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Boro end with another defeat

Sheffield Wed
2 - 0
Middlesbrough

Hillsborough

Sat 4th Apr 12.45pm

Attendance: 31,375

Referee:

Middlesbrough's disappointing season drew to a close as Sheffield Wednesday ensured their Championship survival with a routine 2-0 victory at Hillsborough.

Both goals arrived in the opening half with on loan Hartlepool United striker Steve Howard earning them an important ninth-minute lead. Former Boro striker Leroy Lita then headed a second just past the half-hour to further ease the tension.

The visitors had earlier handed a debut to central defender Christian Burgess while fellow youngsters Bryn Morris and Ben Gibson both made their bench.

Wednesday needed a victory to definitely preserve their current status and began in determined fashion. Jermaine Johnson was wide of the mark and Seyi Olofinjana volleyed over before David Prutton allowed Howard to find the roof of the net with a crashing finish.

Boro weren't showing a great deal in reply and it was goalscorer Howard seeing another effort deflected behind while Johnson's shot caused more anxiety for goalkeeper Jason Steele. Curtis Main missed with a couple of attempts at the other end.

But it was the hosts adding their second of the afternoon when Lita touched in a 31st minute corner from Lewis Buxton. Another nearly soon followed with debutant Burgess blocking well from Olofinjana before Howard's low eight-yard drive was cleared off the line by Rhys Williams.

Midfielder Grant Leadbitter with a 20-yard effort at least forced a save from Chris Kirkland upon the restart, while opposite number Steele denied Lita when Burgess dropped an attempted back-pass short.

The visitors went close around the hour-mark as Burgess headed over from their first corner of the game delivered by Leadbitter. Skipper Williams then had unsuccessful claims for a penalty.

There was later a clash of heads involving Lita and Boro substitute Gibson, whose introduction from the bench had already preceded that of both Adam Reach and Morris.

Relieved Wednesday fans went on to invade the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate their survival and avoid an instant return to League One.

Boro meanwhile were left reflecting on a hugely disappointing sixteenth-place finish and a final points tally just one more than their latest opponents and only five clear of the dreaded drop-zone.

Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Pugh, Llera, J. Johnson (Lee 46), Helan, Olofinjana (Semedo 56), Prutton, Lita (Maguire 85), Howard

subs (unused): Bywater, R. Johnson, Taylor, Madine

Goals: Howard (9), Lita (31)

Middlesbrough: Steele, Burgess, Bikey, R. Williams, Hoyte, Leadbitter, Smallwood (Gibson 55), Halliday (Reach 66), Carayol (Morris 66), Main, McDonald

subs (unused): Leutwiler, Haroun, Ledesma, L. Williams

Ref: Haines

Att: 31,375

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Writer:Vital Boro
Date:Saturday May 4 2013
Time: 4:27PM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
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