Championship
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough1PrestonPreston North End0
Albert Adomah
Albert Adomah has scored eight goals now this season for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough maintained their push for automatic promotion from the Championship with a narrow win against Preston North End.

Albert Adomah's first-half strike was enough to stretch Boro's winning league run to four games and edge them four points clear of third-placed Brighton.

David Nugent had chances to add to the lead, but Preston made life tough for the home side with dogged defence.

North End find themselves 12 points off the top six with five games to play.

Burnley's 1-0 home win against Leeds in the early kick-off ensured Aitor Karanka's outfit could not go top, with one point now separating the two sides.

Despite a formidable home record and a return to form since Spaniard Karanka missed the Charlton game to consider his future at the Riverside, Preston were able to frustrate the Teessiders in the first-half.

There was tangible anxiety around the Riverside before Adomah finally cracked the tension just after the half-hour mark with a shot from the right of the box.

Nugent and Grant Leadbitter had good chances to add to Boro's tally either side of the break but Simon Grayson's 10th-placed Preston stayed in the contest.

Visiting defender Marnick Vermijl might have added further concern had his fiercely struck effort not been directed at goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.

There was a scuffle between the two coaching teams late on, but Boro kept their lead intact to nudge closer to promotion and secure a 21st clean sheet of the season.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka:

"It is important to win at this time of the season. Now we have our game in hand but we cannot think we have the three points in our pocket already. Every point is gold.

"We don't want to be in the Championship next season. At the beginning of the season. the aim was to get in the play-offs.

"With the experience we have had from last season, with six games to go, we are there but now we have to forget the play-offs and promotion and just concentrate on the next game.

"The key was the crowd. Sometimes, when you don't feel their support, you are going down but, with them behind us, the team is confident. We are more than together."

Preston manager Simon Grayson:

"We are hugely disappointed that we haven't got a result. We had four players out from the other night.

"We didn't have a full bench but we created them problems and not many sides can say that about that when they come here.

"We really played well and, but for some misses and good saves, we could have got something out of the game.

"You could see the relief for everyone from Middlesbrough at the final whistle. We have some big games to be still involved in. We want to finish as high as we can."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 24Nsue
  • 4Ayala
  • 6Gibson
  • 3Friend
  • 34Forshaw
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 18StuaniSubstituted forDowningat 63'minutes
  • 21RamírezSubstituted forClaytonat 69'minutes
  • 27Adomah
  • 35Nugent

Substitutes

  • 5de Laet
  • 8Clayton
  • 9Rhodes
  • 16de Sart
  • 19Downing
  • 25Agazzi
  • 26Kalas

Preston

  • 1Lindegaard
  • 2Vermijl
  • 6WrightBooked at 52mins
  • 23Huntington
  • 3Cunningham
  • 4PearsonSubstituted forWelshat 62'minutes
  • 12Gallagher
  • 11Johnson
  • 37RobinsonSubstituted forBeckfordat 62'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 13Doyle
  • 14Garner

Substitutes

  • 8Kilkenny
  • 10Beckford
  • 16Browne
  • 19Welsh
  • 30Smith
  • 43Kirkland
Referee:
Oliver Langford
Attendance:
26,390

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home14
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Preston North End 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Preston North End 0.

  3. Post update

    Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).

  5. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton tries a through ball, but Albert Adomah is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    David Nugent (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Greg Cunningham (Preston North End).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Foul by Eoin Doyle (Preston North End).

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by Bailey Wright (Preston North End).

  12. Booking

    Jermaine Beckford (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

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

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jermaine Beckford (Preston North End).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross following a corner.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Paul Gallagher.

  17. Post update

    Dimitrios Konstantopoulos (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Eoin Doyle (Preston North End).

  19. Post update

    Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Forshaw tries a through ball, but David Nugent is caught offside.

  20. Post update

    Hand ball by Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough).

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