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Boro surge past Seasiders

Middlesbrough
4 - 2
Blackpool

Riverside

Sat 29th Dec 3pm

Attendance: 18,164

Referee:

Middlesbrough continue to challenge for an automatic promotion place after a 4-2 victory over Blackpool at the Riverside.

The hosts opened up a two-goal advantage at the interval courtesy of Ishmael Miller and Richard Smallwood but Wes Thomas pulled one back on the hour.

However, Scott McDonald immediately restored the difference, only for the visitors to respond again through Chris Basham. The highly-rated Tom Ince then had a penalty saved by Jason Steele.

Substitute Adam Reach eventually settled the issue in Boro's favour with just a couple of minutes remaining to leave them within a point of second place.

From the latest of a flurry of early corners the hosts went ahead on fourteen minutes when Miller headed in Grant Leadbitter's delivery from the left.

Marvin Emnes went close to a second as he drove over from the edge of the area before setting up Smallwood to fire low past Matthew Gilks to increase the lead.

Blackpool's reaction had striker Alex Baptiste unable to find the required touch at the far post after the break, until Thomas struck low past Steele on 59 minutes to bring his side back into the game.

Basham was certainly fancying an equaliser as he next shot wide but it was Boro extending their lead when McDonald moved into double figures for the season as he surged forward and curled beyond the keeper.

However, Basham was on hand to reduce the deficit again when Steele failed to gather Stephen Crainey's 76th minute corner.

The Seasiders could even have been level within five minutes as Jonathan Woodgate was penalised for a challenge inside his own area on Gary Taylor-Fletcher. But Steele guessed correctly to deny fellow England Under-21 international and Premiership target Ince from the spot.

Boro finally settled any doubt with only a couple of minutes remaining as Lukas Jutkiewicz chested down for fellow substitute Reach to claim his second goal of the season from around twenty-yards.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte (Parnaby 21), R. Williams, Woodgate, Halliday, Leadbitter, Bailey, Smallwood, Emnes (Jutkiewicz 82), McDonald, Miller (Reach 65)

subs (unused): Leutwiler, Zemmama, Thomson, L. Williams

Goals: Miller (14), Smallwood (36), McDonald (62), Reach (88)

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Baptiste, Basham, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Gomes (Sylvestre 57), Ince, Taylor-Fletcher, Thomas, Delfouneso (Angel 37)

subs (unused): Halstead, Eardley, Harris, K. Phillips, Dicko

Goals: Thomas (59), Basham (76)

Ref: Attwell

Att: 18,164

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Writer:Vital Boro
Date:Sunday December 30 2012
Time: 3:56PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Burnley 44 24 15 5 87 33
2 Middlesbrough 44 26 9 9 87 32
3 Brighton 44 24 15 5 87 30
4 Hull City 44 23 11 10 80 31
5 Derby County 44 21 14 9 77 24
6 Sheff Wed 44 18 17 9 71 19
7 Cardiff 44 17 16 11 67 8
8 Ipswich 44 16 15 13 63 0
9 Birmingham 44 16 13 15 61 4
10 Brentford 44 17 8 19 59 -2
11 Preston 44 14 16 14 58 -1
12 Leeds Utd 44 14 16 14 58 -7
13 Q.P.R. 44 13 18 13 57 0
14 Wolves 44 13 15 16 54 -6
15 Reading 44 13 13 18 52 -4
16 Huddersfield 44 13 12 19 51 -3
17 Forest 44 12 15 17 51 -5
18 Blackburn 44 11 16 17 49 -3
19 Rotherham 44 13 10 21 49 -13
20 Bristol City 44 12 13 19 49 -20
21 Fulham 44 11 15 18 48 -11
R MK Dons 44 9 12 23 39 -28
R Charlton 44 8 13 23 37 -38
R Bolton 44 4 15 25 27 -40
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