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Saturday, 1 December, 2001, 18:13 GMT
Boro too good for Rovers
Nemeth and Dunn challenge for the ball
Nemeth and Dunn challenge for the ball

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Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Middlesbrough

Alen Boksic scored the only goal of the game as Middlesbrough recorded their first Premiership win against Blackburn.

Rovers did create chances - Martin Taylor hit the post in the first half - but key players such as David Dunn and Tugay failed to assert their authority on the game and Middlesbrough deserved their victory.

The defeat ends Rovers eight-match unbeaten run and a five-game winless streak away from home for Boro.

Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu were outstanding in the centre of a Boro defence that has now conceded just three goals in seven games.

  Key moments
23 mins: Taylor hits the post for Blackburn
39 mins: Boksic shoots wide from six yards
45 mins: Boksic scores for Boro
89 mins: Crossley saves from Grabbi
Blackburn, going into the game on the back of their 2-0 Worthington Cup win over Manchester City, began the game in confident fashion.

And they created the first chance of the game after six minutes.

Matt Jansen passed to Taylor, who ran at the Boro defence and shot from the edge of the Boro penalty area, but his shot flew inches wide.

Boro's first chance fell to Szilard Nemeth.

On another day we would have got a bit of luck around the box but we didn't get it today.
Graeme Souness

The Slovakian was played-in by Franck Queudrue but Rovers' goalkeeper Brad Friedel was quick off his line and smothered Nemeth's attempt.

Midway through the first-half Friedel made a superb save to deny Jonathan Greening from 25 yards.

Rovers then went close to scoring, but Taylor's shot rebounded off the woodwork.

With half-time approaching Carlos Marinelli picked out Boksic, but he shot wide when he ought to have at least hit the target.

We've got a good team spirit going, people have come and done well.
Steve McClaren

But Boksic did give Boro the lead in first-half injury time.

Greening skipped past Tugay before picking out Boksic.

Craig Short tried to block Boksic's shot but the ball ballooned over Friedel and into the Rovers goal.

Damien Duff shields the ball from Carlos Marinelli
Duff shields the ball from Marinelli
Rovers almost equalised a minute later but Crossley brilliantly tipped David Dunn's long-range shot around the post.

Rovers came out in search of an equaliser but failed to create any good chances in the opening phase of the second half.

Taylor did have a good opportunity 15 minutes into the half but badly wasted his header when unmarked from short range.

Minutes later the ineffectual Egil Ostenstad - making his first start of the season - was replaced by Corrado Grabbi.

The Italian striker almost equalised on the stroke of full-time but his curling shot was superbly saved by Crossley.

Blackburn: Friedel, Berg, Taylor, Short, Gillespie, Neill, Tugay, Dunn, Duff, Ostenstad, Jansen. Subs: Johansson, Mahon, Johnson, Grabbi, Filan.

Middlesbrough: Crossley, Queudrue, Southgate, Ehiogu, Cooper, Greening, Mustoe, Johnston, Marinelli, Boksic, Nemeth. Subs: Ricard, Windass, Wilson, Gavin, Beresford.

Referee: B Knight (Orpington).

BBC Sport's Stuart Hall reports
"Middlesbrough came with a functional and simple plan"
Boro manager Steve McLaren
"We normally play like that away from home"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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