Mo Besic returning to his best at the right time for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough's Jonny Howson: Opened the scoring.
Middlesbrough's Jonny Howson: Opened the scoring.
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Middlesbrough march on and now have a six-point gap to seventh spot.

Boro chief Tony Pulis, whose side have won three of their last 13 at the Riverside, said: “I am pleased obviously to win at home. There’s good momentum at the club.

“We’ve only lost one game this calendar year and that was Sheffield United with 10 men. We’ve had too many draws at the Riverside and we’ve got to turn them into wins.”

With less than two minutes on the clock, Middlesbrough took the lead when Jonny Howson was left in too much space to make the most of Mo Besic’s pass.

Then, in the 32nd minute, Ashley Fletcher added Boro’s second when he fired into the top corner after another pass from Besic picked him out.

Despite a couple of strong saves from Boro goalkeeper Darren Randolph, QPR could not get back into it and they are nine points clear of the relegation zone after the latest loss.

Pulis added: “It was a great run from Jonny. I thought Besic first half was excellent, that was like him last season. We’ve got to get him up to that level.

“There’s 13 games left, that’s a lot of games. If we can get Besic up to that level that he was at last time, him and John Obi Mikel are an awesome pair in midfield.”

Steve McClaren, given a good reception by the Boro fans, is adamant QPR can turn things around after slipping to a club-record seventh straight defeat against the club he left in 2006 to take over England.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Ayala, Shotton, Fry, Howson, Wing, Mikel, Besic (Downing 59), Saville, Assombalonga (Hugill 78), Fletcher (Tavernier 73). Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Clayton, McNair, van La Parra.

Queens Park Rangers: Lumley, Furlong, Leistner, Hall, Bidwell, Wszolek (Wells 81), Cousins, Luongo, Manning (Samuel 46), Eze, Hemed (Smith 69). Unused substitutes: Ingram, Scowen, Kakay, Lynch.

Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).