Marvin Emnes celebrates his goal at Leeds - Photo by Varley Photographic

Leeds United 0 Middlesbrough 1

BORO were unchanged from the side that drew with Portsmouth, new signing Julio Arca started on the bench.

Leeds made two changes from the line-up soundly beaten at Southampton, Leigh Bromby and Tom Lees replacing Paul Connolly and Andy O'Brien, neither of whom made the bench.

Both sides had made several changes from the midweek Carling Cup wins.

There were also some positional changes for Boro asJoe Bennett moved to left-back, Justin Hoyte to the right of midfield and Barry Robson to left midfield.

Straight from the kick-off Boro won a free-kick on the right. Robson whipped in a low delivery and it looked as though Scott McDonald was hauled down, but play was waved on.

The game's first corner came with just three minutes played, Leeds won it and Lees rose above Boro's defence to head across goal and wide.

Bennett had not enjoyed the best of times in the opening minutes and was edged off the ball by Ross McCormack. He laid a low ball back to the edge of the box, a shot was blocked and another corner hastily conceded.

Lees was again the target but this time a powerful header was well saved by Carl Ikeme.

It had been a frantic opening 10 minutes and Leeds had had the better of it.

Withstanding the onslaught, Boro got their game together, although in comparison it was more measured and thereby slower approach than that of the hosts, who played more off the cuff.

Boro's passing let them down on too many occasions, especially around the edge of the Leeds box, and it was the crisper game of the hosts that caught the eye.

Ikeme's handling was good, evidence of that coming midway through the first half when he grabbed a 20-yard drive from Max Gradel.

That was to be the last action for the lively winger, who had been booked for an altercation with Tony McMahon on eight minutes and following a foul on the same player 18 minutes later was shown a second yellow and sent off.

Boro almost capitalised immediately but an excellent one-handed save from Andrew Lonergan tipped a Marvin Emnes header over the bar.

It took a fine stop from Ikeme to keep the scores level nine minutes from half-time as he back-tracked to tip over an outstanding effort from Adam Clayton who was no more than a handful of yards inside the Boro half when he shot.

Five minutes from half-time Boro broke and set up Hoyte unmarked to the left of the Leeds penalty area. After advancing a few yards he struck a powerful shot which hit Lonergan on the arm and deflected off the bar.

Minutes later Boro had a two-on-two break until Emnes was cynically taken out by Leeds captain Jonathan Howson 15 yards inside the Leeds half.

In the final minute of the half the numbers were even as McMahon was booked in what was an astonishingly bad decision for the slightest use of an arm in a challenge. It was McMahon's second yellow and he joined Gradel and a long list of Boro players sent off in this fixture over the years.

Half-time Leeds United 0 Middlesbrough 0

The atmosphere had calmed during the break and Boro looked the more composed in the opening exchanges, but it was Leeds who almost took the lead after 50 minutes as Lees looped a header over everybody with the notable exception of Bailey, who cleared off the line.

The referee's animated afternoon continued, but this time in fairness he had little option as on the hour Emnes, a few yards inside the Boro half, turned Howson and was brought down. It was Howson's second yellow and he became the third man sent-off. However it did look for a short while as though he was waiting for Emnes to get up and book him for diving as he initially appeared to give the free-kick to Leeds.

Minutes later Boro almost took the lead as McDonald peeled into a good position inside the area and shot low through bodies and past Lonergan, Lees clearing off the line.

In among all the action both sides made changes as Arca and Malaury Martin replaced Hoyte and Robson. It was Martin's first taste of Championship football.

And the travelling fans didn't have long to wait as midway through the second half a very neat move involving both the subs set up Marvin Emnes, who from a tight angle cut back to smash the ball high and past Lonergan to register his fifth of the season.

Arca went for goal from 25 yards and won a corner, McDonald was considerably closer when he dribbled past two inside the penalty area before a clearance won another Boro flag kick.

Sections of the United fans turned on Ken Bates and there was a small altercation between Leeds fans and stewards over an unrelated matter. For seasoned Boro fans, this was a normal day at the office when these clubs come together.

Boro were finding space when they went forward and Lonergan was called into action to save low shots from Martin, Arca and McDonald. There was still that niggling hope that Boro wouldn't live to regret not converting at least one of them.

In the final minute of normal time a Martin shot looped up and landed at the feet of Emnes, who drilled a low shot across goal and just wide of the goal and McDonald.

Leeds broke, memories of New Year's Day came flooding back, but this time all Leeds managed was a corner. Lonergan went up for it, but got nowhere near the ball.

When it was announced there would be five minutes of added time to play, the home fans roared their team on, but it was a delicate shot from Arca which almost added to the scoreline, Lonergan acrobatically tipping over.

The Boro fans celebrated long after the final whistle after their side won a third successive game away from home for the first time since 2004

Scorer: Emnes 67.

Leeds United: Lonergan; Bromby, Lees, Kisnorbo (Capt from 60), O'Dea, Brown (Nunez 56), Clayton, Snodgrass (Thompson 64), Howson (Capt to 60), Gradel, McCormack (Sam 74). Subs Rachubka (gk); White.

Middlesbrough: Ikeme; McMahon, Bates (Capt), McManus, Bennett, Hoyte (Arca 64), R Williams (Hines 90+4), Bailey, Robson (Martin 64), McDonald, Emnes. Subs Smallwood, Kink.

*Order of substitutions, 1 Arca, 2 Martin.

Referee: Anthony Taylor, Manchester.

Sent off: Gradel, yellow cards on 8 minutes for unsporting behaviour and 26 for a foul on McMahon; McMahon, yellow cards on 8 for unsporting behaviour and 45+3 for persistent misconduct. Howson, yellow cards on 42 for a foul and 60 for a foul.


Leeds United: McCormack, 27, dissent; Brown, 53, foul; O'Dea, 78, foul.

Middlesbrough: Williams, 24, foul; Bates, 45+3, dissent.

Attendance: 25,615 (2,337 Boro)

Conditions: Warm and sunny

Website Boro Man of the Match: Nicky Bailey




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