Jordan Hugill double sees Latics fall to defeat at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
- Match Report: Middlesbrough 2 – 0 Latics
- Jordan Hugill scores two first-half goals as Middlesbrough beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium
- For the third consecutive weekend, Latics lose to one of the Sky Bet Championship's top two
Hugill (pen) 38, 43
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Attendance: 22,207 (TBC away)
For the third consecutive weekend, Latics fell down to one of the Sky Bet Championship's top two as two first-half goals from Jordan Hugill saw Middlesbrough win 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium.
Latics were well in the contest but mastered their own downfall in a five minute period before half-time which ultimately gave Tony Pulis’ side a cushion they solidly protected.
Paul Cook made three changes from the side that lost to Leeds United last weekend as Nick Powell, Gary Roberts and Lee Evans started in place of Joe Garner, Kal Naismith and the suspended Samy Morsy.
Albeit they were up against it from the off, Latics defended resolutely in the early stages as Darron Gibson put his body on the line with an early block before Christian Walton tipped a Hugill header wide.
Stewart Downing crosses for Hugill were an obvious feature of the early stages and the duo combined on a couple of occasions before Latics looked to create chances at the other end.
First, Lee Evans dragged a shot wide from 25 yards before Dan Burn headed off target from close range from a Gary Roberts corner. Those efforts did, however, come either side of a great opportunity for Middlesbrough as Walton denied Danny Batth with a smart save before Powell cleared off the line from Aden Flint’s effort.
Latics undid their hard work in a five-minute spell before the break, though, as Hugill scored twice with consummate ease. Firstly, Gibson failed to clear a ball in behind and Kipre was late on Middlesbrough captain George Friend when challenging for the loose ball in the penalty area leaving referee Darren England with no choice but to award the spot-kick, which Hugill duly converted. Within minutes, it was 2-0 as Martin Braithwaite latched onto a ball in behind on the Boro left and crossed into the area where Walton parried away only as far as Hugill, who fired home.
Cook’s side started the second-half brightly and with more purpose in their attacking play; first Powell forced Darren Randolph into a save, with the Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper almost parrying into the path of the onrushing Josh Windass.
Soon after, Evans had the chance to get one back as he saw an effort blocked from Dan Burn’s knockdown in the penalty area.
Powell again tried his luck from range as the game passed the hour mark but he was just off target with his effort from the corner of the box.
In search of a way back into the game, Cook sent on Callum McManaman and James Vaughan, the former almost scoring with his first touch as he curled wide of Randolph’s left-hand post.
Latics’ academy graduate also had the next chance as Cook’s side continued to create chances but he fired over after the ball fell into his path on the edge of the Middlesbrough penalty area from a Reece James set-piece.
In the driving rain, Latics couldn’t find a goal back, though, and instead fell to another frustrating defeat ahead of the international break.
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Friend (Capt), Batth, Clayton, Braithwaite (Wing 76), Hugill (Assombalonga 68), Howson, Downing, Fry, Flint, Besic (Saville 83).
Subs: Konstantopoulos, Ayala, McNair, Gestede
Latics: Walton, James, Kipre, Burn (Capt), Robinson, Byrne, Evans, Gibson, Roberts (Naismith 82), Windass (McManaman 74), Powell (Vaughan 74)
Subs: Jones, Bruce, Lopes, Garner