Final Score: Middlesbrough 1 Derby County 0
MIDDLESBROUGH secured back-to-back wins in the Championship for the first time since January after seeing off promotion-chasing Derby County at the Riverside.
Karanka made one change from the side that won at Brighton with Nathaniel Chalobah coming in for Dean Whitehead in midfield.
Boro would love to be in Derby’s position going into the final six games of the season, but it was Karanka’s men who started well at the Riverside.
On the quarter-hour mark Lee Tomlin played Danny Graham in inside the area but the striker couldn’t find the breakthrough with his shot going high and wide.
Andre Wisdom got into a good position on the right for the Rams but his cross couldn’t find a white shirt in the middle with Boro doing well to limit their chances.
Patrick Bamford picked out Chris Martin, who unleashed an early shot on goal, a deflection off Ben Gibson sent his effort wide.
The best chance of the half fell to the hosts when Graham and Tomlin combined again, but after a great through ball from the striker, the man on loan from Peterborough was unable to get enough behind his shot to trouble Lee Grant.
Derby did manage a shot on target to equal their hosts in the opening 45 minutes but Konstantopoulos dealt with George Thorne’s long-range effort.
After the break Karanka introduced Emmanuel Ledesma for Tomlin and he almost made an instant impact when his curling free-kick was inches away from finding Ben Gibson in the area.
Derby replied with a chance of their own when Wisdon flashed a powerful effort just wide from the right hand side of the area before Adomah failed to find the target from a Chalobah pass.
Then, in the 70th minute, Boro took a deserved lead. Ledesma, who had troubled Derby since coming on, found Chalobah in the area to take as touch and drill home past Grant.
McClaren’s side almost equalised in the 86th minute when Craig Bryson’s free-kick found substitute Conor Sammon at the back post but the striker could only direct his header wide of the post.