Blackpool 1 Middlesbrough 2

Blackpool David Perkins
Blackpool David Perkins
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A late Kike header saw Blackpool lose again and Middlesbrough move to the top of the Championship table.

The game looked to be ending goalless before veteran defender Jonathan Woodgate marked his first league start of the season with a rare goal nine minutes from time.

Blackpool thought they had earned a draw when Ben Gibson turned the ball into his own net, but Kike had other ideas and netted the winner two minutes from time.

This was Middlesbrough’s 10th unbeaten game in a row and they now sit at the summit of the table with Bournemouth and Derby drawing 2-2 at Dean Court.

Blackpool had the first effort of the game after just 20 seconds as Charles Dunne cut in from the left and fired a low shot from 20 yards which was easily held by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.

Middlesbrough almost took the lead after five minutes as Adam Clayton picked out Adam Forshaw with a free-kick, but his poked effort from six yards crept just wide of the left post.

Daniel Ayala forced a good save from Joe Lewis in the 27th minute when the defender rose highest to meet a Clayton corner but saw his header from 12 yards claimed by the hosts’ goalkeeper low to his left.

Following a poor finish to the first half, Aitor Karanka’s side had a great chance to go in front after 58 minutes. Boro broke away after a Blackpool corner and Clayton slipped in Kike - whose effort from 12 yards was brilliantly saved with his feet by Lewis.

Kike came close again in the 63rd minute as he was slipped in down the left of the area by Forshaw but placed his left-footed effort just wide of the far post.

The away side continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock and Clayton threatened again after 68 minutes but fired his right-footed shot from 30 yards over the bar.

The pressure from the visitors continued as Blackpool offered little threat going forward and Forshaw unleashed a fierce strike in the 78th minute which whistled a couple of yards over Lewis’ crossbar.

Finally the pressure told for Middlesbrough after 81 minutes when Woodgate put his side in front. The former England centre-back rose highest to meet a Grant Leadbitter corner and nodded home from six yards for his first goal since November 2012.

But Blackpool equalised four minutes later when Gibson failed to deal with a cross into the area and could only head into his own goal.

However Boro struck back to take the lead again in the 88th minute when Kike headed Lee Tomlin’s cross against the crossbar and down into the back of the net from 12 yards.