Isaiah Jones on target as Middlesbrough claim first home win under Chris Wilder



Posted Sunday, December 05, 2021 by PA

Isaiah Jones on target as Middlesbrough claim first home win under Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder claimed his first home win as Middlesbrough manager as his side ground out a hard-fought 1-0 Championship victory over Swansea.

Isaiah Jones’ first-half finish settled things at the Riverside, with Boro building on last weekend’s victory at Huddersfield to claim back-to-back successes for the first time since October.

Swansea had plenty of the ball as they looked to get back into the game, but while Paddy McNair hacked Joel Piroe’s shot off the goal line, the visitors never really did enough to warrant an equaliser.

Middlesbrough’s players have been encouraged to press much higher up the field under Wilder, and the effect of the new boss’ tactical instructions was apparent after just 10 seconds when Duncan Watmore charged down Ben Hamer’s clearance, only for the ball to rebound behind for a goal kick.

Swansea created an alarm of their own in the seventh minute, with wing-back Ryan Manning’s cross from the left-hand side clipping the top of the crossbar, and the visitors went close again midway through the first half as Jamie Paterson drove past Anfernee Dijksteel in the area before shooting over.

Boro were the more threatening side for most of the opening half though and, after the lively Watmore wasted a decent opening by firing over from the edge of the area, the hosts claimed the lead after 26 minutes.

It was an extremely well-worked goal, with veteran centre-half Sol Bamba turning away from his marker on the halfway line before dissecting the Swansea defence with an inch-perfect through ball that sent Jones scampering clear.

Jones had never scored a senior goal for Boro prior to kick-off, but the 22-year-old wing-back broke his duck in style as he strode into the area before rolling a slick finish past Hamer.

The Teessiders almost claimed a second goal seven minutes before the interval, but while Andraz Sporar burst ahead of his marker to meet Jonny Howson’s low cross with a front-post flick, Hamer was alert to the danger and kept the ball out.

Swansea’s main threat was coming on the counter-attack and after Marcus Tavernier gave the ball away cheaply to spark a Swans break on the stroke of half-time, the visitors were convinced they should have had a penalty.

Paterson went sprawling to the floor as he tried to round goalkeeper Luke Daniels, but rather than pointing to the spot, referee Andy Davies booked the Swansea striker for diving.

The Swans bench were clearly incensed by the decision and their mood would not have improved when McNair’s brilliant goal-line clearance prevented the visiting side from equalising seven minutes after the break.

Piroe slipped a low shot past Daniels after breaking onto Kyle Naughton’s through ball, but a backtracking McNair hacked it clear when the Swansea striker must have thought he had scored.

The away side spent most of the second half probing for an equaliser but, while Daniels tipped Matt Grimes’ free-kick over the crossbar, the Middlesbrough goal was rarely seriously threatened.

Indeed, it was Boro that created the best opportunity of the second half, only for Watmore to take an age to get a shot away after breaking clear of the Swansea defence, enabling a sprinting Olivier Ntcham to deny him with a sliding tackle.

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