JONATHAN WOODGATE is delighted to see Marvin Johnson successfully resurrecting his career at Middlesbrough.

Johnson scored his first goal for more than a year as Boro claimed a 1-0 win over Reading at the weekend, and while there was an element of fortune about the winger’s match-winning strike, with the ball evading everyone after it was crossed from the right-hand side, it was far from undeserved given the quality of the 28-year-old’s contributions this season.

It has been a difficult couple of years for Johnson, with his failure to make an impression under Tony Pulis resulting in him being loaned to Sheffield United in the second half of last season.

He only made three league starts for the Blades, but since returning to Teesside at the start of pre-season, he has emerged as one of Woodgate’s key midfielders, featuring in all of Middlesbrough’s league games.

His pace and energy suit the style Woodgate is trying to introduce, and by responding to adversity so successfully, he has also proved he possesses the kind of character his manager likes to see in his players.

“I’m really pleased for Marvin,” said Woodgate. “I thought he deserved it since he came back from loan. Last season, he didn’t get a kick here. He went to Sheffield United and kept his head down, and now he’s come back in and done really well for us.”

Johnson’s 60th-minute winner enabled Boro to extend their unbeaten run to four matches, but their success was not without controversy, with Reading manager Jose Gomes adamant Adam Clayton should have been sent off following an incident in the first half.

Clayton appeared to catch Yakou Meite with a stray elbow as he tussled for a high ball, but referee Robert Jones did not even award a free-kick, a decision that provoked a furious reaction from the Reading bench.

It was the second home game in a row that saw tempers become frayed on the touchline – Neil Harris was sent to the stands as Boro drew with Millwall last month – but Woodgate felt Jones made the right call.

“I just thought it was a fair from Clayts to be honest with you,” he said. “Clayts won the ball. I didn’t see anything difficult about the decision, I thought it was a straight-forward decision.”

Woodgate also explained his decision to keep Daniel Ayala on the bench, with Dael Fry and Ryan Shotton getting the nod to continue at centre-half. “I thought they played well against Bristol,” he said.