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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 16:52 GMT
Rovers edge Boro
Blackburn's Dwight Yorke sinks Middlesbrough
Yorke's goal broke the stalemate at Ewood Park
Blackburn 1-0 Middlesbrough

A solitary second-half goal from Dwight Yorke was enough to give Blackburn Rovers the edge over Middlesbrough at Ewood Park.

Yorke broke the stalemate on 57 minutes after a barren first half before team-mate James McEveley hit the woodwork minutes later.

Boro suffered an early injury set-back when Ugo Ehiogu was taken to hospital with fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

The England defender was injured five minutes into the game after an aerial collision with Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Despite a number of other near-misses, neither side could add to the tally as Boro's away goal drought continued.

They last scored on the road in the 3-0 win at Tottenham on 28 September.

Key moments
57 mins: Yorke scores for Rovers
59 mins: Rovers' McEveley hits bar

Boro boss Steve McClaren recalled forwards Massimo Maccarone and Alen Boksic, while Rovers' Graeme Souness brought in youngsters Neil Danns and McEveley for the injured Damien Duff and Craig Short.

Boro went close early on when Martin Taylor fouled Joseph-Desire Job on the edge of the box, only for Franck Queudrue to hoist his free-kick a yard over the bar.

In the first half we took the game to Blackburn, looked the better team, created chances and failed to take them.

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

But Boro soon had another chance to open the scoring when Maccarone's back-heel released a sweeping move culminating in Job's strong shot, which was saved by Brad Friedel.

Rovers, though, soon took their turn and Andy Cole fired wide before David Thompson unleashed a couple of speculative efforts.

Blackburn's Dwight Yorke sinks Middlesbrough
Yorke celebrates his goal

But the early flurry of activity could not be sustained and the game became bogged down for a spell.

Rovers' McEveley eventually livened up proceedings with a storming run down the left to link up with Cole but Mark Wilson's timely intervention stifled the attack.

That spurred on Boro, who went close through Maccarone after a sweeping move down the left before keeper Mark Schwarzer denied Cole at the other end just before the break.

You have to be happy with eight points from four games over Christmas

Blackburn manager Graeme Souness

But it was Rovers who resumed with heightened vigour and Cole, Thompson and Garry Flitcroft all worried Schwarzer early on.

The home side's urgency was rewarded when Yorke fired them in front with a 12-yard shot from Gillespie's low cross.

The goal lifted Rovers and they were denied a second minutes later when McEveley hit the woodwork from 25 yards.

Rovers' confidence was brimming and Turkish midfielder Tugay bossed the game as they went in search of a winner.

But despite their dominance, Rovers were unable to find Boro's net again.



Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Taylor, Johansson, McEveley (Todd 74), Thompson, Tugay, Flitcroft, Danns (Gillespie 45), Cole, Yorke (Ostenstad 83).
Subs Not Used: Dunn, Kelly.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Southgate, Ehiogu (Vidmar 8), Queudrue, Geremi, Wilson, Greening, Job (Windass 77), Boksic, Maccarone (Nemeth 72).
Subs Not Used: Wilkshire, Crossley.

Attendance: 23,413.

Referee: D Pugh (Merseyside).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Peter Slater
"Middlesbrough seemed to lose heart"
 Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
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