2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Daniel Ayala (1')
  • Adama TraorĂ© (18')
  • Patrick Bamford (53')
  • Kieffer Moore (58')

Middlesbrough 3-1 Barnsley

Middlesbrough continued to turn up the heat on their rivals for a Championship play-off place by defeating relegation-threatened Barnsley 3-1 at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro made it four wins from five unbeaten games by getting off to the perfect start and never allowing the Tykes back into it.
While Middlesbrough's win keeps them in the top six after their recent run of good form, Barnsley are left wondering when the next victory will come from as they sit just above the bottom three.
Adama Traore's brilliant strike in the 18th minute followed on from Daniel Ayala's opener with less than 60 seconds on the clock.
Patrick Bamford, with his eighth goal in his last five outings, made it three shortly after half-time to effectively wrap things up, even though Barnsley pulled one back soon after through striker Kieffer Moore.
Barnsley could not find a way back after that as manager Jose Morais' wait for a second win goes on after taking charge five games ago.
Middlesbrough have been building momentum in their push for promotion and this was a confident and assured display under Tony Pulis, who was able to name an unchanged team.
It was clear that the home side was looking to go on the front foot from the start because Traore was quick to burst into the visitors' half and that led to the early opener.
Centre-back Ayala had gone up for Ryan Shotton's long throw and although that was cleared, the ball found its way back to the full-back on the right hand side.
Shotton's back post cross was ideal for Ayala to outmuscle his marker and he prodded his finish beyond goalkeeper Nick Townsend.
Barnsley had not even threatened the Middlesbrough goal when the second arrived 17 minutes later and there was quality about it.
Traore found himself in control 20 yards out. He knocked the ball from under his feet to the left before unleashing an unstoppable drive low and beyond Townsend.
After that Middlesbrough continued to control the opening half without looking like scoring a third; although Barnsley did not look like pulling one back either.
And less than eight minutes gone in the second half, Bamford's good run of form continued - however fortunate he was with the finish.
His eighth goal in five matches came off his knee, when he was at the back post and Downing's corner fell to him and bounced over the line to wrap things up.
Rather than cave in, Barnsley threatened to make a game of it by pulling one back less than five minutes later. Darren Randolph, the Middlesbrough keeper, failed to deal with Gary Gardner's effort and Moore headed in the rebound.
Randolph turned an effort from Stephen Mallan behind for a corner and Moore headed against the post, as Middlesbrough had to defend more. Traore was denied a second by Townsend at the other end when he should have squared to Lewis Baker.
But Middlesbrough had already done enough and now sit three points clear of Bristol City below them.

English League Championship Standings

1 West Bromwich Albion 22 +22 49
2 Leeds United 22 +22 47
3 Preston North End 22 +8 37
4 Brentford 22 +16 36
5 Sheffield Wednesday 22 +13 36
6 Fulham 22 +9 35
7 Bristol City 22 +2 35
8 Nottingham Forest 21 +6 34
9 Blackburn Rovers 22 +2 34
10 Swansea City 22 +2 34
11 Millwall 22 0 33
12 Cardiff City 22 +2 32
13 Queens Park Rangers 22 -7 31
14 Hull City 22 +3 30
15 Birmingham City 22 -7 28
16 Derby County 22 -7 26
17 Charlton Athletic 22 -2 24
18 Reading 21 -2 23
19 Huddersfield Town 22 -10 22
20 Middlesbrough 22 -12 21
21 Luton Town 22 -18 20
22 Stoke City 22 -11 18
23 Wigan Athletic 22 -15 18
24 Barnsley 22 -16 16