Middlesbrough 2 MK Dons 0: Downing sends Boro on way to triumph

Middlesbrough's Stuart Downing (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire).
Middlesbrough's Stuart Downing (Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire).
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Stewart Downing scored his first Middlesbrough goal in six years as the Teessiders stormed to victory at home to MK Dons.

The former England winger returned to the Riverside in the summer after a six-year absence and re-opened his account for hometown club Boro.

Downing grabbed the opening goal with just 20 minutes to go – his first Boro strike since February 2009 – as MK Dons came close to frustrating Aitor Karanka’s side.

Striker David Nugent also scored his first goal of the season after joining the hosts from Leicester to give them maximum points.

There was no place in the squad for Boro’s new Uruguayan winger Carlos de Pena, a £2.6m transfer deadline-day signing from Nacional, as Karanka opted to start with Downing and Adam Reach on the flanks.

On the hour referee Jeremy Simpson awarded the home side a free-kick just a few yards from goal after David Martin picked up Kyle McFadzean’s back-pass, but Grant Leadbitter fired straight at the defensive wall.

The opener came in the 70th minute when Downing advanced towards the edge of the box, took a quick glance and chipped a superb, curling effort over Martin’s right shoulder and in.

Downing went close to another six minutes later but Martin tipped it away.

But Boro got their second in the 81st minute when Nugent pounced on a loose ball before coolly slotting left-footed under the sprawling Martin to seal the win.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Ayala, Gibson (Amorebieta 49), Friend, Clayton, Leadbitter, Downing, Fabbrini (Forshaw 84), Reach (Stuani 61), Nugent. Unused substitutes: Garcia, Mejias, Stephens, Nsue.

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington, Poyet, Carruthers (Hall 79), Murphy, Bowditch, Powell (Baker 71), Gallagher (Church 56). Unused substitutes: Hodson, Upson, Aguza, Burns.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).