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Match Reports

Report: Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

26 December 2017

Wanderers slipped to a Boxing Day defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Following a goalless first half, the deadlock was broken by the hosts within four minutes of the restart as Martin Braithwaite's effort deflected off David Wheater and over Ben Alnwick.

And their advantage was doubled in the 68th minute as Britt Assombalonga fired home from an angle - a scoreline which remained as such come full time.

TEAM NEWS

Craig Noone, who came off the bench to help Wanderers pick up three points against former club Cardiff City at the weekend, was rewarded with a role in the starting XI with Will Buckley swapping places on the bench.

It was just the one change for Phil Parkinson’s men who were looking to build on their victory against the Welshmen. 

FIRST HALF

The opening exchanges passed without any incident for either team who were each looking to settle into their rhythm.

Cyrus Christie could have put his side ahead in the tenth minute though when he was permitted to run into a dangerous area by the Wanderers defence. His left-footed curler went narrowly wide to give the visitors a reprieve.

Andrew Taylor, playing against his hometown club, received the game’s first caution after a late challenge on Britt Assombalonga, who required treatment.

Gary Madine registered the visitors’ first effort at goal when his looped header from a Karl Henry free-kick went just over Darren Randolph’s cross bar.

The Wanderers frontman was at the forefront of everything his side had to show in the final third of the field.

Assombalonga tried to deceive Ben Alnwick with a back-heeled flick after Patrick Bamford got behind the Wanderers defence, but the big striker didn’t get enough power to trouble the ‘keeper.

However, the visitors were beginning to cause problems for Boro. particularly at set plays. Vela was unlucky to see his goalbound shot take a deflection off Fabio after Sammy Ameobi had stolen possession on the right flank.

Johnny Howson was booked after grabbing hold of Ameobi who threatened to break away with the ball after being gifted possession.

Martin Braithwaite had a great chance to break the deadlock after getting in behind the Wanderers defence but his effort flashed across the face of goal before going out for a goalkick.

Wanderers lost the services of Taylor after 36 minutes through an injury. Antonee Robinson came on for the defender.

Moments later, Alnwick made a stunning save with his feet to keep out Bamford who had been put through and was one-on-one with the Wanderers shot stopper. 

SECOND HALF

An ambitious 30-yard strike from Ameobi greeted the second-half but the ball was never in danger of troubling Randolph.

But the opening goal came via the hosts after 49 minutes when Braithwaite’s strike took an inadvertent deflection off David Wheater to beat Alnwick and put Boro in the driving seat.

Buckley came on for Noone after 62 minutes as Parkinson made his second change of the game.

Assombalonga grabbed Boro’s second with a tidy finish after powering in from the right flank with just over twenty minutes of the match remaining.

The second goal had given Boro a swagger that wasn’t seen during the first half and Wanderers simply struggled to cause them any problems.

Wanderers’ final substitution of the afternoon came in the guise of Aaron Wilbraham who replaced Madine with 15 minutes of the game remaining.

But Wanderers were unable to salvage anything from the game and will close out 2017 with a trip to Bramall Lane on Saturday against Sheffield United.


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