Marvin’s marvel mission
SUPERSUB JOHNSON STARS IN BORO’S LATE SHOW
MARVIN JOHNSON was Middlesbrough’s marvel with the winner three minutes after coming off the bench.
On the day the Teessiders remembered Nobby Stiles, the England World Cup winner and former Boro midfielder, with a minute’s applause following his death on Friday, they extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
And utility man Johnson popped up in the 81st minute to grab his first league goal this season at Nottingham Forest ’ s expense as Boro climbed to fifth. Boss Neil Warnock, who handed England Under- 18 centre- back Nathan Wood his first league start, said: “It was similar to the win here aga inst Coventry the other night.
“It took us as long to score and I said it might take 90 minutes this time. But there’s a goal in us if we keep playing like we are – and rejected Marvin comes on and scores!’’
Warnock brought in Wood, son of former Boro left- back Dean Gordon, after Dael Fry went down with a sickness bug. “It wasn’t worth risking Dael,’’ said Warnock. “Young Woodsy came in. I asked him if he slept last night and he said, ‘ Yes’. And I said, ‘ Well, I didn’t think about you playing, son!’ I’ve seen him have nightm a r es in training, but he’s done really well .’’ Britt Assombalonga should have broken the deadlock on 33 minutes.
The Boro skipper totally lacked conviction when Ryan Yates’ back-pass left
Brice Samba exposed. But Assombalonga could only shoot straight at the keeper and when the ball ran to Marcus Tavernier, the winger blazed over.
Warnock introduced Djed Spence in place of Sam Morsy, with the midfielder already booked and in danger of talking himself into deeper trouble.
Forest’s best chance fell to Yates, who glanced narrowly wide on 65 minutes.
And Boro struck when George Saville swung the ball in from the right and Johnson finished first time, just inside the far post.
It was Forest’s first defeat in five games since Chris
Hughton took charge last month. He said: “It’s disappointing to concede a poor goal. Middlesbrough have a way of playing and they do it very well.
“For the majority of the game we coped defensively.
“We just needed to show more quality offensively.” MIDDLESBROUGH: Bettinelli 7; Dijksteel 6, Wood 7, McNair 8, Bola 6; Howson 7; Morsy 4 (Spence 34, 6), Saville 6; Tavernier 6, Assombalonga 5 (Akpom 70, 5), Coulson 6 (Johnson 78, 7). Unused subs: Stojanovic, Wing, Roberts, Browne NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Samba 7; Christie 6, Figueiredo 6, McKenna 6, Bong 6; Yates 5, Colback 5; Knockaert 5, Freeman 5 (Cafu 64, 5), Ameobi 5 (Lolley 46, 5); Guerrero 5 (Taylor 78). Unused subs: Mbe Soh, Smith, Jenkinson, Sow MAN OF THE MATCH: Paddy McNair. Boro defender was a threat with corners and assured at the back.
REFEREE: Lee Mason 6