Turkish delight for Boro
Tuncay's great run of form continued as he fired Middlesbrough to a 1-0 win at Derby.
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 15/12/07 5:43pm
Tuncay Sanli's great run of form continued as he fired Middlesbrough to a 1-0 win at Derby - in Paul Jewell's first match in charge at Pride Park.
The Turkish international grabbed the only goal of the game shortly before half-time to seal a second successive victory for Boro.
The Teessiders dominated for large periods and deserved their win, which came courtesy of Tuncay's goal which was a brilliant strike.
Stewart Downing latched onto a long ball down the left and he crossed for Tuncay - who volleyed home from 12-yards leaving Stephen Bywater with no chance.
The rock-bottom Rams are now staring relegation in the face as they are six points adrift of the team directly above them.
To be fair to Jewell and Derby, despite their inability to often play a ball in a straight line to a team-mate, they did create a number of chances, even if
many were long range.
Teenage star Giles Barnes, captain Matt Oakley and substitute Jay McEveley - who had replaced the injured Andy Griffin in the 29th minute - all tried their luck from distance.
Mark Schwarzer, returning in goal after missing the last two games with a broken thumb, was smartly down on each occasion to smother the respective shots on his goal-line.
Derby's best effort in the opening 45 minutes came within a minute of Tuncay's sweet strike, with Kenny Miller clipping the outside of the right-hand post with a shot on the turn from the edge of the area.
The only other moment of quality had earlier arrived in the fourth minute, courtesy of the fact Griffin was nowhere to be seen. Taking advantage of the open space at left-back, Tuncay played an inch-perfect ball into the feet of Gary O'Neil, resulting in a firece angled drive that was superbly saved by Bywater.
The Rams goalkeeper then kept his side in the game eight minutes into the second half as Boro should have killed the game off, but he produced a stunning fingertip stop to turn a first-time drive from Downing inches past the left-hand post following an electrifying break from Tuncay to tee up the England winger.
Moments later, and with Derby's defence rocking, Boro captain George Boateng then planted a header against the left-hand post after diving onto a cross inside the area from Fabio Rochemback.
It was Barnes who had Derby's best two chances in a closing 30 minutes they primarily dominated as Boro were forced to defend in numbers.
But one 20-yard effort was dragged wide, while another from just inside the area was coolly plucked out of the air by Schwarzer.
In the end, with relegation rivals Wigan, Sunderland and Birmingham all picking up points, this was a bad day for Jewell and Derby.
|Derby County||Team Statistics||Middlesbrough|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||2|