Billy Sharp on song for United...
UNITED 0, BORO 0.
United: Silvestri, Byram, Cooper, Pearce, Warnock, Murphy, Austin (Cook 86), Bianchi, Ajose (Poleon 75), Sharp, Doukara (Tonge 53). Subs. S Taylor, C Taylor, Wootton, Smith.
Middlesbrough: Mejias, Abella, Friend, Ayala, Leadbitter, Kike, Tomlin (Williams 85), Whitehead (Clayton 60), Reach (Nsue 75), Omeruo, Adomah. Subs. Konstantopoulos, Husband, Fewster, Woodgate.
Referee: S Attwell.
Booked: Sharp (Leeds), Ayala, Leadbitter, Friend (Boro).
There were three league debuts for United's first home Sky Bet Championship match of the season. Tommaso Bianchi was making his first league appearance and new signings Billy Sharp and Liam Cooper came in from the start after signing for the club on the previous Wednesday.
The atmosphere inside Elland Road was electric at kick off and United had a great chance to go a goal ahead within two minutes. Debutant Sharp was plyed through on goal and only the quick thinking of Tomas Mejias, who came off his line, prevented the striker having an early attempt. The rebound was latched onto by Nicky Ajose but his effort was cleared off the line.
Apart from Sharp's early chance the opening 25 minutes of the game were very even. Both had their moments on the ball but it was Middlesbrough that looked the more dangerous going forward with Kike causing a threat up top.
On 25 minutes the away side had the ball in the back of the net when Albert Adomah connected with a bicycle kick. Referee Stuart Attwell disallowed the goal for a foul in the build-up. Just moments later Middlesbrough went close when Daniel Ayala connected with a corner but the defender's header went wide.
The Middlesbrough chances kicked United into life and went on to create a number of chances. First Bianchi tried his luck from distance and forced a good save from Mejias. Sam Byram also got forward well and was found on the edge of the box by Luke Murphy, but the defender's shot went wide after great control set up a shooting attempt.
The noise levels rose inside the stadium as United looked more aggressive and lively going forward.
There were further chances for both sides before the break but it was Middlesbrough that went closest. In added time good build-up from the away side led to Adomah being free in the box but a great goal-saving challenge from Stephen Warnock prevented the winger from getting a shot on goal.
United started the second half brightly and caused the away side problems at the back. Two corners in quick succession kept the pressure on Middlesbrough but the keeper was rarely called into action.
There was very little in the way of goalscoring opportunities in the opening 20 minutes of the second period. The away looked to have created an opening in the 69th minute when Kike was played through but a great covering tackle from Warnock prevented the Spaniard having a shot on goal.
With 10 minutes of the game remaining Sharp had two good chances in front of goal. The best of the two was a header from a corner but the striker could only turn it wide of the post. Minutes later the striker closed down a poor backpass but the Boro keeper just beat him to the ball.
But in the 88th minute Sharp was the Elland Road hero when the Middlesbrough keeper soilled a shot and the striker was there to smash the ball home and give his new side a 1-0 win.