Championship
Middlesbrough1Stoke0

Middlesbrough 1-0 Stoke City: Boro back in Championship play-off places

Sam Clucas of Stoke City and Paddy McNair of Middlesbrough
Victory over Stoke secured a third consecutive league win for Middlesbrough

Britt Assombalonga's early goal sent Middlesbrough back into the Championship play-off places as they saw off boss Tony Pulis' former club Stoke.

The DR Congo striker scored his 12th league goal of the season from close range after just two minutes at the Riverside to send Boro up to sixth, at the expense of Bristol City who earlier drew with Reading.

In a game of few efforts on goal, Benik Afobe and Sam Vokes went close for the visitors, sending headers wide.

But despite bossing possession, Nathan Jones' Potters were unable to find an equaliser as Pulis triumphed against the club he managed for 10 years over two spells.

The Teesiders' third straight Championship win puts them a point clear of Bristol City in seventh and three ahead of eighth-placed Derby - although both still have a game in hand.

Victory for Boro was also a first league win over Stoke in four attempts, since a 2-1 win in the 2008-09 season.

In truth, Stoke were probably good value for a point and restricted the hosts to few chances after Assombalonga's strike, but when Peter Etebo fired over late on, their hopes of forcing an equaliser disappeared.

The Potters remain 16th in the table, but have now won just three of their 17 league games under ex-Luton boss Jones, who took over from the sacked Gary Rowett in January.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis:

"I'm pleased with the win. We've played much better than that and lost games at this place.

"We've not been as fluent today. To have five players missing from the backline that we started with at the beginning of the season, it takes a lot of courage and determination from the players to go out there and play the way they played.

"They're having to do jobs they are not used to. Like I say, I think we've played better in other games than we have but we just haven't taken our opportunities and chances.

"It's all about results as a manager, if you don't get results you don't hang around long."

Stoke City manager Nathan Jones told BBC Radio Stoke:

"We've had enough chances to win the game, we were the better side. But that [defeat] is why we're in the position we are.

"It's hard to be positive because we've lost the game. If we had just added a little bit of quality we'd have won comfortably.

"14 chances, we've hit the target once. We need to bring a ruthless streak into the club."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 23Randolph
  • 17McNair
  • 24Flint
  • 5Shotton
  • 16Howson
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 81mins
  • 2Mikel
  • 37BesicSubstituted forDowningat 55'minutes
  • 22Saville
  • 18FletcherSubstituted forTavernierat 73'minutes
  • 9AssombalongaSubstituted forHugillat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 11Hugill
  • 19Downing
  • 25Wood-Gordon
  • 28Tavernier
  • 39Gestede
  • 42Spence

Stoke

  • 32Federici
  • 30Edwards
  • 37Collins
  • 14BatthBooked at 82mins
  • 5Williams
  • 11McCleanSubstituted forDioufat 85'minutes
  • 8Etebo
  • 4Allen
  • 22Clucas
  • 10Vokes
  • 9AfobeSubstituted forVerlindenat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Bauer
  • 16Adam
  • 18Diouf
  • 27Bojan
  • 29Haugaard
  • 31Verlinden
  • 44Jarvis
Referee:
Darren Bond
Attendance:
22,890

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home36%
Away64%
Shots
Home7
Away14
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home2
Away10
Fouls
Home12
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.

Foul by Danny Batth (Stoke City).

Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thomas Edwards following a corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Paddy McNair.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Thomas Edwards.

Attempt missed. Peter Etebo (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thibaud Verlinden following a set piece situation.

Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by George Saville.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces James McClean.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill replaces Britt Assombalonga.

Booking

Danny Batth (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for dangerous play.

Dangerous play by Danny Batth (Stoke City).

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt blocked. James McClean (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Danny Batth (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Clucas with a cross.

Booking

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jonny Howson.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.

Foul by Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Marcus Tavernier replaces Ashley Fletcher.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Paddy McNair.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Thibaud Verlinden replaces Benik Afobe.

Nathan Collins (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Attempt saved. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Stewart Downing.

Attempt missed. George Saville (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adam Clayton with a cross.

Foul by Sam Clucas (Stoke City).

Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Danny Batth (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Sam Clucas with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Jonny Howson.

Peter Etebo (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Stewart Downing replaces Muhamed Besic.

Attempt missed. Sam Clucas (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Peter Etebo.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich432512687533487
2Sheff Utd432410971393282
3Leeds432571170442682
4West Brom4322101184582676
5Aston Villa431915979582172
6Middlesbrough431813124536967
7Bristol City421812125647966
8Derby421713126152964
9Preston431612156459560
10Hull43179176362160
11Sheff Wed431515135457-360
12Swansea42178175957259
13Nottm Forest431415145654257
14Blackburn431511175965-656
15Brentford431413166759855
16Stoke431119134148-752
17QPR43139215167-1648
18Birmingham431317136056447
19Reading431015184864-1645
20Wigan431112204763-1645
21Millwall421013194760-1343
22Rotherham43816194976-2740
23Bolton4388272974-4532
24Ipswich43416233372-3928
View full Championship table

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