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Football: Teesside a far from happy hunting ground

Middlesbrough 3 – 1 Hull City (Tuesday, February 20)

As has so often been the case, a trip to Teesside brought no joy for the Tigers as they were beaten 3-1 by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. Not since 1986 has three points been toasted on Boro soil, and the tale continued in 2018 despite Evandro netting his first goal for the club.

Nigel Adkins made four changes to the side that beat Nottingham Forest in the last league outing. With Jarrod Bowen and Harry Wilson both missing out through injury, Evandro and Fraizer Campbell came into the starting 11, while Michael Dawson and Fikayo Tomori also came in with Max Clark dropping to the bench and Seb Larsson suspended.

Middlesbrough went close to taking an early lead when Rudy Gestede headed an Adama Traore cross against Allan McGregor’s right-hand post, while at the other end the Tigers were awarded a free-kick in a promising position when Ola Aina was fouled on the edge of the Boro box. Evandro’s set-piece was deflected over by the defensive wall.

The home side took the lead in the 16th minute. Patient football created an overlap down the Boro right and when Ryan Shotton’s cross was flicked on to the far post, Gestede was all alone to head past McGregor.

It looked as though that would be enough to see Middlesbrough to a half-time lead, with neither side offering much in attack after that opener.

However, the Tigers levelled matters four minutes before the break. Jon Toral’s clever corner picked out Evandro on the edge of the box and he swept a right-footed shot into the net. Adkins’s men then committed suicide as they handed the lead back to Middlesbrough as the half entered added time. Patrick Bamford nipped in to make the most of Ola Aina’s loose pass and found himself through on goal before lifting the ball over the advancing McGregor and into the net.

Campbell brought a save out of Darren Randolph early in the second half and Will Keane turned an effort wide from a tight angle as the visitors looked for a second equaliser, although it was Boro who almost pulled two goals clear when Muhamed Besic dribbled his way into the box before seeing a shot deflect wide.

Middlesbrough did just that in the 58th minute. Traore beat MacDonald for pace before crossing for Gestede to flick home his second of the night for 3-1.

Randolph made a good save from Evandro as the Tigers looked for a way back into the game, with a first change seeing Kamil Grosicki replace Toral.Adama Diomande was also brought on but it made little difference as Boro comfortably closed the game out.

Middlesbrough: Darren Randolph, Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala, George Friend, Grant Leadbitter, Muhamed Besic (Adam Clayton 66), Dael Fry, Stewart Downing (Martin Cranie 84), Adama Traore, Patrick Bamford (Jonny Howson 71), Rudy Gestede. Subs Not Used: Dimi Konstantopoulos, Britt Assombalonga, Jack Harrison, Lewis Baker.

Hull City: Allan McGregor, Fikayo Tomori (Adama Diomande 76), Michael Dawson, Angus MacDonald, Ola Aina, Michael Hector, Jackson Irvine, Jon Toral (Kamil Grosicki 66), Evandro, Fraizer Campbell, Will Keane. Subs Not Used: David Marshall, David Meyler, Nouha Dicko, Max Clark, Kevin Stewart.

Attendance: 23,111 (334 Visiting Supporters).

(report courtesy of www.hullcitytigers.com)