Nicky Bailey - Photo-Paul Gaythorpe, PK4 Images

Burnley 0 Middlesbrough 2

It stretched Boro's run to 12 games without defeat, equalling the runs in 2000/01 and in 1986.

Boro set up in a 3-5-2 formation with a line-up that showed just one change from the draw with Coventry.

It brought with it a welcome return for Scott McDonald, who played up front alongside Championship Player of the Month for August, Marvin Emnes.

The man to make way was Julio Arca, who dropped to the bench.

Burnley were unchanged from the side that beat Derby in their last game.

The home side set off at a blistering pace with Keith Treacy releasing Ross Wallace out wide on the right. His cross was poor, but back came the Clarets and Treacy was nearly released inside the box. Fortunately for Boro Carl Ikeme came out to gather.

His next action was to throw the ball out of play as Stephen McManus was injured inside the opening 30 seconds after seeming to turn awkwardly.

The Scot tried to run off the injury, but it was clear he couldn't and with just four minutes played he was replaced by Faris Haroun, with Rhys Williams dropping back.

However, with Boro's first attack they took the lead as Nicky Bailey scored his first senior goal for the club. Boro built well through the middle, Emnes holding the ball up as part of the move. Bailey was picked out 20 yards from goal and a shot on the volley bounced at least twice before nestling into the bottom right-hand corner of Brian Jensen's net.

A couple of feisty challenges left players prostrate. Joe Bennett flew in on Jay Rodriguez and received a yellow card and then Barry Robson was caught high by Chris McCann, who escaped with a swift word.

The Burnley skipper wasn't so lucky a few minutes later as he caught McDonald and a yellow card shown, as it was to Robson soon afterwards when he appeared to catch Kieran Trippier, who went down quite easily just a few seconds after accusing Emnes of doing the same thing.

When the action began again it was Boro who were knocking the ball around confidently, although not always finding their man.

Emnes pounced on a loose ball and cracked low for goal, an effort which flattened central defender Brian Easton as he blocked its path.

Boro continued to play high up the pitch, squeezing Burnley for room and causing problems with crosses, especially from the left.

Burnley weren't as effective as they were beating Boro here in April, but they were a threat down their left and despite Boro looking the better side this was still a keenly contested game which was in the balance.

Six minutes of injury-time added little to the afternoon in terms of meaningful action.

Half-time: Burnley 0 Middlesbrough 1

Boro's first corner of the game - and up to this point Burnley had only had one - came two minutes into the second half and Robson's delivery deserved better than to go straight out.

Two minutes later Boro doubled their lead. Joe Bennett drove forward as the Burnley defence backed off. Approaching the right-hand edge of the penalty area he played a short ball to his left to McDonald. His shot was saved by Jensen but Bennett had continued his run and followed up to bundle in the rebound and score his first Boro goal.

It took a fine save from Ikeme to turn away a powerful drive from McCann on 53 minutes, the first shot on target from the home side.

Back came Boro and McDonald was harshly adjudged to have fouled Jensen when at worst he stood his ground as the goalkeeper dropped a cross from the right.

Robson was just wide when attempting to delicately place a shot over Jensen from 22 yards, then minutes later provided a superb cross from the left which only just evaded Haroun, who was unmarked and arriving late.

Junior Stanislas, on for Treacy early in the half, threaded a well-weighted ball behind the Boro back line and Ikeme had to time his run and dive to save at Charlie Austin's feet.

That was the last action for the free-scoring striker, who had endured a quiet afternoon. He was part of a double change that also saw Dean Marney withdrawn from the fray.

When Justin Hoyte played a perfect ball over the top for Emnes to run onto, a third Boro goal looked likely. But his second touch was too heavy and Jensen raced out to smother.

But it was a day when nothing was going to dampen the spirits of the sizeable and very noisy Boro following.

Scorers: Bailey 10, Bennett 49.

Burnley: Jensen; Edgar, Easton, Mee, Trippier, Wallace, Marney (Bartley 70), McCann (Capt), Treacey (Stanislas 51), Rodriguez, Austin (Hines 70). Subs Grant (gk); Amougou.

Middlesbrough: Ikeme; McMahon, Bates (Capt), McManus (Haroun 4), Hoyte, Bailey, Williams, Robson (Arca 80), Bennett, McDonald, Emnes (Zemamma 85). Subs Martin, Kink.

Referee: Mark Haywood, West Yorkshire.


Treacy, 19, foul; Wallace, 36; Rodriguez, 88, foul.

Middlesbrough: Bennett, 13, foul; Robson, 22, foul

Attendance: 15,220 (2,091 Boro)

Conditions: Warm, overcast and blustery

Website Boro Man of the Match: Nicky Bailey




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