Middlesbrough extended their unbeaten run at the Riverside Stadium to three games last night as they secured a 2-0 victory over Barnsley.
Neil Warnock made two changes to the side which beat Peterborough United last weekend as Lee Peltier and Isaiah Jones were drafted in as replacements for Onel Hernandez and Uche Ikpeazu.
Middlesbrough opened the scoring in the 20th minute as Andraz Sporar headed home from Paddy McNair’s cross.
The hosts went close to doubling their advantage in the first-half as Marcus Tavernier’s effort was denied by Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins.
Following the break, Martin Payero and Duncan Watmore both missed chances for Boro who finally secured victory thanks to an effort from Matt Crooks during the closing stages of the game.
With the dust having now settled from this fixture, here are THREE things we clearly learnt about Middlesbrough after their 2-0 win over Barnsley…
Middlesbrough’s consistency at home could play a key role in the club’s push for success this season
After only managing to win one of their opening four league games at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough have managed to pick up their performance levels in recent weeks.
Boro backed up their recent victories over Sheffield United and Peterborough United by sweeping aside a poor Barnsley side last night.
In order to have the best chance of achieving a relative amount of success in this division during the current campaign, Middlesbrough will need to maintain their consistency at home over the course of the coming months.
By turning their stadium into a fortress, Boro could potentially emerge as contenders for a top-six finish next year.
Crooks possesses the ability required to thrive at this level
A stand-out performer for Boro last night, Crooks demonstrated once again that he is capable of thriving at this level.
As well as netting a crucial goal in the club’s clash with Barnsley, the midfielder recorded a remarkable WhoScored match rating of 8.92 in this fixture.
When you consider that Crooks has now been directly involved in four goals in the second-tier this season, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he goes on to play a major role for Middlesbrough as they aim to reach new heights in this division.
Boro have seemingly found a solution to their previous defensive woes
Middlesbrough have seemingly cut out the defensive errors which led to them conceding nine goals in their opening six league fixtures.
Despite the fact that they have been forced to play without the likes of Dael Fry and Grant Hall in their recent games, Boro have managed to keep back-to-back clean-sheets.
Sol Bamba has been particularly impressive for Boro as the 36-year-old has managed to average a WhoScored match rating of 6.98 in the Championship.
If Middlesbrough continue to deliver the goods in a defensive sense, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they climb the second-tier standings under the guidance of Warnock.