Marcus Tavernier inspires Boro comeback against Steve Bruce’s West Brom

Middlesbrough v Derby County – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Richard Sellers)

Marcus Tavernier helped turn possible defeat into victory for Middlesbrough with an assist and a goal against West Brom at the Riverside.

Tavernier laid on a brilliantly worked equaliser for Paddy McNair on the hour before he scored the winner himself nine minutes later to seal a 2-1 win and prevent Steve Bruce from enjoying his first success as West Brom manager.

Jayson Molumby, on loan from Brighton, had given the Baggies the lead in the 28th minute at the Riverside as Albion found the target for the first time in six matches.

However, ending the 479-minute goal drought was not enough for Bruce to celebrate a victory in his fourth match in charge, leaving West Brom 11th and six points off the play-offs.

Boro, who have won seven games in a row at home, climbed back into the play-off zone courtesy of the turnaround, which followed a frustrating start for the Teessiders.

When referee Michael Salisbury deemed there was not even a foul by West Brom full-back Conor Townsend, who appeared to pull down Isaiah Jones early on, the home side’s frustration grew.

Boro’s best opportunity in the opening period came when goalkeeper Sam Johnstone spilled an effort from Riley McGree.

After that the hosts struggled to get going and the players and fans questioned other decisions from Salisbury, who was booed off with his assistants at the break.

There was also some hesitancy and sloppy play at the back from the home defence and goalkeeper Joe Lumley which disappointed the crowd and manager Chris Wilder.

West Brom exploited that on one occasion midway through the opening period when Andy Carroll managed to roll Dael Fry to get to the byline.

Carroll’s low ball into the six-yard box was half cleared as far as Molumby, who struck first time into the bottom corner of the net for his first goal for the club.

Other than the complaints about a few decisions, Boro had little to shout about and were unable to test Johnstone or show signs of levelling before the break.

West Brom looked the better of the two in the early exchanges after the restart too, so Wilder introduced Duncan Watmore and Andraz Sporar to his forward line.

The move instantly lifted the hosts and six minutes later they were level, when McNair slid in to convert Tavernier’s low cross into the area after a sublime through-ball from the impressive McGree.

Boro were in command from that moment on, the home support were lifted and the winner seemed inevitable.

It arrived nine minutes later. Anfernee Dijksteel and Jones superbly created the opening, with the latter’s low ball to the back post finding Tavernier to fire beyond Johnstone for his first goal since September.

Wilder’s tactical changes had worked and a ninth league win from his 15 matches in charge of Middlesbrough was achieved.

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