Kevin Thomson tackles Ishmael Miller - Photo by North News

Middlesbrough 2 Nottingham Forest 1

The Boro side showed two changes from the line-up against Ipswich.

Matthew Bates had recovered from sickness to captain the side, while Faris Haroun was sufficiently over hamstring problems to be included from the start.

Tony McMahon and Curtis Main were the ones to make way.

A quiet start in a quiet atmosphere saw Forest gain the early initiative, taking the game to Boro without calling Jason Steele into action.

Boro coped with the pressure comfortably enough and began to ask their own questions.

Marvin Emnes shot from the edge of the area, but his effort was blocked early in its path, while Lukas Jutkiewicz was doing his best when usually outnumbered - he too had a shot from outside the box blocked.

A clear and well-worked chance fell the way of Forest with 22 minutes played as Garath McCleary played a one-two with Marlon Harewood, but, in space and with plenty time on the edge of the Boro box, shot well over.

It took smart work from Steele to keep the score level approaching the half-hour as Forest broke through the middle, Harewood cleverly set up Ishmael Miller with a backheel close to the D, but the Boro goalkeeper had read the play well and raced off his line bravely to block the danger.

An angled drive from Julio Arca deep inside the Forest penalty area brought a flying block from Scott Wooton, then Emnes fired just over from a difficult angle as the home fans became excited. In between the efforts Steele comfortably saved a free header from Harewood as the game continued its open feel.

With 12 seconds of injury-time played Boro took the lead as Marvin Emnes was picked out deep inside the Forest penalty area out towards the right. His low drive seemed to take a deflection off Guy Moussi as it flew past Lee Camp.

Half-time: Middlesbrough 1 Nottingham Forest 0

Steve Cotterill made two changes for the start of the second half, the former injury-enforced as Miller and Harewood made way for Joel Lynch and Robbie Findlay.

But with a minute and five seconds of the second half played Boro doubled their lead. The ball was played up to Lukas Jutkiewicz on the edge of the penalty area, a smart turn gave him time and a low shot was perfectly struck and placed beyond Camp.

 It was the first time Boro had scored two at home for eight games and the first time they had been two goals in front at home for 10, since the game against Derby County.

Going for more, Boro nearly added to their tally with a well-weighted ball from Arca - who was enjoying another good game - to Emnes, but a covering challenge blocked an early shot.

Jutkiewicz was just high and wide with a fine effort from the right-hand edge of the penalty area, before he appeared to be stamped on, accidentally, and was left in pain.

With 66 minutes played Forest were handed a way back into the game, unlikely as it was with the way the second half had gone. But Joe Bennett needlessly fouled wide out on the left, Andy Reid did what he has done for years and whipped over a fine cross and fellow sub Joel Lynch headed in at the near post.

Now Boro weren't quite so comfortable and Forest knew it.

The game had taken a robust edge, tackles weren't for the faint-hearted, but the first yellow card for Kevin Thomson was soft and was for pretty much his first foul of the night. It was made to look a poor decision by the referee when he was shown a second yellow, again a very soft yellow card for another foul.

Steele was incensed and raced off his line and became needlessly involved and was perhaps lucky not to get a yellow card himself.

Forest continued to look for an equaliser as nerves became frayed and they very nearly got one as Adlene Guedioura's shot from distance thudded back off the crossbar.

Main was introduced as Jutkiewicz made way, both players receiving rich applause. The younger striker was fouled twice in quick succession, the first by Chris Gunter could have been red, as he was last man.

Fury rained down from the stands, with the referee bearing the brunt as the game entered five minutes of injury-time.

Frantic football, but no chances, save one for Forest which led to a goal being disallowed, kept the fans on the edge of their seats and they gave the team warm applause as they left the field.

Scorers: Emnes, 45+ 12 seconds, Jutkiewicz, 46, Lynch, 66.

Middlesbrough: Steele; Hoyte, Bates (Capt), Hines, Bennett, Haroun (Smallwood 54), Thomson, Williams, Arca, Emnes (McMahon 76), Jutkiewicz (Main 79). Subs, Halliday, Ogbeche.

Nottingham Forest: Camp; Wooton (Reid 60), Chambers (Capt), Higginbotham, Elokobi, Gunter, Moussi, Guedioura, McCleary, Harewood (Lynch 46), Miller (Findlay 46). Subs Smith (gk); Blackstock.
Order of substitutions: 1 Lynch, 2 Findlay.

Referee: Paul Tierney, Lancashire.

Sent-off: Thomson, 75. Yellow cards on 67 and 74.


Middlesbrough: Bennett
, 65, foul;

Nottingham Forest: Gunter, 86; Chambers, 87, foul.

Attendance: 14,799 (462 Forest)

Conditions: Cool, dry and still.

Website Boro Man of the Match: Lukas Jutkiewicz




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