Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • September 19, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/b5880

Bolton contributed to their own downfall, with two individual mistakes proving costly as they were beaten 2-0 at Middlesbrough.

On an evening of very little goalmouth action at the Riverside Stadium, it was Boro who took all three points as goals in each half from George Saville and substitute Britt Assombalonga handed the hosts a routine victory on Teesside.

Having tasted defeat at the hands of Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson made three changes to the team by bringing Jack Hobbs, Josh Vela and Josh Magennis into the side in place of Craig Noone, Christian Doidge and the injured Sammy Ameobi.

The visitors had clearly set up their stall to defend, with rare ventures forward and set-pieces in opposition territory providing them with their biggest chance of scoring.

The reality couldn't have been further from that in the opening 45 minutes, however, as the Trotters failed to register a single attempt, win a single corner and mustered just 31% of the possession.

Jonathan Downing was Boro's key man in the early moments, with Boro identifying Jonathan Grounds as the defensive frailty, but it wasn't until the 20th minute that the game's first talking point arrived.

In that moment, Jordan Hugill went down inside the box under a challenge from Mark Beevers. Referee David Coote ignored Hugill's claims for a penalty, with television replays appearing to show no contact between the two players.

Jonny Howson was the first to strike at goal, with his effort from 25 yards flying inches over the crossbar, while Ryan Shotton found the supporters behind the goal with a similar effort of his own moments later.

Bolton were forced into a change on 32 minutes as Marc Wilson came on for Hobbs, who had suffered a wound to the head, and they were behind just two minutes later as Boro capitalised on a horrendous defensive lapse.

Turning away from his own goal, former Boro midfielder Gary O'Neil turned back into trouble and attempted to play the ball back to goalkeeper Ben Alnwick. It pass was intercepted, though, leaving Saville unmarked to fire home and break the deadlock.

Downing fired wide shortly afterwards as the hosts looked to double their advantage, before Martin Braithwaite shot over the top with the final effort of the half.

There were no changes to either side as the players took to the field for the start of the second period, with Boro seemingly content with their 1-0 lead.

They created the first shooting chance after the restart, with Saville volleying just wide after a cross from Howson could only be cleared to the edge of the box.

Bolton's first attempt on goal landed on 52 minutes, with Grounds shooting narrowly over the top after latching on to a low cross from Pawel Olkowski.

Olkowski was involved again as the clock ticked towards the hour, with his cross picking out Magennis - but the forward's acrobatic attempt failed to hit the target.

This would prove to be Wanderers' best spell of the game and they should have been level moments later, only for Vela to shoot straight at Darren Randolph as he was picked out with a cross from Grounds.

Middlesbrough were denied a second goal on 62 minutes, with Aden Flint harshly thwarted by an offside flag after a cross from Friend struck Magennis on its way to hitting a post.

Flint and Saville both failed to test Alnwick, before Magennis was picked out by Grounds at the other end before seeing a shot charged down by Saville.

Assombalonga, fresh from the substitutes' bench, would have made an instant impact but for the intervention of David Wheater with eight minutes to play, moments before Hugill shot straight into the arms of Alnwick when he had Assombalonga unmarked in a central position.

Yanic Wildschut, himself on as a substitute, failed to seriously threaten Randolph in the closing stages but the scoring wasn't to be over - as Assombalonga pounced on a mistake from Wilson in the final minute of added time, running clean through on goal and slotting past a helpless Alnwick to make it 2-0.

Defeat for Bolton, their first on the road in league competition this season, sees them drop to 15th in the Championship table ahead of Saturday's trip to bottom-placed Ipswich Town.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Flint, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Saville (Besic 78), Downing (McQueen 74), Hugill, Braithwaite (Assombalonga 76)
Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Batth, McNair, Fry
Booked: Downing
Goals: Saville 34, Assombalonga 90+5

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Grounds (Wildschut 79), Hobbs (Wilson 33), Beevers, Wheater, Olkowski, Lowe, O'Neil, J Williams, Vela (Oztumer 65), Magennis
Subs Not Used: Matthews, Little, Donaldson, Noone
Booked: Magennis, Lowe, Wheater, J Williams

Referee: David Coote
Attendance: 21,345

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Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Rotherham United 22 22
21 Reading 22 19
22 Millwall 22 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 22 18
24 Ipswich Town 22 14
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2017/18 Player of the Year?
53.85% Ben Alnwick
13.11% Sammy Ameobi
10.49% Karl Henry
8.39% Antonee Robinson
4.98% David Wheater
3.41% Mark Beevers
2.1% Mark Little
1.84% Josh Vela
1.57% Darren Pratley
0.26% Reece Burke