Middlesbrough 3 Hull City 1: Gestede double piles pressure on troubled Tigers

Middlesbrough's Rudy Gestede.
Middlesbrough's Rudy Gestede.
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Middlesbrough returned to within two points of the play-off places as they plunged Hull deeper into the relegation mire at the Riverside.

Rudy Gestede claimed his second and third league goals of the season as Boro ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, Patrick Bamford with the Teessiders’ other goal on the stroke of half-time.

Having bemoaned his side’s limp attacking efforts in their weekend defeat to Cardiff, Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis will have been delighted with a much brighter display inspired by Adama Traore.

There is not much cause for positivity in the Hull camp and while Evandro’s equaliser towards the end of the first half briefly threatened to dent Middlesbrough’s superiority, the visitors finished well beaten.

The hosts almost claimed the lead with Gestede heading against the outside of the post, but the one-time Hull target did not have to wait long for his first Championship goal since August.

Then Traore sent Ryan Shotton scampering away on the overlap and after Bamford flicked on the full-back’s cross from the corner of the six-yard box, Gestede had the simple task of nodding past Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

At that stage it looked as though Boro would cruise to victory but Hull levelled in fine fashion. Boro’s defenders were dozing as Jon Toral pulled the ball back to the corner of the area and Evandro swept home an excellent first-time finish.

But on the stroke of half-time, Hull’s defensive frailties were once again all too apparent.

Ola Aina’s slack square ball to Michael Hector was intercepted by Bamford and the Middlesbrough striker did the rest, sprinting clear to lift a deft finish over the onrushing McGregor.

Traore’s searing pace once again pierced the Hull defence and after the winger cut the ball back from the byline, Gestede claimed his second goal of the night via a slick back-heel.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Fry, Friend, Besic (Clayton 66), Leadbitter, Downing (Cranie 84), Traore, Gestede, Bamford (Howson 71). Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Assombalonga, Harrison, Baker.

Hull: McGregor, Hector, Dawson, MacDonald, Tomori (Diomande 76), Evandro, Toral (Grosicki 66), Irvine, Aina, Campbell, Keane. Unused substitutes: Meyler, Dicko, Marshall, Clark, Stewart.

Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).