Writer: Vital Boro
Date:Saturday April 7 2012
Sat 7th Apr 3pm
Middlesbrough's promotion hopes stumbled badly after Cardiff City's Ben Turner and substitute Joe Mason both scored inside the first twenty minutes at the Riverside.
Defender Turner got himself on the end of a Liam Lawrence corner to head in the opener on eleven minutes before Mason added a second from close-range following an assist from the same player eight minutes later.
The defeat was sufficient to drop the hosts down to eighth position in the table as their visitors succeeded in overtaking them, but still only a single-point outside the play-offs with just five games remaining.
Cardiff suffered an early blow when ex-Rangers striker Kenny Miller was forced to limp out of the action after a clash with goalkeeper Jason Steele, although that didn't appear to concern them for too long as they immediately swept into a two-goal advantage.
After Steele had already turned Mason's effort against the underside of the crossbar, Turner was left unmarked from a corner to head into the net before Lukas Jutkiewicz soon nodded a Joe Bennett delivery behind at the opposite end. Former Boro defender Andrew Taylor also drilled wide for the visitors.
Further poor defensive work then allowed Mason to add a second goal while Barry Robson tried to respond when David Marshall parried his 25-yard effort. Seb Hines also headed at the keeper and Jutkiewicz similarly missed the target while Mason was again the threat in reply as Steele was required to save.
Boro really needed something at the start of the second period and nearly achieved that when Adam Hammill struck against an upright and Scott McDonald hoisted over.
Both Robson and Hammill went on to further try their luck from distance but only managed to find the clutches of Marshall, while Jutkiewicz and Stephen McManus were also without success before the end of what could prove a costly defeat.
Tony Mowbray's side are now without a victory in seven games and will need a rapid change of fortune at fading challengers Hull City next time out.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Hines, McManus, Bennett, Thomson (Emnes 62), Bailey (Ogbeche 84), Hammill (Martin 69), Robson, McDonald, Jutkiewicz
subs (unused): McMahon, Smallwood
Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Whittingham, Cowie, Lawrence, Gunnarsson, Blake, McPhail (Gestede 54, McNaughton 86), Miller (Mason 6)
subs (unused): Heaton, McNaughton, Earnshaw
Goals: Turner (11), Mason (19)
Date:Saturday April 7 2012
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