Middlesbrough 3 Leeds United 0
Fri 2nd Mar 7.45pm
Patrick Bamford scored a hat-trick to move Middlesbrough back into the play-offs with a 3-0 victory against Leeds United at the Riverside.
The 24-year-old opened his account from Stewart Downing's delivery just beyond the half-hour, and soon added his second when taking advantage of Adama Traore's through ball.
Bamford - with already three goals in his last two games - then went on to complete his first career treble midway through the second period.
Both Bamford and Downing had seen earlier attempts while centre-back Ben Gibson also headed wide at a corner.
However, Bamford soon guided in Downing's cross to make the breakthrough, and five minutes later drove a low second after Traore surged through the middle.
Boro's Grant Leadbitter had been an injury doubt before the game and was replaced by Adam Clayton close to the interval, although it was George Friend with a dangerous cross flashing behind upon the restart.
The visitors suddenly threatened when Pontus Jansson headed over from a corner, until Bamford completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish after Traore was initially blocked.
Friend later struck wide of the target and Daniel Ayala also missed with a header as the hosts chased further reward.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Besic, Leadbitter (Clayton 44), Howson, Traore, Bamford (Cranie 90), Downing
subs (unused): Konstantopoulos, Assombalonga, Fry, Harrison, Baker
Goals: Bamford (31, 36, 68)
Leeds United: Wiedwald, Berardi, Jansson, Cooper, Anita, O'Kane (Ekuban 69), Phillips (Vieira 46), Dallas, Saiz, Alioski (Forshaw 46), Lasogga
subs (unused): Pennington, De Bock, Sacko, Peacock-Farrell
Ref: D. England