Boro win to keep hopes alive

Middlesbrough could still gatecrash the Sky Bet Championship play-off places after nine men claimed a 3-1 victory over Birmingham at the Riverside Stadium.

Last Updated: 08/04/14 at 22:26 Post Comment

Danny Graham: Opened the scoring for Middlesbrough

Danny Graham: Opened the scoring for Middlesbrough

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

It will be a tall order for Boro to catch sixth-placed Reading - eight points away following their defeat at Bournemouth - but the Teessiders are hitting form at the right time.

Their third straight league victory was ultimately decided by Jacob Butterfield's long-range screamer following a regulation finish from Danny Graham.

Birmingham's young star Emyr Huws - on loan from Manchester City - scored the goal of the evening, however, his sublime rocket from distance setting up a nervous second-half battle.

The tension boiled over in the last 10 minutes and Kenneth Omeruo and Ben Gibson were both sent off, but Boro made sure of the points with substitute Lee Tomlin's first goal for the club.

Lee Clark's Blues, meanwhile, are only four points clear of the relegation zone following the loss.

There were plenty of hints dropped that something special would happen in the first half.

Early on, Darren Randolph tipped Nathaniel Chalobah's lofted effort over the bar.

The on-loan Chelsea midfielder soon tricked Huws into conceding a free-kick, from which he headed narrowly wide.

The moment that immediately preceded the goal rush evoked gasps from around the Riverside as Omeruo got his head to the ball to clear Chris Burke's goalbound shot.

In the 29th minute Graham broke the deadlock with the most conservative goal of a breathtaking six-minute spell.

Jonathan Woodgate - on as an early sub for the injured George Friend - headed a corner ball into the six-yard box where Boro academy product Graham controlled and finished with ease.

Only 85 seconds later, Butterfield controlled Jozsef Varga's throw-in to scream the ball past Randolph from fully 20 yards.

The Boro faithful made sure to convey their gratitude to the former Norwich man, and then stayed on their feet to applaud the goal that most definitely upstaged his effort.

As Birmingham probed for a rare opening in the Boro backline, Huws simply looked up and arched a dipping thunderbolt under the bar from 35 yards.

Andrew Shinnie could even have equalised before the break, but his header from Conor Reilly's cross bobbled across goal and wide.

The stricken Lee Novak was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Nikola Zigic in first-half stoppage time to sympathetic applause.

Seven minutes into the second half Graham should have made it 3-1 when clipping a shot off the vulnerable Randolph and onto the bar.

Just past the hour mark the menacing Sunderland loanee burst through the Blues defence to test Randolph with a low shot, with Paul Robinson impressively clearing the rebounding ball.

The draw remained one accurate kick away, though, and sub Jordon Ibe came close to levelling with a low drive to the far post after cutting inside.

Emmanuel Ledesma has won games for Boro with his individual skill and invention and nearly rubber-stamped the result from the bench with a searing strike down Randolph's throat.

Omeruo walked after grappling with Ibe - his second bookable offence on the night - and Gibson followed him down the tunnel on the same basis after fouling Zigic moments later.

Birmingham attacked their depleted hosts with fervour, but it was Tomlin who had the last laugh.

He gambled with a bouncing ball over the top before smashing past Randolph to end the contest.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Saturday, 18 October 2014
15:00
Birm'ham 0-1 Bolton Report
B'mouth 1-0 Charlton Report
Brighton 1-2 M'boro  
Fulham 1-0 Norwich Report
Huddsf'ld 4-2 Blackpool Report
Ipswich 1-1 Blackburn Report
Millwall 3-3 Wolves Report
Reading 0-3 Derby  
Sheff Wed 0-3 Watford Report
Wigan 0-0 Brentford Report

Sky Bet Championship

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Watford 12 11 24
2 Derby 12 12 23
3 M'boro 12 9 23
4 Norwich 12 10 21
5 N Forest 12 9 21
6 Ipswich 12 6 20
7 Wolves 12 3 20
8 Charlton 12 3 19
9 B'mouth 12 3 18
10 Brentford 12 -1 18
11 Sheff Wed 12 0 17
12 Cardiff 12 0 16
13 Blackburn 12 -2 16
14 Leeds 12 -3 15
15 Rotherham 12 -3 15
16 Reading 12 -5 15
17 Huddsf'ld 12 -6 15
18 Millwall 12 -3 13
19 Wigan 12 -2 11
20 Brighton 12 -3 11
21 Birm'ham 12 -7 11
22 Fulham 12 -9 10
23 Bolton 12 -12 8
24 Blackpool 12 -10 6

Updated Mon, 20 Oct 2014

Footer 365

Podolski mocks Spurs link

Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski says "hell would freeze over" before he would consider a shock move to north London rivals Tottenham.

Lee Clark sacked as Birmingham City manager

Birmingham have sacked manager Lee Clark and assistant boss Steve Watson.

Champions League: UEFA drops charges against Arsenal

Arsenal will face no UEFA action following an incident during their Champions League game against Galatasaray.

Mail Box

Reimbursing Fans? How Patronising...

It's something of a return to form for the mailbox with mails on Southampton (Liverpool fans are cynical), the gorgeous Graziano Pelle, Arsenal, Spurs and more...

Let's Face It, Liverpool Were Utter Dross

It's a reactive Monday morning Mailbox. Liverpool fans are getting pretty sodding worried, whilst we have the latest on the Southampton CRISIS. Plus, well done Michael Oliver...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property