Boro top of Championship after injury-time winner against West Brom


Daniel Ayala

Daniel Ayala marked his first league start of the season with a late winner at the Riverside

Daniel Ayala scored a stoppage-time winner as unbeaten Middlesbrough went top of the Championship and ended West Bromwich Albion’s recent resurgence.

Boro dominated the match from start to finish but had to wait until the 91st minute before Spanish centre-half Ayala eventually found a way through from close range.

Middlesbrough had squandered numerous opportunities prior to that, with Martin Braithwaite most guilty when he blazed high and wide from inside the six-yard box.

Ryan Shotton headed over and Stewart Downing’s fierce strike forced Sam Johnstone into a smart save – but boss Tony Pulis was not to be denied a victory against his former employers.

Boro have now won four in a row after drawing their opening league game, responding superbly to the disappointment of losing in the play-off semi-finals in 2017-18.

They were rarely troubled by Darren Moore’s side, who looked a long way short of reproducing the attacking flair displayed in their 4-3 win at Norwich and last week’s 7-1 hammering of Queens Park Rangers.

The closest they came to scoring was when Aden Flint smashed an awkward attempted clearance against the underside of his own crossbar.

Despite enjoying 62% of the possession, the Baggies were at their most dangerous on the break – with Dwight Gayle wasting a two-on-one situation early in the second half.

West Brom, relegated from the Premier League last season, remain in seventh after two wins from their first five Championship matches.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis told BBC Tees:

“West Brom have a lot of quality players and I still think any team that finishes above them will get promoted.

“This league is really, really tough and every game you play you have to be at your maximum.

“We’ve turned up again tonight, realised it was going to be tough, worked hard and got the break at the end – which we deserved.”

West Bromwich Albion head coach Darren Moore told BBC WM 95.6:

“It’s a sickener to lose it in the final few minutes of the game. We just lost the flight of the ball in the air – I think if we contest it we come away with a clean sheet.

“You’ve got to give Middlesbrough credit, they changed their shape to combat us. They went with a defensive display and they’ll probably feel they got it right in terms of nullifying us.

“It’s a disappointing one to take because I thought during the 90 minutes we played the game right.”

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, West Bromwich Albion 0.

Attempt missed. Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt following a set piece situation.

Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough).

Goal! Middlesbrough 1, West Bromwich Albion 0. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Muhamed Besic following a set piece situation.

Foul by Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion).

Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough).

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Paddy McNair replaces Martin Braithwaite.

Attempt missed. Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is too high following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Aden Flint.

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Dwight Gayle.

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough).

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill replaces Britt Assombalonga.

Attempt blocked. Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Dael Fry.

Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Muhamed Besic replaces Stewart Downing.

Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough).

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Kyle Bartley.

Attempt missed. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by George Friend.

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Harvey Barnes.

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Craig Dawson replaces Tosin Adarabioyo.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Ryan Shotton.

Attempt blocked. Harvey Barnes (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Phillips.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

Attempt saved. Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Chris Brunt.

Harvey Barnes (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ryan Shotton (Middlesbrough).

Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Dwight Gayle (West Bromwich Albion).

Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/45217173

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