Middlesbrough 0-2 Brighton
Brighton moved up to fifth in the Championship as they ended a three-match winless run with a comfortable win away at free-falling Middlesbrough.
Spanish pair Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez secured the Seagulls their first away win in five attempts.
Orlandi opened the scoring by side-footing past Jason Steele for his fifth league goal of the campaign.
And Lopez sealed the points by lobbing the on-rushing Steele after Liam Bridcutt's pass had sent him clear.
Brighton now have four games remaining against Peterborough, Blackpool, Leeds United and Wolves as they look to seal a play-off spot.
For Tony Mowbray's Boro, they are down to 10th after their sixth defeat in their last seven games - and lie eight points off the top six, and just six points above the bottom three.
Neither side managed to find any kind of rhythm in a poor first half, with a deflected shot by Scott McDonald that went wide of Casper Ankergen's post and an Andrew Halliday effort from the left which fizzed across the face of goal was the best either side could muster before the interval.
But the game improved in the second half and Dean Hammond went close to breaking the deadlock for Brighton after he was found in the area by Jose Ulloa's terrific pass, but the midfielder was unable to steer his header on target.
Then the home side went close as Wayne Bridge gave the ball away and Boro broke quickly, with Merouane Zemmama releasing McDonald down the right only for the Australian's effort to fly over the crossbar.
But it was the visitors who eventually broke the deadlock. Hammond squared from the right for Orlandi, whose run into the area had gone unnoticed by the Boro defence, and the Spanish midfielder finished past Steele.
They had Gordon Greer to thank for preserving their lead as the defender made two vital blocks in as many minutes to deny McDonald and Curtis Main from getting shots at goal.
Orlandi had a chance to add a second but could only fire wide from the edge of the area, but Gus Poyet's side sealed the victory as Lopez was sent clear by Bridcutt and he beat Steele to ensure his side remained in the top six.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray:
"I'm a fighter.
"I'm not someone who gives in. It is not something I have considered.
"We know the situation we are in isn't great. We know this recent run of results has not been good enough. Everyone at the club is bitterly disappointed about the situation.
"But my nature is to dig in. It is my job to put things right.
"Ultimately you have to ask the chairman about my situation but he is from Teesside like me and I am sure it is in his nature to dig in too."
Brighton manager Gus Poyet:
"We had to inject our own passion.
"In the first half the game was very slow and the ground was very quiet and sometimes that can creep into your head and into your game.
"We were comfortable in the first half but we needed more. I told them [the players] to go and create their own passion, to make their own tempo and they did that and it made a difference.
"I knew that if we could only get the first goal it would be better for us. With the players we had on the pitch it makes it very hard for Middlesbrough to score a goal."
- 01 Steele
- 02 Hoyte
- 14 Williams
- 39 Woodgate
- 05 Zemmama (Sa Ameobi - 62' )
- 07 Leadbitter Booked
- 18 Halliday
- 33 Smallwood Booked (McEachran - 70' )
- 38 Haroun (Carayol - 70' )
- 23 Main
- 27 McDonald
- 32 Leutwiler
- 03 Bikey
- 10 Bailey
- 16 McEachran
- 08 Sa Ameobi
- 19 Carayol
- 30 Miller
- 16 Ankergren
- 03 Greer
- 14 Calderon
- 20 Upson
- 28 Bridge
- 04 Hammond Booked
- 08 Crofts
- 11 Orlandi (Forster-Caskey - 90' )
- 21 David Lopez (Dicker - 85' )
- 26 Bridcutt
- 19 Ulloa Booked
- 01 Brezovan
- 06 El-Abd
- 22 Painter
- 15 Vicente
- 18 Dicker
- 35 Forster-Caskey
- 33 Barker
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +2:55
Scott McDonald is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Casper Ankergren.90:00 +0:31 Substitution
Substitution Andrea Orlandi goes off and Jake Forster-Caskey comes on.90:00 +0:20
Effort from the edge of the box by Mustapha Carayol goes wide of the left-hand post.89:12
Corner taken by Grant Leadbitter, Jose Ulloa makes a clearance.89:00
Effort on goal by Curtis Main from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.84:48 Substitution
Substitution Gary Dicker comes on in place of Moreno David Lopez.84:07
Corner taken by Grant Leadbitter, clearance made by Jose Ulloa.82:16
Curtis Main takes a shot. Save made by Casper Ankergren.80:05
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Moreno David Lopez, Andrew Halliday makes a clearance.79:20
Justin Hoyte concedes a free kick for a foul on Liam Bridcutt. Wayne Bridge restarts play with the free kick.75:13
The assist for the goal came from Liam Bridcutt.75:13 Goal scored
Goal! - Moreno David Lopez - Middlesbro 0 - 2 Brighton A goal is scored by Moreno David Lopez from just inside the area high into the middle of the goal. Middlesbrough 0-2 Brighton.74:31
Indirect free kick taken by Andrew Halliday.74:31 Booking
Booking Dean Hammond is shown a yellow card.74:24
Mustapha Carayol fouled by Dean Hammond, the ref awards a free kick.73:42
Andrea Orlandi produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.72:35
Grant Leadbitter produces a cross, save made by Casper Ankergren.71:54
Curtis Main fouled by Andrew Crofts, the ref awards a free kick. Grant Leadbitter takes the direct free kick.69:37 Substitution
Substitution Josh McEachran is brought on as a substitute for Richard Smallwood.
Substitution Faris Haroun goes off and Mustapha Carayol comes on.68:47
Inswinging corner taken by Grant Leadbitter.61:05
Casper Ankergren takes the indirect free kick.61:05 Substitution
Substitution Merouane Zemmama goes off and Sammy Ameobi comes on.61:05
Unfair challenge on Andrew Crofts by Scott McDonald results in a free kick.60:24
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrew Crofts on Rhys Williams. Jason Steele takes the indirect free kick.59:24
Assist on the goal came from Dean Hammond.59:24 Goal scored
Goal! - Andrea Orlandi - Middlesbro 0 - 1 Brighton Andrea Orlandi finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Middlesbrough 0-1 Brighton.57:42
Foul by Curtis Main on Inigo Calderon, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Moreno David Lopez.54:07
Scott McDonald produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.52:23
Jose Ulloa challenges Rhys Williams unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Jason Steele.46:50
Inigo Calderon concedes a free kick for a foul on Rhys Williams. Grant Leadbitter takes the indirect free kick.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +1:53 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.43:45
Indirect free kick taken by Moreno David Lopez.43:45 Booking
Booking Jose Ulloa goes into the referee's book for dissent.42:34
Free kick awarded for a foul by Faris Haroun on Jose Ulloa.41:22
Andrew Halliday has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.38:43
The ball is delivered by Grant Leadbitter.37:36
Grant Leadbitter takes a inswinging corner.33:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Curtis Main by Inigo Calderon. Grant Leadbitter takes the free kick.28:15
Gordon Greer takes the free kick.28:15 Booking
Booking Richard Smallwood booked.27:56
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dean Hammond by Richard Smallwood.26:45 Booking
Booking Caution for Grant Leadbitter.26:18
Free kick awarded for a foul by Grant Leadbitter on Andrea Orlandi. Matthew Upson takes the free kick.25:52
The assistant referee flags for offside against Moreno David Lopez. Free kick taken by Jason Steele.23:23
Andrea Orlandi is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Jason Steele takes the indirect free kick.22:01
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Merouane Zemmama by Liam Bridcutt. Indirect free kick taken by Grant Leadbitter.19:59
Unfair challenge on Grant Leadbitter by Jose Ulloa results in a free kick. Grant Leadbitter takes the free kick.18:20
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Grant Leadbitter.17:44
Jose Ulloa is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Jason Steele.12:53
Short corner worked by Andrea Orlandi.12:13
Corner taken short by Andrea Orlandi.11:45
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Moreno David Lopez, Jonathan Woodgate makes a clearance.10:46
Richard Smallwood takes a shot. Save by Casper Ankergren.7:35
Inigo Calderon crosses the ball.5:30
The referee blows for offside. Casper Ankergren restarts play with the free kick.4:38
Faris Haroun challenges Dean Hammond unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Dean Hammond.2:19
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Grant Leadbitter, clearance made by Jose Ulloa.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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