David Nugent gave his side a huge boost in the race for promotion into the Premier League this past Friday night, with the second half substitute scoring a very late winner over Hull to secure all three points for Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough and Hull have far and away the meanest defences in the Championship this season, with both teams conceding just 23 goals in 37 games. Therefore it was always likely to be a tightly contested affair, and as many predicted the result came down to one incredibly decisive moment.
Chances for both sides had been few and far between, and the game looked destined to end in stalemate – a result that wouldn’t have helped either club in their hunt for automatic promotion. Hull had the odd chance in the second half, with Abel Hernandez changing the game somewhat when he came on, but in the end it was Boro who snatched the win.
A spell of pressure towards the end of the game eventually paid off, with Albert Adomah whipping a cross into the box and David Nugent getting a glancing header on the ball. It flew into the bottom corner, with Hull shot-stopper Allan McGregor given absolutely no chance.
The header was just the second shot on target for Boro during the game, and in all honesty they hadn’t looked particularly like scoring before the goal. Nugent’s late winner means the miss from Ahmed Elmohamady earlier – arguably the only clear-cut chance created by either team across the 90 minutes – becomes all the more important, and could end up deciding whether Hull are playing in the Premier League or the Championship next season.
Aitor Karanka and Middlesbrough will be hoping they can keep hold of second place for the rest of the campaign, but with Brighton snapping at their heels it will be a tall order.