Hot-shots Boro tum­ble as Wed­nes­day move up

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Martin Lee

AI­TOR Karanka held his hands up and ac­cepted the blame af­ter Mid­dles­brough missed the op­por­tu­nity to go top of the Cham­pi­onship with de­feat to Sh­effield Wed­nes­day.

Lead­ers Derby were beaten at Ful­ham, while Bournemouth and Brent­ford both dropped points, but Boro couldn’t cap­i­talise with a penalty from At­dhe Nuhiu and a Will Keane strike earn­ing Stu­art Gray’s side their first home win since Boxing Day.

Karanka made five changes to his start­ing line-up, leav­ing out cap­tain Grant Lead­bit­ter along with regular starters Ge­orge Friend and Lee Tom­lin – and the Spa­niard con­ceded he had to take the blame.

“I made mis­takes and we have lost the game,” he said. “The per­for­mance has been very bad for every­body.

“We have lost three points. I came here to win the game but I have learned a lot of things from the last two or three games and I have to think about the fu­ture.

“I can’t say what my mis­takes were. I have to learn from them and I have to im­prove in the fol­low­ing games.

“We didn’t lose be­cause of the pres­sure and I don’t think it is be­cause of the amount of changes be­cause against Black­pool, we made six changes and beat them.

“It was 11 against 11 and they have won all the 50-50 balls and all the fights on the pitch. We have to learn. The play­ers are in­tel­li­gent and they have to know what hap­pened.”

Mid­dles­brough had a penalty shout turned down in the third minute when Al­bert Adomah ap­peared to go down un­der a chal­lenge from Claude Dielna, but ref­eree Stephen Martin waved away their protests.

Buoyed by their win at Mill­wall mid­week, Gray’s men looked full of con­fi­dence and af­ter the penalty ap­peal they put the vis­i­tors un­der pres­sure.

Nuhiu made his pres­ence felt among the Boro back line and he linked up well with Keane, who nod­ded a header inches over in the 25th minute.

Boro and Wed­nes­day boast two of the best de­fen­sive records in the Cham­pi­onship and that was clear with both sides can­celling each

other out in an un­event­ful first pe­riod.

Af­ter the break Wed­nes­day picked up where they left off and with 52 min­utes gone they were handed an op­por­tu­nity to take the lead.

Ken­neth Omeruo was ad­judged to have han­dled in­side the area and Nuhiu made no mis­take fir­ing his spot kick be­yond Dimi Kon­stan­topou­los.

The Owls dou­bled their ad­van­tage two min­utes later when Keane nod­ded home af­ter Nuhiu’s ef­fort came back off the post.

Boro’s best chance to pull one back came when Pa­trick Bamford played in Kike, but Liam Palmer made a su­perb last-ditch chal­lenge to keep the Spa­niard out.

New Owls owner De­jphon Chan­siri was at Hills­bor­ough to see the club de­feat high-fly­ing Boro and manager Gray re­vealed they will dis­cuss plans next week.

“The new owner was here and I need to sit down with him and dis­cuss where we want to take the club on and off the pitch,” Gray said.“We need strength and depth but the pleas­ing thing is we brought play­ers on and they did very well, but we’re al­ways look­ing to im­prove.

“We’ve been cre­at­ing chances but it’s ei­ther been the wood­work or the goal­keeper or poor fin­ish­ing that’s kept us out.

“We were play­ing a very good side and we cre­ated a cou­ple of good chances and con­verted them. It’s nice to send the fans home with three points and two goals.

“If you don’t get in their faces they will make you pay and we closed them down from the very first minute.

“It al­lowed us to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties and the only time we got caught out was from one or two counter at­tacks.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

LOVELY GLOVELY: Will Keane, far right, cel­e­brates scor­ing Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s sec­ond goal with his team-mates

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

MAKE NUHUI MIS­TAKE: At­dhe Nuhiu scores from the spot to give Sh­effield Wed­nes­day the lead

DOU­BLE UP: Will Keane and his team­mates cel­e­brate Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s sec­ond

SUR­ROUNDED: Ref­eree Stephen Martin waves away Boro protests

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