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Sep 28, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
MiddlesbroughMiddlesbrough
2-0
Sheff UtdSheffield United
Watmore (9'), McNair (37')
Peltier (13'), Crooks (65'), Sporar (70'), Bamba (73')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Stevens (10'), Fleck (66')

Result: Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair fire Middlesbrough past in-form Sheffield United

:Headline: Result: Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair fire Middlesbrough past in-form Sheffield United:
Paddy McNair also scored in a third league win of the season for Neil Warnock's side that lifted them to 12th in the table.
Sports Mole

Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair fired Middlesbrough to a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory at the Riverside Stadium as Blades great Neil Warnock put the brakes on Sheffield United's charge up the Sky Bet Championship table.

Watmore's sumptuous eighth-minute opener – courtesy of excellent work down the left wing from Marc Bola – and McNair's thumped finish to cap some clever passing in the Blades box seven minutes before the break delivered just a third win of the season for Warnock's men.

Slavisa Jokanovic could not steer United to an eighth game unbeaten in all competitions, with the quest for a first goal on Teesside since 2007 extended while a Blades win here has now eluded the Sheffield club since October 1997.

Former United boss Warnock made two changes to his Boro team following the 1-0 defeat at Reading, with Sol Bamba and Watmore replacing Isaiah Jones and Martin Payero.

Irish wing-back Enda Stevens started his first league game since undergoing double hernia surgery as he took over from Rhys Norrington-Davies in the Blades XI.

United hit the target inside five minutes as on-loan Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White set up Iliman Ndiaye for a low effort from the D that Joe Lumley stooped to parry.

It was Boro who struck first though, Watmore controlling Bola's fine ball in from the left and lifting it over Robin Olsen with his second touch.

With the Blades rattled, Boro came knocking again immediately as, following a foul by Stevens, Marcus Tavernier curled a free-kick just past the top corner.

The end-to-end action continued throughout the first half, with one flowing sequence of quick Blades passes allowing captain Billy Sharp in for a 23rd-minute chance that he should have done more with.

Blades breakthrough star Ndiaye, 21, should then have squared to Ben Osborn for a certain tap-in when streaking to the byline but instead he clattered a post as former Nottingham Forest man Osborn raged in the six-yard box.

United paid for the missed opportunity. In the 37th minute, thanks to another Bola cross from the left, Andraz Sporar's cheeky backheel and a calm lay-off from Matt Crooks, McNair had a free hit from 20 yards and capitalised to fire the hosts ahead.

The visitors shook things up for the restart as David McGoldrick came in to offer Sharp more support. Gibbs-White was first to benefit from the switch as a gap yawned open for him, yet his attempt was nowhere near the mark.

After the hour, Slovenia's Sporar sent Swedish stopper Olsen sprawling with a powerful strike from the left as Boro looked to kill the tie and cement a top-half spot.

Sporar was lucky to avoid a red card for putting his forehead in George Baldock's face after the hour, and the simmering Sporting Lisbon loanee was substituted for his own good after being booked by referee James Linington.

McGoldrick looked the most likely candidate to spark an unlikely United comeback – first he stretched Lumley with a volley aimed at the top corner, next he watched Bamba block another accurate drive, but Boro held on.

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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bournemouth1410402481634
2Fulham1492333141929
3West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1484225111428
4Coventry CityCoventry147342017324
5Luton TownLuton145632318521
6Middlesbrough146351713421
7Queens Park RangersQPR146352522321
8Huddersfield TownHuddersfield146351817121
9Stoke CityStoke146351716121
10Millwall145631515021
11Blackpool146351718-121
12Blackburn RoversBlackburn145542317620
13Reading146172024-419
14Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd145362021-118
15Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest145271820-217
16Swansea CitySwansea144551517-217
17Bristol City144461520-516
18Birmingham CityBirmingham144461217-516
19Preston North EndPreston143651418-415
20Peterborough UnitedPeterborough144281627-1114
21Cardiff CityCardiff143291226-1411
22Hull City14239920-119
23Barnsley14158920-118
24Derby CountyDerby143831011-15
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1Chelsea97112332022
2Liverpool96302762121
3Manchester CityMan City96212041620
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham95221610617
5Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton943299015
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs9504913-415
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd94231615114
8Everton94231514114
9Leicester CityLeicester94231515014
10Arsenal94231013-314
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves941499013
12Brentford9333119212
13Aston Villa93151315-210
14Watford93151217-510
15Crystal Palace91621114-39
16Southampton9153812-48
17Leeds UnitedLeeds9144816-87
18Burnley9045715-84
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle90451120-94
20Norwich CityNorwich9027223-212
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