Middlesbrough get off the mark with victory over 10-man Swansea
Joel Piroe replied with a penalty late in the second half but the Swans were left with too much to do to get back into the game after Ben Cabango was sent off late on.
After a quiet start, the game got a much-needed spark through a Swansea mistake.
Cameron Congreve was the guilty party as a loose pass found its way to Crooks and Boro would make them pay on the counter attack.
Crooks fed a through ball to McGree who was charging into the attacking third and one touch to control the ball was followed by a calm finish into the bottom right corner.
For the first time in four league games, Boro led instead of falling behind.
A second came in quick succession but this was a well-worked move rather than a counter attack.
Matt Clarke and Ryan Giles were at the heart of the build up and a neat one-two freed up the run of the full-back down the left. His cutback at the byline was met by the sliding Crooks who stretched out a toe to prod the ball into the bottom corner.
It took the Swans until stoppage time to register their first meaningful effort as Piroe let fly from 30 yards. Liam Roberts, who was in for the injured Zack Steffen, dived across and saw the ball whizz inches passed the post.
Rodrigo Muniz was handed his Boro debut in the second half and with his first touch of the ball, the Brazilian latched on to a Crooks cross and cannoned a first time volley off the post.
Russell Martin’s side were trying to get into the game. Liam Cullen’s looping header from a cross into the box forced Roberts into a smart save on his line.
The away side were handed a lifeline when referee Bobby Madley awarded them a penalty for handball by Darragh Lenihan. Piroe stepped up from 12 yards and sent Roberts the wrong way with 11 minutes to go.
Tempers flared off the ball when Isaiah Jones was shoved to the floor by the already cautioned Cabango. After a mass melee, Madley had no alternative other than to send Cabango for his marching orders.
Boro held out a late onslaught during eight minutes of stoppage time and tasted victory for the first time this season.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.