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Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 16:53 GMT
Foxes gift Boro victory
Middlesbrough's Alen Boksic fires in an attempt on goal
Sinclair upstaged Boksic in the goalscoring stakes
Middlesbrough 1-0 Leicester
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A bizarre own goal from Frank Sinclair handed Middlesbrough victory over basement club Leicester at the Riverside Stadium.

Sinclair left keeper Ian Walker dumbfounded as he drilled the ball past him from 30 yards after just four minutes.

The former Chelsea defender's freak error was the highlight of a dour match in which both sides struggled to create chances.

The result leaves Leicester staring relegation in the face, while Middlesbrough can focus on next week's FA Cup quarter-final with Everton knowing they are close to survival.

  Match facts
4mins Frank Sinclair own goal puts Boro 1-0 up
36mins Leicester's Muzzy Izzet booked for foul on Paul Ince
50mins Boro's Ince booked for foul on Izzet
63mins Benito Carbone booked for foul on Savage
66mins Savage booked for foul on Southgate
90mins Foxes' Elliott booked for bringing down Carbone

It could have been an even worse start for Leicester had Walker not reacted well to keep out a smart effort from Noel Whelan on five minutes.

The Foxes gradually recovered their composure, with Muzzy Izzet and Matthew Piper looking lively in midfield.

However, Gareth Southgate was in dominant form at the back for Boro and Leicester struggled to create a clear-cut chance.


We have to keep persevering because I certainly don't want to lose our remaining matches
Leicester City manager Dave Bassett
New-signing Paul Dickov had a rare glimpse of goal but his close-range effort was smothered by Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Benito Carbone and Alen Boksic formed a lively partnership in the Boro attack but were largely starved of service as the first half petered to a close.

The second half began in similar lacklustre fashion, with neither team lacking effort but quality in short supply.

The midfield became increasingly congested and tempers began to fray as Carbone, Ince and Leicester's Robbie Savage all entered the referee's notebook.

And it took 20 minutes for the first noteworthy shot of the second half.

Benito Carbone celebrates Frank Sinclair's won goal
Carbone was a constant threat to Leicester
In a rare moment of quality, Boro's Jonathan Greening fired in a superb left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The ball curled past the stranded Walker but thumped against the post, with the rebound eluding the on-rushing Carbone.


A win is a win, but these three points are massive for us
MIddlesbrough boss Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren's side seemed content to settle for the 1-0 win, and although Dave Bassett's men huffed and puffed they could not breakthrough a resolute defence.

Middlesbrough could have extended their lead when Carbone's incisive pass put substitute Dean Windass through but Walker was equal to his effort.

And the home team were nearly made to pay for their profligacy.

But Jamie Scowcroft's header flashed narrowly wide right at the death, condemning the Foxes to their seventh consecutive defeat.


Teams

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Ehiogu, Southgate, Queudrue, Mustoe, Ince, Greening (Windass 81), Whelan (Murphy 71), Boksic (Nemeth 90), Carbone.
Subs Not Used: Crossley, Gavin.

Booked: Ince, Carbone.

Leicester: Walker, Sinclair, Davidson, Elliott, Marshall, Izzet, Savage, Piper, Scowcroft, Deane, Dickov (Oakes 85).
Subs Not Used: Royce, Delaney, Laursen, Heath.

Booked: Savage, Elliott.

Att: 25,734

Ref: E Wolstenholme (Blackburn).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Alan Biggs
"Nothing in the game could top Sinclair's spectacular effort"
Boro's Robbie Mustoe
"We can start looking up the table"
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