Date: 21st April 2018 at 10:45pm
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Middlesbrough strengthened their promotion challenge with a hugely important 2-1 success against play-off rivals Derby County at Pride Park.

The visitors went in front after twenty minutes through midfielder Mo Besic before recalled record signing Britt Assombalonga added a second with similar length of time remaining.

Former Boro striker David Nugent replied from the penalty spot after Daniel Ayala was penalised during injury-time.

Bradley Johnson headed wide early on for hosts seeking to recover from back-to-back defeats, although they were to fall behind when Besic avoided his marker inside the area and drove inside former England keeper Scott Carson’s near post.

Darren Randolph dealt with a reply at the other end, while both George Friend and Jonny Howson went close to further reward early in the second-half.

Adama Traore also dragged across goal for the visitors after an individual break; but another soon arrived when Assombalonga took advantage of a lack of marking inside the box to calmly side-foot in with twenty minutes remaining.

Midfielder Howson later fired wide from the edge of the area before Boro keeper Randolph denied Tom Lawrence.

He was though beaten from the spot by Nugent in added time – but it was too late to be anything other than a consolation.

Derby County: Carson, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth, Wisdom, Huddlestone (Hanson 71),  Johnson, Olsson (Weimann 63), Lawrence, Vydra (Palmer 63), Nugent

subs (unused): Pearce, Roos, Jerome, Ledley

Goals: Nugent (pen 90)

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Besic (Leadbitter 81), Traore, Assombalonga, Downing (Fabio 85)

subs (unused): Konstantopoulos, Cranie, Fry, Johnson, Harrison

Goals: Besic (20), Assombalonga (70)

Ref: L. Probert

Att: 28,096