Football: All Wright on night for buoyant Boro

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Middlesbrough. . . .3

Tottenham Hotspur. .0

Middlesbrough are still hanging on to their Premier League status by a thread as a result of this emphatic win over Spurs, which lifted them off bottom place, a point ahead of Nottingham Forest. Spurs, who had an opportunity to leapfrog Queen's Park Rangers, for fifth spot, will have to do much better than they did last night if they want to be the leading London club in the Premier League in its first season.

Middlesbrough took the lead after just two minutes with a richly comical goal that Spurs, needless to say, did not find at all amusing. John Hendrie, picking the ball up on the right, passed inside to Paul Wilkinson. His attempted shot flew off the outside of his boot to Jamie Pollock, whose even worse mis-kick sent the ball spinning to Tommy Wright, who finally drove the ball past Ian Walker from what looked an offside position. But there was no flag from the linesman and Middlesbrough laughed all the way back to the centre circle.

Teddy Sheringham almost knocked the smile off their faces with a full- blooded drive that sent Stephen Pears tumbling to save, one-handed.

With 15 minutes gone, Craig Hignett missed a glorious chance to put Middlesbrough two up. Neil Ruddock slipped while trying to intercept a long ball from Curtis Fleming, leaving Hignett with a clear run at goal. Walker, however, guessed correctly, and threw himself to his right to gather Hignett's deliberately placed shot.

Wright then moved intelligently into position in front of goal to meet a raking cross from Wilkinson, only to head the ball firmly against Walker's left-hand post.

Spurs were having to work hard to contain an eager Middlesbrough, but they were caught napping again after 26 minutes, when Wright scored Middlesbrough's second goal. The lively Scot chased a quickly headed forward pass from Hignett and drove the ball into the net as Walker rushed out. These were Wright's first League goals since last September. Middlesbrough could have done with them sooner.

Middlesbrough almost made it three on half-time. Hignett broke through on the right and turned the ball inside to Wilkinson, who sliced the ball wide from a narrow angle.

Wilkinson finally put the result beyond doubt with a powerful header in the 76th minute from Hendrie's right-wing cross.

Middlesbrough: Pears; Fleming, Phillips, Kernaghan, Whyte, Peake, Hendrie, Wright, Wilkinson, Pollock, Hignett. Substitutes not used: Falconer, Marshall, Ironside (gk).

Tottenham Hotspur: Walker; Austin (Fenwick, 74), Edinburgh, Samways, Mabbutt, Ruddock, Sedgley, Barmby, Anderton, Sheringham, Allen (Turner, 74). Substitute not used: Dearden (gk).

Referee: D Allison (Lancaster).