MIDDLESBROUGH claimed their first league win of the season at the eighth time of asking as they came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at the Riverside.

Michael Carrick’s side looked to be heading for another difficult afternoon when Adam Armstrong slotted home a 17th-minute opener.

However, after Riley McGree fired the Teessiders level just before half-time, Jonny Howson claimed a welcome winner from the penalty spot midway through the second half.

The victory lifts Middlesbrough off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table, while defeat for Southampton means Russell Martin’s side have now suffered four losses in row.

The Saints have suffered a nosedive since starting the season reasonably strongly, but it did not take them long to start creating chances in the North-East.

They should really have taken the lead after ten minutes, but while Will Smallbone teed up Che Adams after Darragh Lenihan gave the ball away deep in his own half, the Scotland international fired wide from the edge of the area.

Seven minutes later, however, and more Middlesbrough sloppiness did no go unpunished. This time it was Matt Crooks conceding possession in his own half, and after Adams threaded a ball behind the home defence, Armstrong burst between Lenihan and Lewis O’Brien to slot a low finish into the bottom corner.

Middlesbrough’s edginess and general lack of confidence was clearly evident, but the hosts almost grabbed an equaliser just before the half-hour mark.

Josh Coburn sent Isaiah Jones racing into the right-hand side of the area, and while the winger’s shot was rolling wide of the far post, it initially looked as though McGree would be able to turn the ball home. A stretching McGree made contact at the far post, but could only prod the ball back across the goalline, enabling the Saints defence to hack clear.

McGree and Jones were Boro’s best players for most of the afternoon, and they combined to level the scores a minute before the interval. Jones’ pressing enabled him to nick possession off a dawdling Mason Holgate, and the ball broke to McGree, who swept home an excellent low finish from 20 yards.

Jones went close for Boro at the start of the second half, firing in a low shot that Gavin Bazunu saved, but with the game flowing from end to end, Lenihan almost handed Southampton a second goal as he prodded Ryan Fraser’s cross just wide of his own goal.

Another goal felt inevitable, and it arrived in the 66th minute. Hayden Hackney slid over a low cross from the right, and Saints defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis tugged down Coburn on the edge of the six-yard box. Referee Tim Robinson pointed to the spot, and Howson stepped up to claim his first goal of the season.

Coburn wasted a good chance to make the game safe with ten minutes remaining, shooting into the legs of Bazunu, and McGree went even closer to claiming a third Boro goal when he fired Coburn’s late cross against the base of the post.