Boro Edge It
Attendance: 24, 654
Derby County went down 1-0 to Middlesbrough at Pride Park as the visitors got their playoff push back on track after a close game, both sides had chances but it was substitute Curtis Main who fired the only goal of the game with ten minutes to go. Steve Davies was involved in a number of The Rams best moments in the first half and fired a couple of long range efforts just wide with Faris Haroun also coming close for the visitors. Frank Fielding reacted well to save from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Davies fired just wide after a neat turn on the edge of the area as both sides looked to find the breakthrough. With ten minutes on the clock a superb crossfield pass from Barry Robson found Main and he took a touch before firing an unstoppable effort into the far corner of the net. Jason Steele kept out a close range effort from Paul Green in the closing minutes to secure the victory.
Steve Davies came in for Nathan Tyson in the only change to the side who claimed the three points at Elland Road on Monday and the former Tranmere Rovers striker nearly opened the scoring early on when he exchanged passes with Craig Bryson but his rising shot never troubled Jason Steele in the Middlesbrough goal. At the other end a dipping volley from Faris Haroun was too high and Marvin Emnes then escaped from Jake Buxton but after running clear on goal Jason Shackell got back to block the striker`s effort.
The visitor`s had the upper hand and Lukas Jutkiewicz had an effort cleared off the line after rounding Fielding before Tony McMahon curled a freekick towards the top corner but he was denied by a combination of Fielding and the cross bar. The Rams slowly forced their way back into the match and Paul Green found Davies who turned and ran at goal but his effort from twenty-five yards flew wide of the mark. Theo Robinson then cut in from the left before curling an effort towards the far corner but again the ball ended just the wrong side of the post. Green was again involved in the last chance before the break when Gareth Roberts` dinked cross picked him out but his left footed effort flew well wide.
Derby opened the second period brightly with Jake Buxton having a header cleared off the line and Davies was then inches away from a Green cross as his side looked for the breakthrough. Middlesbrough came back though and Fielding made a reaction save to keep out a Jutkiewicz header with Haroun hitting the rebound into the turf with the ball bouncing up and over the bar and the Belgian midfielder then dragged an effort wide after a swift counter-attack.
Roberts intercepted a loose freekick from Steele and setup Jeff Hendrick but his effort from the edge of the area was easily gathered by the Boro keeper. Jamie Ward was introduced with fifteen minutes to go and nearly made an immediate impact when he found Davies on the edge of the area but after a neat turn the striker fired narrowly wide of the far post. Boro took the lead with ten minutes to go when Barry Robson`s superb cross field pass found substitute Curtis Main and he fired an unstoppable effort across Fielding into the far corner. Derby had a wonderful chance to claim a point in the dieing moments when a Ward cross was met by Davies with the ball eventually falling for Green but Steele somehow kept out his close range effort to secure the win for his side.
Derby County: Fielding; Naylor, Buxton, Shackell, Roberts; Green, Bryson, Hendrick (Carroll 86), B. Davies (Tyson 80); S. Davies, Robinson (Ward 75).
Subs Not Used: Severn, Bailey.
Middlesbrough: Steele; McMahon, Hines, McManus, Hoyte; Haroun, Bailey, Robson; McDonald, Jutkiewicz (Main 77), Emnes (Thomson 83).
Subs Not Used: Hammill, Ogbeche, Smallwood.