With both sides suffering from inconsistent form before the international break, Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough would look to regain positive momentum at Ewood Park. Boro have picked up just one point from their opening five fixtures, and it would be fair to say that Michael Carrick is on borrowed time at the Riverside.
BLA: Pears; Pickering, Hyam, Carter, Brittain; Wharton, Travis; Dolan, Szmodics, Hedges; Gallagher
MID: Dieng; Bangura, Lenihan, Fry, van den Berg; O’Brien, Howson; Hackney, Crooks, Forss; Latte Lath
A struggling Middlesbrough side were lucky to still be in contention at half-time, with Sammie Szmodics’ opener on the half-hour mark the difference at the interval. Finding himself with space and time to line up his shot, the Blackburn hero sent an effort crashing past a helpless Seny Dieng.
Darragh Lenin should have doubled the home advantage in stoppage time though, with his close range header failing to trouble Seny Dieng after he latched onto Jonny Howson’s cross.
The visiting goalkeeper was called upon once more at the start of the second half, but he was rendered useless as Sammie Szmodics netted his second of the match to bring a perfect end to a rapid counterattacking move.
But Boro weren’t entirely dead and buried, and they were able to reduce the deficit when Matt Crooks diverted Marcus Forss’ strike over the line with a neat back heeled effort. Suddenly, the visitors were on the front foot – but with Emmanuel Latte Lath squandering two great chances to equalise and Rav van den Berg planting a header over the bar, it simply wasn’t to be for Michael Carrick’s side.
Both sides return to EFL Championship action in midweek, with Middlesbrough facing a struggling Sheffield Wednesday side at Hillsborough on Tuesday ahead of Blackburn Rovers welcoming Sunderland to Ewood Park on Wednesday.