Championship
Derby1Middlesbrough2

Derby County 1-2 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough's Muhamed Besic fights for possession with Andre Wisdom of Derby County
Muhamed Besic's goal was his first and came in his 69th appearance in English football

Middlesbrough need four points from their remaining two games to be completely sure of a Championship play-off place after a professional win over fellow top-six chasers Derby County.

The Rams started brightly but trailed at the break to Muhamed Besic's strike.

Tom Lawrence almost levelled before Britt Assombalonga slotted in a second after good work by Adama Traore.

David Nugent's late penalty brought hope of an equaliser, but Derby could not avoid a third successive defeat.

Boro, in fifth, are now four points ahead of the Rams, who do have a game in hand but remain out of form and low on confidence despite showing some encouraging signs at Pride Park.

Demoralising defeats against the bottom two Burton Albion and Sunderland had already put an end to any lingering hopes of gaining automatic promotion.

Captain Curtis Davies has questioned the commitment of his team-mates while manager Gary Rowett has said they "owed the fans a performance to be proud of".

The early signs were good in a high-tempo and open start where Bradley Johnson was narrowly off target with a stooping header.

Derby County goalkeeper Scott Carson
Derby keeper Scott Carson has only kept three clean sheets in 13 matches

But Boro also looked sharp and went ahead when Besic powered the ball past Scott Carson after some impressive persistence and a fine pull-back by Traore.

Derby maintained a threat, mainly through the excellent Lawrence, the Wales winger sending one effort just wide and teeing up a chance for Nugent who was off target with a strike when he had better options in the box.

But Traore laid on another goal, this time a simple close-range finish for Assombalonga's 14th goal of the season.

And Boro held on for victory despite Nugent slotting in from the spot after Daniel Ayala brought down Curtis Davies.

Derby manager Gary Rowett:

"Against a Tony Pulis side, once you allow that first goal to come in, then it's difficult because you allow them to counter-attack and especially with a player like Adama Traore.

"I can't fault the players' desire and effort today. They were trying as hard as they could to make something happen.

"I feel like a broken record for the last 10 weeks but we're in the same position we were in before the game.

"We've got to step up and perform and while today was better, it wasn't quite enough ultimately."

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis:

"It was a smashing performance. We created some wonderful chances, and we've got to hit the target and make sure the goalkeeper makes saves.

"We have to be a little more clinical but I thought we played really well today. I can't give the players any more praise because Derby gave us a proper game.

"We've got a tough game against Millwall next week so we've got to dust ourselves down and make sure we take the good stuff out of this game. It's tough game after tough game - but that's what this league is."

Line-ups

Derby

  • 1Carson
  • 6Keogh
  • 33Davies
  • 3Forsyth
  • 14Wisdom
  • 44HuddlestoneBooked at 36minsSubstituted forHansonat 71'minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 15Johnson
  • 29OlssonSubstituted forWeimannat 63'minutes
  • 10Lawrence
  • 23VydraSubstituted forPalmerat 63'minutes
  • 28NugentBooked at 16mins

Substitutes

  • 7Palmer
  • 16Pearce
  • 19Weimann
  • 21Roos
  • 26Hanson
  • 32Jerome
  • 36Ledley

Middlesbrough

  • 25Randolph
  • 5Shotton
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 16Howson
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 1mins
  • 27BesicSubstituted forLeadbitterat 81'minutes
  • 37TraoréBooked at 32mins
  • 9Assombalonga
  • 19DowningSubstituted forda Silvaat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 2da Silva
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 14Cranie
  • 20Fry
  • 21Johnson
  • 23Harrison
Referee:
Lee Probert
Attendance:
28,096

Match Stats

Home TeamDerbyAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home16
Away14
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home12
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Derby County 1, Middlesbrough 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Derby County 1, Middlesbrough 2.

Foul by Andre Wisdom (Derby County).

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Derby County 1, Middlesbrough 2. David Nugent (Derby County) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty Derby County. Curtis Davies draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) after a foul in the penalty area.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by George Friend.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Fabio replaces Stewart Downing.

Booking

Jamie Hanson (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jamie Hanson (Derby County).

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Britt Assombalonga.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Britt Assombalonga.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

Attempt saved. Tom Lawrence (Derby County) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Andre Wisdom.

Attempt saved. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Stewart Downing.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Grant Leadbitter replaces Muhamed Besic.

Attempt missed. Curtis Davies (Derby County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jamie Hanson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Stewart Downing.

Attempt blocked. Andreas Weimann (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Craig Forsyth.

Attempt saved. David Nugent (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kasey Palmer.

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by George Friend.

Kasey Palmer (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Derby County. Jamie Hanson replaces Tom Huddlestone.

Goal!

Goal! Derby County 0, Middlesbrough 2. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adama Traoré.

Attempt blocked. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from long range on the left is blocked. Assisted by George Friend.

Foul by Tom Lawrence (Derby County).

Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonny Howson.

Attempt saved. Kasey Palmer (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tom Lawrence.

Substitution

Substitution, Derby County. Kasey Palmer replaces Matej Vydra.

Substitution

Substitution, Derby County. Andreas Weimann replaces Marcus Olsson.

Attempt missed. Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Adama Traoré.

Attempt saved. Marcus Olsson (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolves44308682364698
2Cardiff43268966363086
3Fulham442413776423485
4Aston Villa4424101071403182
5Middlesbrough442191463432072
6Millwall4418151155431269
7Derby4318141162451768
8Brentford4418141261491268
9Preston441716115445967
10Bristol City4417151265551066
11Sheff Utd44199165952766
12Leeds44169195662-657
13Norwich441415154654-857
14Ipswich44168205158-756
15Sheff Wed441314175459-553
16QPR441411195567-1253
17Nottm Forest43147224662-1649
18Hull441115186967248
19Reading441013214866-1843
20Birmingham44127253464-3043
21Bolton44913223670-3440
22Barnsley43814214565-2038
23Burton44911243579-4438
24Sunderland44616224878-3034
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