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Middlesbrough 2-0 Fulham Cham 11 1415 GazetteLive

last updated Monday 06th October 2014, 12:05 PM

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Anthony Vickers at Gazzette Live

Middlesbrough (0) 2-0 (0) Fulham

Boro went into the international break with a spring in their step after a deserved 2-0 win over in-form Fulham.

Impressive Adam Reach and then Albert Adomah go the goals that lifted Boro within one point of the top and took their unbeaten league run to six games.

But it needed a dramatic second half increase in tempo for Boro after a laboured opening period from both sides.

Boro made four changes from the tean that drew 1-1 with Blackpool in midweek as George Friend, Kenneth Omeruo and Kike returned after being on the bench while Albert Adomah was back from a ban.

They came in for James Husband, Ben Gibson, Patrick Bamford and Emilio Nsue while Adam Clayton was back in the starting line-up after leaving the field earlier against Blackpool feeling ill.

Fulham won a first minute corner which was scrambled away but then Boro had the bulk of the early possession, although it was scrappy and hurried.

Boro probed as a long ball sent Lee Tomlin chasing forward but the keeper was quickly out of his box to hoof clear then Clayton sent Adomah down the right but he was crowded out.

Gradually Boro started to pick their way forward with some patient passing without penetrating into the Fulham box.

But Boro almost engineered the opener with the first real attack on 12 minutes as crisp passing move suddebly stepped up a gear when Reach squared from the left to Kike who swivelled neatly and spread it to the right in to the path of over-lapping Ryan Fredericks to drill a low cross to the near post where Adomah stetched and stabbed against the upright.

Fulham responded two minutes later with a good move down the left and Daniel Ayala had to be alert to clear a good cross from Stafylidis then Dimi Konstantopoulos had to off his line sharply to collect a dangerous cross into the box aimed at McCormack.

On 18 minutes Fredericks was booked for a hefty tackle on Ruiz.

Boro went close on 19 minutes as Reach wriggled down the left and cut a low ball into the box for Kike to take a touch and stab in a low shot that hit Burn and spun up into the arms of keeper Bettinelli.

And they threatened again on 23 minutes as Friend cut in from the left and was bundled over by Hoogland as he skipped into the box but the ref waved play-on and the loose ball ran to Reach who was flagged offside.

Boro put a flurry of balls into the box on 26 minutes as Clayton curled a cross in for Ayala but his header was scrambled away by Burn for Clayton to drill the loose ball in at waist-height and that was again hacked clear only for the persistent midfield to again loft it into the crowd but this time it was pumped well upfield.

Fulham raided quickly on 33 minutes after a Boro attack down the left broke down but when a McCormack pass sent Ruiz bursting forward but Frederick chased back and put in a tackle to tidy up.

Boro threatened on 36 minutes as Reach raced down the flank and sent a low cross skidding through the box but although Kike stretched out a toe he couldn't quite make contact.

The tempo dropped as both sides had long spells of possession in their own half but quickly cancelled each other's attacks out.

Boro threatened in stoppage time as Tomlin twisted and turned to hold the ball up just outside the box then slotted out to the right for over-lapping Fredericks but his chip into a crowd gathering at the far post was headed clear by Burn.

Boro flew into the lead 45 seconds after the break after a rapid raid down the right.

Kike had two defenders on him but squeezed a superb ball through them and down the flank for Adomah to overlap and when his cross clipped a defender it looped nicely for Tomlin to put in an overhead kick towards the near post that alert ADAM REACH stabbed in from close range.

Boro almost had a second a minute later as Adomah again burst down the right and whipped in a cross that Reach got a touch to and it flashed just wide of the far post.

Then on 50 minutes Adomah again got down the flank but his cross was overhit and sailed over Kike but the Spaniard chased and recovered it and turned it back into the box but Reach was crowded out before.

And revived Boro went close to a second on 52 minutes as a Grant Leadbitter corner fell to Kike eight yards out at the far post but his low shot hit a defender's shins and flew wide for a corner.

On 59 minutes Fulham put on Williams for Stafylidis.

Boro went close on the hour as Reach carried forward then slotted diagonally to the right to send Tomlin into the box but his angled low shot flew straight at the keeper.

Fulham then had a good spell as Boro had to defend well and first Omeruo headed away a deep cross aimed at McCormack then Fredericks had to track and block Ruiz as he tried to put a low ball into the box from the right.

Then on 63 minutes Fulham went close as McCormack found space on the flank to cross in for defender Hoogland to put a glancing header against the post.

Then soon after Williams sent Rodellega storming forward but with defenders hot on his heels he fired well over from 22 yards.

On 64 minutes Burn was booked for a heavy tackle on Tomlin as he threatened to break clear.

On 66 minutes Boro put on Jelle Vossen for Tomlin.

On 69 minutes Fulham put on Roberts for Ruiz.

Fulham went close on 71 minutes as Leadbitter fouled Roberts and when the free-kick was floated into the crowd it was half-cleared - and for a second it looked like Leadbitter was going to handle it - then when McCormack cut it back in Christensen sent in a rocket that was blocked on the line by Ayala and scrambled away.

And two minutes later McCormack sent in a stinging free-kick from the left towards the near post that sent Konstantopolous full length to punch clear.

On 77 minutes Fulham put on Smith for Amorebieta.

Boro had to dig in to defend for a spell but broke out to carve out a cushion with a second goal on 82 minutes.

A Fulham attack broke down after a ball was whacked into Friend's face then scrambled upfield for Vossen to push a ball out wide for ALBERT ADOMAH who played a one-two with Kike to get into the box then swept home from close range.

On 83 minutes Boro put on Dean Whitehead for Kike.

In a flurry of Boro action Vossen brought a good save with a header then Reach had a good effort blocked.

And Boro almost had a third on 87 minutes as a goalbound Vossen shot was blocked on the line and when Fulham failed to clear Reach fired in a shot that was turned over by Burn.

In stoppage time Boro put on Emilio Nsue for Reach.

Boro should have had a third deep into added time as Adomah skipped past the defence then cut back for Vossen 15 yards out but he dithered over the ball then squared for Leadbitter who tried to chip back to Adomah but he was offside.

Then Nsue surged down the left and drilled a low ball to the near post where Vossen's effort was turned over by the last defender.

BORO: Konstantopoulos, Fredericks, Ayala, Omeruo, Friend, Leadbitter, Clayton, Adomah, Tomlin (Vossen, 66), Reach (Nsue, 90+2), Kike (Whitehead, 82). Subs: Blackman, Gibson, L Williams, Wildschut.

FULHAM: Bettinelli, Hoogland, Burn, Bodurov, Amorebieta (Smith, 77), Parker ©, Stafylidis (Williams, 59), Christensen, Ruiz (Roberts 69), Rodellega, McCormack. Subs: Kiraly, Woodrow, Hyndman, Kavanagh.

Ref: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)

Att: 16,201 (337 away fans)

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