Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Middlesbrough vs Luton Town. Sky Bet Championship.

Riverside Stadium.

Middlesbrough 1

  • C Akpom (52nd minute)
  • S Morsy (sent off 66th minute)

Luton Town 0

    Middlesbrough 1-0 Luton Town: Chuba Akpom strikes as 10-man Boro hold on for victory

    Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Luton Town at the Riverside Stadium as Chuba Akpom strikes the only goal of the game and Boro hold on after Sam Morsy red card and James Collins penalty drama.

    preview image 1:58
    Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship game between Cardiff and Birmingham.

    Chuba Akpom ended a 13-match wait for a goal in a dramatic 1-0 win for Middlesbrough against Luton at the Riverside Stadium.

    But that was only the start of the drama as James Collins' penalty 15 minutes later was ruled out when referee Andy Davies' assistant, Akil Howson, spotted a double touch by the Republic of Ireland striker.

    Middlesbrough - who had a penalty from Marcus Tavernier ruled out against Norwich on November 21 for the same offence - also had midfielder Sam Morsy sent off in the penalty incident for handling Collins' initial strike.

    Despite having to finish the game with 10 men and Luton desperate for a change in fortune, Middlesbrough withstood late pressure to seal the points, including a late save from Marcus Bettinelli to keep out Luke Berry's header.

    Image: Middlesbrough edged past Luton 1-0

    Boro moved up to seventh and closed the gap on the play-off places by securing a second home win inside four days.

    In a pretty tame night of football in which chances were few and far between at both ends, the Hatters could just as easily have edged ahead before the opening goal.

    Middlesbrough, fresh from a convincing win over Millwall on Saturday having scored early, could not find that explosive start this time around as Luton played with greater initial confidence.

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    The Hatters, now without a win in five away from home, passed the ball around neatly and missed out on the opportunity to leapfrog Middlesbrough in mid-table.

    preview image 0:25
    James Collins had a penalty ruled out against Middlesbrough when referee Andy Davies' assistant, Akil Howson, spotted a double-touch by the Republic of Ireland striker.

    There was a decent delivery that looked like it could cause a problem midway through the half when Rhys Norrington-Davies looked to pick out the unmarked Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu in the area, but there was too much pace on the cross.

    Middlesbrough's best chance came when full-back Anfernee Dijksteel was fed by Tavernier down the line. Dijksteel did his bit, but his well-struck cross was turned away by goalkeeper James Shea.

    The Luton goalkeeper was not asked any other questions before half-time. Middlesbrough's only other noteworthy chance was when Dael Fry volleyed over the crossbar from 15 yards when his initial header had been blocked.

    The game was crying out for some inspiration in the second half and it was a case of whether managers Nathan Jones or Neil Warnock could deliver it.

    Within a few minutes of the restart there was renewed hope of a goal when George Saville arched his body to volley over the bar.

    Middlesbrough took the lead with a well-worked goal after 52 minutes. Tavernier's run at pace towards the box led to him finding Marvin Johnson, whose low cross was turned in by Akpom from close range.

    Fifteen minutes later, goalkeeper Bettinelli failed to hold Glen Rea's effort on goal and a penalty was awarded when Morsy handled to block Collins' rebound effort.

    Collins, who also had a late header saved, found the net, but the referee's assistant agreed with Boro complaints that there was a double touch and it was ruled out.

    What the managers said...

    Middlesbrough's Neil Warnock: "After that finish, wow. I am so proud of the lads, the penalty, how we reacted to playing with 10 for such a long time, they defended for such a long time. I am disappointed, if I'm honest, with the red card. I'm not sure if the referee is in a position to give it. Sam had been pulled by a white shirt, he fell, then it hits his arm.

    "Luton have appealed for every decision, that swung the decision really. Thankfully, when they took the penalty, the ref didn't disallow it but the linesman was excellent looking at it. He definitely touches it twice, easier to tell than the one we had against Norwich. People will say lucky but I would say it was just.

    "I will have a word with (chief executive) Neil (Bausor), definitely worth an appeal. It looks more obvious from behind. I will have a word with him. One-game ban, do we let him have a rest?"

    Luton's Nathan Jones: "I haven't seen it (the penalty) yet, it obviously touched his foot so it was the right decision. The assistant didn't give it until they remonstrated with them (officials), then he changed his mind. At no point did he (Howson) flag. They persuaded him to change his mind. If it is the right decision, fine, but that was what I was angry with. It is difficult.

    "There were two things I was disappointed with, one was our tempo and the way we started the second half, the other was the way the game panned out. I think the ref could have handled that better. Middlesbrough did the professional thing to slow the game out. The ref is in charge of the tempo and it was borderline a joke.

    "When you are down to 10 men, fighting for your life, every point is important, then there was no flow in the game. I felt the ref could have managed it better. As soon as there was a corner players were falling down, there were a lot of breaks like that. That's what I felt the ref could have handled better, the game petered out. It wasn't a spectacle in the end."

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