Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 0: Main is Boro's hero as fans turn on Warnock
22:31 GMT, 12 February 2013
02:03 GMT, 13 February 2013
A boy signed on a free transfer from Darlington proved to be Middlesbrough's Main man.
Curtis Main's perfectly placed header eight minutes from time gave Middlesbrough their first win in six League games and their first victory on Teesside over Leeds in 21 years.
But the 20-year-old, who scored for the second game running since recovering from injury, was sent off by petty referee Keith Stroud in the dying minutes.
Helpless: Paddy Kenny's best efforts could not prevent defeat for Leeds
Main was booked twice, for encroaching and handball, and looked as astonished as his manager.
Mowbray said: 'The ref got it wrong.
It was not deliberate handball in a million years. Curtis has amazing
qualities and yet is such a young player who hasn't been educated.
But he is potentially a special
talent. Tonight he is disappointed, frustrated, annoyed and angry but he
got us a great winner.'
Leeds fans chanted 'Warnock, time to
go' at boss Neil Warnock, who reacted with sarcastic applause. He is
refusing to quit and blamed the defeat on his strikers following Luciano
Becchio's departure to Norwich.
Ross McCormack fluffed Leeds's best
chance and Warnock said: 'We have missed three open goals in three games
and all hell breaks loose. 'Unless I run on the pitch and put the
chances in I don't know what more I can do.'
Under fire: The pressure continues to grow on Leeds boss Neil Warnock
Rhys Williams should have put
Middlesbrough in front with a fourth-minute back-post volley after a
Grant Leadbitter free-kick put him clear, but Leeds started to take
control after that.
David Norris hit wide and then warmed
the palms of Jason Steele after some neat interplay between McCormack and Steve Morison, while the in-form Luke Varney also drove
away from goal after cutting in from the left.
The home side managed to steady themselves somewhat after that, but were so nearly the architects of their own downfall 28 minutes in.
Paul Green played a hopeful long ball forward that was Steele's all day long but he got his feet wrong and slipped, leaving McCormack with an open goal six yards out. The Scotland international dallied, though, and when he got a shot away, Jonathan Woodgate had recovered sufficiently to deny his former club on the line.
That proved to be Leeds' last chance of the first half and they should have been behind by the time the interval came.
Although not as clear a chance as McCormack's, Faris Haroun got clean through in injury time off Josh McEachran's defence-splitting pass, but Paddy Kenny was quickly off his line to deny him on the edge of the area.
Matchwinner: But Curtis Main was sent off minutes after scoring
The first half had hardly been an end-to-end affair but it was in comparison to the start of the second, which was attritional at best.
Woodgate provided the best moment, showing impressive pace and awareness to block off McCormack's run to goal, but as has often been the case in the 33-year-old's career, injury forced him off midway through the half.
Leadbitter, the game's other class act, then curled an edge-of-the-box free-kick just wide of Kenny's right-hand post and that brought about a mini period of drama with Leeds forced to defend for their lives with 17 minutes left.
Relieved: Tony Mowbray watched his side win for the first time in 2013
Kenny did well to deny Leadbitter down to his right and then combined with Sam Byram to deny Williams on the follow-up, with the keeper then darting across his line to pouch a McEachran header that should have been a forgone conclusion.
Boro seemed keen to take the initiative, though, and by bringing on Miller they took it. With nine minutes left his cross hung enough for Main to put a header back across Kenny's goal and into the top right-hand corner.
He was then dismissed by Keith Stroud for a combination of dissent and kicking the ball away but, even though Steele had to deny Habib Habibou, Boro were able to hold on without him.