Ross McCormack and Jason Pearce the goalscorers as Boro beaten at Elland Road...
UNITED 2 (McCormack 35, Pearce 57), BORO 1 (Carayol 52).
United: Kenny, Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce, Pugh (Byram 81), Peltier, Mowatt, Murphy (Brown 87), Austin, McCormack, Blackstock (Smith 81). Subs. Cairns, Tonge, Varney, Poleon.
Boro: Steele, Friend, Richardson, Leadbitter, Ayala, Carayol (Main 67), Adomah, Woodgate, Smallwood (Jutkiewicz 83), Emnes (Leutwiler 43), Kamara. Subs. Williams, Butterfield, Whitehead, Gibson.
Referee: P Gibbs
Booked: Pugh (Leeds), Ayala, Woodgate (Boro)
Sent Off: Steele (Boro)
With the November international break out of the way United were back at Elland Road to face Middlesbrough. United manager Brian McDermott made two changes to his team that beat Charlton two weeks ago with Alex Mowatt and Marius Zaliukas coming in from the start in place of Michael Brown and the injured Scott Wootton.
For his first game as Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka named two ex-United players in Frazer Richardson and Boro captain Jonathan Woodgate.
The atmosphere in Elland Road was electric from the first whistle with both teams having half-chances in the opening five minutes. United were the first to create an attack when Danny Pugh was found out wide by Mowatt but unfortunately Ross McCormack was seen to be offside. The away side had a chance to strike at goal from a free-kick just 20-yards out but Grant Leadbitter hit his effort into the United wall.
Another good chance fell United's way just before the 10 minute mark when Jason Pearce latched onto a loose ball in the away area but his headed effort went wide of the mark.
The noise levels went up another notch on 11 minutes when the home crowd paid tribute to former United midfielder Gary Speed.
The United defence had to be on their game as the vistiors enjoyed a good spell of possession. The attacking threat of the away side was cut out several times with last ditch headers and blocks keeping Boro at bay.
Midway through the half Rudy Austin tested Jason Steele's hands with a strike from distance but the away keeper got his body behind the ball well and saved his advances. Another good chance came the way of United just miinutes later when McCormack made space for himself to cross for his strike partner, but Dexter Blackstock put his shot just wide of the left hand post.
Following the 30 minute mark a great strike from Pugh almost gave United the lead. A great point-blank save from Steele turned the ball round for a corner.
The resulting corner brought the first goal of the game and it was the league's inform striker McCormack with the games opener. The floated corner made its way to the back post and it was played back into the mix by Tom Lees and there was McCormack at the near post to head home from just six-yards out.
The away sides task became a harder one in the 43rd minute when they were reduced to 10 men. The straight red came about when Blackstock latched onto a poor backpass and got to the ball before Steele could. The goalkeeper clattered the striker and was given his marching orders by Philip Gibbs as he was the last man and prevented a goalscoring opportunity. Marvin Emnes was the man sacrificed as the away side brought on their replacement keeper Jayson Leutwiler.
United started the second half well but the contest was levelled with the half just seven minutes old. Albert Adomah broke down the left hand side and crossed for the onrushing Mustapha Carayol to finish beautifully with a first time strike.
United responded well to the away side drawing level with a blocked shot from Austin and only a great save by the substitute keeper kept out a strike from Mowatt. United were not to be denied a third time, though, when Pearce rose well at the back post to smash a header home to restore the advantage on 57 minutes.
Pearce's goal seemed to settle United as they took control of the ball. With 20 minutes of the game left United were close to doubling their advantage twice in the space of two minutes. First Pugh crossed superbly for Mowatt who was inches away from his first senior goal and then Austin headed just wide when he out-jumped the away defence at the back post.
In the 78th minute the away side had their first sight of goal since going behind for the second time, when George Friend cut inside but his shot flew over the United crossbar.
With just less than 10 minutes remaining Brian McDermott made a double change by introducing Matt Smith and Sam Byram for Blackstock and Pugh. A further substition was made minutes later as Michael Brown was brought onto the field the add some muscle to proceedings.
The 10 men of Boro were looking more of a threat as the game went into five minutes of injury time and Lukas Jutkiewicz fizzed a long range shot at Paddy Kenny but the United keeper held the ball well. The Jutkiewicz strike proved to be Boro's final effort on goal as United secured a third straight league victory.