Danny Graham admires Nate Chalobah's goal celebration - Photo by North News

Middlesbrough 1 Derby County 0

Boro made one change to the team that won at Brighton, Nate Chalobah coming in for the suspended Dean Whitehead. On the bench for the first time was 17-year-old attacking midfielder Mark Kitching.

Steve McClaren named an unchanged line-up from the side that beat Charlton 3-0 at the iPro Stadium last Saturday.

Steve Gibson and Steve McClaren embrace - Photo by North News

Before the game George Friend was presented with his Player of the Month award for February and Steve McClaren was rightly given the warmest of welcomes from appreciative Boro fans and shared a warm embrace with Steve Gibson in the directors box.

There was also a minute's silence is respect of the memory of Nikki Conroy, the Middlesbrough schoolgirl stabbed to death when an attacker struck at Hall Garth School on Hall Drive 20 years ago.

An open game brought very few chances in the first half hour as blocked shots, largely from outside the box, were the order of the day.

Both sides were busy and well organised and neither in mood to over-commit, although Boro had won six corners to Derby's one approaching the 35th minute.

It was at that point that a goalkeeper was called into action to make a save for the first time in the game as Lee Tomlin was sent clear with Lee Grant to beat, but hit a low shot straight at the Ram's custodian.

With respective defences on top, it proved to be the only shot on target in the half until the 44th minute when George Thorne let fly from close on 30 yards - Dimi Konstantopoulos was well behind it.

Half-time: Middlesbrough 0 Derby County 0

Derby took the initiative early in the second half and Konstantopoulos did well to get down way to his right to grab a well-struck low drive from Craig Bryson.

It didn't take long for Boro to get back in stride and have enough of the ball to cause problems.

But for all the work put in there was little tangible result as too often the final ball or the finishing product failed to carry sufficient quality.

Andre Wisdom attempted to find the far corner of Konstantopoulos's net with an ambitious effort with the outside of his right foot when edging in from the right.

It took a little touch of class to put Boro in front, the goal coming after 69 minutes and set up by Emmanuel Ledesma.

The Argentinian had only been on the field for just over 10 minutes when a delicately-placed pass to his left picked out Nate Chalobah, who still had a little to do as he entered the penalty area just left of centre but he kept his nerve, feinted past Richard Keogh and placed a low shot beyond Grant.

It was his first goal for Boro and the 16th different scorer for the club this season.

The game became slightly stretched but although Derby saw plenty of the ball in the closing stages, Boro were never cut open and with a little more composure could have added more themselves.

Scorer Chalobah, 69

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos; Varga, Gibson, Omeruo, Friend, L Williams (Butterfield 78), Chalobah, Leadbitter (Capt), Adomah (Main 90+2), Tomlin (Ledesma 58), Graham. Subs: Steele (gk); Atkinson, Kitching, Kamara.

Derby County: Grant; Keogh, Buxton, Wisdom, Forsyth, Bryson, Hendrick, Thorne (Naylor 85), Martin, Russell (Sammon 60), Bamford (Hughes 77). Subs: Legzdins (gk); Whitbread, Eustace, O'Brien.

Referee: Andy Haines


Middlesbrough: Leadbitter, 35, foul; Friend, 76, foul.

Derby County: Bamford, 57, foul; Thorne, 81, foul.

Attendance: 15,234 (1,108)

Conditions Bright and dry with a cool breeze, but warm in the sun.

Possession: Middlesbrough 50% Derby County 50%

Website Boro Man of the Match: Kenneth Omeruo, with special mention for Ben Gibson.




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