Derby County 0-1 Middlesbrough

Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford has scored four goals in his last four appearances

Patrick Bamford's 16th goal of the season earned Middlesbrough victory against promotion rivals Derby County.

The on-loan Chelsea forward scored for the third time in two games to stretch the Rams' winless run to five matches.

Bamford rounded goalkeeper Lee Grant to open the scoring against his old club from a narrow angle in the 64th minute.

Middlesbrough rise to second place after a fourth victory in six games, and are five points ahead of Steve McClaren's fifth-place Derby side.

Bamford, a Nottingham Forest supporter, spent time on loan at Derby last season.

The England Under-21s international looks more of a threat after being pushed into a central attacking role, and he sealed a deserved victory after finding the net from a Lee Tomlin pass.

Derby's form has deserted them at a crucial point in the season.

They again missed their injured 19-goal top scorer Chris Martin as they suffered a defeat that leaves them with two wins from 10 games.

It brings added pressure as they prepare to visit play-off-chasing Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday.

Middlesbrough, who travel to third-placed Bournemouth on Saturday, could have won more comfortably.

Striker Jelle Vossen's first-half lob struck the inside of a post, and they had a late penalty claim turned down when Bamford went down under a challenge from defender Richard Keogh.

They held out for a vital win that leaves them behind leaders Watford on goal difference.

Derby manager Steve McClaren:

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McClaren on Derby v Middlesbrough

"That is the sort of quality that Patrick Bamford is capable of producing and that was what made the difference.

"I was proud of the character my players showed but at the moment, with our injury problems, we can't produce the one special moment that settles games like this.

"We'll have our injured players back after the international break that is coming up and I have no doubt that we will come back strong.

"Nothing is settled by any means. There are eight games to go and believe me, there will be many a twist and turn to come in this division."

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka:

"Nobody can be surprised by Patrick's goal. He has taken the main responsibility for scoring and he has the confidence to make the most of his chances.

"This was a very important win and I was very pleased with the spirit we produced for such a big test. Derby are one of the best sides but we gave them very few chances and came away with a big win.

"Now we face more tough games against Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich so we must continue to show the same character."

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Watford382261078453372
2Middlesbrough38219859273272
3Bournemouth382010879403970
4Norwich381910973423167
5Derby381910969412867
6Brentford382051362501265
7Ipswich3818101058431564
8Wolves381711105445962
9Nottm Forest371412115951854
10Blackburn381412125149254
11Charlton381215114548-351
12Sheff Wed381214123338-550
13Cardiff381212144650-448
14Leeds37139153946-748
15Birmingham371114124353-1047
16Bolton38128184556-1144
17Huddersfield381111164865-1744
18Reading37128174058-1844
19Brighton38915144246-442
20Fulham37117194865-1740
21Rotherham37913153855-1740
22Wigan38810203451-1734
23Millwall38711203162-3132
24Blackpool38410242977-4822
View full Championship table

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