Chris Wilder enjoys 'electric afternoon' as his Middlesbrough side climb into play-off places in front of almost 30,000

Chris Wilder enjoyed an “electric afternoon” as his Middlesbrough side climbed into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places in front of a crowd of almost 30,000 at the Riverside.

Sunday, 26th December 2021, 6:06 pm

Boro rose to their highest position of the season so far as a first-half own goal from Ryan Yates and second-half strike from Andraz Sporar secured a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest that made it 13 points from the last five matches.

That run has created a feelgood factor on Teesside, as underlined by the Boxing Day attendance of 29,832, which was comfortably Middlesbrough’s biggest home gate of the season.

Wilder said: “To get a result and a performance was great for everybody. I’ve been here when it’s been full, watching, but never been involved at the coal face. It was fabulous. It was electric.

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Ryan Yates of Nottingham Forest scores an own goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images).

“I know we can’t replicate that all the time – obviously Boxing Day is a special day for everybody to come and watch football – but if we can carry on pulling the punters in with the way we play, then that will be great.

“What that does to the players is fabulous. It gives them the energy to keep going and allows them to dominate, as they did against a really good side. I think we did that, especially in the first half.”

Boro were dominant for the opening hour, carving out a succession of good chances as their energetic, high-pressing style forced Forest onto the back foot.

The visitors rallied briefly in the second half, with Philip Zinckernagel and Joe Worrall wasting good chances, but the home side remained a threat and deservedly put things to bed when Sporar swept home from close range after goalkeeper Brice Samba clawed Matt Crooks’ cross into his path.

Wilder said: “They are a good side and we had to get the press right. They stretched us a bit for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, which you would expect from an excellent side and a really good manager like Steve (Cooper).

“We’re not going to be greedy and think we’re going to have all of the game. I thought we had the majority of the first half, and the second goal for us came at a great time. They had just started to cause us a few problems, but we got that sorted out.

“They missed a couple of chances, but we missed chances in the first half. We should have been comfortably in the lead, but they are a good side and they are always going to come at you, and they did. The timing of the second goal was big for us and we managed things from there.”

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