Championship
Middlesbrough1Charlton0

Middlesbrough 1-0 Charlton Athletic: George Saville's early goal enough to beat Addicks

George Saville celebrates scoring the opening goal
George Saville's goal was the Northern Ireland midfielder's first for Middlesbrough in eight months

A first-minute goal was enough for Middlesbrough to put a four-point gap between themselves and the Championship relegation places as they beat Charlton at the Riverside.

Boro needed just 52 seconds to score as George Saville pounced after Britt Assombalonga's shot had taken a deflection and Ashley Fletcher kept the ball alive.

The Addicks, who have won just twice in 14 games since mid-September, created no chances of note in a performance that will worry boss Lee Bowyer.

And Middlesbrough could have increased their lead as Marcus Tavernier, Hayden Coulson and Assombalonga all missed good opportunities to score.

The only positive for Charlton, who stay in 17th place, was that five-goal striker Lyle Taylor returned after more than three months out with injury as a half-time substitute.

Middlesbrough put their 4-0 hammering at high-flying Leeds behind them as they dominated the opening period, with teenage full-back Djed Spence impressing on his debut.

Saville almost doubled the lead after eight minutes, and Coulson came close to scoring after a defensive blunder.

It was more of the same after the break as Tavernier volleyed over from four yards after an hour and Dillon Phillips saved well as Fletcher went close late on for Boro, who moved up to 19th place.

Conor Gallagher had Charlton's best effort with 20 minutes to go, but having turned his man well and run into the penalty area, he curled an effort wide.

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate:

"Djed (Spence) came in and did an absolutely fantastic job. I thought he was exceptional, and it's his place to lose now because of that performance.

"I just said, 'Get the ball Djed, and run'. It's not rocket science. It's quite simple messages you give these young kids, you don't have to complicate the game for them.

"I thought it could have been three or four nil. We dominated throughout, creating chances, and in the second half I thought we looked very dangerous on transition.

"When they had a bit of play, we soaked it up. It was a very pleasing result."

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer:

"It wasn't good enough. From the first whistle, they were better than us. There's not many times I've watched a game and we've been that poor.

"It's not like our side. Our side is normally fighting and competing, but they just looked nervous in possession, I've never seen them like that before.

"I'll just have to put it down to one of those bad experiences, I guess. We didn't win a second ball all day, we didn't stop crosses and we defended poorly for the goal.

"Conceding in the first minute? That can't happen. But I've been in charge for 18 months and this is really the first time I've had to question them like I have."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 42Pears
  • 16Howson
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Fry
  • 29Spence
  • 22Saville
  • 8Clayton
  • 7Tavernier
  • 33Coulson
  • 9AssombalongaSubstituted forWalkerat 64'minutes
  • 11FletcherBooked at 88mins

Substitutes

  • 1Mejias
  • 25Wood
  • 27Bola
  • 34Malley
  • 35O'Neill
  • 36Walker
  • 37Liddle

Charlton

  • 1Phillips
  • 2Matthews
  • 4Oshilaja
  • 6Pearce
  • 3PurringtonSubstituted forMorganat 45'minutes
  • 11GallagherBooked at 54mins
  • 15PratleyBooked at 59mins
  • 16LedleySubstituted forTaylorat 45'minutes
  • 14LekoBooked at 67mins
  • 17Bonne
  • 45Doughty

Substitutes

  • 9Taylor
  • 19Morgan
  • 20Solly
  • 23Sarr
  • 30Maynard-Brewer
  • 44Davison
  • 46Vennings
Referee:
Steve Martin
Attendance:
18,681

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamCharlton
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home23
Away5
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home15
Away20

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Charlton Athletic 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Charlton Athletic 0.

Hand ball by Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough).

Foul by Adam Matthews (Charlton Athletic).

George Saville (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Albie Morgan (Charlton Athletic).

Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Charlton Athletic. Conceded by Djed Spence.

Corner, Charlton Athletic. Conceded by Aynsley Pears.

Attempt saved. Albie Morgan (Charlton Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by George Saville (Middlesbrough).

Booking

Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Albie Morgan (Charlton Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).

Attempt saved. Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alfie Doughty.

Attempt blocked. Stephen Walker (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by George Saville.

Attempt missed. Stephen Walker (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by George Saville.

Corner, Charlton Athletic. Conceded by George Saville.

Attempt blocked. Lyle Taylor (Charlton Athletic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Albie Morgan.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Dillon Phillips.

Attempt saved. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by George Saville.

Attempt missed. Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Lyle Taylor (Charlton Athletic).

Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. George Saville (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Hayden Coulson with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Adam Matthews.

Foul by Jonathan Leko (Charlton Athletic).

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Darren Pratley (Charlton Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).

Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by George Saville (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Alfie Doughty.

Attempt missed. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Marcus Tavernier with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Jonathan Leko (Charlton Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Jonathan Leko (Charlton Athletic).

Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds20134330102043
2West Brom19126136191742
3Fulham20105532211135
4Bristol City209833328535
5Nottm Forest1996426161033
6Sheff Wed209562819932
7Preston209473125631
8Cardiff208753027331
9Brentford2093830161430
10Swansea198652420430
11Blackburn209382727030
12Hull208573227529
13Birmingham208482226-428
14QPR208483037-728
15Millwall206952527-227
16Derby206772026-625
17Charlton206592627-123
18Reading1963102426-221
19Middlesbrough204881727-1020
20Luton2062122741-1420
21Huddersfield2046102233-1118
22Wigan2044121833-1516
23Stoke2042142135-1414
24Barnsley2026122341-1812
View full Championship table

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