Blackburn climbed into the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion places after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on Monday night.
An entertaining encounter between two of the promotion frontrunners – which was delayed for nine minutes midway through the second half due to a medical emergency – was settled by Sam Gallagher’s sixth goal of the season, which was aided by Paddy McNair’s mis-kick (76).
Tony Mowbray’s side move above Bournemouth into second-place as a result of their eighth league win in 10 games – despite having played one game more than the Cherries.
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough – who have dropped just seven points since Chris Wilder was appointed on November 7 – remain seventh, two points outside the play-off places, with a game in hand.
How a narrow win saw Blackburn climb again
Without leading goalscorer Ben Brereton Diaz – who is on international duty with Chile until early February – there were questions as to where Blackburn’s attacking threat was going to come from against one of the division’s form sides, but while Boro’s Joe Lumley was seldom tested, the chances came at regular intervals.
A quick reaction from the goalkeeper prevented Matt Crooks inadvertently turning the ball into his own net after an attempt to block off Jan Paul van Hecke at a corner, before John Buckley had a shot charged down and Reda Khadra whipped a fierce free-kick over from 20 yards.
If that wasn’t enough, Mowbray’s men restricted their opponents to a grand total of zero shots throughout the first 45 minutes, despite their at times overwhelming, possessional dominance.