Football: Booth leaves Boro adrift

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday maintained their chase for a place in Europe next season at the expense of Bryan Robson's Premiership strugglers who were left eight points adrift of safety by David Pleat's consistent side. Wednesday have now lost just one of their last 21 games, and yesterday they gained ample revenge for that mid-January 4-2 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Wednesday swept into a 21st-minute lead they never looked like relinquishing when Boro gave the ball away in midfield and the Welsh international Mark Pembridge found space on the left flank to pick out Andy Booth, who scored at the near post with a stooping header. Middlesbrough escaped a few minutes later when their centre-back Steve Vickers almost put through his own goal from Benito Carbone's ball into the penalty area.

Any relief Boro may have felt soon evaporated into the Hillsborough breeze when Wednesday added a second in the 43rd minute after another blunder in the visitors' defence. It was Carbone again who provided the teasing ball into the danger zone and, as the rearguard froze, the midfielder Graham Hyde nipped in to tuck the ball beyond Mark Schwarzer's reach from 12 yards.

Middlesbrough brought on Mikkel Beck and Phil Stamp after the interval and pushed an extra man up front in an effort to claw they way back into the match and they won themselves a lifeline when they pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute, Robbie Mustoe playing a one-two with Emerson before shooting off Steve Nicol and over a stranded Kevin Pressman.

However, Pembridge put the game beyond Boro's reach from the penalty spot moments before full-time after Vickers had climbed all over Booth.

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