Championship
Millwall0Middlesbrough2

Millwall 0-2 Middlesbrough: Assombalonga & Fletcher boost Boro survival bid

Britt Assombalonga
Britt Assombalonga's goal was his eighth of the season for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough moved out of the Championship relegation zone after two second-half goals gave Neil Warnock's side victory at play-off hopefuls Millwall.

Ashley Fletcher raced away from the Lions defence and teed up Britt Assombalonga for a tap-in to open the scoring midway through the second period.

The hosts claimed a foul in the build-up, arguing Fletcher had tripped centre-back Jake Cooper while chasing a ball forward, but referee Tim Robinson waved play on.

Fletcher added a second from the penalty spot late on after being tripped by Cooper as the visitors secured their first win in three games.

The result lifted the Teessiders up to 18th in the table, and two points clear of the bottom three, before the rest of the midweek fixtures.

Warnock won his first game in charge of Boro at the end of last month, but the club travelled to London on the back of successive defeats against Hull City and QPR, which had seen them drop into the relegation places.

The visitors enjoyed the better of a first half of limited opportunities, as Paddy McNair had a fierce drive from outside the box tipped over by Lions keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

McNair fired off target just after the restart from Marvin Johnson's cut-back, but the hosts showed more creativity after Connor Mahoney was introduced from the bench just after the hour mark.

Breathing space for Boro

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock
Neil Warnock has now seen his new club win twice and lose twice since taking charge

Millwall striker Matt Smith saw a header brilliantly clawed away by Dejan Stojanovic on his goalline, and Mahoney then had a shot blocked by the Boro keeper.

The visitors subsequently took the lead against the run of play when Assombalonga netted after a counter-attack, and were presented with an opportunity to add a second when Fletcher was brought down after being sent one-on-one with Bialkowski from a smart through ball.

The win gives Boro breathing space over the bottom three, but fellow strugglers Hull and Stoke City face trips to Bristol City and Leeds United respectively before the weekend.

The club finishing 22nd could yet earn a reprieve from relegation should the English Football League deduct 12 points from Wigan Athletic for entering administration - although the Latics are appealing against the punishment.

Defeat left Millwall's play-off hopes in the balance as Gary Rowett saw his side's three-match unbeaten run come to an end and their winless streak at The Den stretch to seven league games.

The Lions were two points off the play-off places when the season resumed following the coronavirus pandemic last month, but only five points from as many games since the restart puts them five behind sixth-placed Cardiff City.

Millwall boss Gary Rowett (on Middlesbrough's first goal):

"What looked like a trip, what felt like a trip, was a trip. In a tight game, very physical, very direct, it always felt as though one moment would decide the game.

"I think I could have given that with my eyes closed. I've watched it about five times, it's a blatant foul.

"They've got a big one wrong, and it's cost us the game. I can only be disappointed with that. Those moments open the game up."

"We're still in the mix for the play-offs but we're running out of games. And if we play like that we won't get there anyway."

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock told BBC Tees:

"This was different from QPR the other day where they scored a magnificent goal and we were chasing shadows for long periods after that, today I don't think we ever let Millwall get a grip of the game.

"Apart from the one good save, we defended magnificently well.

"I was delighted with everyone today including every single substitute. The two strikers, I never seen them run so much, but in these circumstances, you've got to fight for every cause.

"It's delightful when a system you've only had 24 hours to work on pays off but we should've had a few more goals."

Line-ups

Millwall

  • 33Bialkowski
  • 4Hutchinson
  • 15PearceSubstituted forMahoneyat 63'minutes
  • 5CooperBooked at 86mins
  • 12RomeoSubstituted forMitchellat 83'minutes
  • 6WilliamsSubstituted forMolumbyat 63'minutes
  • 19Woods
  • 3WallaceSubstituted forFergusonat 83'minutes
  • 7Wallace
  • 8ThompsonSubstituted forBradshawat 63'minutes
  • 10Smith

Substitutes

  • 9Bradshaw
  • 11Ferguson
  • 14Steele
  • 16Molumby
  • 18Leonard
  • 21Mahoney
  • 26Skalak
  • 32Burey
  • 42Mitchell

Middlesbrough

  • 30Stojanovic
  • 29SpenceSubstituted forDijksteelat 83'minutes
  • 6Fry
  • 5Shotton
  • 3Friend
  • 21Johnson
  • 17McNairSubstituted forClaytonat 82'minutes
  • 16HowsonBooked at 90mins
  • 22SavilleBooked at 70mins
  • 11Fletcher
  • 9AssombalongaBooked at 66minsSubstituted forTavernierat 77'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Dijksteel
  • 7Tavernier
  • 8Clayton
  • 18Moukoudi
  • 19Roberts
  • 20Nmecha
  • 26Wing
  • 33Coulson
  • 42Pears
Referee:
Tim Robinson

Match Stats

Home TeamMillwallAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home10
Away7
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home11
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Millwall 0, Middlesbrough 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Millwall 0, Middlesbrough 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jake Cooper (Millwall) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jed Wallace.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Millwall. Conceded by George Saville.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Jonny Howson.

  6. Booking

    Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Billy Mitchell (Millwall).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Jake Cooper (Millwall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).

  11. Post update

    Goal! Millwall 0, Middlesbrough 2. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

  12. Booking

    Jake Cooper (Millwall) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Jake Cooper (Millwall) after a foul in the penalty area.

  14. Post update

    Penalty Middlesbrough. Ashley Fletcher draws a foul in the penalty area.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Millwall. Shane Ferguson replaces Murray Wallace.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Millwall. Billy Mitchell replaces Mahlon Romeo.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Anfernee Dijksteel replaces Djed Spence.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton replaces Patrick McNair.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Millwall. Conceded by Ryan Shotton.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Bradshaw (Millwall) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jed Wallace with a cross following a set piece situation.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom422214673403380
2Leeds41239963342978
3Brentford422291175344175
4Fulham4221101156441273
5Nottm Forest4218141054421268
6Cardiff421616106054664
7Swansea421615115549663
8Preston421710155551461
9Derby421613135655161
10Blackburn421611155955459
11Millwall421417114846259
12Bristol City421610165561-658
13Reading421411175348553
14QPR42158196067-753
15Wigan421411174653-753
16Sheff Wed421410185159-852
17Birmingham421213175267-1549
18Middlesbrough421114174253-1147
19Huddersfield421211194963-1447
20Stoke41137215461-746
21Charlton421210204757-1046
22Hull42129215774-1745
23Barnsley421012204667-2142
24Luton42118234779-3241
View full Championship table

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