Goals:

0-1: Snodgrass (75, dived at the back post unmarked to convert Adomah’s deep cross from the left)

Bookings: Leadbitter (15, foul); Elphick (45, foul); Chester (63, foul); Friend (67, foul); Downing (90, foul)

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Sending-off: None

Referee: Andrew Madley (Leeds) – had little choice but to hand out a few cards because of some strong challenges. 6

Attendance: 29,422

Entertainment: **

Boro Villa

Shots on 1 5

Shots off 12 6

Corners 5 9

Offsides 2 3

Fouls 15 13

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2):

7 Randolph: Made a number of good stops but unable to do anything about the winner;

6 Shotton: A surprise inclusion at right-back even though his long throw didn’t have the desired effect it might have done

6 Ayala: A couple of wayward passes but overall defended strongly alongside Gibson

6 Gibson: Got his body in the way of plenty even if he is still short of his best

5 Friend: Was regularly being urged to do more and unable to stop Snodgrass scoring;

7 DOWNING: Hungry to get involved from start to finish, tracking back and tackling too

6 Leadbitter: Kept the ball moving in the middle and tried to lead by example

6 Howson: A couple of shaky moments but also one of the likelier to score for Boro

5 Braithwaite: Tried a few things and showed some nice touches without seriously testing the keeper;

5 Gestede: Won a couple of headers and created a chance or two for himself without finding top gear

5 Assombalonga: Pulis wanted more from him in the final third and it wasn’t his day in the penalty area

Subs:

Traore (for Braithwaite 57): Lit the game up with his running. 6

Bamford (for Gestede 68): Unable to have the impact required. 5

Fletcher (for Assombalonga 79)

(not used): Konstantopoulos (gk), Christie, Guedioura, Baker.

ASTON VILLA (4-1-4-1): Johnstone 6; Elmohamady 6, Elphick 7, Chester 7, Hutton 7; Jedinak 6; SNODGRASS 7, Onomah 5 (Grealish 37, 6), Hourihane 6, Adomah 7 (Bjarnason 90); Hogan 5 (Hepburn-Murphy 75). Subs (not used): Steer, Bree, Doyle-Hayes, O’Hare

MAN OF THE MATCH: Rob Snodgrass – might have been a Boro player had Aitor Karanka had his way and scored the winner too.