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Middlesbrough 1-2 Bristol City: Robins end winless run at stuttering Boro

Bristol City celebrate a goal
Bristol City ended a six-game winless Championship run with their win at Middlesbrough

Bristol City ended a six-game winless Championship run with victory at stuttering Middlesbrough thanks to two first-half goals in as many minutes from Jason Knight and Matty James.

The Robins roused themselves after a sapping midweek FA Cup-penalties exit by Premier League strugglers Nottingham Forest to take all three points for the first time since Boxing Day's win over Watford, and ensured Boro's home form stretched to one win in seven games.

Knight, who scored at the City Ground in that cup loss, followed up with his second goal in a week when he took a defence-splitting Rob Dickie pass and rounded Tom Glover to give City the lead.

Barely had celebrations died down when Matty Jones pinched the ball after good work from Taylor Gardner-Hickman and deceived Glover with a smart finish off the post.

Boro responded, with January signing Finn Azaz's snap effort denied by visiting goalkeeper Max O'Leary, who also foiled Sam Greenwood after he snuck in behind after the break.

Sam Silvera came off the bench to reduce the arrears in stoppage time when he got the last touch to Azaz's delivery, but Boro's lack of firepower in the absence of Emmanuel Latte Lath and Morgan Rogers' departure could prove costly in their bid for a play-off spot.

City are now level on points with Boro, six points off the play-off places.

Liam Manning's visitors had shown their qualities in the FA Cup with a replay win over top-flight West Ham and taking Forest to a replay but, until their trip to the Riverside, had been unable to match those efforts in the league of late.

Defensively they showed their mettle to keep Boro quiet during their purple patches, the scrappy consolation aside, and their rapid-fire double stunned their hosts as the game was coming to life.

Boss Michael Carrick led Middlesbrough to the play-offs last season but they will need to improve their home form in order to do so this term.

Part of that conundrum will rest on finding a solution to their goalscoring issues, with Josh Coburn seemingly currently out of the picture and players having to adapt to the unfamiliar position in the absence of regular forwards.

Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick told BBC Radio Tees:

"It didn't get away from us, but in the end it looks like that there was too much to do. It wasn't like us to start the game and to concede the goals quickly like we did.

"Throughout the game we created more than enough to get back into it and to score more goals than we did. It's a lesson.

"It's the overall feeling of the start we're not happy with but I thought the boys showed a lot of character from that point, kept taking the ball and kept trying to make things happen and in the end we might have done better with the chances we created."

Bristol City boss Liam Manning told BBC Radio Bristol:

"This was a big result, especially I think off the back of Wednesday [against Nottingham Forest] which was a tough one to take, I'm really pleased for the players and staff, there's a huge amount of work gone in the over the last couple of months.

"Especially first half, the plan worked well. We frustrated them, I thought we managed regains well in terms of counter attacks, but also had spells where we kept it.

"Second half is the outcome of the results and where we've been a bit recently - in terms of not having won too many games.

"But they're a good side, - strong players, well organised - and it's a tough place to come so, overall, we're delighted to get the win."