Championship
Middlesbrough2Bolton0

Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

George Saville celebrates his first-half goal against Bolton
On-loan midfielder George Saville (left) is set to join Boro for an undisclosed fee in January

Middlesbrough recovered from their first loss of the season to beat Bolton and go second in the Championship.

An emotional night saw the visitors show plenty of spirit in the first game since defender Stephen Darby revealed he has motor neurone disease.

But their resistance was broken when a defensive mix-up allowed George Saville to sidefoot the dominant hosts ahead.

Bolton improved after the break but rarely threatened and substitute Britt Assombalonga sealed victory late on.

The big striker ran through to calmly slot home his third goal of the season deep into stoppage time and finally end the visitors' hopes.

The Trotters had been outclassed in the first period despite a determined performance, a day after 29-year-old full-back Darby announced his retirement.

Darby spoke to the Bolton players at the training ground on Tuesday and manager Phil Parkinson told BBC Radio Manchester the former Bradford player was a "fighter" and "he would want us to put in a performance that reflects what he's about".

But Boro, with Martin Braithwaite and Saville particularly impressive, were by far the more dangerous throughout.

Saville's first Boro goal on his first start with his new side was their first shot on target, although they did have strong claims for penalty for a push on Jordan Hugill waved away.

Saville's 12-yard strike, after Gary O'Neil's sloppy backpass put his defence in trouble, was the first notable chance of a drab opening 34 minutes.

Boro continued to create the better openings with Saville volleying just wide and centre-back Aden Flint having three decent opportunities, the best of which saw him head wide from a corner in the final 10 minutes.

Assombalonga finally wrapped up the points in a win which ensures Boro are still yet to concede a home league goal in four matches this season.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis told BBC Radio Tees:

"In the first half we dominated the ball and got in the final third a lot.

"Little breaks didn't got for us, but we still got a great result. They are resolute. They get bodies behind the ball. There is no space to play and they work hard and are a credit to their management team.

"In the final third, there were two occasions where people have shot from unbelievable angles where there is someone to tap it in. Getting your head up and showing a little bit more composure in the final third is what makes this game easier.

"We have to look at those situations and people have to show their quality a little bit more."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 23Randolph
  • 5Shotton
  • 4Ayala
  • 24Flint
  • 3Friend
  • 16Howson
  • 8Clayton
  • 22SavilleSubstituted forBesicat 78'minutes
  • 19DowningBooked at 65minsSubstituted forMcQueenat 74'minutes
  • 11Hugill
  • 10BraithwaiteSubstituted forAssombalongaat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 6Batth
  • 9Assombalonga
  • 14McQueen
  • 17McNair
  • 20Fry
  • 37Besic

Bolton

  • 1Alnwick
  • 16Olkowski
  • 14HobbsSubstituted forWilsonat 33'minutes
  • 31WheaterBooked at 80mins
  • 5Beevers
  • 29GroundsSubstituted forWildschutat 78'minutes
  • 21WilliamsBooked at 90mins
  • 4LoweBooked at 67mins
  • 19O'Neil
  • 28MagennisBooked at 64mins
  • 6VelaSubstituted forOztumerat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Little
  • 7Oztumer
  • 8Donaldson
  • 12Noone
  • 18Wilson
  • 20Matthews
  • 30Wildschut
Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
21,345

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamBolton
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home19
Away7
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home7
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 2, Bolton Wanderers 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Bolton Wanderers 0.

Goal!

Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Bolton Wanderers 0. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Booking

Joe Williams (Bolton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Bolton Wanderers. David Wheater tries a through ball, but Yanic Wildschut is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Yanic Wildschut (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jason Lowe.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Muhamed Besic with a cross.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by David Wheater.

Attempt saved. Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Yanic Wildschut (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough).

Jason Lowe (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jonny Howson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by David Wheater.

Attempt blocked. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked. Assisted by Sam McQueen.

Attempt blocked. Sam McQueen (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonny Howson.

Booking

David Wheater (Bolton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Wheater (Bolton Wanderers).

Substitution

Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Yanic Wildschut replaces Jonathan Grounds.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Muhamed Besic replaces George Saville.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Britt Assombalonga replaces Martin Braithwaite.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Sam McQueen replaces Stewart Downing.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by David Wheater.

Corner, Bolton Wanderers. Conceded by George Saville.

Attempt blocked. Josh Magennis (Bolton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

Attempt missed. George Saville (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Attempt blocked. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jonny Howson.

Booking

Jason Lowe (Bolton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Martin Braithwaite (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jason Lowe (Bolton Wanderers).

Attempt missed. Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

Substitution

Substitution, Bolton Wanderers. Erhun Oztumer replaces Josh Vela.

Booking

Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough).

Marc Wilson (Bolton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Josh Magennis (Bolton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds85301851318
2Middlesbrough8521113817
3Brentford8431157815
4West Brom84222012814
5Bristol City84221410414
6Sheff Utd8413129313
7Aston Villa83411412213
8Wigan84131311213
9Derby8413109113
10Swansea833276112
11Nottm Forest8251109111
12Norwich83231213-111
13Sheff Wed83231213-111
14Blackburn825189-111
15Bolton8323912-311
16QPR8314714-710
17Stoke82331013-39
18Rotherham8305613-79
19Hull8215913-47
20Birmingham806257-26
21Millwall8134711-46
22Reading8125913-45
23Preston8125715-85
24Ipswich8044612-64
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