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')

Live Commentary: Middlesbrough 2-1 Cardiff City - as it happened

Live Commentary: Boro 2-1 Cardiff - as it happened
© PA Photos
Read our minute-by-minute updates of Middlesbrough's return to winning ways against top-of-the-table Cardiff.

Cardiff travelled to horribly out-of-form Middlesbrough looking to extend their lead at the top of the Championship.

Boro, who had lost seven of the last nine, raced into a surprise two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes before threatening to find a third before half-time.

Cardiff came out better after the interval and pulled one back but were unable to prevent defeat as Boro reignite their playoff push.

Read how it all unfolded in our minute-by-minute updates below.

2.01pmAfternoon all. Middlesbrough really need to get their season back on track. Despite their recent struggles, Tony Mowbray's side are still just a single place and single point outside of the playoffs.

2.05pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! Sammy Ameobi is handed his Boro debut after joining on loan from Newcastle.

2.07pmBORO XI: Steele, Bailey, Friend, McManus, Hines, McEachran, Dyer, Leadbitter, Ameobi, Miller, McDonald

2.10pmWe haven't heard the Cardiff side yet but will bring it to you as soon as we know.

2.15pmStill no news from the visitors so let's have a look at the two sides' form coming into this one. Middlesbrough have lost four of their last six while Cardiff have won four of their last six.

2.18pmLast time out, Cardiff edged struggling Wolves to get another tough away game out of the way. Victory today would mean that only a horrible slide from grace could prevent automatic promotion to the Premier League.

2.21pmMiddlesbrough haven't had as long a rest as Cardiff. They had to take on Premier League side Chelsea in midweek and lost out to the Blues in the FA Cup fifth round. Their last league match was a shock defeat at home to Millwall and the fans won't want to see a third-straight home defeat today.

2.27pmBoro's last league victory was against Leeds last month but they have lost seven of their last nine.

2.28pmCardiff are perhaps the slowest club to get their team news up on Twitter! All we've had so far is "One change for City at the Riverside..."

2.31pmLooks like that post prompted the people behind Cardiff's Twitter as the team news has just been released.

2.31pmCARDIFF XI: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Turner, Whittingham, Conway, Connolly, Smith, Gunnarsson, Campbell, Bellamy

2.33pmThe visitors are without captain Mark Hudson, who is absent with an ankle injury.

2.36pmREFEREE WATCH: Today's man in charge is Mark Haywood.

2.40pmIn the reverse fixture in November, Cardiff ousted Boro by just a single headed goal from a corner. It was a tight game and I'm hoping that this afternoon's match will be an open one.

2.45pmCardiff's rivals for promotion seem to be Watford, Hull and Palace. Two of those have already played this weekend as Watford were held late on by Wolves and Palace came through 1-0 at Derby. Hull face Birmingham today and I'll bring you updates of any important incidents away from the match at the Riverside.

2.50pmPREDICTION TIME! With 10 minutes until kickoff it's time for me to have a guess at today's outcome. My colleague Steven Toplis went for a 2-1 Cardiff win in his preview but I'm going for a 1-1 draw. I'm not expecting plenty of goals so either 0-0, 1-0 either way or 1-1.

2.55pmAway from the action in England, there's a huge clash in Spain as Real Madrid welcome Barcelona for a second El Clasico this week. The game isn't on UK TV at all so it would be best to open up Matt Law's comprehensive coverage which you can find here.

2.59pmJust read that Cardiff are on a nine-game unbeaten run away from home. This really is a tough ask for Middlesbrough. The sides are out and we're just about ready to go!

3pmThe two managers, Mowbray and Mackay, share a warm handshake and have a good old chat ahead of the off. Cardiff are all in black with Boro in their traditional red kit.

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1 minCardiff have a shot inside the first minute as Campbell wins a header and Bellamy takes it on first time with a half volley but it's always swerving away.

1 minCardiff have a shot inside the first minute as Campbell wins a header and Bellamy takes it on first time with a half volley but it's always swerving away.

3.05pmUPDATE: Lightning start for Cardiff's promotion rivals Hull as George Boyd scores inside the first minute against Birmingham.

5 minBoro win a free kick to the left of the area and Leadbitter swings it in. Ameobi flicks the ball goalwards from 12 yards but gets too much on it and the ball plops onto the roof of the net. Close to a dream debut start.

6 minWhittingham gets in behind the Boro defence but his cutback from the byline doesn't find a black shirt. Cardiff have started better on the ball.

9 minLeadbitter is furious after being called for a foul on Conway. He feels that he got the ball and replays show that he did make contact with the ball but it was a bit of a lunge.

10 minWhoa! The ball rolls across the pitch for Cardiff left-back Taylor but his shot is at least five goals wide of the goal.

12 minHmmmm. Ameobi picks out an unmarked Miller at the back post. The pass is a little overhit but Miller oddly lets the ball run across him and then it just goes out of play as he fails to keep it in play.

13 minGOAL! Middlesbrough 1-0 Cardiff (Dyer)

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13 minEver so easy for the home side, who have been playing better in the last five minutes or so. Miller is found on the left of the area and he gets to the byline and pulls it back for Dyer to tap home from no more than two yards. A first league goal in SIX years for the January signing.

3.18pmUPDATE: A nasty couple of minutes for Cardiff as Hull are now two up on Birmingham.

17 minGOAL! Middlesbrough 2-0 Cardiff (Ameobi)

17 minOh yes, ohhhh yes! What a goal this is from Ameobi on his home debut. He receives the ball in the area and dances through two men before powerfully curling the ball past Marshall. Dream start for Boro.

22 minWhittingham finds Bellamy with a classy ball over the top but the veteran's touch lets him down. That's rare.

24 minBoro have a free kick in a very inviting position just left of the area.

25 minLeadbitter in fact goes for goal and gets it up and over the wall but his bearings are a bit off as the ball flies a good few yards wide.

3.28pmUPDATE: Rockbottom Peterborough have romped into a 3-0 lead at Blackburn inside half an hour and Dwight Gayle has got a hat-trick in 28 minutes!

29 minSHOT! Dyer is certainly in a buoyant mood as attempts a cute shot that Marshall holds on to.

33 minGREAT SAVE! Cardiff come very close to pulling one back. Bellamy's corner is right under the crossbar and Steele can only punch it out to Whittingham who smashes a half volley with venom that Steele tips just over the bar.

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3.37pmUPDATE: It looks like Cardiff's lead at the top will be cut to five points as Hull are now 3-0 ahead against Birmingham as Boyd gets his second.

35 minYELLOW! First booking of the match is for Boro midfielder Josh McEachran as he cynically trips up Conway.

36 minBig chance for a third Boro goal as the home side break quickly. Miller only has old-timer McNaughton for company but the grey-haired right-back does extremely well to keep pace and force the striker wide before his cross is hoofed away for a corner by Turner.

39 minCHANCE! Bellamy squanders an opening. Taylor's cross from the left is brought down superbly by Campbell and he prods it sideways for Bellamy who can't really dig out a good shot and Steele holds on.

43 minBoro are looking more and more dangerous on the break as Cardiff commit more men forward. The latest counter is wasted as McDonald ignores all his teammates to have a shot and balloons it miles over.

44 minSAVE! Another Middlesbrough counter attack and another McDonald shot. This one takes a heavy deflection and Marshall is well out of position but just manages to backpedal enough to fingertip it over. Great agility.

45 minTwo minutes added on at the end of the first half.

45+3 minHALF-TIME: Boro 2-0 Cardiff

3.52pmWhat an encouraging half of football for Middlesbrough. They have won just one of their last nine but it doesn't show at all today. They've been clinical up front and could have in fact had more than two in that half. Cardiff haven't been that bad and have also had chances but it's a huge task to even take a point back to Wales now.

3.55pmPlenty of goals everywhere this afternoon! Click here to see it all.

3.57pmIf you've just joined us and don't want to read all the first-half updates, click here for Mark Langshaw's concise HT report.

4pmHere's some stats from the opening 45:

Shots 7
On target 4
Possession 49%
Corners 3
Fouls 6

Shots 6
On target 2
Possession 51%
Corners 5
Fouls 5

4.03pmAs you can see, there's not much in it at all but Boro's shots on goal have been clearer chances. Bellamy is guilty of not doing well enough with one Cardiff chance while Steele denied Whittingham with an athletic save for Cardiff's other effort on target.

46 minKICKOFF! Cardiff get the second half underway.

46 minSuperb ball into the area from the right somehow doesn't find all three Cardiff attackers in the area and Boro are able to hack it clear. Strong start to the half from the catch-up playing visitors.

48 minInstinctive snapshot from Miller 20 yards out that is powerful, but straight at Marshall.

4.12pmUPDATE: Hull are now 4-0 up on Birmingham and are closing the goal difference gap to Cardiff too. Leicester are being held 0-0 in Ipswich.

54 minYELLOW! Gunnarsson becomes the first Cardiff name in the book.

55 minDyer's really enjoying himself out there. First he turns McNaughton inside and out before winning a corner before, a minute later, he decides to have a pop from at least 25 yards but drags his volley a yard or two wide.

57 minYELLOW! Nasty challenge from Nugent on Dyer and the Cardiff centre-back rightly is cautioned.

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58 minCARDIFF SUB: A bit more presence up front for the visitors as Heidar Helguson replaces Tommy Smith.

63 minVery little goalmouth action in the last five minutes or so. Boro have slowed it down a little but they don't need to press thanks to that rampant first half. Taylor almost put Marshall in a spot of bother with a heavy backpass but the Cardiff stopper did well to lump it out.

67 minGOAL! Middlesbrough 2-1 Cardiff (Gunnarsson)

67 minSloppy goal for Boro to concede as Gunnarsson is lazily marked inside the area and heads home Bellamy's corner. Game on.

70 minLooks like Mowbray will soon be making a triple substitution for Boro. An attacking one to try and get a third goal or defensive to consolidate the victory?

74 minBORO SUBS: Emmanuel Ledesma on for the impressive Ameobi and Marvin Emnes on for Dyer. That's both Boro goalscorers off the pitch.

75 minCARDIFF SUB: Craig Noone replaces a grumpy Bellamy who seems to have picked up a knock. Fifteen minutes for the visitors to find an equaliser.

4.40pmUPDATE: Another goal for Hull and they now lead Birmingham 5-0. Ipswich still holding Leicester to a goalless draw in Suffolk.

4.43pmIpswich have just gone ahead against Leicester though and that's slight consolation for Mackay's side.

83 minWe're a little behind most 3pm kickoffs and it's Cardiff who are, as expected, on top and pushing for an equaliser. Nugent wins a header in the box but that's easy for Steele to hold.

87 minCHANCE! Almost an equaliser for Cardiff as Campbell manages to get his head to Whittingham's corner and nods it into the turf but it bounces agonisingly just over the bar.

90 minBoro scuff their clearance and Taylor has a chance to cross it in. He clips to the back post and Helguson who gets above his man but doesn't get enough on it to beat Steele.

90 minYELLOW! Cardiff keeper Marshall is booked as five minutes are added on!

90+3 minSAVE! Diving stop from Steele keeps out Helguson's header and now Marshall is up for the corner!

90+4 minThe Cardiff keeper can't get back in time and Emnes should have a chance to score in the empty net but he's stood offside and still managed to miss the goal. Ridiculous.

90+5 minCrazy scenes at the Riverside as Marshall just keeps going forward and Boro somehow can't convert into an empty net. This is like primary school on the field!

90+6 minFULL-TIME: Middlesbrough 2-1 Cardiff

4.59pmOne of the most entertaining endings to a match you'll see all season as Cardiff threw everything forward for an equaliser and Middlesbrough dealt with it all but couldn't get a third goal in the easiest of circumstances with no goalkeeper in the net.

5.01pmThree points for Boro can't get them into the playoffs but they keep pace with Brighton in sixth while Leicester are now just three points away in fifth after their loss at Ipswich.

5.03pmCardiff remain top of the table but their lead is now down to five points while third-placed Watford are seven adrift.

5.03pmCardiff remain top of the table but their lead is now down to five points while third-placed Watford are seven adrift.

5.05pmThanks for joining Sports Mole this afternoon. Click here to see all of today's scores and make sure you now head here for Jack Prescott's text updates of the evening's Premier League matchup between Wigan and Liverpool. Goodbye.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Jose Ulloa celebrates scoring his sides second goal in their match against Arsenal on January 26, 2013
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