Boro suffer late scare but hold on to close gap on leaders

Patrick Bamford put Middlesbrough on their way to victory over Cardiff (Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire).
Patrick Bamford put Middlesbrough on their way to victory over Cardiff (Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire).
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Patrick Bamford and Lee Tomlin scored the goals as Middlesbrough rose to second in the Championship with this win over Cardiff City.

After a goalless first half, Chelsea loanee Bamford opened the scoring in the 63rd minute to delight the home fans.

It seemed certain they would go home happy when Tomlin struck 11 minutes from time, his effort appearing to put the result beyond doubt.

But there threatened to be a twist in the tale when Kenwyne Jones struck in the 86th minute to set up a tense finale.

However, head coach Aitor Karanka’s men held on to claim all three points.

The Teesside club now sit just a point behind leaders Bournemouth, albeit with the rest of the chasing pack holding a game in hand.

Boro enjoyed the brighter start, with Kike and Grant Leadbitter going close during the opening exchanges.

The hosts were adamant they should have had a penalty when Kike went down under a challenge from Cardiff goalkeeper Simon Moore.

The Bluebirds came back into the game as the half wore on, albeit without creating any real clear-cut opportunities.

Boro again looked the stronger team after the interval, although Cardiff’s Kadeem Harris was unlucky to be denied by a fine save from Dimi Konstantopoulos.

Boro took the lead soon after, Bamford ending a fine move by firing home.

Middlesbrough calmed noticeably and almost grabbed a second when Kike nodded just wide from Bamford’s superb ball.

The home side pressed forward, with Adam Reach threatening before substitute Albert Adomah cleverly worked an opening and forced Moore into a save.

A couple more chances fell their way until Adam Clayton and Reach paved the way for Tomlin to double the advantage.

Jones then threatened to flip the script with a close-range finish, but Boro held on to secure the points.

Cardiff, meanwhile, remain cast adrift of the play-off places in 13th.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas (Whitehead 90), Gibson, Ayala, Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter, Tomlin (Vossen 85), Bamford, Reach, Garcia (Adomah 74). Unused substitutes: Ledesma, Husband, Woodgate, Mejias.

Cardiff City: Moore, Brayford, Morrison, Turner, Connolly, Adeyemi (Ralls 77), Gunnarsson, Whittingham, Noone (Macheda 87), Harris, Revell (Jones 67). Unused substitutes: Da Silva, Le Fondre, John,Wilson.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).