Aitor Karanka’s return to the Middlesbrough dugout resulted in a happy ending to a turbulent week as David Nugent’s stoppage-time header saw off fellow Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls Hull.
Having walked out last Friday following a stormy meeting with his players, and failing to smooth over the bust-up the following day, it looked like the former Real Madrid assistant manager’s days on Teesside were numbered.
However, having watched the loss at struggling Charlton from afar, Karanka surprisingly returned to his role as head coach this week and on Friday oversaw a memorable late win as substitute Nugent saw off Steve Bruce’s men 1-0 at the death.
Both sides came into this match looking to kick-start stuttering promotion tilts, which had seen Boro fall to three defeats in last four outings and Hull winless over the same period.
The Riverside encounter started energetically enough, but it tapered off with Cristhian Stuani’s header and a Robert Snodgrass strike the best either team could muster.
Hull started the second period brightly but the hosts weathered that storm and, just as the match was petering out, Nugent glanced home, sending the Riverside into raptures as Karanka and his staff jumped in celebration on the touchline.