Middlesbrough moved into the play-off positions within the Sky Wager Championship as Marvin Johnson’s 81st-minute strike secured a 1-Zero win over Nottingham Forest.
Johnson transformed George Saville’s cross with just about his first contact after leaving the substitutes’ bench as Neil Warnock’s aspect continued the effective run of type that has seen them stay unbeaten for the reason that opening weekend of the season.
Nottingham Forest did not report a single effort on course as they slumped to their first defeat in 5 matches, with Middlesbrough’s superiority obvious all through.
With Dael Fry unavailable, Warnock was compelled right into a tactical reshuffle that noticed him begin with a again 4 slightly than the five-man backline he has been fielding for the overwhelming majority of the season.
Teenager Nathan Wooden got here in for his first Championship begin, and the teen impressed as Boro set about containing a Forest aspect which have improved markedly for the reason that appointment of Chris Hughton as supervisor.
The guests did not report a single effort on course in a primary half that was dominated by Middlesbrough, however whereas the Teessiders created numerous good probabilities earlier than the interval, they have been unable to take any of them.
Hayden Coulson went shut halfway by the opening interval, however whereas he drifted dangerously throughout the 18-yard field, his low strike was straight on the legs of Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba.
Samba’s poor clearance had created Coulson’s alternative, and Forest’s gamers got here near taking pictures themselves within the foot once more shortly after the half-hour mark.
Ryan Yates’ dreadful back-pass afforded Britt Assombalonga a transparent run on objective, however the former Forest striker noticed his low shot saved by Samba. Marcus Tavernier picked up the rebound, however whereas the midfielder had a gaping objective to goal at, he blazed wastefully over the crossbar.
Tavernier noticed one other shot blocked contained in the penalty space shortly earlier than the break, and wasted a very good place within the early phases of the second half as he drilled a free-kick from the sting of the realm into the wall.
Forest struggled to create clear-cut probabilities all afternoon, though Miguel Guerrero bought himself into an honest place shortly earlier than the hour mark, solely to be thwarted by a wonderful sliding problem from Wooden.
The guests’ finest alternative got here halfway by the second interval, and noticed Yates look a near-post header simply large of the goal as he met a nook from Anthony Knockaert.
At that stage, it appeared as if the sport was set to complete goalless, however Boro had different concepts and claimed a winner with 9 minutes left.
Johnson had solely been on the sphere for 3 minutes when he met Saville’s cross, however the substitute displayed very good composure as he slotted residence a slick first-time end.