MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray praised the “quality and the grit” of his Boro side after they continued their unbeaten run on the road with a 1-0 triumph at Crystal Palace.
Marvin Emnes’ second-half strike sent the Teesiders to the top of the npower Championship – if only for 24 hours – despite having Joe Bennett sent off for two bookable offences, leaving Mowbray delighted with his side’s commitment.
“The game panned out pretty much as I thought it would and credit to Palace,” he said.
“I didn’t think it would be an expansive match with load of goals in it. To score against Palace is a difficult thing to do.
“We can talk about the quality of the commitment today. We scored a lot of goals and we’re a team that is working hard for each other.
“The quality and the grit of the side was shown today, but we’ve won more comfortably in the past than we have today.”
Mowbray added: “For the sending off, I remember the days when you could tackle. But that is no criticism of the official.
“He made some great decisions, even though we can all be frustrated on the sidelines. It’s unfortunate for Joe.”
Palace had the better of the first half and Paddy McCarthy should have opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when he headed Darren Ambrose’s free-kick wide.
A minute later, Jermaine Easter’s thundering drive from outside the box was fingertipped away by Boro goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.
The visitors stunned the home fans 20 minutes into the second half when Emnes half-volleyed unmarked to net his eighth goal of the campaign.
Substitute Glenn Murray nearly equalised for the home side with 14 minutes left but he put his header from Mile Jedinak’s free-kick over the crossbar.
Easter should have levelled the score with seven minutes remaining, as his close range effort ricocheted off the crossbar and away to safety.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ramage, McCarthy, Tunchev, Moxey, Parr (Murray 68), Jedinak, Wright (Williams 80), Ambrose (Zaha 66), Easter, Scannell. Subs Not Used: Price, Gardner. Booked: Jedinak.
Middlesbrough: Ikeme, McMahon, Bates, Haroun (McManus 79), Hoyte, Rhys Williams, Bailey, Robson, Bennett, Emnes, McDonald (Thomson 76). Subs Not Used: Zemmama, Kink, Martin. Sent Off: Bennett (75). Booked: Bennett, Robson. Goals: Emnes 65.
Att: 15,198 Ref: Gary Sutton (Lincolnshire).