points.   

Mick McCarthy stayed with the same side that beat Birmingham last week, new loan recruit from Crystal Palace, Jonny Williams, starting on the bench.

Emmanuel Ledesma sent a left foot effort only a yard wide after Graham had set him up on the edge of the box in the game’s first opening. 

Jay Tabb stood a left wing cross up for Daryl Murphy in the Boro box but Ben Gibson cleared, then at the other end a jinking run by Lee Tomlin won a free-kick for the home side but George Friend couldn’t keep his shot down after the ball broke to him on the edge of the box. 

Good work by Friend down the left saw the full-back cut inside Nouble but his cross flicked off Graham and went to safety for Blues as Boro edged the opening exchanges. 

Friend was providing the main attacking threat on the pitch and another rampaging run down the flank and cut inside created another opening for the former Doncaster defender but the finish didn’t match the approach, a right foot curler going high and wide. 

Dean Gerken’s fingertips did enough to push Mustapha Carayol’s strike behind for a corner, the Town ‘keeper then holding on to Grant Leadbitter’s delivery after his initial delivery had been cleared.

Christophe Berra did enough to poke the ball behind for a corner as Graham threatened but the best chance of the opening 25 minutes fell to Paul Taylor, the ball breaking to him inside the Boro box but he sent his shot well over. 

The breakthrough came soon after, Carayol’s shot was only parried by Gerken and Graham was on hand to force the ball home and end Boro’s seven match goal drought.

Carayol almost put in Tomlin as Boro looked to press home their advantage, then Gerken had to smother the danger of the wideman after he burst into the box before 
Middlesbrough struck again right on half-time, Graham flashing a header from Leadbitter’s corner into the net.

Luke Hyam replaced Nouble at the break, with Blues going back to a more traditional 442 to counteract the threat provided by Carayol and Friend down the Boro left flank. 

The covering Paul Green cleared the danger after Carayol had got around the back again, the midfielder then volleying wide at the other end as Blues looked for a way back into the game.

Murphy tested Dimi Konstantopoulos in the home goal with a spin and shot from the edge of the box before Blues made a second change with Taylor replaced by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake for the last 20 minutes.

Kei Kamara was introduced for Graham in Boro’s first change, Williams on for Tabb on Town’s final throw of the dice while Tomlin made way for Jacob Butterfield in a flurry of changes. 

Boro saw out the game with few scares to end their disappointing run and leaving Town looking to get back on track at Yeovil on Tuesday.



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