Championship
Preston0Middlesbrough2

Preston North End 0-2 Middlesbrough: Rudy Gestede scores first goal since February 2018

Rudy Gestede
Rudy Gestede has played in all four of Middlesbrough's victories over the festive period

Rudy Gestede's first goal in almost two years helped Middlesbrough to a victory at Preston that secured a fourth straight Championship win.

The striker, blighted by injury over the past two seasons, hooked the ball in acrobatically late in the first half after the hosts failed to clear a free-kick.

Gestede had more chances to add to his tally either side of a defensive mix-up that saw Ben Davies poke the ball into his own net to make it 2-0.

A below-par Preston created little with Ben Pearson's volley their best effort as they slumped to a second home defeat in three days.

Middlesbrough appeared to be in a relegation fight before Christmas, but wins against Stoke, Huddersfield, West Brom and now the victory at Deepdale has moved them 10 points clear of trouble.

Gestede's last goal came against Hull in February 2018, although he has only played 18 games since.

His finish was one of pure instinct as Dael Fry kept a bobbling ball alive in the box and the 31-year-old guided it home clinically from eight yards.

Boro continued to look the more likely to score in the second half and they eventually made their dominance count when Davies prodded past Declan Rudd under pressure from Ashley Fletcher.

North End have now only won two of their past 10 matches but are just a point outside the play-offs in a congested table.

Preston North End boss Alex Neil:

"Our home form has been built on being aggressive and getting the first goal and, in the last two games when that hasn't happened, we've struggled.

"We're not carrying the threat in terms of getting the number of goals we would like. We had possession, but to be honest, possession doesn't really matter.

"I'm trying to commit more bodies forward and be more offensive, but when they've got that first goal, they're happy to sit back and not commit too many men forward. We're naturally disappointed."

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate:

"I thought the performance they put in was outstanding.

"It comes down to team spirit. Even when we were losing games, we had that team spirit, whether people believe me or not.

On Gestede: "I told Rudy Gestede he was playing two days before the West Brom game (on Sunday). I said that's your game so go and get yourself set, you are going to play that game. I thought he was unplayable at times," he added.

"It was the right decision to bring Rudy in. You have to look after players and, when other players do come in, they show a real will to work for the shirt and the team."

Line-ups

Preston

  • 1Rudd
  • 2Fisher
  • 21BauerSubstituted forHuntingtonat 45'minutes
  • 6Davies
  • 16Hughes
  • 4Pearson
  • 12Gallagher
  • 29Barkhuizen
  • 8BrowneSubstituted forStockleyat 58'minutes
  • 24Maguire
  • 35NugentSubstituted forHarropat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Harrop
  • 18Ledson
  • 20Stockley
  • 23Huntington
  • 25Ripley
  • 39Bodin
  • 44Potts

Middlesbrough

  • 42Pears
  • 16Howson
  • 4AyalaSubstituted forMcNairat 34'minutes
  • 6Fry
  • 29SpenceSubstituted forCoulsonat 70'minutes
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 64mins
  • 22Saville
  • 21JohnsonBooked at 66mins
  • 7TavernierSubstituted forWingat 90+2'minutes
  • 14Gestede
  • 11Fletcher

Substitutes

  • 1Mejias
  • 17McNair
  • 25Wood
  • 26Wing
  • 33Coulson
  • 35O'Neill
  • 36Walker
Referee:
John Brooks
Attendance:
13,824

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home11
Away18
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home4
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 0, Middlesbrough 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Middlesbrough 2.

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Lewis Wing replaces Marcus Tavernier.

Offside, Middlesbrough. Aynsley Pears tries a through ball, but Rudy Gestede is caught offside.

Offside, Preston North End. Paul Gallagher tries a through ball, but Josh Harrop is caught offside.

Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough).

Hand ball by Jayden Stockley (Preston North End).

Attempt saved. Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Davies.

Attempt missed. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a set piece situation.

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough).

Offside, Preston North End. Ben Davies tries a through ball, but Sean Maguire is caught offside.

Darnell Fisher (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough).

Attempt saved. Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marvin Johnson with a cross.

Offside, Middlesbrough. Rudy Gestede tries a through ball, but George Saville is caught offside.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Declan Rudd.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Paul Huntington.

Attempt blocked. Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Hayden Coulson.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Hayden Coulson replaces Djed Spence.

Attempt missed. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marvin Johnson with a cross.

Attempt missed. Josh Harrop (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Aynsley Pears.

Attempt saved. Ben Pearson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Dael Fry.

Booking

Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marvin Johnson (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marvin Johnson with a headed pass following a fast break.

Attempt blocked. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcus Tavernier.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Josh Harrop replaces David Nugent.

Booking

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

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 0, Middlesbrough 2. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds26157443212252
2West Brom261410248282052
3Brentford26134941202143
4Nottm Forest2512763425943
5Fulham26126840301042
6Millwall26101063432240
7Sheff Wed26116937261139
8Hull2611694034639
9Preston2611693632439
10Swansea2510873130138
11Bristol City2610883940-138
12Cardiff2691073840-237
13Blackburn26106103434036
14Reading25105103328535
15QPR26105114448-435
16Middlesbrough268992632-633
17Derby257992433-930
18Birmingham2685133143-1229
19Charlton2577113436-228
20Huddersfield2677123042-1228
21Stoke2673163342-924
22Wigan2658132439-1523
23Barnsley2549123247-1521
24Luton2663173256-2421
View full Championship table

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