Carayol double boosts Middlesbrough

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MIDDLESBROUGH boss Aitor Karanka was delighted after two late Mustapha Carayol goals gave his side victory at Blackpool.

Carayol struck twice in the final six minutes for the visitors, who are now unbeaten in their last five Sky Bet Championship games.

“It was very good result and performance,” said Karanka.

“It was a tough first half, we didn’t play in the first half, but in the second period the subs worked well and we got the result.

“Everybody knows Mustapha is a quality player and he needed that for his confidence.

“He took both goals very well and I’m very happy for him.

“My philosophy is always thinking about the next game. We were three points away from the relegation places and now we’re not far from the play-offs – but my mentality is the same.”

Blackpool created the first two opportunities of note inside the first 10 minutes. Barry Ferguson was the first to test Shay Given with an 18-yard volley before Craig Cathcart nodded wide a left-wing cross from Tom Ince.

Middlesbrough had chances of their own. With the home side operating a high backline, Emanuel Ledesma created two glorious openings with lofted balls over the top of the back four.

The first, on 13 minutes, sent Lukas Jutkiewicz through on goal, but as he prepared to pull the trigger Cathcart came to the home side’s rescue with a brilliant last-ditch tackle.

Just minutes later and a near-identical move saw Ledesma send Albert Adomah clear, but this time it was the turn of Jack Robinson to produce a last-gasp block.

After the break Paul Ince’s men again looked to seize the early initiative, with Chris Basham heading wide of goal from a Neal Bishop right-wing cross.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Jutkiewicz was hacked to the floor by Gary Mackenzie down the right side of the penalty area and from the resulting free-kick Ledesma’s ferocious, bending shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Minutes later a counter-attack saw Carayol cut in from the right before bending a fine effort into the bottom right-hand corner.

And Boro wrapped up the three points deep into injury-time when the Blackpool defence failed to deal with Adomah’s cut-back down the left, allowing Carayol to fire into the top left-hand corner.

Blackpool: Gilks, Bishop, Cathcart, MacKenzie, Robinson, Ince, Basham, Martinez (Caton 87), Ferguson, Barkhuizen (Eccleston 63), Fuller (Davies 77). Subs not used: Warner, Harris, Cameron, Waddington. Booked: MacKenzie, Robinson.

Middlesbrough: Given, Varga, Ayala, R Williams, Friend, Ledesma (Butterfield 89), Leadbitter, Emnes (Carayol 61), Whitehead, Adomah, Jutkiewicz (Main 81). Subs: Richardson, Konstantopoulos, Gibson, Smallwood. Booked: Carayol. Goals: Carayol 84, 90.

Att: 14,421. Ref: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire).