Championship
Middlesbrough1Birmingham0

Championship: Middlesbrough beat Birmingham City 1-0 in comfortable victory

Britt Assombalonga
Britt Assombalonga opened his account for the season with a first-half effort

Promotion favourites Middlesbrough continued their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable win against Birmingham City, who had Craig Gardner sent off late on.

Britt Assombalonga's first-half curler, bent beyond Connal Trueman from a pass by Jonny Howson, was the Teessiders' only goal, despite numerous chances to add to the tally.

Assombalonga could have followed that up by claiming a hat-trick - but struck the post and was unable to convert Ryan Shotton's dangerous throw - while winger Stuart Downing also hit the woodwork from a free-kick.

Chances were difficult to come by for the visitors, former Blues keeper Darren Randolph denying Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz before Gardner's dismissal for a late lunge on Howson ended their hopes of a fightback.

Defeat made for a difficult return to Teesside for former Boro boss Garry Monk, who lost his opening game in charge of Birmingham against his old employers and saw his side struggle to impose themselves at the Riverside.

Transfer window arrivals Omar Bogle and Connor Mahoney were given their debuts off the bench, although their late cameos were unable to turn the game around.

The past week has been a mixed one for Monk's Middlesbrough counterpart Tony Pulis, with the departure of Adama Traore and Ben Gibson offset by the loan arrival of striker Jordan Hugill from West Ham United.

With that added competition in the ranks it was the perfect time for former Nottingham Forest striker Assombalonga to remind his manager of his talents, scoring his first goal of the season before making way late on for Ashley Fletcher.

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis told BBC Tees:

"They've been fantastic, the lads today, when you think it's the third game in a week, and conditions on the three games were very warm and very humid.

"And let's be fair: we should have won the game by five or six goals. It's an absolute travesty that the game has finished 1-0.

"The lads certainly deserved it. Some of the football that we played to create the opportunities and chances was absolutely first-class, and you have to put them away when you're creating them."

Birmingham City boss Garry Monk said:

"This is a league that demands you be on your game from the start, especially away from home against one of the better teams. In the first half, we were not.

"We caused our own problems. It was 1-0 and they could have maybe scored another.

"We were much better in the second half, without being at our best, but it is very early days. We have new players and we will get better. The fighting spirit is there but we made it too easy for them in the first half."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 23Randolph
  • 20Fry
  • 24Flint
  • 3Friend
  • 8Clayton
  • 5Shotton
  • 26WingSubstituted forTavernierat 77'minutes
  • 16Howson
  • 19Downing
  • 10BraithwaiteSubstituted forMcNairat 89'minutes
  • 9AssombalongaSubstituted forFletcherat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 7Leadbitter
  • 17McNair
  • 18Fletcher
  • 21Johnson
  • 27Chapman
  • 28Tavernier

Birmingham

  • 27Trueman
  • 5Colin
  • 28Morrison
  • 12Dean
  • 3Pedersen
  • 23JotaSubstituted forSolomon-Otaborat 76'minutes
  • 17N'DoyeBooked at 25mins
  • 8GardnerBooked at 83mins
  • 19MaghomaSubstituted forMahoneyat 76'minutes
  • 9AdamsSubstituted forBogleat 70'minutes
  • 10Jutkiewicz

Substitutes

  • 4Roberts
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 7Mahoney
  • 14Bogle
  • 22Solomon-Otabor
  • 40Camp
  • 45Harding
Referee:
Andy Madley
Attendance:
23,748

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home10
Away11
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away9
Fouls
Home9
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0.

Foul by Paddy McNair (Middlesbrough).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Paddy McNair replaces Martin Braithwaite.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) because of an injury.

Dismissal

Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) is shown the red card.

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

Foul by Craig Gardner (Birmingham City).

Attempt blocked. Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Connor Mahoney (Birmingham City).

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Ashley Fletcher replaces Britt Assombalonga.

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Omar Bogle (Birmingham City).

Attempt blocked. Maxime Colin (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Stewart Downing.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Marcus Tavernier replaces Lewis Wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Viv Solomon-Otabor replaces Jota.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Connor Mahoney replaces Jacques Maghoma.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Cheikh N'Doye (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Omar Bogle replaces Che Adams.

Foul by Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough).

Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross.

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

Foul by Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City).

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

Attempt saved. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by George Friend.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by George Friend.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Aden Flint.

Attempt missed. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jonny Howson with a headed pass.

Attempt blocked. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Lukas Jutkiewicz (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kristian Pedersen.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Jonny Howson.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Middlesbrough32106247
2Leeds22007256
3Aston Villa22006336
4Swansea22003126
5Nottm Forest31203215
6Brentford21106244
7Bolton21104314
8West Brom31116604
9Wigan21015503
10Preston21011103
11Derby210135-23
12Sheff Utd310236-33
13Rotherham210125-33
14Bristol City20203302
15Blackburn20202202
16Millwall20202202
17Norwich201156-11
18Sheff Wed201134-11
19Birmingham201123-11
20Ipswich201123-11
21Hull201124-21
22Stoke201124-21
23QPR200213-20
24Reading200213-20
View full Championship table

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