Middlesbrough 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • November 30, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/32b7c

Bolton's eight-match unbeaten run came to an end at the Riverside Stadium, as Wanderers were beaten 1-0 by Middlesbrough.

Grant Leadbitter's 82nd minute penalty was the difference between the two sides. He sent Andy Lonergan the wrong way from the spot, after Tim Ream had brought down Marvin Emnes inside the Wanderers box.

Jermaine Beckford had the chance to earn a point for the visitors, when they were awarded a penalty of their own in the closing stages, but he fired high over the top of the Boro crossbar as the Trotters tasted defeat for the first time since mid-September.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman opted to name the same team that won 1-0 at Watford last weekend, with new loan signing Joe Mason taking the place of former Boro defender David Wheater on the bench.

The hosts started the game brightly, with Albert Adomah pouncing on a slip from Ream, but Alex Baptiste timed a tackle to perfection to deny an early ball into the box.

The first real chance arrived with nine minutes played, as Mustapha Carayol crossed for Kei Kamara - who headed wide of Lonergan's near post.

Kamara, the fellow countryman and namesake of Wanderers midfielder Medo, tried again moments later, but his 25-yard strike flashed wide of goal.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Middlesbrough were almost gifted a goal as Lonergan failed to deal with a seemingly simple ball into the box from Kamara. The Trotters goalkeeper looked set to make an easy claim, but his weak punch fell straight to the feet of George Friend. The Boro full-back failed to make the most of the opportunity though, as he sliced a shot well wide of the target.

Shay Given, who joined Boro on loan from Aston Villa on Thursday, was called into action for the first time with 20 minutes played, as he did well to keep out a bending free-kick from Jay Spearing.

After letting a late challenge by Richard Smallwood on Lee Chung-Yong go unpunished, referee Mark Brown decided to put Grant Leadbitter into the book on 25 minutes for a lunge on Spearing.

Chung-Yong did well to deny Rhys Williams a free header on goal shortly before the half-hour, while former Wanderers loanee Jacob Butterfield saw a long-range shot charged down by a Trotters defender.

Bolton failed to make their pressure count, after being presented with three corners in quick succession, before Ben Gibson headed just over the crossbar after he and Leadbitter hit the visitors on the counter attack.

A head injury to Kevin McNaughton required a change of shirt for the on-loan Cardiff City defender, which led to three minutes of stoppage time being added. There were no further moments of note in the latter stages of the opening period, as the two sides went in goalless at the break.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second half, and the first chance after the restart fell the way of the visitors. A blind back-pass from Butterfield almost put Beckford clean through on goal, but Given raced off his line to clear the danger and spare the blushes of the former Wanderers man.

After missing out on that chance, Beckford came close to breaking the deadlock on 52 minutes. Neat play involving Spearing and Darren Pratley ended with the ball falling kindly to the Bolton forward, whose side-foot shot rolled agonisingly across the face of the Boro goal.

Beckford was in again just after the hour mark, as he latched on to a long ball from McNaughton. The former Leeds United forward opted to take the chance first time, on the volley, but just couldn't keep the ball low enough to find the net.

Curtis Main came on as a 63rd minute substitute for the hosts and he almost made an instant impact, as his long-range shot flashed inches wide of goal - with Lonergan routed to the centre of his goal, a beaten man.

With 20 minutes to go, Freedman introduced Andre Moritz in the place of Pratley as he looked to inject some fresh attacking intent into an otherwise defensive performance.

Just like Main, for Boro, Moritz also made his presence felt immediately, but his tame shot at goal was easily gathered by Given.

A head injury to Matt Mills required lengthly treatment with 15 minutes to go, but he regained his composure to get back on to the field and made a superb sliding challenge to deny Emnes a clear sight of goal.

Then, with eight minutes to go, Boro were awarded a penalty as Emnes turned away from Ream and was brought down inside the Wanderers box. Leadbitter stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and found the net with ease, sending Lonergan the wrong way in the process.

A double substitution brought Mason and David Ngog on for Chung-Yong and Medo Kamara, as the visitors went all out attack for the closing stages. With two minutes to go, it looked like that approach was going to work as Moritz went down inside the Middlesbrough box and referee Mark Brown pointed to the penalty spot.

Beckford, who had scored four goals in his last five games, stepped up to take the penalty but lashed his effort high over the top of the crossbar and into the stands.

Five minutes of added time passed by without incident, meaning Bolton were left to rue that missed opportunity as they suffered defeat in Aitor Karanka's first home game in charge of Boro.

The loss is the Trotters' first since they were beaten at Brighton & Hove Albion in September. Freedman's side will look to bounce back when they play host to Huddersfield Town at the Reebok Stadium on Tuesday night.

Middlesbrough: Given, Williams, Woodgate, Gibson, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter, Butterfield (Emnes 67), Smallwood (Whitehead 84), Carayol (Main 63), Kamara
Subs Not Used: Richardson, Ledesma, Konstantopoulos, Ayala
Booked: Leadbitter, Gibson
Goals: Leadbitter 82(pen)

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, McNaughton, Mills, Ream, Baptiste, Chung-Yong (Ngog 83), Kamara (Mason 83), Pratley (Moritz 70), Spearing, Danns, Beckford
Subs Not Used: Eagles, Hall, Knight, Lee-Barrett
Booked: Beckford

Referee: Mark Brown
Attendance: 23,679

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