Bamford boosts Boro hopes

Date published: Friday 3rd April 2015 4:28

Aitor Karanka’s men went back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship before Friday’s later games thanks to Patrick Bamford’s 15th goal of the season in the first half.

Boro’s victory ended Wigan’s run of four straight away wins and saw them drift five points off safety.

Both sides struggled to find their feet in the opening exchanges on the rain-soaked Riverside pitch.

But it was Boro who got to grips with the slippery conditions quicker and they created their first opening in the ninth minute when Bamford laid off for Albert Adomah, but the winger’s cross flashed across the face of goal.

The opening goal came in the 20th minute when Adomah and Vossen combined well to tee up Bamford, and his 20-yard shot took a slight deflection before looping beyond Ali Al-Habsi.

Boro’s in-form striker nearly doubled the lead moments later when he played a neat one-two with Vossen before hitting a curling effort which Al-Habsi tipped wide.

The home side produced a fine free-flowing move two minutes before half-time with Adam Clayton releasing George Friend down the left, but his cross from the touchline was cleared by the Latics.

And it was Clayton’s turn to have a pop at goal in the dying moments of the half when Friend pulled the ball back for the midfielder, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide.

Wigan threw sub Marc Antoine-Fortune on for Josh Murphy at half-time, but it did little for the visitors as Boro continued to dominate after the break.

They produced a superb move nine minutes into the second half when Adam Reach broke down the left and pulled a low cross back to Vossen on the edge of the area, who laid off first time for Adomah but he scuffed his shot wide.

Wigan started to get back into the game as they searched for an equaliser and Antoine-Fortune almost found it just after the hour when he brought the ball down and cut inside before hammering a low shot which Dimi Konstantopoulos did well to get down and save.

The visitors continued to press and Jermaine Pennant should have done better when Kim Bo-kyung put him in on goal but he sliced his effort well wide.

Boro settled again and threatened to score a second with 12 minutes to go when Bamford hit an ambitious 25-yard effort which Al-Habsi turned round the post.

The game opened up in the last few minutes with Wigan piling forward for the leveller which made for a nervy end.

And sub Lee Tomlin should have made it 2-0 in the third minute of injury-time when he broke free with only A-Habsi to beat but his shot was tipped just wide.

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