DUNCAN WATMORE offered a belated birthday reward to Neil Warnock and maybe an early Christmas current for himself as Middlesbrough downed Swansea.
The 26-year-old struck each objectives, his first for the membership, as Boro took the factors with a 2-1 win over their play-off rivals.
Duncan Watmore struck twice as Boro defeated SwanseaCredit score: Getty
The ahead was solely signed final month on a deal till January following his launch by Sunderland, and he rewarded his supervisor’s religion together with his double-salvo a day after the veteran boss turned 72.
And his match-winning show may very well be sufficient to have landed himself a contract extension – though Warnock is refusing to provide an excessive amount of away.
He mentioned: “He’s solely had one good sport, let’s wait and see.
“We haven’t acquired anyone like that. He’s accountable, works onerous, covers probably the most floor in coaching, and he deserved tonight.
“We gave him a spherical of applause within the dressing-room as a result of he deserves it after what he has been by with horrendous accidents and he’ll go dwelling and be on cloud 9.
“He’s a gem of a lad and we didn’t pay him for just a few weeks.
“He acquired good provides to go away to India, South Africa, all types of locations, however he mentioned he cherished it right here.”
As anticipated within the assembly of the Championship’s two meanest defences, the competition started like a chess match with neither backline barely giving an inch.
The very best accessible free brokers nonetheless in the marketplace
Lastly, within the nineteenth minute, the sport produced its first actual alternative when Jamal Lowe unleashed a fierce low drive that pressured Marcus Bettinelli right into a save.
Warnock was removed from filled with birthday cheer after Watmore was penalised for a foul on Marc Guehi moments later, screaming: “Duncan, the linesman goes to flag each time you go close to the defender so do not breathe on him.”
However seconds later he and Watmore had been shouting with pleasure.
Watmore lower in from the left earlier than pulling the set off from 20 yards – his strike deflecting off Guehi previous the outstretched Freddie Woodman.
Woodman then denied Sam Morsy from close-range earlier than Swans boss Steve Cooper made a triple change on the break, and he ought to have been immediately rewarded.
A mixture-up led to Bettinelli spooning a clearance under-pressure from sub Viktor Gyokeres, however the Swede’s delay allowed Fry to deflect his shot over.
Woodman parried a Marvin Johnson long-ranger around the submit because the hosts started to pile on the stress, with the identical man additionally almost scoring direct from a nook and Morsy denied by a goalline clearance.
Watmore secured the factors together with his ultimate contact Credit score: Getty
Neil Warnock celebrated his 72nd birthday on TuesdayCredit score: Getty
But it surely was Watmore who saved his cool after racing clear on the counter from Paddy McNair’s move to double the benefit together with his ultimate contact earlier than being changed by George Saville on 78 minutes.
His work was completed – however his team-mates had been pressured right into a nervous end when Yan Dhanda’s deflected strike from the sting of the world gave Swansea some hope with 12 to go.
However their late stress failed to inform as Boro held on – leaving Warnock questioning Watmore he can anticipate from his two-goal ace.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper mentioned: “It’s disappointing. Proper from the beginning. There’s not many positives to take out of the sport.
“The gamers know we dropped our requirements and fell quick.
“We all the time take a look at ourselves, and we will’t blame something aside from ourselves tonight as we had been effectively quick.”