Highlights: Middlesbrough 1-3 Bristol City
Posted: Sunday, July 12th 2020
Tuesday, September 18th 2012
City registered their first away win of the season in a fashion far more comfortable than the margin of victory suggests.
Sam Baldock's second-half brace proved enough in a game short of chances but high on controversy, with Peterborough's Mark Little and Tyrone Barnett both fortunate to escape red cards.
Cole Skuse and Greg Cunningham were stretchered off either side of the interval before Lee Tomlin's penalty in the second of eight added minutes ensured a dramatic finale.
Derek McInnes made three changes to his starting line-up defeated so cruelly in the dying seconds by Blackburn Rovers at Ashton Gate three days ago.
Marvin Elliott returned after a seven-month absence from starting duties to partner Stephen Pearson in the engine room, while Cole Skuse shifted to the right flank at the expense of Albert Adomah.
Also coming in were James Wilson and Baldock at opposite ends of the pitch, replacing Louis Carey and Jon Stead in central defence and up front respectively.
Having opened the scoring in the first minute against Blackburn, City were almost on the receiving end of the same fate as Tomlin's dipping half-volley had Tom Heaton retreating and relieved to see the ball ripple the top of the net on its way over.
City more than held their own in a first half starved of clear cut chances. Baldock beat the offside trap but failed to gather Skuse's defence-splitting pass on the stretch, before the lively striker found space on the right wing.
Running to the byline, Baldock fired in a wicked low cross across the six-yard line inviting a tap in. Stephen Pearson was the man arriving, but having sprinted to get there, the former Derby County midfielder could only throw himself at the ball and steer it wide from just in front of Posh keeper Bobby Olejnik.
Half-time saw Skuse stretchered down the tunnel with an ankle injury, as McInnes responded by introducing Adomah to open up the game.
But the winger would have to wait a while longer to be involved, with the start of the second half delayed by ten minutes due to illness to one of the officials.
Again Tomlin was fastest out of the blocks, this time fizzing a low shot past the post seconds after the restart, but Baldock soon provided a reminder of City's attacking threat by forcing a save from Olejnik at his near post.
And it was the same man who broke the deadlock on 56 minutes thanks in part to a calamitous moment from Peterborough right-back Mark Little, who attempted a back pass from just inside his own half without noticing City's number seven lurking.
Baldock could not believe his luck, controlling the ball on the edge of the penalty area, rounding Olejnik and finishing left-footed into the unguarded net.
Little was visibly distraught, and Liam Fontaine soon became victim to his frustration as the man on the receiving end of a rash lunge near City's left touchline - the Posh defender fortunate to escape with no more than the yellow card branded in his direction.
The home side were falling apart, and Baldock virtually finished them off with his second just after the hour, taking Adomah's square pass in his stride with a crisp shot into the bottom corner to double the advantage.
If Peterborough were previously frustrated, by now they were apoplectic. With refereeing decisions not to the home fans' liking, Tyrone Barnett took matters into his own hands with another ugly tackle again resulting in a yellow card.
It looked bad on first viewing, and with Greg Cunningham grounded for five minutes after the challenge before being stretchered off, McInnes must have been wondering how his side were still facing 11 men.
The remaining minutes passed by relatively incident free until Tomlin's spot-kick after he was fouled by Martyn Woolford gave United faint hope in the second of eight added minutes, but City held on to secure a welcome first three points on the road.
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