Championship
Middlesbrough2Birmingham0

Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham City

Britt Assombalonga
Britt Assombalonga has scored five headed goals this season - the most in the Championship

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."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 25Randolph
  • 22Christie
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 2da Silva
  • 16HowsonBooked at 56mins
  • 7LeadbitterSubstituted forForshawat 65'minutes
  • 19DowningSubstituted forTraoréat 87'minutes
  • 10BraithwaiteSubstituted forBamfordat 71'minutes
  • 21Johnson
  • 9Assombalonga

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 3Friend
  • 11Bamford
  • 18Fletcher
  • 20Fry
  • 34Forshaw
  • 37Traoré

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 2Nsue
  • 4Roberts
  • 12Dean
  • 3Grounds
  • 26DavisSubstituted forMaghomaat 45'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 27Jota
  • 17Ndoye
  • 18GallagherSubstituted forJutkiewiczat 71'minutes
  • 14AdamsSubstituted forCotterillat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Jutkiewicz
  • 13Stockdale
  • 19Maghoma
  • 20Boga
  • 23Cotterill
  • 25Dacres-Cogley
  • 28Morrison
Referee:
Darren England
Attendance:
22,848

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home16
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away2
Corners
Home9
Away5
Fouls
Home7
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0.

Full Time

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

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.

Booking

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

Substitution, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz replaces Sam Gallagher.

Substitution

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

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.

Booking

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.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolves18132335161941
2Cardiff18114325131237
3Sheff Utd18120631201136
4Aston Villa189542617932
5Bristol City188732718931
6Middlesbrough188552415929
7Derby178542620629
8Nottm Forest189092627-127
9Ipswich178273026426
10Leeds188282724326
11Sheff Wed186752321225
12Preston186752120125
13Brentford185852624223
14Fulham185852424023
15Norwich186571622-623
16QPR185672026-621
17Barnsley175572323020
18Millwall184771919019
19Reading175482023-319
20Hull184683032-218
21Birmingham184311927-1815
22Burton1835101235-2314
23Bolton182791531-1613
24Sunderland181892335-1211
View full Championship table

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