Boro beat Brent­ford 1-0 in yes­ter­day’s lunchtime kick-off

Boro boss val­ues victory over the Bees even higher

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Sam El­liott

IT WON’T cause a rip­ple in com­par­i­son, or up­set as many multi-mil­lion­aires, but Ai­tor Karanka be­lieves his side’s victory at Brent­ford is even bet­ter than mak­ing mince­meat of Manch­ester City.

Grif­fin Park may not have the wow fac­tor of the Eti­had, and the in­flu­ence of this re­sult won’t be felt world­wide like it was when they pow­ered past the Pre­mier League lead­ers the week be­fore, but for the Spa­niard big­ger is not al­ways bet­ter.

Karanka can see pro­gres­sion and he knows a top-two spot is theirs for the tak­ing.

Savour­ing the spot­light in Manch­ester fol­low­ing the 2-0 FA Cup suc­cess, he craves that adu­la­tion for him­self and his team on a much more regular ba­sis.

And, by earn­ing three points against a side so fear­some at home, claim­ing an­other clean sheet in the process, Mid­dles­brough are mak­ing waves.

A gift from Har­lee Dean put in Pa­trick Bamford and, once the striker was clat­tered by keeper David But­ton, cap­tain fan­tas­tic Grant Lead­bit­ter con­verted from the spot.

He al­ways does. Eight taken, eight scored so far, the mid­fielder typ­i­fies the bat­tling qual­i­ties his coach has quickly in­stalled.

It was their fourth win on the spin and their sev­enth shut-out in eight games. No won­der peo­ple are talk­ing.

Karanka said: “This was a very im­por­tant win against a team play­ing for the same po­si­tion as us.

“The per­for­mance maybe wasn’t as good as last Satur­day but it was more im­por­tant – it’s a sta­dium where it’s dif­fi­cult to win.

“This is now a cru­cial month for us. Af­ter next Satur­day, it is seven games in 21 days, so this victory is vi­tal to us.

“Our cap­tain showed our great char­ac­ter. We de­fended very well against a side who are very strong at their home ground. Not just our de­fend­ers. We are work­ing re­ally well all over the pitch.

“I was not wor­ried about com­pla­cency af­ter Manch­ester City.

“I knew it would be a dif­fi­cult week, the play­ers more ex­cited than nor­mal.

“I thought we could play the same way as we did there, but the

head some­times de­mands one thing that’s too big!”

The bear-hugs that greeted Dim­itrios Kon­stan­topou­los at full-time told a story. Brent­ford were so un­lucky not to take a late point when the Greek goal­keeper re­acted su­perbly with two sec­onds of in­jury time re­main­ing, deny­ing Jonathan Dou­glas with fine re­flexes.

He was a hero, too, in a fran­tic open­ing, keep­ing out Jota in be­tween missed chances for Bees’ An­dre Gray and James Tarkowski.

Stu­art Dal­las was given the free­dom of Grif­fin Park to run and line up a shot, but the Boro keeper pushed it on to the post. It was his good for­tune the ball was just out of reach for the lurk­ing Gray.

Things calmed af­ter a fran­tic first 20 min­utes, un­til de­fender Dean did some­thing silly.

He let the long ball run and it sold keeper But­ton hope­lessly short.

Bamford smelt blood. But­ton raced out. Down he fell and Lead­bit­ter took the re­spon­si­bil­ity from the spot. Like the award, there was no ques­tion about the out­come. Brent­ford were be­hind a few kicks be­fore half-time.

The sec­ond-half was low key, Boro happy to play the wait­ing game as Mark War­bur­ton’s side ran out of ideas.

Jota tried to re­spond from dis­tance be­fore his cor­ner found Dal­las in space, but there was no pun­ish­ment as the mid­fielder thrashed his shot over the bar.

Bamford nearly prof­ited from Lee Tom­lin’s slick pass but But­ton got his body in the way. The on-loan striker’s fan­tas­tic pass then picked out Jelle Vossen. His cen­tre un­leashed Al­bert Adomah, but he lacked com­po­sure.

The Bees came on strong to­wards the end through Dal­las and Dou­glas, but it was too lit­tle too late.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT: Boro’s Grant Lead­bit­ter cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing from the spot

ON ITS WAY: Grant Lead­bit­ter scores Mid­dles­brough’s win­ner from a first-half penalty

WHAM BAM: Boro’s Pa­trick Bamford takes on Stu­art Dal­las

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