Reading 0 Middlesbrough 1: Friend puts an end to Boro's winless run

A GOAL from captain George Friend gave Middlesbrough their first win in five matches to keep them in the promotion mix heading into Christmas.

Middlesbrough's captain George Friend netted the only goal of the game against Reading (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).

Boro created a series of half chances throughout, but had to wait until the 77th minute to snatch the winner.

Friend arrived in the home area with perfect timing to turn in Paddy McNair’s low cross.

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“When things are going well, everyone gets too excited,” said Boro manager Tony Pulis.

“When things aren’t going well, everyone gets down in the dumps.

“Win, lose or draw – be happy when you win, smile when you lose because the smoke still goes up the same chimney.”

Boro fans have been critical at times of some Pulis’s substitutions, who said: “Management is difficult, whatever level you are at, what team you’re at and what you’re doing.

“English football is the greatest in the world because it’s the most competitive.

“Week-in, week-out it’s tough and it’s hard. But we’ve got an honest group. We need to add to it because there’s a lack of real pace and power that we need to find.

“If we can do that then we’ll push on and we’ll be fine. If we don’t then every game is going to be a tough one. But we looked really solid again and we created good chances as well. Everything is nice and positive here at the moment.

“We produced some really good play and I’ve got to be pleased with that.”

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Osho, Blackett, Richards (Bodvarsson 85), Rinomhota, Bacuna, Sims (McCleary 82), Loader (Swift 70), Barrow, Baldock. Unused substitutes: Mannone, O’Shea, Edwards, McNulty.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton (McNair 38), Ayala, Flint, Fry, Friend, Howson, Besic (Wing 66), Clayton, Saville, Assombalonga (Hugill 67). Unused substitutes: Batth, Braithwaite, Tavernier, Lonergan.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

Reading: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Osho, Blackett, Richards (Bodvarsson 85), Rinomhota, Bacuna, Sims (McCleary 82), Loader (Swift 70), Barrow, Baldock. Unused substitutes: Mannone, O’Shea, Edwards, McNulty.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton (McNair 38), Ayala, Flint, Fry, Friend, Howson, Besic (Wing 66), Clayton, Saville, Assombalonga (Hugill 67). Unused substitutes: Batth, Braithwaite, Tavernier, Lonergan.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).

SCOTT MARSHALL STAYING AT READING DESPITE JOSE GOMES ARRIVAL

By Press Association Sport Staff

Reading caretaker manager Scott Marshall has been reassured of his future after the club appointed Jose Gomes as their new boss to replace the sacked Paul Clement.

In Marshall’s last match in temporary charge, Reading lost 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough to make it seven matches without a win - three of them under Marshall.

Gomes watched the match and was appointed to his new role shortly after the end.

“I’ve been focusing mainly on the game,” Marshall, the Reading Under-23s coach, said before Gomes’ appointment had been confirmed.

“But I believe that there is something going on here. I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the players as a group.

“The new manager will be as keen to get as much information as possible from all sources. And I’ll be in to training on Monday.

“The Championship is really competitive and there is some great quality in it. It is ferociously competitive to get out of.”

Lowly Reading mustered little in attack, with Boro goalkeeper Darren Randolph enjoying a relatively comfortable afternoon.

“In the game, we had a couple of really good chances,” Marshall added.

“It was always going to be important to get the first goal as Boro have got a great defensive record.

“We dominated the game for large periods and we had some good moments, especially in the second half.

“I would have loved us to have got in front. It would have been an entirely different game.”