THIS was undoubtedly one of the best wins of Michael Carrick’s tenure so far. Talk about going into the international break on a high.

Boro stayed in the game against Championship leaders Leicester and then won it, in-form Sam Greenwood again underlining his growing importance with a stunning free-kick seven minutes from time.

After a defeat to Leeds United last time out, Leicester were this time stung by a Leeds loanee. There have been some stunning goals in Boro games of late. Thankfully this time Boro were celebrating scoring one instead of trying to pick the bones out of one going into their own net.

Leicester keeper Mads Hermansen had made two brilliant saves in the first half but could do nothing about Greenwood’s stunning late hit. Greenwood will get the headlines but the foundations for this win were laid by Carrick, who had his team brilliantly organised. His players – particularly the defenders – executed the plan superbly.

Dael Fry and Paddy McNair were excellent, the full-backs were rock solid and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall will be glad to see the back of Jonny Howson. Seny Dieng deserved his clean sheet, making a couple of super saves, the pick of the bunch undoubtedly coming in the first half when he denied Jannik Vestergaard.

Despite the Leeds loss, Leicester still headed for the Riverside 11 points clear of third place and – even at this relatively early stage of the Championship season – surely look destined for an immediate return to the Premier League.

Only Ipswich scored more goals than the Foxes in the first 15 games of the season and no team was anywhere near to matching their defensive record. They’d only conceded nine goals ahead of Saturday’s game. They could do little about the 10th.

They came to the Riverside with Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and Tom well as England defender Conor Coady, Premier League winner Marc Albrighton and £15m defender Harry Souttar. And that was just on the bench.

And they came to the Riverside looking to dominate the ball. After five minutes, they’d had almost 80% of possession. Their only effort in the opening stages, however, was a tame Dewsbury-Hall strike from distance that was easily saved by Dieng.

It was Boro who had the best couple of chances in the opening quarter of an hour and if 6ft2 striker Josh Coburn was a couple of inches taller, the home side would have been ahead. First, he came up just short when trying to get on the end of a teasing Greenwood delivery and then he couldn’t quite manage to get up high enough to get the required contact on a Howson free-kick.

Howson had a job to do. He was following Dewsbury-Hall and Dael Fry was doing the same with Kelechi Iheanacho. The only time Iheanacho got a sniff of goal in the first half was when he was gifted possession by Isaiah Jones, but McNair held up the striker, whose eventually got a shot away but was denied by Seny Dieng.

So too was Vestergaard just after the half hour mark. The centre-half met a corner from the left with a thumping header but Dieng superbly dived to his right and clawed the ball away with one hand. Mads Hermansen did his best to top Dieng with two brilliant saves in the dying seconds of the first half, first tipping a Matt Crooks effort around the post before a brilliant one-handed stop to keep out a Dael Fry header that appeared destined for the top corner.

There was a let-off for Boro shortly after the restart after a mistake from Howson, but Leicester failed to take advantage as Dewsbury-Hall skewed his shot over. And the visitors had another opportunity at the midway stage of the second half when substitute Abdul Fatawu bounced a volley over the bar.

From that stage, it was the visitors who turned the screw and looked most likely, though careless Boro didn’t help themselves at times, over-playing at the back. Mavididi went close, Iheanacho forced  Dieng into a good save after an error from the keeper and the striker then hit the post.

But after hanging on in there, it was Boro who came up with the decisive moment. There was initially anger inside the Riverside when referee Oliver Langford stopped play when Greenwood was fouled instead of allowing the advantage. It proved to work out in Boro’s favour. Greenwood lifted himself off the deck to curl a beauty into the top corner.