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McDonald's double secures Middlesbrough success
SCOTT McDonald's second-half double earned Middlesbrough a dramatic 2-1 win over Bolton and cemented his side's position in the Championship play-off places.
McDonald came off the bench midway through the first half to replace Marvin Emnes and chipped in with his second and third goals of the season.
Despite dominating most of the first half, Boro trailed at the interval after a ricochet off Faris Haroun afforded Chung-Yong Lee a clear run on goal.
The Teessiders equalised in the 66th minute, with McDonald tapping in from close range after Ishmael Miller's shot had been saved, and claimed a winner with five minutes left.
McDonald glanced in Emmanuel Ledesma's cross to make it four wins in succession for Tony Mowbray's side.
Mowbray named an unchanged side for the first time this season, and Boro began with the same brightness and intensity they displayed in Tuesday night's win over Hull.
Grant Leadbitter's seventh-minute drive was turned around the post by Alex Bogdan, before Seb Hines looped a header over from Marvin Emnes' cross.
The hosts' best opportunity fell to Miller, but the striker somehow failed to find the target from inside the six-yard box.
George Friend crossed from the left, and Miller's glanced header drifted beyond the far post when it looked much easier to score.
Nevertheless, Boro remained on top for the majority of the first half and came close again when Ishmael Miller curled over after he was released by Scott McDonald, who replaced the injured Marvin Emnes midway through the opening period.
Bolton had hardly been in the game at that stage, but the Trotters improved as half-time approached and gained a somewhat fortuitous lead three minutes before the interval.
Chris Eagles laid the ball off, but his misplaced pass ricocheted off Faris Haroun and rebounded back towards goal.
Chung-Yong Lee was left with a free run on goal, and the midfielder slotted a deft finish past Jason Steele.
The goal was somewhat against the run of play, but Bolton should have been two goals to the good at the break after a dreadful error from Andre Bikey.
The centre-half dawdled for what seemed like an eternity in his own half and was dispossessed by Lee. The South Korean could have taken the ball into the area, but instead opted to curl a 20-yard shot over the crossbar. From a Boro perspective, it was a let off.
Mowbray made a half-time change, replacing Adam Reach with Emmanuel Ledesma, but the first chance of the second half went to Bolton.
Bikey was robbed in a dangerous area for the second time in the game, but Chris Eagles wasted a decent opening by shooting wastefully into the side netting.
It was an expensive miss, as two minutes later and Boro were level. Miller cut in from the inside-left channel, and while Bogdan was on hand to save the striker's shot, McDonald was on hand to stab home the rebound from inside the six-yard box. The Australian then saw a long-range shot charged down as Boro pressed for a winner, but he made no mistake with five minutes left.
Fellow substitute Ledesma crossed from the right, and McDonald stole in front of his marker to angle a deft glanced header into the corner of the net.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Steele; Parnaby, Bikey, Hines, Friend; Reach (Ledesma 46), McEachran (Halliday 87), Leadbitter, Haroun; Emnes (McDonald 22), Miller.
Subs (not used): Leutwiler (gk), Hoyte, Bailey, Smallwood.
BOLTON (4-3-3): Bodgan; Mears (Ngog 87), Ricketts, Ream, Warnock; Lee, M Davies (Pratley 77), Spearing, Petrov (Afobe 65); Eagles, K Davies.
Subs (not used): Lynch (gk), Mills, Andrews, Riley.