Report: Middlesbrough 2 - 0 Hull City
Hull City`s abysmal run at Middlesbrough continued as a 2-0 loss was City`s thirteenth in fifteen visits to Tuesday night`s North East rivals.
Steve Bruce, a former Sunderland manager looking to win against an old foe, made three changes to the team that overcame Ipswich on Saturday. Nick Proschwitz and Aaron Mclean were brought in following their match winning antics in the previous two fixtures while James Chester returned in defence, Abdoulaye Faye not in the eighteen man squad.
Bruce was later forced to admit that changing his attack did not work, with City offering very little in the first half. Had it not been for Ben Amos, Middlesbrough could have earned the three points by half-time. His shot stopping combined with some last ditch defending saw City keep their opponents at bay for the first twenty minutes. Leadbitter, Middlesbrough`s summer recruit from Ipswich was the home side`s main threat, twice going close from distance as Amos spilled bouncing efforts, twice making up for it with fine blocks.
City`s only threat came from a Mclean shot dragged wide early on and two half opportunities for Quinn and Proschwit as a bouncing ball evaded the Middlesbrough net amongst some hectic defensive works.
City improved in the second half, forcing the early pressure but without much forward instinct. Middlesbrough`s opener duly arrived, though it came courtesy of a City corner. As Andy Dawson failed to bring their on-rushing played down on the edge of the Middlesbrough box, Friend broke as the referee played advantage. The left-back was allowed to run to thirty yards from goal unchallenged, playing in Haroun who rounded Amos to score.
A second soon followed with Friend again involved, moving past Rosenior to square across goal. As Amos spilled a close range shot for the third time, Miller tapped in from close range to ensure the points for the home side. Bruce made changes introducing Aluko, Simpson and Quinn and pushing players forward, leaving gaps for Middlesbrough to expose.
Wasteful finishing kept the score at two while with ten minutes remaining, Corry Evans, newly introduced, found space in the area at hit the inside of the post, Mclean shinning wide with an open goal as he stretched to bring City back into that game. With that miss also went City`s realistic chances of earning what would have been an undeserved night.
Fortunately, a night of draws limited City`s fall down the table, keeping them in contention with the top six ahead of Saturday`s visit to Bristol City.