Middlesbrough 2 Bolton Wanderers 0
Tue 26th Dec 3.00pm
Middlesbrough moved up to seventh in the table with a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory against lowly Bolton Wanderers at the Riverside.
Newly-appointed manager Tony Pulis watched on Martin Braithwaite and Britt Assombolonga both scored after the break.
Academy manager Craig Liddle took charge in the meantime and witnessed Cyrus Christie drilling wide from the edge of the area.
However, Gary Madine headed over the target at the other end while Josh Vela's close-range attempt was then blocked. Replies from Patrick Bamford and Braithwaite were both narrowly wide.
Bamford also drew a reaction from goalkeeper Ben Alnwick before ex-Boro loanee Sammy Ameobi proved comfortably wide following the interval.
But Braithwaite's shot-on-the-turn then deflected over the keeper for the vital opening goal soon after the restart.
That was improved upon later when Boro's record buy Assombalonga curled in another midway through the second period.
Meanwhile, midfielder Jonny Howson struck wide from around twenty-yards in added time - with new boss Pulis now taking over for the weekend visit of Aston Villa.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Shotton, Gibson, Fabio (Friend 46), Howson, Leadbitter, Downing, Bamford, Braithwaite, Assombalonga (Gestede 70)
subs (unused): Konstantopoulos, Ayala, Baker, Traore, Tavernier
Goals: Braithwaite (49), Assombalonga (67)
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Little, Wheater, Beevers, A. Taylor (Robinson 36), Henry, Pratley, Noone (Buckley 62), Vela, Ameobi, Madine (Wilbraham 77)
subs (unused): Cullen, Armstrong, Burke, Turner
Ref: J. Simpson