Birmingham lie only four points above the Championship relegation zone after defeat at nine-man Middlesbrough.

Danny Graham slotted home for the hosts before Jacob Butterfield doubled the lead from distance.

Emyr Huws's dipping shot from 35 yards got one back for Blues, before Boro pair Kenneth Omeruo and Ben Gibson were both sent off for second bookings.

But Lee Tomlin smashed home his first goal for Boro to seal the points.

A third successive win leaves the Teessiders eight points off the play-off places but, with only five games remaining, a top-six finish looks unlikely.

The deadlock was broken just before the half-hour mark when Grant Leadbitter's corner from the right was nodded down to Graham, who converted from inside the six-yard box

Less than two minutes later, a long-range strike from Butterfield flew past Birmingham goalkeeper Darren Randolph to double Boro's advantage.

The Blues refused to lie down, though, and, after Manchester City loanee Huws had halved the deficit with a thunderbolt, Shinnie came close to equalising before the break from Callum Reilly's cross.

Randolph twice denied Graham after the restart as Aitor Karanka's side threatened to put the match to bed while, at the other end, Ibe - who came on as a second-half substitute for Shinnie - fired off target with a low drive.

Omeruo and Gibson were both shown second yellows for fouling Ibe and Nikola Zigic respectively.

But, despite Birmingham's two-man advantage, Tomlin capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Tom Thorpe and Paul Robinson to smash the ball into the back of the net.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka: "I don't want to speak about the play-offs because the moment we speak about the play-offs, we will lose our next game.

"I prefer to think about the next game at Burnley as being one against a team near the top of the table and we have to go there to win the game.

"We have won the last three games and for this I am very happy."

Birmingham manager Lee Clark: "Our decision-making in the second half was astounding.

"It's starting to scare us, to be honest, in terms of the young players coming through.

"They need the mentality of how to win games. I think they'd rather do a trick or a flick rather than put the ball in the net."

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (6)

Middlesbrough

  • 13 Konstantopoulos
  • 08 Varga
  • 03 Friend (Woodgate - 20' )
  • 07 Leadbitter
  • 25 Omeruo Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 22 Gibson Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 27 Adomah
  • 24 Chalobah
  • 09 Graham
  • 06 Butterfield (Tomlin - 77' Booked )
  • 14 Williams (Ledesma - 67' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Steele
  • 10 Tomlin
  • 11 Ledesma
  • 23 Main
  • 36 Atkinson
  • 37 Kitching
  • 39 Woodgate

Birmingham City

  • 01 Randolph
  • 23 Spector (Adeyemi - 83' )
  • 17 Reilly Booked
  • 31 Caddis
  • 05 Thorpe
  • 04 Robinson Booked
  • 07 Burke
  • 36 Huws
  • 09 Macheda
  • 22 Shinnie (Ibe - 66' )
  • 12 Novak (Zigic - 50' )

Substitutes

  • 08 Ibe
  • 13 Doyle
  • 14 Packwood
  • 19 Zigic
  • 20 Lee
  • 24 Adeyemi
  • 27 Ferguson
Ref: Carl Boyeson
Att: 13,399

Match Stats

Shots

24 19

On target

11 5

Corners

8 7

Fouls

17 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Middlesbrough 3, Birmingham City 1.

90:00 +5:27 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 3, Birmingham City 1.

90:00 +4:51

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Chris Burke with a cross.

90:00 +3:46

Foul by Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough).

90:00 +3:46

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:23

Attempt saved. Jordon Ibe (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

90:00 +2:14

Attempt missed. Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Chris Burke following a corner.

90:00 +1:50

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Grant Leadbitter.

90:00 +1:46

Attempt blocked. Jordon Ibe (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emyr Huws.

90:00 +0:34

Foul by Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough).

90:00 +0:34

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:21

Attempt blocked. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

89:00 Booking

Booking Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

88:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 3, Birmingham City 1. Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

85:45 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) for a bad foul.

85:41

Foul by Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough).

85:41

Chris Burke (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

84:48

Attempt saved. Jordon Ibe (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

82:49

Offside, Birmingham City. Paul Robinson tries a through ball, but Jordon Ibe is caught offside.

82:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Tom Adeyemi replaces Jonathan Spector.

81:33

Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:33

Foul by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City).

79:55 Booking

Booking Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

79:41 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough) for a bad foul.

79:35

Foul by Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough).

79:35

Federico Macheda (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

79:02

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

78:55

Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) hits the left post with a left footed shot from the centre of the box.

78:52

Attempt blocked. Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.

76:30

Foul by Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough).

76:30

Federico Macheda (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:20 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Lee Tomlin replaces Jacob Butterfield.

73:08

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma with a cross.

72:44

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

72:41

Attempt saved. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

72:37

Attempt blocked. Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma.

71:08

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Tom Thorpe.

71:07

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.

70:36

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

70:34

Attempt saved. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Danny Graham.

69:48

Attempt missed. Jordon Ibe (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Nikola Zigic.

69:18

Hand ball by Chris Burke (Birmingham City).

66:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma replaces Luke Williams.

65:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Jordon Ibe replaces Andrew Shinnie.

65:02

Attempt missed. Luke Williams (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter following a set piece situation.

64:51

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

64:07

Delay in match Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.

63:32 Booking

Booking Paul Robinson (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

63:13

Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

63:13

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

61:57

Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield.

60:46

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Ben Gibson.

59:10

Attempt saved. Luke Williams (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield.

58:41

Attempt blocked. Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

58:00

Offside, Middlesbrough. Jacob Butterfield tries a through ball, but Grant Leadbitter is caught offside.

57:00

Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:00

Foul by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City).

56:35

Attempt missed. Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Danny Graham with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

55:46 Booking

Booking Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

55:40

Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:40

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

54:43

Attempt missed. Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.

54:25

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Emyr Huws.

54:20

Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

53:42

Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:42

Foul by Federico Macheda (Birmingham City).

53:09

Foul by Luke Williams (Middlesbrough).

53:09

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

52:18

Foul by Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough).

52:18

Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:54

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

51:38

Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Albert Adomah with a through ball.

51:20

Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:20

Foul by Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City).

48:56

Foul by Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough).

48:56

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

48:07

Offside, Middlesbrough. Dimitrios Konstantopoulos tries a through ball, but Danny Graham is caught offside.

45:47

Attempt missed. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Nikola Zigic with a headed pass.

45:00

Second Half begins Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 1.

45:00 +5:51 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 1.

45:00 +4:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Nikola Zigic replaces Lee Novak.

45:00 +4:15

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

45:00 +1:46

Delay in match Lee Novak (Birmingham City) because of an injury.

45:00 +0:08

Attempt missed. Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) header from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Callum Reilly with a cross.

44:17 Booking

Booking Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

43:59

Foul by Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough).

43:59

Tom Thorpe (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:38

Foul by Danny Graham (Middlesbrough).

41:38

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:48

Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

40:48

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

39:15

Foul by Luke Williams (Middlesbrough).

39:15

Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:34

Attempt missed. Tom Thorpe (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Andrew Shinnie with a cross following a corner.

37:09

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by József Varga.

35:47 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 1. Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner following a corner.

35:12

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.

33:43

Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the bottom left corner.

31:38

Foul by Danny Graham (Middlesbrough).

31:38

Tom Thorpe (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:24

Foul by Danny Graham (Middlesbrough).

30:24

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:12 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Birmingham City 0. Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by József Varga.

27:29 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0. Danny Graham (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonathan Woodgate following a corner.

27:27

Attempt missed. Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.

27:09

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

25:21

Attempt missed. Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Chris Burke with a through ball.

24:55

Foul by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough).

24:55

Emyr Huws (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

23:39

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.

23:36

Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrew Shinnie.

21:28

Attempt missed. Lee Novak (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emyr Huws with a cross.

21:24

Attempt blocked. Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

20:48

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.

19:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jonathan Woodgate replaces George Friend because of an injury.

17:46

Attempt blocked. Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Federico Macheda.

16:52

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough).

16:52

Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15:54

Attempt missed. Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield with a cross following a set piece situation.

15:48

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

15:01

Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

15:01

Foul by Emyr Huws (Birmingham City).

12:19

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

11:17

Delay in match George Friend (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.

10:58

Attempt missed. Tom Thorpe (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Andrew Shinnie with a cross following a corner.

10:16

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.

10:15

Attempt blocked. Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum Reilly.

9:13

Foul by Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough).

9:13

Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:10

Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:10

Foul by Andrew Shinnie (Birmingham City).

6:20

Attempt saved. Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Callum Reilly.

5:41

Attempt blocked. Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.

5:13

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

5:11

Attempt saved. Nathaniel Chalobah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield.

1:47

Offside, Birmingham City. Paul Caddis tries a through ball, but Lee Novak is caught offside.

0:35

Foul by George Friend (Middlesbrough).

0:35

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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