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Paddy McNair’s strike gives Middlesbrough victory over Charlton

Middlesbrough gained a vital three points as they won the battle at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship with a 1-0 win over Charlton at the Valley.

Victory was their first since New Year’s Day, which was earned with a first-half effort from Paddy McNair.

Defeat was the third in succession for the south London side, who find themselves two points off safety while Boro pull two clear of the relegation zone.

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate gave a debut to Dejan Stojanovic in goal, while Charlton made three changes – Ben Purrington, Jonny Williams and Darren Pratley, who returned to the side after a back injury.

The visitors started off well, forcing a number of corners. However, Charlton found their feet and Lyle Taylor put an Andre Green cross over on sixteen minutes.

Boro took the lead on seventeen minutes when McNair coolly slotted home past goalkeeper Dillon Phillips, after connecting with Rudy Gestede’s square pass.

Stojanovic saw his first real action with five minutes of the half remaining, when Green ran onto a Josh Cullen pass, but shot straight at the keeper.

After a disappointing first-half display, Charlton made a half time substitution with Macauley Bonne replacing George Lapslie.

However, Middlesbrough were still looking for the comfort of a second goal and Jonny Howson put his shot into the side netting seven minutes after the restart.

Marcus Tavernier should have done better with a solo run two minutes later, as his shot was tame.

Even so, with the home crowd picking up the volume, Charlton had their moments of danger. Pratley slipped at the wrong moment after being fed in by Bonne.

The hosts made a second change with Alfie Doughty replacing Jonny Williams. They almost equalised on 69 minutes, but Bonne connected weakly with a cross by Lyle Taylor.

Middlesbrough still looked to double the lead, although Hayden Coulson badly miscued his effort on 74 minutes.

With five minutes of additional time added, Charlton created one more chance when Deji Oshilaja crossed the ball in from the right. However, Bonne was unable to keep his connecting header down and aimed agonisingly over the bar.