Mar 2, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​Riverside Stadium
CardiffCardiff City
Courtney Dyer (13'), Ameobi (17')
McEachran (35'), McDonald (90')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Gunnarsson (67')
Gunnarsson (55'), Nugent (57'), Marshall (90')

Match Analysis: Middlesbrough 2-1 Cardiff City

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray on the touchline during the match against Leicester on January 18, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole casts its eye over Middlesbrough's surprise victory over Championship leaders Cardiff.

Middlesbrough ended Cardiff's nine-match unbeaten away run this afternoon to rekindle their push for the Championship playoffs.

The hosts were two goals up inside the first 20 minutes, thanks to Kieron Dyer's first league goal in six years and debutant Sammy Ameobi's skilful solo effort.

Cardiff pulled a goal back through Aron Gunnarsson and pushed for an equaliser late on but Boro held on.

Here, Sports Mole dissects an entertaining game of football in the North East.

Match statistics:

Shots 11
On target 5
Possession 50%
Corners 6
Fouls 11

Shots 13
On target 6
Possession 50%
Corners 13
Fouls 10

Was the result fair?

Yes. Cardiff may have made a late charge for an equaliser but over the 90 minutes Middlesbrough did deserve the victory.

Boro's performance

After two home losses already this week, a visit from the league leaders was the last thing ailing Middlesbrough needed. However, Tony Mowbray's side were superb, especially in the first half. They created good chances and took two of them before threatening a third. Ameobi was composed and menacing on the ball while the central duo of Grant Leadbitter and Josh McEachran pulled the strings. The defending from the home side at the end was last-ditch but good last-ditch as they held on for a crucial three points.

Cardiff's performance

Malky Mackay's side began confidently but found themselves behind when Dyer was allowed to drift into the area unmarked to tap home. This buoyed Boro and they took over, soon they had a second and Cardiff's task was made ever so tough. Craig Bellamy wasted a decent chance before the interval and they did then come out much better after half time. Gunnarsson's equaliser came in plenty of time for the visitors to find an equaliser and they almost did in a frantic finish.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Sammy Ameobi: The winger was making his Boro debut and certainly will have won the affections of the Riverside faithful. His goal was one of pure class as he sidestepped a pair of challenges before powerfully bending past David Marshall. He came off 15 minutes from the end but still wins our man of the match award.

Referee performance

Mark Haywood had a solid game and didn't really put a foot wrong.

What next?

Boro: Next up for Mowbray's men is a trip to lowly Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

Cardiff: The Bluebirds, meanwhile, are up against Derby County in midweek.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray before kick-off against Crystal Palace on February 16, 2013
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