The Boro strike back: Middlesbrough return to their winning ways as they beat bottom club Derby County at the Riverside.
It was Middlesbrough who had the first chance of the game in what was an almost even first half. We saw Britt Assombalonga strike right from the edge of the area within the first five minutes but the ball placed itself comfortably in the hands of David Marshall.
Anfernee Dijksteel got an important touch as Derby County’s Kamel Jozinar stood well-placed in the Boro box, while Paddy McNair was also first onto another decent ball clearing any danger. Both were fully alert and on their men showing some excellent defending.
On the half-hour mark, an opportunity came for Derby as Max Bird appeared to have picked out the top corner with a curling left-footed effort, but the ball ended up just wide of the goal. This was as close as they had come to putting one in the back of the net during a scrappy, stop-start first half.
It was all downhill for the Rams from here as Jonny Howson floated a cross over from the left which was just slightly too high for Andre Wisdom to clear, skimming past the defender to Duncan Watmore (making his first debut for the Boro) who headed it back across the goal. Assombalonga was quick to react and poke it at the post.
Assombalonga had another good chance with only 2 minutes remaining until half-time after being awarded a free-kick from just outside the area which he curled just wide of the top left corner.
Half-time Middlesbrough 1 – 0 Derby County
Derby looked stronger in the second-half creating more chances for themselves. Louie Sibley, who had come off the bench at half-time, had a quick and instant impact for the Rams. After receiving the ball down the left-hand side of the area, he shot across the goal only for the ball to find itself on the wrong side of the post.
The midfielder came close again not long after the hour mark, putting Marcus Bettinelli to work with a powerful strike from 20 yards out. It was edging towards the bottom right corner before Bettinelli batted the ball away.
Not long after, the Boro came close to bagging themselves another goal as substitute Djed Spence received the corner ball and broke through into the box, laying it off to Marcus Tavernier who shot over the goal.
With 20 minutes left to play, Boro made it 2-0 after Spence played the ball through to Marvin Johnson out on the far left side of the box. A low cross into the area enabled Assombalonga to apply instant pressure which saw Derby County’s Matt Clarke panic and thrust the ball into the back of his own net.
George Saville then opened the game up again for the Boro with a clipped pass to Johnson who was able to get through Derby’s seemingly stretched defense and bend a beautiful strike into the far corner. Putting them three in front, and taking them back up to seventh in the table.
Full-time Middlesbrough 3 – 0 Derby County
Man of the Match: Jonny Howson