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Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 0 match report

Middlesbrough 1 Blackburn 0: Boro bounce back and pile the pressure on Berg

PUBLISHED:

17:37 GMT, 26 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:44 GMT, 26 December 2012

Lukas Jutkiewicz struck the game's
solitary goal midway through the second half as Middlesbrough bounced
back from Saturday's npower Championship defeat at Leeds to keep their
automatic promotion hopes alive.

Polish striker Jutkiewicz struck for
the second successive game with a clinical low finish from the edge of
the penalty area to lift Tony Mowbray's side up to third, within a point
of second-placed Hull.

Christmas cracker: Lucas Jutkiewicz scores the winner

Christmas cracker: Lucas Jutkiewicz scores the winner

Match facts

Middlesbrough: Steele, Friend, Woodgate, Bikey (Rhys Williams 46), Hoyte, Ledesma, McEachran (Smallwood 56), Leadbitter, Emnes (Bailey 72), Jutkiewicz, McDonald. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Halliday, Miller.

Booked: Ledesma

Goals: Jutkiewicz 67.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Grant Hanley, Dann, Martin Olsson, Rosado (Dunn 79), Murphy, Lowe, King, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards (Rochina 83). Subs Not Used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Etuhu, Vukcevic.

Booked: Henley.

Att: 22,882

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Blackburn, who have now won only once under manager Henning Berg in 10 matches, were made to pay for missed chances and continue to slide down the table after securing just one point from their last six fixtures.

Rovers' late substitute Ruben Rochina was denied a late equaliser when Middlesbrough goalkeeper Jason Steele kept out his free-kick, but the home side were also guilty of some wasteful finishing.

Defender Andre Bikey and Argentinian striker Emmanuel Ledesma returned for Boro, while Portugal Under-21s international Diogo Rosado made his first start for Blackburn with midfielder Danny Murphy and defender Grant Hanley also recalled by Berg.

Middlesbrough made the brighter start as Jutkiewicz and Ledesma both fired over the crossbar from inside the penalty area before 16-goal Blackburn striker Jordan Rhodes fired a shot just off target at the other end.

Rosado then tested Steele with a swirling, angled drive from 35 yards that was well held by the Boro goalkeeper and in a see-saw opening Jutkiewicz's header from Ledesma's cross was gathered by Blackburn goalkeeper Jake Kean.

Close call: Jordan Rhodes is kept out by Boro defence

Close call: Jordan Rhodes is kept out by Boro defence

Middlesbrough defender George Friend and midfield team-mate Grant Leadbitter both fired in shots from outside the area, but the home side were given a let-off in the 24th minute when Rhodes spurned a gilt-edged chance from close range.

Boro continued to rain in shots from long range. Rosado, again from more than 30 yards, striker Scott McDonald and Ledesma all tried their luck from distance before the break, the latter's well held by Kean in the 35th minute.

Both sides went in search of the game's opening goal in an even contest, but the score remained goalless at the interval.

Mowbray replaced Bikey with Rhys Williams during the interval and the latter was straight into the action, blocking Rovers striker Josh King's goalbound effort before Murphy's 20-yard shot was well held by Steele.

Jutkiewicz was next to waste a golden opportunity when he headed wide from six yards from McDonald's telling cross in the 50th minute, while Rovers striker Colin Kazim-Richards saw his header saved by Steele before blazing the rebound over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

Jutkiewicz dragged an angled shot wide and forward team-mate Marvin Emnes arrowed a 25-yard effort off target, but in the 67th minute Boro broke the deadlock.

McDonald pulled the ball back towards the edge of the penalty area from the left and Jutkiewicz buried a low, right-footed shot into the bottom corner for his seventh goal of the season.

Blackburn boss Berg replaced Rosado with David Dunn in the 78th minute before fellow midfielder Jason Lowe fired a low angled shot just wide and moments later visiting goalkeeper Kean denied Boro a second when tipping McDonald's close-range effort over the crossbar at full stretch.

Rovers almost snatched a point in the final minute, but Rochina's goalbound free-kick was brilliantly saved by Boro keeper Steele.

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1 – match report

Leeds United 2 Middlesbrough 1: Becchio double kick starts new era in style

PUBLISHED:

17:34 GMT, 22 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:34 GMT, 22 December 2012

In-form striker Luciano Becchio continued his impressive goal scoring
record against Middlesbrough to help Leeds kick off their new era with a
win.

The day after GFH Capital confirmed their 100% buyout of the Whites,
Becchio scored either side of the break to cancel out Lucas Jutkiewicz's
opener and earn his side a fifth win in six npower Championship games.

Double trouble: Luciano Becchio heads home the winner

Double trouble: Luciano Becchio heads home the winner

Match facts

Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Tate, Lees, Peltier (Pearce 77), Green (White 46), Tonge, Norris, Thomas (Somma 68), Diouf, Becchio. Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Varney, Brown, McCormack.

Booked: Norris.

Goals: Becchio 45, 73.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte (Parnaby 76), Woodgate, Hines, Friend, McDonald (Halliday 80), McEachran, Leadbitter, Smallwood (Ledesma 76), Jutkiewicz, Emnes. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Luke Williams, Reach.

Booked: Friend.

Goals: Jutkiewicz 30.

Att: 25,406

Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).

Latest Championship results, fixtures and table

The 28-year-old took his tally for the season to 17 in the process – just three short of his best-ever return for the club – and improved his record against Boro to five in four games.

The former Barcelona B man still has 18 months to run on his contract at Elland Road but it is likely that manager Neil Warnock will be knocking on the door of his new bosses soon to try and arrange an extension as he looks to kickstart a promotion push in the new year.

In this form that looks likely for Leeds, although they still have a number of teams above them, including a Boro side who, with some better finishing from Jutkiewicz, could have been out of sight by the time the winner arrived.

With Leeds' new hierarchy in situ today it looked as though their big day would be ruined by both the weather – the game was given the go ahead after two pitch inspections – and a Middlesbrough side who started the better.

They adapted the better to the conditions early on, with Scott McDonald fizzing a low strike just wide after 67 seconds and Jutkiewicz nodding over when he should have done better.

It took Leeds 20 minutes to get a sight of Middlesbrough's goal but when they did they thought they were ahead, with Sam Byram's downwards header from an El-Hadji Diouf free-kick looking in all the way until Team GB goalkeeper Jason Steele got down to somehow scoop it up.

Red hot: Lucas Jutkiewicz (out of pic) scores for Middlesbrough

Red hot: Lucas Jutkiewicz (out of pic) scores for Middlesbrough

That was about as good as it got for the Whites in the early stages, though, and with Boro quicker to almost everything, it was of no surprise when they took the lead 30 minutes in.

Diouf's lay-off was missed by all of his team-mates and allowed the visitors to pick up the ball, with Jutkiewicz racing through on Paddy Kenny's goal and drilling in a low strike which the keeper did well to save with his feet. Leeds were slow to the rebound, however, and Jutkiewicz picked it up and beat Kenny at his near post via a deflection off Alan Tate.

Leeds responded well to the goal and would have been level had Jerome Thomas squared to Diouf and not shot across goal, but the equaliser did come on the stroke of half-time, with Becchio half-volleying in via the angle of post and bar after Jonathan Woodgate failed to clean up Byram's cross.

It was perhaps slightly harsh on Middlesbrough, who had been the better side, and that carried on into the second half with Jutkiewicz turning Tate and breaking clear but failing to beat Kenny.

Regardless of his conversion rate, Jutkiewicz was getting at Kenny at will and as the hour approached he bore down on him again, this time foiled by the former QPR man's midriff as he again attacked the near post.

In a bid to shake things up, Leeds sent on South Africa striker Davide Somma for a first appearance since May 2011, but it was Becchio who remained their biggest threat and he duly proved why with 17 minutes left.

After his header from a Diouf cross was tipped over by Steele, he rose the highest from the resulting corner to beat the goalkeeper with another nod of his head, this one taking a deflection off former United defender Woodgate.

Boro's response was a frenzied one, with Emmanuel Ledesma nearly wrong-footing Kenny and even Steele going close from a corner, but Leeds hung on.

Middlesbrough 3 Sheff Wed 1: Buoyant Boro go top of the Championship

Middlesbrough 3 Sheff Wed 1: Buoyant Boro go top of the Championship

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UPDATED:

01:30 GMT, 10 November 2012

Middlesbrough went top of the
Championship for the first time in 14 months in front of the Riverside’s
biggest crowd since they were relegated from the Premier League three
seasons ago.

A rare gem from Justin Hoyte, a
tap-in from Ishmael Miller and a thumping header from substitute Lukas
Jutkiewicz secured three points in front of 28,229.

Stunner: Justin Hoyte (L) scores the first goal for Middlesbrough

Stunner: Justin Hoyte (L) scores the first goal for Middlesbrough

Match facts

Middlesbrough: Steele, Friend, Bikey, Woodgate (Hines 46), Hoyte, Emnes (Haroun 73), McEachran, Leadbitter, Ledesma, Miller (Jutkiewicz 66), McDonald. Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Zemmama, Bailey, Parnaby.

Goals: Hoyte 13,Miller 60, Jutkiewicz 76.

Sheff Wed: Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, Jones, Bothroyd (Jermaine Johnson 73), Barkley (McCabe 83), Semedo, Corry (O'Grady 82), Antonio, Madine. Subs Not Used: Davies, Taylor, Rodri, Mattock.

Goals: Madine 48.

Att: 28,229

Ref: Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).

Although Sheffield Wednesday striker Gary Madine threatened to spoil the party, Boro were not to be denied.

Boro boss Tony Mowbray said: ‘It was great to have such a big crowd. We have had woeful crowds this season. That is what I know the Riverside can be like.

‘We picked a team to score goals. We have to maintain it for another 30-odd games.’

Boro made a nervy start in front of their largest home crowd since May 2009. Hoyte blocked a drive from Miguel Llera, Jonathan Woodgate blocked Michail Antonio’s shot following George Friend’s misplaced pass and Jay Bothroyd mis-hit a drive.

But Hoyte’s first goal in three years — the fourth of his career — into a top corner from Emmanuel Ledesma’s through ball lifted Boro fans who had taken advantage of half-price tickets.

On-loan Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran, 19, produced an outstanding piece of skill when he picked up the ball midway inside the Wednesday half, beat four men and weaved into the area but was denied by Chris Kirkland’s save at his feet.

Woodgate was forced off at half-time with a calf injury and Wednesday took advantage, although Madine was offside before touching Antonio’s lay-off home.

Hand off: Lewis Buxton (left) and Ishmael Miller of Middlesbrough

Hand off: Lewis Buxton (left) and Ishmael Miller of Middlesbrough

Mowbray was planning to bring on Jutkiewicz for McDonald or Miller when they combined for the decisive second.

Aussie striker McDonald rightly felt his strike partner had stolen his glory and was still moaning after the game.

Mowbray said: ‘Scott lives for goals and his opinion was it was going in and Ishmael disagreed. I’m not bothered as long as we score.’

When Jutkiewicz did appear, he took 10 minutes to score his fifth goal in seven games, heading home Grant Leadbitter’s near-post corner.

Phil Jagielka wants England starting spot after John Terry retirement

Jagielka ready to stake his claim for the centre ground after Terry exit clears path

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 14 October 2012

For Phil Jagielka, the path is suddenly clear. A golden cluster of English central defenders has dispersed and the future can be his.

Jagielka has waited patiently as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher and Ledley King dominated the heart of England’s back four.

Grounded: Phil Jagielka knows England's trip to Poland will provide a real test for his team

Grounded: Phil Jagielka knows England's trip to Poland will provide a real test for his team

case for defence

Then there was Jonathan Woodgate,
Jagielka’s central defensive partner on his international debut in a
friendly in Trinidad, four years ago.

But as Roy Hodgson looks to build his World Cup team upon the bedrock of Joe Hart and two solid centre-halves, the Everton defender with Polish grandparents is pleased he did not pursue the option of playing for England’s opponents on Tuesday.

‘John decided to retire and there’s a few of us competing for the two spots,’ said Jagielka. ‘You’ll have to wait to see who takes the mantle of leading the back four but I’ll be chucking my name in the hat.

‘Gary Cahill had a great game the other night and Joleon Lescott had a fantastic European Championship. The lads coming in like Ryan Shawcross are going to keep us on our toes.

‘John and Rio seemed to play together for England forever, didn’t they They had a great partnership and there were a couple of others behind them.

‘You’re down a long list of players,
but time passes and you get your opportunities. I’ve just turned 30 and
I’m not exactly a young lad any more. I’d like to play on a more
consistent basis.’

Terry’s
retirement changed the landscape. For Hodgson, the Chelsea captain was
his senior centre-half and it was a matter of choosing a partner.

When
Cahill was injured before Euro 2012, he paired Terry and Lescott, who
gelled, but Jagielka has started all three games this season when Terry
has been unavailable.

‘As an England fan I was gutted to
hear John had retired,’ said Jagielka. ‘He’s been a fantastic player for
England and he’s put his body on the line for many years, but he had
his reasons. From a personal point of view it’s one less person to
compete with. As much as I was gutted, it was also an opportunity for me
to try and go higher up the pecking order.’

An
understanding with Lescott helped. Born a day apart in August 1982,
they developed through England’s youth ranks, though not always as
defensive partners.

Both were versatile. Jagielka started
in midfield, sometimes played right back and, later, when Everton
team-mates, Lescott might play left back.

Old pals: Joleon Lescott (back) is expected to line up alongside Jagielka in Poland

Old pals: Joleon Lescott (back) is expected to line up alongside Jagielka in Poland

Big shoes to fill: Terry's retirement has created a space to fill in England's defence

Big shoes to fill: Terry has created a space to fill

But when they have played together in central defence they have shown chemistry.

‘It just works,’ said Jagielka. ‘The communication, the way we play, one left-footed, one right-footed. It’s just one of those things when you play with someone and it clicks.

‘If you’re telling a person something and he’s listening, you’re on the same page. If sometimes you’re saying something and they’re not hearing it or decide to do something else, it puts you on the back foot.’

Hodgson is expected to revert to this partnership on Tuesday even though the pair were not at their best against Ukraine last month.

‘We were a little bit open,’ said Jagielka. ‘It was a difficult game with us conceding first. We weren’t particularly in control and their game plan worked really well. We looked back at the videos and saw what we could have done better and we move on.’

Blackburn 1 Middlesbrough 2: Lukasa Jutkiewicz turns screw on Steve Kean

Blackburn 1 Middlesbrough 2: Jutkiewicz turns screw as Kean fails to hit points total

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UPDATED:

20:59 GMT, 21 September 2012

Steve Kean will spend a nervous weekend sweating on his future after a Lukas Jutkiewicz double condemned his Blackburn side to a surprise defeat.

The Rovers manager was set a tough target of 16 points from the opening seven games by the club’s Indian owners Venky's and has come up two short.

The fact Blackburn have produced a table-topping total of 14 will go in his favour, but director Shebby Singh was brought in during the summer with a mandate to shake things up at the relegated club and he is not expected to extend the kind of sympathetic hearing Kean enjoyed last season.

Missed the target: Steve Kean was told he had to earn 16 points from Blackburn's first 7 games - they only got 14

Missed the target: Steve Kean was told he had to earn 16 points from Blackburn's first 7 games – they only got 14

Game over: Lukas Jutkiewicz scores the second goal

Game over: Lukas Jutkiewicz scores the second goal

Match facts

Blackburn: Robinson, Orr, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson (Grant Hanley 48), Ribeiro (Formica 46), Murphy, Etuhu, Nunes, Nuno Gomes, Rhodes.

Subs Not Used: Kean, Lowe, Dunn, Pedersen, Rochina.

Booked: Martin Olsson, Givet, Orr.

Goals: Grant Hanley 89.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte,
Woodgate (Hines 84), Bikey, Friend, Thomson, Carayol (Zemmama 88),
Leadbitter (Bailey 88), McEachran, Emnes, Jutkiewicz.

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Ledesma, Arca, Luke Williams.

Booked: Steele.

Goals: Jutkiewicz 7, 61.

Att: 13,405

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Blackburn came into the game boasting their best start to a season in 18 years having gone six games unbeaten.

The last time they kicked off a
campaign so successfully they finished as Premier League champions.
Those days are long gone. Kean did have high expectations of hitting his
points target, a optimism founded partly on the fact that he possesses a
dyanmic strike force of Jordan Rhodes and Nuno Gomes.

The Portuguese was recalled here to
take on a Middlesbrough defence that shipped four goals in losing at
Blackpool on Tuesday — a third away defeat for Tony Mowbray’s men.

But Middlesbrough turned up in the
form that has seen win all four of their home games this term and were
ahead in the seventh minute.

Justin Hoyte made sure he got distance
on his clearance from inside the Boro area and 1.3m signing Jutkiewicz
rose above Gael Givet to win the ball.

He cleverly found Marvin Emnes with
his flick on and by the time the Dutchman returned a pass, Jutkiewicz
was away from the leaden-footed Givet and slotting past Paul Robinson.

Punishment: Jutkiewicz (right) celebrates his first goal

Spin: Grant Leadbitter turns away from Danny Murphy

Punishment: Jutkiewicz (right) celebrates his first goal while Spin: Grant Leadbitter dodges Danny Murphy

Minutes later keeper Robinson
misjudged Grant Leadbitter’s inswinging free-kick and was relieved to
see it fly past his post as the visitors took control.

The players left to a round of boos at
the break and things didn’t get much better in the second half. Within
seconds of the restart Mustapha Carayol’s cross was cleared off the
line but there was no denying Jutkiewicz on the hour mark.

The lively
Carayol cut in from the left and delivered the ball to the far post
where Jutkiewicz sent a header into the top corner. Grant Hanley sparked
hopes of a comeback when he headed in from six yards with two minutes
left but Blackburn failed to find an equaliser in the closing stages.

Thriller: The few fans who did show up got to see an entertaining game

Thriller: The few fans who did show up got to see an entertaining game

Blackpool 4 Middlesbrough 1

Blackpool 4 Middlesbrough 1: On-loan Villa striker Delfouneso at the double on debut

By
Sportsmail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

21:22 GMT, 18 September 2012

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UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 18 September 2012

Brace yourself: Delfouneso scored two goals

Brace yourself: Delfouneso scored two goals

Nathan Delfouneso enjoyed a full debut to remember as Blackpool stormed past Middlesbrough.

The on-loan Aston Villa striker netted twice in the first-half before laying on in-form winger Tom Ince to coolly finish 10 minutes after the interval.

By that point Andre Bikey had headed home to hand Boro a lifeline, but Tony Mowbray's side were second best for long periods as they fell to a third consecutive away loss.

Blackpool substitute Elliot Grandin was brought down by Bikey and rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot, despite Delfouneso being on the pitch to claim a hat-trick denied to him by the linesman's flag moments earlier.

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Osbourne, Crainey, Ince (Matt Phillips 71), Ferguson, Baptiste, Gomes (Grandin 70),
Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 70), Delfouneso.
Subs Not Used: Halstead, Robertson, Evatt, Kevin Phillips.
Goals: Delfouneso 10, 36, Ince 56, Grandin 86 pen.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Friend, Woodgate, Amougou, Leadbitter,
Thomson, McEachran, Carayol (Zemmama 72), Emnes (Jutkiewicz 59), Miller (Ledesma 77).
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Hines, Arca, Smallwood.
Booked: Leadbitter, Thomson, Amougou.
Goals: Amougou 45.
Att: 12,746
Ref: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Returning to winning ways after a draw and a loss, Blackpool remain second in the table – four points and six places above Boro.

Ian Holloway rang the changes in his well-stocked, fully-fit squad, recalling captain Barry Ferguson as one of six changes.

Mustapha Carayol made a first league start for Middlesbrough, coming in alongside fellow forward Marvin Emnes as Adam Reach and Luke Williams made way.

The home side started on the front foot with Gary Taylor-Fletcher driving speculatively wide before Ince stung the palms of Jason Steele.

It was not long until Delfouneso sprung the Boro defence to collect Taylor-Fletcher's pass and slide beyond the Middlesbrough goalkeeper.

Grant Leadbitter gave Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks his first work of the evening in the 12th minute, but opposite number Steele was far busier as he did well to thwart Taylor-Fletcher and Delfouneso.

Blackpool continued to pepper Steele's goal as recalled duo Stephen Crainey and Thiago Gomes joined the list of players to test him, but in the 34th minute Boro striker Ishmael Miller wastefully thrashed into the side netting when he had time and space to bag a scarcely merited equaliser.

Two minutes later Delfouneso side side-footed in from Ince's to give the scoreline a more deserving slant.

The 21-year-old passed up a glorious chance for a first-half hat-trick, blazing over after Ferguson and Taylor-Fletcher combined, before a flurry of pressure brought Middlesbrough back into the game as the interval approached.

Josh McEachran's corner was met by Bikey and struck the bar via a clip off defensive colleague George Friend.

Blackpool failed to completely clear their lines and, when Leadbitter put the ball back into the box, Bikey made no mistake.

Mowbray's men resumed with similar intent, but the Seasiders restored their two-goal advantage when, played in by Delfouneso, Ince calmly rounded Steele to finish.

Boro enjoyed more of the ball in the second half but, having conceded the third on the counter attack, displayed understandable caution and were rarely able to threaten Gilks.

Delfouneso stooped to head home Grandin's cross-come-shot, only for the celebrations to be cut short by the linesman's flag, before the latter added gloss to the scoreline four minutes from time.

Middlesbrough 2 Ipswich 0: Luke Williams and Mustapha Carayol score

Middlesbrough 2 Ipswich 0: Williams and Carayol make it three on the bounce for Boro

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 15 September 2012

Middlesbrough made it three successive wins at the Riverside this season, although the 2-0 scoreline flattered the hosts.

A Luke Williams effort separated the sides until added time when Mustapha Carayol's 12-yard effort made sure of the points.

Boro had the better of the early exchanges but Paul Jewell's side never gave up.

Opener: Williams (left) is mobbed after scoring

Opener: Williams (left) is mobbed after scoring

Match facts

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Amougou, Woodgate, Friend, Thomson (Zemmama 85), Leadbitter, Reach, McEachran, Miller (Jutkiewicz 57), Luke Williams (Carayol 70). Subs not used: Leutwiler, Arca, Hines, Ledesma.

Booked: Miller.

Scorers: Luke Williams 34, Carayol 90.

Ipswich: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Taylor, Drury (Luongo 72), Murphy (Scotland 79), Martin, N'Daw, Chopra (Emmanuel-Thomas 85).Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Hyam, Murray, Ainsley.

Referee: Phil Gibbs.

Attendance: 14,887.

The home side went close after just five minutes when a foul by Michael Chopra on Williams gave the hosts a free-kick wide on the right.

Adam Reach took it and Ishmael Miller's header from 12 yards out was cleared by Aaron Cresswell.

The dangerous Miller came even closer to breaking the deadlock four minutes later when his close-range shot was beaten out by Ipswich keeper Scott Loach.

The visitors were firmly on the back foot early on but made their presence felt after 13 minutes when an inswinging corner from Adam Drury was met by Tommy Smith who forced a save from Jason Steele in the Boro goal.

Paul Taylor and Cresswell went close from distance as Jewell's side achieved territorial parity, and after 25 minutes Chopra's right-footed effort from 18 yards needed to be blocked by Boro's Andre Amougou.

The Tractor Boys went close again two minutes later when a cross by Taylor was tipped over by Steele and from the resulting corner by Drury, Steele was brought into action again to save Smith's close-range header.

But having battled back from Boro's fine start, the visitors found themselves a goal down against the run of play after 34 minutes when Williams shot home from the edge of the penalty area to give Tony Mowbray's men the lead.

Boro went close to doubling their
advantage four minutes later when George Friend's shot from 20 yards
brought a hasty clearance from Luke Chambers.

The men in charge: Boro boss Tony Mowbray (left) and Ipswich manager Paul Jewell (right)

The men in charge: Boro boss Tony Mowbray (left) and Ipswich manager Paul Jewell (right)

The men in charge: Boro boss Tony Mowbray (left) and Ipswich manager Paul Jewell (right)

Mowbray's men picked up where they had left off after the break and Miller's 12-yard effort forced a save from Loach.

Miller, who had taken a knock, was replaced by Lukas Jutkiewicz after 56 minutes and the replacement went close to adding to Boro's tally within four minutes when his left-footed effort was just wide.

But while Boro looked the more threatening side, the Tractor Boys could not be discounted and Steel was forced into action again after 67 minutes when Chopra's right-footed effort from 12 yards was only parried to safety by the Boro keeper.

Ipswich looked threatening and Boro were forced onto the defensive to protect their slender lead as Taylor's 25-yard effort fizzed wide with 15 minutes left.

The visitors continued to press with Carlos Edwards and Taylor in particular looking threatening in the closing stages.

But Carayol had the final word as the home side rode their luck for maximum points.

Michael Owen signs for Stoke

Blow for Rodgers as former England man Owen signs one-year deal with Stoke

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UPDATED:

18:59 GMT, 4 September 2012

Michael Owen has completed his move to Stoke City, signing a one-year deal with the club, subject to Premier League approval..

The 32-year-old has been without a club since he was released by Manchester United at the end of last season, and had been interesting former club Liverpool.

A statement on the Potters' website said: 'Stoke City have today won the race to sign England international striker Michael Owen on a free transfer, subject to Premier League Board approval.

Destination: Michael Owen is poised to be a Stoke player

Destination: Michael Owen is poised to be a Stoke player

Another blow: Brendan Rodgers had been hoping to add to his strikeforce

Another blow: Brendan Rodgers had been hoping to add to his strikeforce

Owen has endured a difficult five years ravaged by injury but boasts a
record of 221 goals in 473 club appearances, which includes United,
Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle.

He has also scored 40 goals in 89 England appearances, although hasn't featured for the Three Lions since March 2008.

The striker tweeted: 'Delighted to have signed for Stoke subject to Premier League approval. We have been in talks for a while and it was a club I was always keen to join.

'I'm particularly excited at the prospect of working under Tony Pulis. He has assembled a great squad that I look forward to joining.

'I'm now looking forward to contributing as much as possible to the club and can't wait to play in front of a great set of supporters.'

Owen is the seventh man to sign with Tony Pulis' side this summer, joining Jamie Ness, Geoff Cameron, Michael Kightly,
Maurice Edu, Charlie Adam and Steven N’Zonzi.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis had previously announced his interest in signing the striker on a pay-as-you-play deal.

'I would love to sign Michael,' he told The Sentinel.

'If we can do it, we will do it, and do it on the basis that we did with Jonathan Woodgate and players like that.

'If he's in the team he will get paid, and if he isn't he won't get paid so much.'

Ready and waiting: Owen tweeted a picture of his boots lying idle on Monday

Ready and waiting: Owen tweeted a picture of his boots lying idle on Monday

Stoke want Michael Owen despite Liverpool interest

Stoke boss Pulis confident of Owen deal despite interest from Liverpool

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UPDATED:

12:51 GMT, 3 September 2012

Stoke manager Tony Pulis is still hopeful a deal can be done to sign striker Michael Owen in spite of increased competition from Premier League rivals.

The Potters have been linked with the 32-year-old ever since he became a free agent after his release from Manchester United this summer.

Where now Michael Owen is a free agent after leaving Manchester United

Where now Michael Owen is a free agent after leaving Manchester United

Pulis wants to sign the former England international on a pay-as-you-play deal.

'I would love to sign Michael,' he told The Sentinel.

'If we can do it, we will do it, and do it on the basis that we did with Jonathan Woodgate and players like that.

'If he's in the team he will get paid, and if he isn't he won't get paid so much.'

As the striker is out of contract he can be signed outside of the transfer window and now it has closed until January that has made him more attractive to other clubs, with Sunderland and Liverpool now being linked.

Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers said after his side's defeat to Arsenal: ‘Any player that I believe can improve the squad, I will look at. We have got a very small group here.'

Jonathan Woodgate wants to help Middlesbrough get back in the Premier League

Man on a mission: I want Middlesbrough back in the top flight, says Woodgate

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 12 July 2012

As he contemplated the final, and arguably most important move of his life, Jonathan Woodgate was in a reflective and honest mood.

‘I have had some good moves,’ he said on his return to Middlesbrough’s training ground. ‘But in my opinion, mine has been a career that has not been great. I have not fulfilled at clubs due to injuries but that is part of life.

‘That might be an honest thing to say but it’s right though, isn’t it What have I won Not much. The FA Youth Cup, the Carling Cup. Scored the winner in that one. Went in off my nose, but it was still the winner.’

New boys: Emanuel Ledesma, Stuart Parnaby, Jonathan Woodgate and Grant Leadbitter line up

New boys: Emanuel Ledesma, Stuart Parnaby, Jonathan Woodgate and Grant Leadbitter line up

Mowbray welcomes Woody

Boro boss Tony Mowbray is delighted to have been able to add a player of proven quality and experience to his squad.
'In footballing terms, he is still relatively young. As a central defender, I know I played my best football around the age Jonathan is, after 30 years old,' he said.
'I played until I was 37 and in that context, he has got five years left at the top, and hopefully playing in the Premier League for a good few of those years.
'We have to get over the hurdle in front of us, of course, but I am delighted and I hope the people of Teesside are delighted that Jonathan has made this commitment to come back and help his home-town club get back to the Premier League. Not just for, hopefully, his performances on the field, but his experience of what it takes to be a top footballer.
'Just sitting and chatting, he has played with Zinedine Zidane and the original, Brazilian Ronaldo – it puts into context the quality of players, and to hear him talk, generally the best players have been the best professionals, who come in every day and do it right.'

Woodgate has eight England caps, which seems pitifully low for a central defender of such astonishing natural ability and pace.

A lengthy c.v. dating back to Leeds
includes a spell at Real Madrid with Zidane, Ronaldo, Beckham, but he
played just 14 games for Los Merengues before his first move back to
Teesside.

He is not unwilling to talk about that 13.4million move from Newcastle to Madrid, just not entirely comfortable with it.

‘I get embarrassed about it,’ he says.
‘I don’t like talking about Real Madrid and all that because it does my
head in. I was there years ago and I was at Stoke last season. In my
mind, let’s forget about all that.

‘The club where there is the biggest
“what if” is obviously Real Madrid but I cannot dwell on it. There are a
lot of “what ifs” but I try not to look at my past, I’d rather
concentrate on my future.’

One thing he can’t forget is his
Madrid debut, seven years ago against Athletic Bilbao. Woodgate had been
out for a year when he scored an own goal and was sent off. It earned
him cult status among Madrid fans and still brings a smile to his face.

Dramatic debut: Woodgate trudges off at the Bernabeu after being sent for an early bath

Dramatic debut: Woodgate trudges off at the Bernabeu after being sent for an early bath

Low point Not at all.

‘That was a good point in my career because I was fit again,’ he said. ‘And the fans even clapped me off.

‘Ronaldo came up to me and said,
“Don’t worry about it, you are playing”. I said, “Yeah, you’re right”.
We won that game 4-1, so it might have been different if we’d lost.

‘The low points are when you get
injured for the first time at a new club and it gets worse and you can’t
get back, then you come back too early and something happens again.

‘When you’re out there training and
the same injury comes. When you go to a new club and you are injured and
have an opportunity to prove yourself at the top and it just
collapses.

That’s the one that kills you.’

Moving on: Woodgate spent one season at Stoke after joining from Tottenham

Moving on: Woodgate spent one season at Stoke after joining from Tottenham

Much has changed at Middlesbrough
since Woodgate last wore the club’s red shirt. Sitting alongside manager
Tony Mowbray and fellow new signings Stuart Parnaby, Grant Leadbitter
and Emmanuel Ledesma was proof of that.

The likes of Mark Viduka, Gaizka
Mendieta, Fabio Rochemback, Mark Schwarzer and Gareth Southgate are long
gone — although Julio Arca is still there.

Woodgate has returned to Teesside
older, wiser and probably fitter. He is determined to secure promotion
for his hometown club after turning his back on the top flight.

Home favourite: Woodgate has previously spent time playing for his boyhood club

Home favourite: Woodgate has previously spent time playing for his boyhood club

Two weeks ago the defender was about
to head out for a jog when a mystery number flashed up on his mobile. He
nearly didn’t take the call, but is glad he did.

‘It was Steve Gibson (Middlesbrough
chairman). He said, “Do you want to have a chat and come and play for
Boro again” The lure of Middlesbrough, my hometown team, the idea of
trying to get them back in the Premier League was a big pull,’ Woodgate
said. ‘I had to think about it because I could have stayed in the
Premier League.

‘I came for a chat, spoke to the
manager. I could see how much he loves football and how many games he
watches, which is unbelievable, and the way he wants to progress and the
way he wants to play. We were on the same song sheet.

‘This is not a lack of ambition. I
want to try to get in the Premier League. I could have stayed at Stoke
or wherever and not played. But what do I want to do that for I am 32
and if I help get Middlesbrough in the Premier League it will be a
massive achievement and great for the area I love.’