Middlesbrough continued to put pressure on the top six with a comfortable victory over Hull City on Tuesday night. Rudy Gestede scored twice for the hosts, whilst Patrick Bamford scored his second of the season. Evandro had equalised earlier in the game for the away side, but Middlesbrough had too much for the Tigers.
Middlesbrough had just come into the game after a tricky and unconvincing result against Cardiff City. The Teessiders lost that game 1-0 and never looked like scoring, so the pressure was on to bounce back, and quick.
Tony Pulis made one change, with Jonny Howson making way for Patrick Bamford. The decision to play Bamford and Rudy Gestede rather than Britt Assombalonga raised some eyebrows. But it was Gestede who was causing all the problems for the Hull defence from minute one.
Adama Traore, another constant thorn in the Tigers’ sides, dribbled the ball wide and beat the Hull wing-back after a neat bit of skill. His cross was high and looping, but Rudy Gestede got a clean connection only to see his header cannon back out off the post.
The goal was of a similar ilk, as Traore played the ball to the wing to the overlapping Ryan Shotton. The Boro right-back’s cross came to Bamford at the near post at an awkward height, but he flicked the ball acrobatically onto Gestede who was unmarked to head home.
Hull City didn’t create many chances in the first-half, but a short corner caught Middlesbrough out for the equalising goal. The set-piece was worked well, and the ball found Evandro on the edge of the box. He hit a fierce shot through a crowd of bodies and past Darren Randolph in the Boro goal.
But only a few minutes after Hull had got themselves on level terms, Middlesbrough were back in-front. A loose pass was intercepted by Bamford, who rode a couple of weak challenges, before chipping the ball over the on-rushing Allan McGregor with his weaker right-foot to make the score 2-1.
The final goal came from a familiar duo, as Traore put on the afterburners once more. His cross was slightly behind Gestede in the six-yard box but the Benin-international produced an instinctive finish, flicking the ball into the far corner.
Middlesbrough play local rivals Sunderland on Saturday, and Hull host Sheffield United.