Middlesbrough 1-0 Leeds United

Curtis Main

Curtis Main's late header helped Middlesbrough pick up their first points and victory of 2013 against Leeds United at the Riverside.

Main looped the ball past Paddy Kenny from Ishmael Miller's curling cross with eight minutes remaining.

However the goalscorer was sent off shortly after by referee Keith Stroud for a second bookable offence.

Ross McCormack and Habib Habibou had Leeds's best chances but the home defence held firm.

The victory was Boro's first against Leeds on home turf since August 1992, and ended a run of five straight defeats in the Championship.

Tony Mowbray's side are now four points clear of Brighton in sixth place, while Leeds are 11th, eight points behind.

For older supporters of the two clubs, these meetings of North Riding versus West Riding are 'Yorkshire derbies' going back to the old boundaries, and from the off it was clear there was a bit of passion rolling around the Riverside.

The Teessiders were arguably the more dominant in possession during the first period, with the midfield of Rhys Williams, Grant Leadbitter and Josh McEachran in control, although the visitors defended well and enjoyed the better chances.

Main flashed a volley onto the bar early on for Boro before Ross McCormack set his sights with a brace of shots that brought Jason Steele into action.

McCormack was the danger man again just before the half hour when he capitalised on slip by Steele as the ball bounced invitingly in the Boro penalty area, but Jonathan Woodgate was perfectly placed to clear off the line.

Boro might have ended the half on top had Faris Haroun made the most of McEachran's delicious pass behind the defence, but Paddy Kenny spread himself well on the edge of the box to ensure honours even at the break.

Mowbray's outfit continued their pressure after the interval, with Lee Peltier alert to deny Mustapha Carayol a shooting chance, but the Boro boss could sense the growing frustration around the Riverside as McCormack thudded a free-kick into Steele's chest.

Woodgate was withdrawn with 25 minutes remaining to a fine reception with Andy Halliday introduced, and the Scottish full-back was involved in the move that brought a free-kick that Leadbitter curled just wide.

Kenny was at his best to twice deny Leadbitter as Boro poured forward, but Leeds remained dangerous on the counter and only a last-ditch tackle from George Friend stopped Paul Green from firing in.

But as time ticked down, Boro found the breakthrough their midfield dominance deserved when substitute Miller set off down the left, curled the ball to the back post and Main's header looped over Kenny and in.

Main was dismissed moments later for a second bookable offence much to the home fans' ire, but Steele tipped Habibou's header over in injury time to restore the good feeling among the home support, and end the visitors' remarkable run on Teesside.

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray: "It's nice to get a win, it's been a while for us in the league and we need to keep the points ticking along.

"Other games can be more of a football game but Leeds put you under pressure, don't allow you to keep the ball and it becomes more of a physical battle. But we came out on top of that.

"Curtis is a young boy who is starting his career off. He came to us as a free transfer from Darlington and some of the things he can do are breathtaking at times."

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