Middlesbrough 1-0 Birmingham City: Chuba Akpom fire managerless Boro to win
Managerless Middlesbrough beat Birmingham City at the Riverside to climb out of the Championship relegation zone.
Chuba Akpom reacted quickest to the Blues’ failure to manage a low corner to score the decisive goal in Boro’s first game since Chris Wilder was sacked.
Zack Steffen ensured they retained the lead at the break, denying Scott Hogan after intercepting a weak back pass from Anfernee Dijksteel.
Steffen also crucially saved efforts from Tahith Chong and Emmanuel Longelo, while Boro was prevented from scoring another second-half goal for offside when Marcus Forss drove the ball home after Rodrigo Muniz struck in bar.
A miserable run of just two wins from 11 games to start the Championship season – Boro’s worst start to a campaign since 1985 – cost Wilder his job at Teesside on Monday.
Loss to bottom side Coventry City on Saturday ended the 55-year-old’s tenure, leaving goalkeeping coach Leo Percovich to oversee the win which ends their three-game losing streak.
Boro looked lucky not to have sent off Paddy McNair in the 15th minute when he pulled off Hogan’s shirt as the ball broke behind the defence. A yellow card was all that was issued, Juninho Bacuna then sent a free kick wide.
A low corner from Ryan Giles, who leapt across the box and hit a Blues defender at the back post, propelled Akpom towards his goal.
A stray back pass from Dijksteel nearly gifted the Blues an equaliser, with Hogan gaining possession only to be denied by goalkeeper Steffen.
Both teams threatened early in the second half, with Steffen saving Chong as Boro’s Hayden Hackney sent an effort over the bar at the other end.
A fingertip save from Steffen sent a free-kick from Longelo over the bar as the Blues pressed to equalise, while the linesman’s flag was all that stopped Forss making it two for the hosts when he tapped close range after Muniz’s header. the bar fell in his way.
- 17McNairBooked 15 mins away
- 15DijksteelBooked at 29 minsReplaced byBlack-smithat 82′minutes
- 30HackneyReplaced byMcGreeat 63′minutes
- 3GillesReplaced byLenihanat 70′minutes
- 29AkpomReplaced byForsat 70′minutes
- 9Muniz CarvalhoReplaced bywatmoreat 82′minutes
- 2HakeReplaced byjamesat 88′minutes
- 31bielikReplaced byHallat 79′minutes
- 18ChongReplaced bybellinghamat 88′minutes
- sevenBacunaBooked at 13 minsReplaced byMejbriat 45′minutes
- 8DeeneyReplaced byJutkiewiczat 79′minutes
- Michael Salisbury
Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0.
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Birmingham City 0.
Attempt blocked. Marcus Forss (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Riley McGree.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Corner conceded by Jordan Graham.
Foul by Jordan Graham (Birmingham City).
Riley McGree (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Hannibal Mejbri (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marc Bola (Middlesbrough).
Jobe Bellingham (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tommy Smith (Middlesbrough).
Attempt blocked. Duncan Watmore (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Replacement, Birmingham City. Jordan James replaces Maxime Colin.
Replacement, Birmingham City. Jobe Bellingham replaces Tahith Chong.
Replacement, Middlesbrough. Tommy Smith replaces Anfernee Dijksteel.
Replacement, Middlesbrough. Duncan Watmore replaces Rodrigo Muniz.
Foul by Maxime Colin (Birmingham City).
Marcus Forss (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Replacement, Birmingham City. Lukas Jutkiewicz replaces Troy Deeney.
Replacement, Birmingham City. George Hall replaces Krystian Bielik.
Foul by Hannibal Mejbri (Birmingham City).