Middlesbrough 2-1 Reading: Match Report
Adam Forshaw hits late winner to send Middlesbrough top
Substitute Adam Forshaw sent Middlesbrough back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table with a priceless injury-time winner.
Forshaw struck amid a goalmouth scramble in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the end of a hugely tense 2-1 win over Reading to send the Teessiders two points clear of Burnley at the top with five games remaining 24 hours after third-placed Brighton had won in similarly dramatic fashion.
It had looked like being a frustrating evening for Aitor Karanka's men until the midfielder's last-gasp intervention after Simon Cox's first goal in 16 months had cancelled out Emilio Nsue's opener with Reading keeper Ali Al Habsi almost single-handedly keeping Boro at bay.
Boro took the lead with just 10 minutes gone when, after Al Habsi had blocked Jordan Rhodes' shot from point-blank range with his legs, Nsue followed up to convert the rebound.
But for Al Habsi, Boro might have gone in at the break with a commanding lead as George Friend from left-back, Stewart Downing from a central midfield position and Nsue, promoted to a right-sided attacking berth by Ritchie De Laet's inclusion at right-back, tore into the Royals.
Rhodes flicked a header straight at the keeper from Albert Adomah's 31st-minute cross, but the Oman international excelled himself twice within seconds as the half drew to a close, diving to his right to turn aside Adomah's low drive and then going the other way to claw out Friend's rasping effort.
Cox was the only Reading man to keep home keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos on his toes with three long-range efforts, one of which flew just wide, but the visitors should have been dead and buried within 35 seconds of the restart.
Nsue fed De Laet down the right and he raced away before pulling the ball back to Adomah, who completely miskicked with the goal at his mercy.
Boro had a combination of Friend and Konstantopoulos to thank four minutes later when they managed to get in the way of Cox's close-range effort from substitute Andrew Taylor's cross, and Reading were back in it with 54 minutes gone.
Konstantopoulos failed to hold former Boro man Taylor's skidding drive and Cox, whose last goal came in December 2014, finish expertly with a delicate dink.
Al Habsi continued to defy the Teessiders, saving twice from Downing and tipping defender Ben Gibson's header over in between before claiming substitute David Nugent's late header.
Matej Vydra passed up a glorious opportunity to snatch the win for the visitors as the clock ticked into added time, but Forshaw was not so wasteful, thumping home a low drive after Downing's right-wing corner had pinballed its way across the penalty area.