Middlesbrough 1 Fulham 0: Alves' introduction gives Boro lift and prolongs Fulham slide

It was all very different in Afonso Alves' home town when England came calling on World Cup duty. Back then, in the summer of 1950, the idea of having a substitute waiting in the wings was about as alien as playing a First Division fixture on the Sea Of Tranquillity. Poor Walter Winterbottom was unable to bring on Stanley Matthews to change the course of football history as his side slumped to defeat against the United States in Belo Horizonte.

It remains to be seen whether Middlesbrough's latest signing is blessed with the dribbling wizardry of a Matthews. In the 33 minutes he spent on the pitch at the Riverside on Saturday, Alves had more touches of the ball with his head than with his feet, and they were few and fleeting. Still, the introduction of the boy from Belo Horizonte, midway through the second half, played an influential role in the game's outcome. As Roy Hodgson said at the end of another pointless day on the road for Fulham: "It was a wise move by Gareth [Southgate] to bring on the new boy when he did. It breathed new life into them."

Having squandered a number of chances (principally via Robert Huth) Boro were sitting on their 1-0 lead with an increasing degree of discomfort until their manager pitched Alves into the fray. The £12.7m club record signing had no chance to show the goal-poaching pedigree that yielded 45 goals in 39 games for Heerenveen, but the roar from the crowd, accompanied by the waving of 10,000 miniature Brazilian flags, provided the vital lift that Boro needed.

"I knew the sort of reception that Afonso would get and I knew if we did it at half-time we wouldn't get that added impetus," Southgate said. "I knew he would struggle physically because he's not ready yet. But I had to counter that with the lift it would give the crowd for 20 minutes and the fact that he might just pinch something on the break for us. Afonso will be an asset but we'll have to give him time."

Which is what Jérémie Aliadière has been given by Southgate, whose astute hand on the managerial reins has now guided Middlesbrough to 12th place. It has taken the young French striker five months to get into a goalscoring groove following his £2m move from the Arsenal bench but he has bagged two in Middlesbrough's last three games. The winner he struck in the 11th minute on Saturday was a fine finish: a nutmegging shot through the legs of Fulham's Finnish goalkeeper, Antti Niemi.

Goal: Aliadière (11) 1-0.

Middlesbrough (4-1-3-2): Schwarzer; Young, Huth, Wheater, Pogatetz; Rochemback; O'Neil, Arca, Downing; Dong-Gook (Alves, 57), Aliadière (Boateng, 76).Substitutes not used: Turnbull (gk), Mido, Grounds.

Fulham (4-5-1): Niemi; Stalteri, Baird, Hangeland, Konchesky; Davies, Andreason, Bullard, Murphy, Kamara (Dempsey, h-t); Nevland (McBride, 64). Substitutes not used: Keller (gk), Volz, Bocanegra.

Referee: P Dowd (Stoke).

Booked: Middlesbrough Huth; Fulham Kamara, Nevland.

Man of the match: Huth.

Attendance: 26,885.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn