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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 16:58 GMT
Boro halt Wolves run
Boro midfielder George Boateng contests possession with Wolves enforcer Paul Ince
Middlesbrough 2-0 Wolves

Goals from Gaizka Mendieta and Juninho handed Wolves their first defeat in seven matches.

The game looked as though it was heading for a goalless draw when Mendieta opened the scoring with a stunning drive past Wolves keeper Michael Oakes.

And soon after crowd favourite Juninho made sure of the points as he drilled home a cross.

The result means Middlesbrough leapfrog Wolves in the table and now have some daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.

Wolves were the first to threaten, with Henri Camara escaping the attentions of Colin Cooper but shooting wide.

With veteran former England man Paul Ince pulling the strings in midfield it was a bright start for the visitors and they soon tried their luck again through Joey Gudjonsson.

The Icelander, a late call-up in place of Colin Cameron, found space 20 yards out but fired over the bar.

KEY MOMENTS
73 mins: Mendieta opens the scoring with a stunning drive
83 mins: Juninho marks his arrival with Boro's second
89 mins: Rae picks up his second yellow card and is sent-off

There was a scare for Wolves after 17 minutes when Zenden floated in a corner from the right, but Lee Naylor headed Frank Queudrue's powerful header off the line.

As the half wore on Middlesbrough enjoyed more and more of the possession, but they could not force a breakthrough.

The nearest they came was Boudewijn Zenden's powerful 30-yard drive in first-half injury time, but Oakes was equal to the task and tipped the ball round the post.

At half-time Middlesbrough boss Steve McLaren brought on the pacy Malcolm Christie for Szilard Nemeth in an attempt to give the hosts more of a cutting edge.

Middlesbrough began to dominate and Wolves keeper Oakes soon found himself with plenty to do.

He twice saved from Zenden as the Dutchman tried his luck from long range and he was also equal to the task when Danny Mills cut in from the flank and shot.

With the two sides having scored a paltry 14 goals between them in 20 games coming into the match it was never going to be a high-scoring affair, and a goalless draw was looking increasingly likely.

Wolves brought on Mark Kennedy and Middlesbrough responded by introducing Juninho, but goals remained elusive until Mendieta suddenly produced a moment of class.

Juninho took a quick free-kick and Mendieta unleashed a 25-yard drive past the despairing Oakes.

Ten minutes later the hosts doubled their lead as Juninho fired home Zenden's cross.

With only seven minutes to go the points were safe and the day ended on a sour note for Wolves as they had midfielder Alex Rae sent off for a second yellow card.


Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Mills, Southgate, Cooper, Queudrue, Mendieta, Doriva (Juninho Paulista 63), Boateng, Zenden, Nemeth (Christie 45), Maccarone (Greening 75).
Subs Not Used: Nash, Davies.

Booked: Mendieta.

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Irwin, Craddock, Butler, Naylor, Camara, Rae, Ince, Gudjonsson (Silas 78), Miller (Kennedy 62), Iversen.
Subs Not Used: Ikeme, Clyde, Cameron.

Sent-off: Rae (89).

Booked: Gudjonsson, Rae.

Attendance: 30,305

Referee: S Dunn (Gloucestershire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"Wolves lost their discipline after Boro's first goal"




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