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Middlesbrough vs Blackpool. Sky Bet Championship.

Riverside StadiumAttendance26,299.

Middlesbrough 3

  • C Akpom (32nd minute, 59th minute)
  • P McNair (70th minute)

Blackpool 0

    Middlesbrough 3-0 Blackpool: Chuba Akpom scores twice as Boro ease to victory

    Report and free match action from the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Blackpool at the Riverside Stadium as Chuba Akpom's double and a Paddy McNair effort saw Mick McCarthy beaten in his first league game in charge of the Tangerines.

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    Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Blackpool.

    Chuba Akpom's brilliant double helped seal a 3-0 win for Middlesbrough that handed Mick McCarthy a losing start to life back in the Sky Bet Championship as Blackpool manager.

    Akpom's hot form continued by following a cleverly-struck curled finish in the 32nd minute with a predator's strike in the 59th to keep Boro third in the table, 10 points behind second-placed Sheffield United.

    Blackpool, who remain deep in relegation trouble, could not find a way back for McCarthy to get the win he needed to spark a revival - and Paddy McNair piled on the problems with a third with 20 minutes left.

    McCarthy handed Curtis Nelson a debut following his move from Cardiff as one of two Blackpool changes in a bid to end a run of 10 league games without a win.

    It is a streak stretching back to October and includes a 3-0 win for Middlesbrough at Bloomfield Road - a time when the Teessiders were below them in the Championship.

    Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick, who brought deadline-day signing Dan Barlaser on for his debut in the second half, has overseen some turnaround since then with just three defeats from his 14 games in charge.

    There was clearly a vibrancy in their play from the first whistle and that led to a number of early chances they could not convert.

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    The best of those saw defender Darragh Lenihan clip a header against the crossbar from Ryan Giles' free-kick, and the excellent Riley McGree's effort was turned away by goalkeeper Chris Maxwell after Cameron Archer's pass.

    Middlesbrough kept finding space down the flanks and Blackpool struggled to make any progress in the final third after an early attack came to nothing.

    Just when it seemed Blackpool had managed to weather the storm, Akpom delivered.

    The 27-year-old cleverly created an opportunity to clip a lovely right-footed finish inside Maxwell's far post from an angle which left the home supporters purring.

    There was very little to threaten either goalkeeper for the remainder of the first half, but Blackpool did have the ball in the net soon after the restart.

    Striker Jerry Yates fired low and inside the bottom corner after an incisive Josh Bowler run and pass but that was ruled out for offside.

    Yates also headed against the crossbar from CJ Hamilton's cross moments after Tommy Smith's half-volley at the other end forced a strong save from Maxwell.

    But Akpom's second effectively put the game to bed just before the hour. He hammered in from close range after McGree's clever pass came at the end of a lovely move down the right.

    McNair, who needed treatment to a cut below his eye in the first half, made sure of the points when he side-footed in at the back post from Lenihan's flick-on at a corner.

    The managers

    Middlesbrough's Michael Carrick:

    "It was a terrific goal from Chuba, a great individual goal and just what is needed sometimes in a game like that because it can nudge you ahead. I liked the second goal, the team goal, from goalkeeper Zack Steffen all the way through the pitch and then to finish it off with a great combination of Chuba and Riley (McGree). It is important (to win five in a row at home), when you have the support we have behind us. The boys are playing with confidence, the atmosphere that creates is special.

    "We have to build on that as the season goes. It might not always go to plan, but we know the support is there for us. It is powerful there for the players to feel that energy in the stadium. I'm happy. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, the situation they are in, with a new manager, a good manager, we knew they'd be stubborn and hard to beat, good on the break. I liked the application, attitude, focus and the concentration levels. It's easy to get impatient and lose sense of what we are trying to do in a game like that, but I thought the boys were terrific, looked dangerous and caused problems."

    Blackpool's Mick McCarthy:

    "I learnt a lot about my players, they had a lot of possession without reality hurting us and we defended well first half and I thought we had our moments and could have done better with one or two breaks. We had a throw-in here not far in front of me, we threw it backwards and it ended up in our net. If we had thrown it the other direction the goal wouldn't have come and that really p***** me off.

    "We had a chance at 1-0, hit the crossbar and then gave another appalling goal away and, when they got the third because we didn't mark at a corner, we looked all over the shop but I take responsibility for that one because I changed the shape to try and get back into it."

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