Middlesbrough 1-0 Sheffield United: Gestede Header Earns Gary Monk First Win as Boro Boss
Saturday's late kick off saw Championship favourites Middlesbrough, take on recently promoted Sheffield United.
Middlesbrough were hoping to pick up their first win after a disappointing opening day defeat to Wolves, whereas United were hoping to build on their 1-0 victory against Brentford.
The opening exchanges of the game were cagey with neither team able to get a telling foothold on the game.
However, the first chance fell to the visitors when Kieron Freeman's pullback found Leon Clarke in the 7th minute, but his effort from the centre of the box was well blocked.
Chris Wilder's side then found themselves on top for the next 10 minutes of the game, with John Fleck's shot also failing to find the net, despite a good run through a host of Boro defenders.
Despite having made no chances up to this point, Boro made their first count.
Calling it now Middlesbrough will not lose a single league game this season and finish with a 50+ GD their squads too good for championship— J. (@SantanJ_) August 5, 2017
Patrick Bamford's lofted through ball in the 19th minute had the United defence flustered. A poor defensive header from Stearman followed, which allowed Gestede to pounce with a header of his own, to lob the helpless Jamal Blackman in the visitors goal.
The last clear chance of the half fell again to Gestede after the lofty striker directed Cyrus Christie's cross towards goal, only to see it come off the keeper's right hand post and out for a goal kick.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with both sides struggling to create any clear cut opportunities.
However, in the 61st minute the first chance of the half saw Sheffield United's Coutts strike a fierce 25-yard shot, that would've nestled in Middlesbrough left hand post if it wasn't for a fantastic stop by Darren Randolph.
Throughout the game a lot of heavy and often late tackles were flying in, making for a fairly physical encounter between the two Championship newcomers.
Through their physical display and high press, the Blades showed that they would cause problems for a lot of teams this season as Middlesbrough continued to find it difficult to break their resolute defence down in the second half.
The Blades scrambled to try and steal a point towards the end of the game. However, Clarke couldn't squeeze his 89th minute right footed shot past Darren Randolph at his near post, while Boro resolutely blocked a host of other shots towards the end of the game.
Despite not really creating a clear chance in the second half, aside from a tame Cyrus Christie strike, Boro controlled the game and comfortably held on to the lead to claim their first win of the season under new boss Gary Monk.