Riley McGree’s first-half goal was enough for Chris Wilder’s side to earn all three points in the first Tees-Wear derby since 2018, with Sunderland rarely threatening in the absence of Ross Stewart, who was injured in the warm-up.
One man who disappointed in the defeat was on-loan Everton striker Ellis Simms. As per SofaScore, the 21-year-old earned a poor 6.4/10 rating for his display, which was the joint-second worst of any player from both teams to feature in the match.
After forming a strong partnership with Stewart, it was perhaps always going to be tough for the youngster to lead the line on his own, and he struggled to have any real impact on the game at the Riverside.
During the 90 minutes, he had just 34 touches of the ball, one fewer than goalkeeper Anthony Patterson. He also failed with all four of his dribble attempts, which emphasises that the Middlesbrough defenders had the better of him on the night.
Simms completes just 12 of his 31 attempted passes, resulting in a shocking 57% pass accuracy, which is worse than his 64.7% average across the season thus far.
He also managed just one shot in the match and none on target, which again was a significant decrease on his season average of 2.6 shots per game, which illustrates that he was not up to his usual standards on Monday night.
Simms also lost possession 17 times and won just two out of his 16 duels, which goes to show how much he struggled at the Riverside, as Middlesbrough’s centre-backs largely got the better of their duels.
Journalist Josh Bunting didn’t hold back with his criticism of Simms after the match, tweeting: “Simms has been awful as well just making it too easy for Middlesbrough to defend against.”
On a night where Mowbray really needed Simms to step up in the absence of Stewart, the Everton loanee really let his manager down.