Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Boro take win in Brighton
5:23pm Saturday 20th October 2012 in Sport
MIDDLESBROUGH took their first-ever win at the Amex Stadium – and their first win in 22 years at Brighton as Marvin Emnes' deflected goal proved to be the difference.
A superb defensive display from the visitors kept Albion at bay after Emnes' first-half goal, while Jason Steele made a string of saves in the second half to keep his side in it and hand Boro their fourth away win in a row.
Boro took an unlikely lead on 21 minutes after a period of concerted Albion pressure – and it had more than a hint of good fortune. Emnes attempted a speculative shot 25 yards out which cannoned off the chest of Albion captain Gordon Greer and wrongfooted goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
The goal came in between a host of Albion chances in which leading scorer Craig Mackail-Smith was guilty of squandering.
After five minutes, the Scotland international, back in the line-up after injury, was crowded out by Jonathan Woodgate from Bruno Saltor's cross; and a minute later he lobbed over Steele's crossbar.
But his finest chance of the half came nine minutes after the goal. Albion's on-loan left-back Wayne Bridge swung in a raking cross for the striker, whose volley looked goalbound but for a fine save by Steele.
And five minutes before the interval, Mackail-Smith curled an effort millimetres wide of Steele's far post.
After the restart, Brighton spent a long spell camped in Boro's half, but a combination of fine goalkeeping and resolute defending somehow managed to preserve their advantage.
First, Steele saved well from David Lopez' effort, before Middlesbrough's goalkeeper was the centre of attention when the Albion players believed he handled outside the area – luckily for Boro, referee Andy D'Urso disagreed.
Then, on 63 minutes, came Albion's best chance of the half when Ashley Barnes' goalbound header was somehow clawed out by Steele – his save showing similarities to Gordon Bank's against Pele in the World Cup of 1970. Meanwhile, Mackail-Smith continued his profligate run by scooping the rebound over the bar.
Barnes attempted a long-range shot which Steele improvised and padded away, after Andrew Crofts had fired wide when Mackail-Smith's looping header had to be punched out by the Boro goalkeeper.
Substitute Stephen Dobbie managed to plot a course unimpeded through Middlesbrough's defence, but the end product was a weak shot which Steele collected easily.
Boro's fans were made to wait 30 minutes before their team registered an effort in the second half, and it came courtesy of Grant Leadbitter – his low shot having to be tipped around the post by Kuszczak.
Ishmael Miller, on as a substitute, spurned a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 when he latched on to a long ball, raced clear and poked his shot past the post.
However, despite Brighton gaining five minutes of stoppage time, they were unable to make it count and Boro's impressive run on the road continued.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION (4-3-3) Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer, El Abd (Dobbie, 70), Bridge; Hammond, Bridcutt, Crofts (Buckley, 70); Barnes, Mackail-Smith, Lopez (LuaLua 83). Subs: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, Dicker.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-3-3): Steele; Parnaby, Bikey, Woodgate, Friend; McEachran (Miller 74), Leadbitter, Bailey; Haroun, McDonald (Reach 86), Emnes (Smallwood 81). Subs: Leutwiler, Halliday, Ledesma, Hines.