The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Pa­trick Cole

GAS­TON Ramirez struck twice to fire Mid­dles­brough to the Cham­pi­onship sum­mit on Fri­day night but man­ager Ai­tor Karanka was more im­pressed with his unsung hero on the wing.

Ramirez, who joined the Teessiders on loan from Southamp­ton in Jan­uary, net­ted ei­ther side of the break to earn Boro three points at the ex­pense of Wolves.

How­ever, it was en­er­getic winger Al­bert Adomah, hav­ing ter­rorised Wolves down the left flank along­side full-back Ge­orge Friend, who caught Karanka’s eye.

Not long ago the Ghana in­ter­na­tional was out of the Boro side but, on this ev­i­dence, he has a ma­jor part to play in the run-in.

Karanka said: “One month ago against Leeds when he wasn’t in the squad, ev­ery­one was say­ing ‘what’s hap­pened with Al­bert Adomah?’

“Noth­ing hap­pened. He is an amaz­ing player and he has shown in the last few games he is one of the best wingers, if not the best, in the league.”

Wolves boss Kenny Jack­ett, whose side pulled one back late on through a Ben Gib­son own goal, couldn’t help but agree with his op­po­site num­ber.

“I felt Al­bert Adomah and Ge­orge Friend down Boro’s left and our right­hand side were dom­i­nant,” he said. “It opened the hole for Ramirez to come off the front. We never re­ally got hold of that tri­an­gle.”

Ramirez opened the scor­ing on 24 min­utes when the vis­i­tors were pun­ished for fail­ing to clear a free-kick. Adam Clay­ton cap­i­talised by send­ing a teas­ing cross into the area and the Uruguayan cap­i­talised on some slack mark­ing to nod home.

Jor­dan Rhodes has strug­gled to dis­cover his fin­ish­ing touch since swap­ping Black­burn for Boro in Jan­uary and he was de­nied by Carl Ikeme shortly be­fore Ramirez made it two. That was ten min­utes into the se­cond half, the 25-year-old col­lect­ing a pass from Friend and curl­ing past the Wolves stop­per.

“Ramirez is play­ing re­ally well sooner than I thought,” added Karanka.

“I knew his qual­ity but when you have been away from the pitch for a long time, it can take time. He is get­ting bet­ter ev­ery sin­gle day and you can see that on the pitch.

“He is a player, like we saw against Wolves, who can make the dif­fer­ence.”

Wolves rarely looked like fight­ing their way back into the game, though they did pull back a conso- la­tion goal shortly be­fore the end when Joe Ma­son saw his header de­flect of Gib­son and deny Dimi Kon­stan­topou­los an 18th Cham­pi­onship clean sheet this sea­son.

Jack­ett said: “We fin­ished quite strongly, got a goal back, but in the last few min­utes we couldn’t re­ally get a run at a very strong de­fence.

“I was dis­ap­pointed we weren't able to kick on from the week­end, but it is a tall or­der com­ing here and win­ning.”

Wolves look des­tined for an an­ti­cli­mac­tic fin­ish to the sea­son, with both the play-offs and the bot­tom three some way off.

Jack­ett’s side have now suf­fered de­feat in four of their last five games and takes just two points from a pos­si­ble 15 on the road since New Year’s Day.

For Boro, how­ever, the race for the Premier League is very much on af­ter a per­fect re­sponse to mid­week de­feat at the hands of Black­burn.

They are in ac­tion again as soon as Tues­day, vis­it­ing Rother­ham, while clashes with a string of pro­mo­tion ri­vals lie in wait for Karanka’s side be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

ALL SMILES: Gas­ton Ramirez wheels away af­ter scor­ing



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