Middlesbrough 2-0 Peterborough: The post-match recap as Paddy McNair and Josh Coburn sink the Posh
Middlesbrough got themselves back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Peterborough United at the Riverside Stadium.
Late goals from Paddy McNair and Josh Coburn gave Neil Warnock's side a hard-earned victory against a tenacious Posh who look destined for a long-hard season..
Boro came into the game without defenders Anfernee Dijkseteel, Marc Bola, Lee Peltier, Grant Hall and Dael Fry which had left many fans wondering how Warnock’s patched-up side would shape up.
With Boro Twitter giving away no clues with its insistence on ordering the starting line-up by number rather than position it was only when the game got underway that the tactical plan became clear.
Jonny Howson and McNair started in central defence alongside super Sol Bamba, with Onel Hernandez and Marcus Tavernier operating as makeshift full-backs.
Early signs suggested that the new set-up may require some work.
Peterborough started confidently with their midfield supporting pacy lone-striker Siriki Dembele and it took a couple of timely interceptions from the Boro back line to prevent Posh finding a way through.
Boro gradually worked their way into the game and Hernandez’s cross was just too high for Andraz Sporar to get a clean header before the ball worked its way to Martin Payero whose shot from just outside the D was well over.
Duncan Watmore went close as he ran from his own half and saw the keeper stop his eventual cross and Tavernier wasted a free kick in a good position but Peterborough’s high tempo and press make it hard for Boro to keep possession in their opponents half leading them to resort to playing the ball backwards, much to the frustration of the home fans.
The first-half lacked goalmouth action, however the flow of the game was not helped by delays caused by injuries to two Peterborough players and the assistant referee, who was replaced by a colleague.
The clearest chance of the opening period came with the last action of the half as Hernandez turned his marker and managed to beat the keeper only to see his shot cleared off the line by Josh Knight.
Middlesbrough started the second half where they left off and Uche Ikpeazu and Sporar both saw shots flash across the goal, inches away from the boots of their team-mates.
Tavernier was next to try his luck with his long-range strike being deflected for a corner and Hernandez then saw his fierce strike from 12 yards held by David Connell in the Posh goal.
After a positive start to the second period, the home side were almost caught out when Boro keeper Joe Lumley appeared to bring down Dembele in the box as he attempted to round him.
Although the Posh fans and bench screamed for a penalty the referee pointed for a corner rather than to the spot.
The next penalty appeal however produced a different result. Not for the first time in the second half, McNair seemed to be pulled to the floor whilst trying to connect with a corner and this time the referee gave the spot kick.
McNair confidently sent Connell the wrong way for his second goal in as many home games.
Deep into five minutes of injury time Payero won a strong fifty-fifty challenge after initially losing control of the ball with the ball falling to Coburn who released the Argentine to the right hand side of the box.
Payero capped his first home start with an excellent pull back to the young striker for his second senior goal and condemning Peterborough to their sixth away defeat in six games.
For Middlesbrough is was the perfect way to return from the international break and attention will now turn to the midweek clash with Barnsley - a game that Warnock will be determined to win as he looks to build some sort of momentum for the first time this season.
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