Jonathan Woodgate always felt Middlesbrough would end their wait for a win after defeating Barnsley 1-0 at the Riverside Stadium.
In horrible driving rain and wind, Boro managed to climb out of the relegation zone by ending a run of 10 matches without a win by increase the Tykes’ frustrations.
Ashley Fletcher’s 54th-minute winner proved the difference as Barnsley wait to end their own winless run which has stretched to 17 matches and they sit bottom of the Championship.
Woodgate, whose side head to his former club Leeds on Saturday, said: “It feels nice, it was a difficult game. With the conditions, we played well at times, and the second half we dominated. We could have added more goals than we did.
“I look at the positives and that is three unbeaten now. I was encouraged by the performance against Hull, QPR and Huddersfield, a lot have been decent. We just haven’t put the ball in the net.
“With Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher up front, they are a real handful. That is a real positive for me.
“With those up there you will cause any team problems, the three centre-backs defended well. The water was difficult at times for everyone, but I am really pleased. We need to win matches, at times we had to dig in because of the conditions, but we have done it.
“At times we looked nervous, which is natural in the situation we are in. The fans were outstanding, absolutely outstanding. Barnsley played some decent football at times. The fans stayed with us.
“They clapped the players off. And I was appreciative. The fans were chanting my name, we are third bottom and they are giving me everything. I think they appreciate what I am trying to do.”
Woodgate revealed Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair are already major doubts for the trip to Elland Road, while number one goalkeeper Darren Randolph is unlikely to be back until Christmas.
Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber admitted he has got a huge challenge on his hands to lift his new club to safety after suffering a third defeat since taking over.
Struber said: “For 60 minutes I think we created an interesting game. Our match plan did well. In the end we have no points and this is not so easy to take in the situation we are in.
“It is a frustrating situation, a difficult situation. We have to change the mindset in the next days to win again. This is my job to do now.
“We created good chances. We were not so lucky and in the second half after the goal it was a ping-pong game. My team had no control of the ball. Before that it was a very good game. We were not lucky today.
“This was a team when we look over 90 minutes that we must win. Middlesbrough were not in form, they have no special match plan, only counter, and we did a good job but in the end we disappointed.
“It was difficult for the players. They create a good performance and we created no benefit. This is not so simple. The situation that we need a winner on the field.”
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