Championship
Preston2Middlesbrough3

Preston North End 2-3 Middlesbrough

Daniel Ayala celebrates his first goal against Preston at Deepdale
Boro's Spanish centre-back Daniel Ayala netted his first two goals of the season

Tony Pulis secured his first win as Middlesbrough manager as they ended Preston's nine-match unbeaten run.

Daniel Ayala's header put Boro ahead, but Preston levelled immediately through Callum Robinson.

Jordan Hugill's header made it 2-1 to the Lilywhites before the break and Tom Barkhuizen then hit the bar.

The visitors equalised through Jonny Howson's curling effort and Ayala crowned the comeback when he nodded in his second goal at the back post.

Welshman Pulis had seen his new side suffer a 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa in his first game in charge on Saturday, and the former West Brom and Stoke boss had goalkeeper Darren Randolph to thank for keeping Boro in the game.

The Republic of Ireland international saved well from Hugill and Robinson in the first period, while the visitors were relieved to see Barkhuizen's header clip the bar on the brink of half-time.

The Teessiders leapfrog Preston in the table and move up to eighth, two points off the play-off places.

Alex Neil's Lilywhites, meanwhile, suffered their fist defeat since losing to Ipswich on 4 November and are now winless in 12 league encounters with Middlesbrough stretching back to 1972.

Preston boss Alex Neil:

"I don't even think a draw would have been a fair result, I thought we deserved to win. I have a mixture of emotions because it's so difficult to be disappointed with my players.

"The simple fact is, at this level, the difference can be clearing your lines and taking your chances when they come along.

"The biggest frustration is the kind of goals that we've lost. We didn't really do well enough at certain times in the game."

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis:

"I was pleased to come in 2-1 down at half-time. I thought Preston were really very good first half, and we sat off them and allowed them to play.

"We showed a lot of character second half which was very encouraging.

"I don't know the players that well so it will take me a while to know what I have got and what I haven't got.

"I will be doing my best to get this club back into the Premier League as soon as possible."

Line-ups

Preston

  • 22Maxwell
  • 5Clarke
  • 23Huntington
  • 20Davies
  • 15Woods
  • 11JohnsonBooked at 63minsSubstituted forGallagherat 78'minutes
  • 4Pearson
  • 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forHorganat 78'minutes
  • 10HarropBooked at 67mins
  • 37Robinson
  • 9Hugill

Substitutes

  • 1Rudd
  • 3Cunningham
  • 7Horgan
  • 8Browne
  • 12Gallagher
  • 19Welsh
  • 25O'Connor

Middlesbrough

  • 25RandolphBooked at 90mins
  • 22ChristieBooked at 56minsSubstituted forShottonat 59'minutes
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3FriendBooked at 72mins
  • 16Howson
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 17GuédiouraSubstituted forBamfordat 50'minutes
  • 19Downing
  • 9AssombalongaSubstituted forGestedeat 50'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 37Traoré

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 5Shotton
  • 11Bamford
  • 18Fletcher
  • 21Johnson
  • 30Baker
  • 39Gestede
Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
15,101

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home20
Away7
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Preston North End 2, Middlesbrough 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Preston North End 2, Middlesbrough 3.

Ben Davies (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough).

Booking

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.

Tom Clarke (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Daryl Horgan (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

Attempt missed. Ben Pearson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Callum Robinson.

Attempt missed. Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Paul Gallagher replaces Daniel Johnson.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Daryl Horgan replaces Tom Barkhuizen.

Attempt missed. Calum Woods (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Josh Harrop.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Hugill (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum Robinson with a cross.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 2, Middlesbrough 3. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ben Gibson following a corner.

Attempt missed. Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Ben Pearson.

Booking

George Friend (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ben Pearson (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by George Friend (Middlesbrough).

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Calum Woods.

Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jonny Howson following a fast break.

Booking

Josh Harrop (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Josh Harrop (Preston North End).

Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Preston North End 2, Middlesbrough 2. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.

Foul by Calum Woods (Preston North End).

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Josh Harrop.

Booking

Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).

Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Ryan Shotton replaces Cyrus Christie.

Foul by Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End).

Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Josh Harrop (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Booking

Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Callum Robinson (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolves25184347202758
2Derby26147541231849
3Cardiff26145736251147
4Bristol City2613854031947
5Aston Villa26128638241444
6Leeds2613493728943
7Sheff Utd26133104031942
8Middlesbrough2612593526941
9Preston26101063026440
10Brentford2591063932737
11Ipswich25113113835336
12Fulham259973533236
13Norwich2697102631-534
14Nottm Forest26102143342-932
15Millwall2679102829-130
16Sheff Wed2679103034-430
17QPR2679102836-830
18Reading2577113033-328
19Barnsley2668122737-1026
20Bolton2667132543-1825
21Hull2659123944-524
22Burton2666142043-2324
23Sunderland26410122943-1422
24Birmingham2555151335-2220
View full Championship table

Top Stories