Middlesbrough eased to a convincing win against play-off hopefuls Reading.

Albert Adomah drilled in an early opener for Boro and Grant Leadbitter added a second before the break.

The Royals' job became harder when defender Kaspars Gorkss was sent off early in the second half after receiving a second yellow card.

Leadbitter scored his second from the penalty spot in the final 10 minutes when Reading centre-back Alex Pearce fouled Emmanuel Ledesma in the box.

The result was the third Championship loss in a row for the Royals during a disappointing Christmas period, following previous defeats by Leicester and Wigan. Those results have seen them drop to ninth, a point adrift of the play-off positions.

Home comforts

Middlesbrough have lost just one of their last 11 matches at the Riverside. Only Brighton have triumphed there since the opening day of the season.

Conversely, Middlesbrough have excelled in the festive season, winning games against Burnley and Millwall to stretch away from the relegation zone.

Boro's superior form showed from the start, with Adomah firing in after receiving a Lukas Jutkiewicz nod down in the 12th minute. A second followed before the interval as Leadbitter hammered home from 25 yards.

The Royals' fightback at the start of the second period was dealt a serious blow as Gorkss fouled Ledesma to collect a second booking.

Initially undaunted by the setback, Garath McCleary and Billy Sharp went close before the hosts regained control of the match.

After Adomah shot narrowly over, Boro sealed another triumph for head coach Aitor Karanka when Leadbitter slotted home from 12 yards after Ledesma was felled.

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka:

"I am not getting carried away yet. It is important for a team to win two or three games in a row. It gives you momentum and moves you up the table.

"But if anyone thinks that gives us anything they are wrong. We have won nothing yet.

"I still want more from my team, from individuals and from the group, there is still room to improve. It shows that we are capable of winning games and playing well, now we have to work harder to do that every game."

Reading manager Nigel Adkins:

"We have not been anywhere near good enough today, we can't hide from that fact. We started brightly but Middlesbrough countered well to score the first and I'm a bit disappointed with some of the decisions from the referee.

"Kaspars Gorkss has been sent off and I'm not sure the first was a booking and for the second he didn't even touch the player. Was there a foul in the build-up to the second? Maybe. And the penalty seemed a bit harsh too.

"But no excuses, we weren't good enough to be where we want to be and that is pushing for the Premier League. We know we need to strengthen in January and we have had injuries but that performance was nowhere near good enough - and it's my responsibility to deal with it."

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (5)

Middlesbrough

  • 12 Given
  • 08 Varga
  • 03 Friend
  • 18 Whitehead Booked
  • 26 Ayala
  • 22 Gibson
  • 11 Ledesma (Butterfield - 88' )
  • 07 Leadbitter Booked
  • 09 Jutkiewicz (Main - 63' )
  • 10 Emnes Booked (Carayol - 81' )
  • 27 Adomah

Substitutes

  • 04 Williams
  • 06 Butterfield
  • 13 Konstantopoulos
  • 15 Hines
  • 19 Carayol
  • 23 Main
  • 33 Smallwood

Reading

  • 21 McCarthy
  • 02 Gunter
  • 24 Cummings
  • 23 Williams
  • 05 Pearce Booked
  • 17 Gorkss Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 12 McCleary (Kelly - 78' )
  • 20 Guthrie
  • 07 Pogrebnyak
  • 14 Sharp (Blackman - 70' )
  • 11 McAnuff Booked

Substitutes

  • 01 Federici
  • 03 Kelly
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 16 Akpan
  • 19 Robson-Kanu
  • 22 Blackman
  • 25 Taylor
Ref: Paul Tierney
Att: 16,001

Match Stats

Shots

21 4

On target

9 2

Corners

3 6

Fouls

14 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Middlesbrough 3, Reading 0.

90:00 +3:59 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 3, Reading 0.

90:00 +1:51

Offside, Reading. Daniel Williams tries a through ball, but Pavel Pogrebnyak is caught offside.

90:00 +1:35

Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter.

89:59 Booking

Booking Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

89:54

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:54

Foul by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough).

89:20

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Alex McCarthy.

89:12

Attempt saved. Curtis Main (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield.

88:17

Offside, Middlesbrough. Grant Leadbitter tries a through ball, but Curtis Main is caught offside.

87:27 Booking

Booking Jobi McAnuff (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

87:24

Foul by Jobi McAnuff (Reading).

87:24

Mustapha Carayol (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

87:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jacob Butterfield replaces Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

86:13

Corner, Reading. Conceded by József Varga.

84:08

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Shay Given.

83:58

Attempt saved. Daniel Williams (Reading) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Pavel Pogrebnyak.

83:45

Attempt blocked. Nick Blackman (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pavel Pogrebnyak.

83:02

Chris Gunter (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:02

Foul by Curtis Main (Middlesbrough).

81:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 3, Reading 0. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

80:42 Booking

Booking Alex Pearce (Reading) is shown the yellow card.

80:32

Penalty conceded by Alex Pearce (Reading) after a foul in the penalty area.

80:32

Penalty Middlesbrough. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma draws a foul in the penalty area.

80:04 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Mustapha Carayol replaces Marvin Emnes because of an injury.

79:08

Foul by Alex Pearce (Reading).

79:08

Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Stephen Kelly replaces Garath McCleary.

77:25

Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

75:07

Foul by Alex Pearce (Reading).

75:07

Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:33 Booking

Booking Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

74:22

Danny Guthrie (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

74:22

Foul by Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough).

73:45 Booking

Booking Dean Whitehead (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

73:35

Jobi McAnuff (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

73:35

Foul by Dean Whitehead (Middlesbrough).

72:33

Foul by Alex Pearce (Reading).

72:33

Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

71:33

Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

71:33

Foul by Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough).

69:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Reading. Nick Blackman replaces Billy Sharp.

69:19

Attempt missed. Curtis Main (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Albert Adomah.

69:18

Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marvin Emnes with a cross.

68:13

Attempt blocked. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is blocked. Assisted by József Varga.

66:39

Hand ball by Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading).

65:16

Foul by Chris Gunter (Reading).

65:16

Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Curtis Main replaces Lukas Jutkiewicz.

61:50

Daniel Williams (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:50

Foul by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough).

59:57

Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a set piece situation.

59:17

Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).

59:17

Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

58:38

Hand ball by Garath McCleary (Reading).

57:32

Attempt missed. Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Albert Adomah.

51:59 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Kaspars Gorkss (Reading) for a bad foul.

51:55

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

51:55

Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:40

Foul by Billy Sharp (Reading).

50:40

George Friend (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:17

Alex Pearce (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

50:17

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough).

49:58

Attempt blocked. Garath McCleary (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.

47:00

Billy Sharp (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

47:00

Foul by Dean Whitehead (Middlesbrough).

45:00

Second Half begins Middlesbrough 2, Reading 0.

45:00 +2:07 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Reading 0.

45:00 +1:56

Shaun Cummings (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00 +1:56

Foul by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough).

45:00 +0:28

Attempt missed. Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Albert Adomah.

44:45

Kaspars Gorkss (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

44:45

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough).

42:00

Billy Sharp (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

42:00

Foul by Dean Whitehead (Middlesbrough).

39:05

Hand ball by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough).

35:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Reading 0. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

34:13

Attempt missed. Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading) header from a difficult angle on the left misses to the left. Assisted by Garath McCleary with a cross.

32:26 Booking

Booking Kaspars Gorkss (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

32:04

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

32:04

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

30:17

Attempt saved. Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz with a headed pass.

29:47

Attempt saved. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

29:41

Attempt saved. Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

25:42

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

25:02

Corner, Reading. Conceded by George Friend.

24:15

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Daniel Ayala.

23:37

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Ben Gibson.

22:19

Attempt saved. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter.

20:46

Attempt missed. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter following a set piece situation.

19:52

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

19:52

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:12

Attempt saved. Jobi McAnuff (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.

17:37

Attempt missed. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

17:31

Attempt saved. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

16:35

Foul by Kaspars Gorkss (Reading).

16:35

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

14:01

Billy Sharp (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:01

Foul by József Varga (Middlesbrough).

13:50

Attempt blocked. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marvin Emnes with a cross.

13:17

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Shaun Cummings.

11:58 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 1, Reading 0. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz with a headed pass following a fast break.

11:14

Jobi McAnuff (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:14

Foul by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough).

4:21

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Kaspars Gorkss.

4:18

Attempt blocked. Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Albert Adomah.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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