Match ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0.
Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham City
Middlesbrough moved back into the Championship play-off places with victory over struggling Birmingham.
Boro secured a fifth home win of the season as Britt Assombalonga scored twice in the first half to take his tally to the season to 11 goals.
The former Forest striker nodded in a rebound after Tomasz Kuszczak saved Stewart Downing's shot and latched onto Fabio Da Silva's pass for his second.
Birmingham's best chances fell to Che Adams and Jonathan Grounds.
Blues, who remain only a point clear of the relegation zone, are the joint-lowest goalscorers on their travels having found the net only three times this season, so it was no surprise that their chances were at a premium at the Riverside.
Adams had his close-range effort saved by Darren Randolph, while Grounds' glancing header hit a Boro defender and rolled just wide of the far post.
Birmingham have the worst away record in the Championship and now have only one point from nine matches, while victory for Middlesbrough means they have lost only once in their past 18 home matches against the West Midlands side.
Assombalonga, who has scored five goals in his past five games, was denied a hat-trick when a linesman's flag stopped him from converting after Da Silva's shot had hit the crossbar, while he also headed Cyrus Christie's cross straight at Kuszczak.
Middlesbrough boss Garry Monk:
"Overall, it was the response we were looking for. There was lots of good play in our game, and there were lots of good chances as well.
"I thought it was a comfortable win really. We had an excellent first half with some really good play, and should probably have come even a few more goals ahead. We didn't, and then you know there will be a response and they will have a period where they throw caution to the wind.
"They did that at the start of the second half, but I thought once we got to grips with that and came through it again, we created more opportunities."
Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill:
"Goals are what we need to add to our game, that and maybe a bit of confidence and belief. But goals are the main thing. If Middlesbrough don't have Assombalonga, then I don't think they win the game.
"He was the difference. He was on to the shot for his first goal so quickly, and then he made a great run for his second goal. When he gets in there, he's composed and he scores.
"He was the difference because I think we probably created enough chances ourselves to have put Middlesbrough on the back foot, but we didn't score."
- 2da Silva
- 16HowsonBooked at 56mins
- 7LeadbitterSubstituted forForshawat 65'minutes
- 19DowningSubstituted forTraoréat 87'minutes
- 10BraithwaiteSubstituted forBamfordat 71'minutes
- 26DavisSubstituted forMaghomaat 45'minutesBooked at 81mins
- 18GallagherSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 71'minutes
- 14AdamsSubstituted forCotterillat 45'minutes
- Darren England
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Nsue.
Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Cheikh Ndoye (Birmingham City).
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adama Traoré replaces Stewart Downing.
Foul by Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough).
Jota (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Fabio (Middlesbrough).
David Cotterill (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jonny Howson.
Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Tomasz Kuszczak.
Foul by Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough).
Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jota.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Forshaw tries a through ball, but Stewart Downing is caught offside.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by David Cotterill.
Substitution, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz replaces Sam Gallagher.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Patrick Bamford replaces Martin Braithwaite.
Attempt missed. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Martin Braithwaite.
Attempt missed. Jota (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Jacques Maghoma.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adam Forshaw replaces Grant Leadbitter.
Hand ball by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough).
Attempt saved. Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Jota.
Attempt saved. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Fabio (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stewart Downing.
Attempt missed. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Jonathan Grounds.
Attempt saved. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) header from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cyrus Christie with a cross.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Fabio.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Delay in match Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Fabio.
Attempt blocked. Sam Gallagher (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by David Cotterill with a cross.
Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jonny Howson.
Attempt blocked. David Cotterill (Birmingham City) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is blocked.
Foul by Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough).
Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.