MX23RW : Wednesday, May 1 15:37:29| >> :600:342509:342509:
Apr 27, 2019 at 3pm UK at ​Riverside Stadium (Middlesbrough)
Attendance: 22,003
Middlesbrough
2-1
Reading
Wing (31'), Assombalonga (39' pen.)
FT(HT: 2-1)
Loader (11')

Result: Middlesbrough keep playoff hopes alive with win over Reading

Result: Middlesbrough keep playoff hopes alive with win over Reading
© Reuters
Wing's predatory strike just after the half-hour mark cancelled out the Royals' opener.

Lewis Wing returned to Middlesbrough's starting line-up to help them earn a much-needed 2-1 Championship victory over Reading at the Riverside Stadium.

Wing's predatory strike just after the half-hour mark cancelled out the Royals' beautiful opener scored by teenager Danny Loader in the 11th minute.

And Middlesbrough took command by hitting what proved to be the winner six minutes before half-time when Britt Assombalonga converted a penalty to grab his 15th goal of the season.

It was a victory over Reading, who were effectively safe before kick-off, that kept the home side level on points with Derby in sixth going into a final-day trip to Rotherham next Sunday.

Middlesbrough knew that defeat would have made a play-off place even more unlikely, although missing out would not be guaranteed whatever the result had been against Reading.

In a bid to bounce back from Easter Monday's defeat at Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis sprung a surprise by recalling midfielder Wing to the starting line-up after hernia surgery.

It was a move that had the desired effect too, even if Boro and the club's fans were dealt an early blow when teenager Loader scored a first senior goal to remember.

After collecting Chris Gunter's throw, the 18-year-old turned John Obi Mikel before finding space and curling brilliantly into the top-left corner of Darren Randolph's net.

That led to a period of nerves in the Middlesbrough defence and the fans had just started to get anxious when things turned around, which was sparked by the performances of Wing and Jonny Howson.

Wing had already hit the post with an earlier effort and seen goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez tip over the crossbar before his persistence did find the net.

The former non-league midfielder was on hand in the 31st minute when Howson's deep right-wing cross bounced off defender Andy Yiadom.

Worse was to come for the Reading full-back because – eight minutes later – he was guilty of tripping George Saville in the area after he had brought down another Howson cross.

Assombalonga, who had the ball in the net but had it ruled out for that trip, then displayed his calmness to stay confident enough to send Martinez the wrong way from the penalty spot to give Middlesbrough the half-time lead.

Rather than build on that the home side – like many other occasions this season – went into their shell and Reading enjoyed more possession after the restart.

Randolph was not seriously tested, but there were scares like when Aden Flint had to block Garath McCleary's goal-bound effort midway through the second half.

There was another too in the dying seconds when substitute Callum Harriott's backheel needed a strong save from Randolph's legs after Yiadom's strong run and centre.

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Nottingham Forest manager Martin O'Neill pictured on February 12, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City36302490226892
2Liverpool36287184206491
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs362311265362970
4Chelsea36208860392168
5Arsenal362061069492066
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd36198964511365
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves36159124644254
8Leicester CityLeicester36156155147451
9Everton36148145044650
10Watford36148145152-150
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham36137164554-946
12Crystal Palace36127174348-543
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36119163645-942
14Bournemouth36126185265-1342
15Burnley36117184463-1940
16Southampton36911164461-1738
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3698193355-2235
18Cardiff CityCardiff3694233066-3631
RFulham3675243476-4226
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3635282074-5414

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