MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough1StokeStoke City0

Middlesbrough 1-0 Stoke City: Boro back in Championship play-off places

Sam Clucas of Stoke City and Paddy McNair of Middlesbrough
Victory over Stoke secured a third consecutive league win for Middlesbrough

Britt Assombalonga's early goal sent Middlesbrough back into the Championship play-off places as they saw off boss Tony Pulis' former club Stoke.

The DR Congo striker scored his 12th league goal of the season from close range after just two minutes at the Riverside to send Boro up to sixth, at the expense of Bristol City who earlier drew with Reading.

In a game of few efforts on goal, Benik Afobe and Sam Vokes went close for the visitors, sending headers wide.

But despite bossing possession, Nathan Jones' Potters were unable to find an equaliser as Pulis triumphed against the club he managed for 10 years over two spells.

The Teesiders' third straight Championship win puts them a point clear of Bristol City in seventh and three ahead of eighth-placed Derby - although both still have a game in hand.

Victory for Boro was also a first league win over Stoke in four attempts, since a 2-1 win in the 2008-09 season.

In truth, Stoke were probably good value for a point and restricted the hosts to few chances after Assombalonga's strike, but when Peter Etebo fired over late on, their hopes of forcing an equaliser disappeared.

The Potters remain 16th in the table, but have now won just three of their 17 league games under ex-Luton boss Jones, who took over from the sacked Gary Rowett in January.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis:

"I'm pleased with the win. We've played much better than that and lost games at this place.

"We've not been as fluent today. To have five players missing from the backline that we started with at the beginning of the season, it takes a lot of courage and determination from the players to go out there and play the way they played.

"They're having to do jobs they are not used to. Like I say, I think we've played better in other games than we have but we just haven't taken our opportunities and chances.

"It's all about results as a manager, if you don't get results you don't hang around long."

Stoke City manager Nathan Jones told BBC Radio Stoke:

"We've had enough chances to win the game, we were the better side. But that [defeat] is why we're in the position we are.

"It's hard to be positive because we've lost the game. If we had just added a little bit of quality we'd have won comfortably.

"14 chances, we've hit the target once. We need to bring a ruthless streak into the club."



Formation 3-5-1-1

  • 23Randolph
  • 17McNair
  • 24Flint
  • 5Shotton
  • 16Howson
  • 8ClaytonBooked at 81mins
  • 2Mikel
  • 37BesicSubstituted forDowningat 55'minutes
  • 22Saville
  • 18FletcherSubstituted forTavernierat 73'minutes
  • 9AssombalongaSubstituted forHugillat 83'minutes


  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 11Hugill
  • 19Downing
  • 25Wood-Gordon
  • 28Tavernier
  • 39Gestede
  • 42Spence


Formation 5-3-2

  • 32Federici
  • 30Edwards
  • 37Collins
  • 14BatthBooked at 82mins
  • 5Williams
  • 11McCleanSubstituted forDioufat 85'minutes
  • 8Etebo
  • 4Allen
  • 22Clucas
  • 10Vokes
  • 9AfobeSubstituted forVerlindenat 71'minutes


  • 2Bauer
  • 16Adam
  • 18Diouf
  • 27Bojan
  • 29Haugaard
  • 31Verlinden
  • 44Jarvis
Darren Bond

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamStoke
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Danny Batth (Stoke City).

  4. Post update

    Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thomas Edwards following a corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Paddy McNair.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Thomas Edwards.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Peter Etebo (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thibaud Verlinden following a set piece situation.

  9. Post update

    Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  10. Post update

    Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).

  11. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by George Saville.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces James McClean.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill replaces Britt Assombalonga.

  14. Booking

    Danny Batth (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for dangerous play.

  15. Post update

    Dangerous play by Danny Batth (Stoke City).

  16. Post update

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

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. James McClean (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Danny Batth (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Clucas with a cross.

  20. Booking

    Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

As It Stood

2Sheff Utd432410971393282
4West Brom4322101184582676
5Aston Villa431915979582172
7Bristol City421812125647966
11Sheff Wed431515135457-360
13Nottm Forest431415145654257
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