Middlesbrough boss delighted with win over Brentford

KEEPING WELL: Dimi Konstantopoulos
KEEPING WELL: Dimi Konstantopoulos

Aitor Karanka is delighted by Middlesbrough’s growing momentum after they climbed into the Championship top five with their third win on the spin.

Boro dominated Brentford from start to finish in the Teessiders’ best performance at the Riverside Stadium this season.

Top scorer Grant Leadbitter bagged his sixth goal of the season with a 30-yard screamer in the 35th minute and Albert Adomah netted his first of the campaign five minutes after half-time.

Chelsea forward Patrick Bamford, on loan until the end of the season, made it three with his first Boro goal in the 68th minute and Spanish substitute Kike made it four in the last minute with a delightful finish.

It is the first time Boro have won three consecutive games since April, after two away wins at Huddersfield and Cardiff.

Karanka said: “It was a difficult game against a kind of team who will make it hard for you.

“They are dangerous opponents. Even at half-time when we were winning I told the players there could be no let-up.

“We sent the fans home happy and that’s the most important thing. That’s three straight wins and we have to keep going, there’s another game on Tuesday and then Saturday. We’re always looking ahead.”

Boro started brightly and after nine minutes George Friend whipped in a left-wing cross but Bamford’s header was easily collected by David Button.

Leadbitter’s slide-rule ball found Adomah in great space four minutes later but his touch let him down and the ball rolled back to Button.

Two minutes later Emilio Nsue breezed past Harlee Dean before trying to chip Button from distance with an ambitious effort which went well over.

The home side continued to pile forward and went close to opening the scoring after 32 minutes when a mix-up between James Tarkowski and Button almost allowed Adomah to sneak in and poke the ball home, but his effort was just wide.

But the first goal followed three minutes later when Leadbitter let fly with a long-range piledriver that whistled past Button and into his bottom right corner.

Brentford’s best effort of the first half came just before the interval when Spanish schemer Jota found space 25 yards out but his hurried shot was well over Dimitrios Konstantopoulos’ bar.

Boro’s second goal came five minutes after half-time when Belgian forward Jelle Vossen played Nsue in down the right and he crossed low across the face of the goal for Adomah to tap in from close range.

Konstantopoulos had his first save of the game to make just a minute after the second goal when Andre Gray found space in the box to shoot but the Boro ‘keeper palmed away to safety.

Boro got their third in the 68th minute when Leadbitter’s curling cross was glanced in by Bamford.

Boro’s only blemish of the afternoon came in the 83rd minute when Whitehead was shown a straight red for a clumsy challenge on Alan Judge, but despite that the home side were still able to add a fourth goal when Kike netted a sublime finish in the 89th minute.