ARNEL Jakupovic and Callum Cooke were on the scoresheet and Aynsley Pears made an impressive debut at this level as Boro maintained their unbeaten start in the league. Writes GORDON COX from Victoria Park.

Swansea made a bright started and penned Boro back in their own half as Ryan Blair, Ollie McBurnie and Owain Jones all caused problems with Blair and McBurnie having goalbound shots blocked.

With Boro stretched Blair again went for goal, but a low shot from 22 yards was never going to trouble Aynsley Pears who was making his debut at this level.

Boro were undone again when a well-weighted delivery from Aaron Lewis picked out Alex Bray who forced an excellent save from Pears with a close-range header. From the resulting corner Jones wasted a clear chance when failing to make contact wen left with a free a header. 

Eventually Boro got a foothold in the game and almost too the lead with half an hour played when Arnel Jakupovic set up Alex Pattison whose low shot from the edge of the box deflected off Keston Davies and on to Mark Birighitti's left-hand post.

When Joao Morelli was dispossessed a few yards up from the edge of the penalty area Boro were stretched and a low shot on the turn from Jones whistled untouched through a crowded penalty area.

A quick retort saw Morelli in action at the other end, but after a good first touch to a long ball through the middle his shot was off target.

With just a couple of minutes of an open, entertaining half remaining, Pattison worked his way into space on the left of the Swansea penalty area and Birighitti was at full stretch to catch a cross destined for Jakupovic.

Swansea had started strongly and they ended the half on the front foot too, forcing a succession of corners and McBurnie struck a post with a low free-kick from 19 yards.

Half-time: Middlesbrough 0 Swansea City 0

Boro started the second half on the front foot and not long after Jakupovic brought a save from Birighitti, City's only over-aged player, Callum Cooke worked his way into a good position but couldn't make proper contact with a shot from close to the edge of the penalty area.

Cooke again and Mark Kitching created problems down the Boro left, Cooke twice going close. 

City had penalty appeals turned down passing the hour when McBurnie was challenged and Boro swept up the danger and remained unflustered.

Bray went close for the visitors, but it was the home side that almost made a breakthrough when Morelli rounded off good team play with a shot that beat Birighitti but came back off the bar.

Pears was back in action minutes later, diving full-length away to his left to turn round a low shot from Bray.

The breakthrough came with 72 minutes played as Arnel Jakupovic, from close to the edge of the penalty area, shot low and across Birighitti.

The lead lasted just five minutes as McBurnie stole into the penalty area stole into the penalty area and was the closest Swansea player to the ball as Mark Kitching turned into his own goal.

It was eight minutes later when Boro restored their lead as Callum Cooke rounded off another real team move when cracking home a rising drive from inside the penalty area.

The goal brought the first league defeat of the season for a Swansea side that had won three from three in the league coming into this game.

It was a win in an entertaining game that put Boro second in the table.

Scorers Jakupovic 72, Kitching og 77, Cooke 85.

Middlesbrough: Pears; Johnson, McGoldrick, McGhee, Kitching, Tinkler (Capt.), Morelli, Morris, Jakupovic, Pattison (Tavernier 79), Cooke. Subs: Fryer (gk); McAloon, Elsdon, Mondal.

Swansea: Birighitti; Reid, Lewis, Blair (Evans 83), Davies (Capt.), Rodon, Bray, Maric, McBurnie, Holland (Garrick 63), Jones. Subs: Treacy, Plezier, Biabi.

Referee Karl Evans

Bookings
Boro None

Swansea None

Conditions Warm and dry

Attendance 135