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Match Reports

Match Report : 29/11/2014

29 November 2014

Report: Middlesbrough 1 Rovers 1

Never-say-die Rovers rallied once more to earn a share of the points in a dramatic match at the Riverside.

An 11th goal of the season from Rudy Gestede five minutes into time added on saw Rovers somehow clinch a 1-1 draw.

Patrick Bamford looked to have given the home side the points after man-of-the-match Simon Eastwood was finally beaten on 82 minutes.

Time and time again Eastwood had kept the home side at bay, with a point-blank sensational save from Jelle Vossen on the hour mark the pick of the bunch.

Rovers' weren't without their chances, Rudy Gestede headed straight at Dimi Konstantopoulos, before Shane Duffy saw a header come off the frame of the goal.

But this team doesn't know when it is beaten and with 95 minutes played, Ben Marshall sent a corner into the box, chaos ensued, and Gestede forced it home.

Rovers made just the two changes from the side that defeated Leeds United last time out.

With Jason Steele ineligible and Tom Cairney suspended, both changes were enforced as Simon Eastwood and Ryan Tunnicliffe came into the starting XI.

In contrast, Boro made five changes from the side that drew away with Wigan last time out. Ryan Fredericks, Dean Whitehead, Kenneth Omeruo, Jelle Vossen and Patrick Bamford replaced Ben Gibson, Emilio Nsue, Adam Clayton, Adam Reach and Kike.

Rovers' attacking 4-4-2 formation with Tunnicliffe on the right of midfield saw the visitors take the game to their hosts from the off, winning a couple of early corners and sending several dangerous balls into the Boro area.

However from a Rovers attack in which Corry Evans looked to have been fouled, the home side broke away with Simon Eastwood called into action for the first time to make a fine save from Grant Leadbitter.

Rovers responded quickly as Lee Williamson's clever ball out to the right for Ben Marshall saw yet another cross into the box. Jordan Rhodes was able to control on his chest, but his overhead kick was straight into the arms of Dimi Konstantopoulos in the Middlesbrough goal.

It was an end-to-end opening with the home side almost breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes. After Lee Tomlin stole forward in space, he fed Patrick Bamford who shot left-footed, Eastwood was unable to hold the effort but as Jelle Vossen closed in, last-gasp defending from Shane Duffy saw the ball cleared away.

Chances continued with a Marshall centre that deserved more. Rhodes couldn't control, neither could Rudy Gestede, but he found Tunnicliffe in space but the midfielder clipped the ball over the bar.

On 32 minutes an inventive free-kick from Leadbitter lead to Albert Adomah's effort being turned behind by Corry Evans. From Leadbitter's corner, Daniel Ayala got the better of Gestede but thankfully headed wide of goal. Eastwood was then called into action once more to save well low down at his near post to deny Bamford.

Just before the break Rovers were forced into a defensive change after an injury to Grant Hanley. The Rovers captain had earlier received treatment for an ankle knock but after trying to continue he was unable to do so, eventually replaced by Adam Henley.

Henley went to right back with Alex Baptiste moving alongside Shane Duffy at the heart of the defence. Whilst the home side were also forced into a defensive change as Ryan Fredericks limped off to be replaced by Emilio Nsue.

The home side pressed in the closing stages of the half, Eastwood saving well from Bamford once more before Duffy ensured it would be goalless at the at the break with an important header behind.

Neither side made further changes as play resumed, and just as the first half, both sides had early opportunities.

At one end Eastwood again denied Bamford, whilst at the other, Konstantopoulos pulled off a fine save to deny Marshall after he cut inside and let fly.

Konstantopoulos' save had been impressive but it was nothing compared to the one Simon Eastwood made just before the hour mark.

As Boro full back George Friend got round the back to cross into the area, it seemed destined that that the home side would open the scoring through Jelle Vossen, but Eastwood somehow pushed his header over the crossbar from point-blank range. A sensational save.

With the home side on top, Rovers looked for more defensive reinforcements as Craig Conway replaced Jordan Rhodes.  Conway occupying the right side of midfield with Tunnicliffe moving inside to provide more bodies in the centre of the park.

Despite this, it was Rovers who fashioned an excellent chance, Marshall spreading play wide for Markus Olsson on the overlap, but Gestede could only head his centre straight into the arms of the keeper.

Back came Middlesbrough with Eastwood forced into a close-range save from an Nsue volley, whilst Tomlin dragged a low shot wide.

The Rovers keeper then kept out a Tomlin effort, but with eight minutes to go the pressure eventually told.

As Rovers struggled to clear their lines from yet another Middlesbrough corner, the ball came out to Patrick Bamford and his low shot deflected off a charging Alex Baptiste and into the back of the net. The visiting players argued that Adam Henley had been fouled in the build-up but the goal was allowed to stand.

Rovers went straight up the other end and were a whisker away from getting back on level terms.

Lee Williamson spread the ball wide to Craig Conway and as he sent it towards the back post, Shane Duffy saw his header bounce off the corner of post and bar and somehow go wide of goal.

With Duffy added to the forward threat, he let fly from distance, almost catching a back-pedalling Konstantopoulos out, but the Boro man was able to readjust to claim the ball above his head.

Chris Brown was brought on for his first Rovers appearance as a substitute five minutes from time, and he made a nuisance of himself as the visitors pressed for a late leveller. From a Marshall break Brown laid the ball off for Conway to shoot but the Scotsman was off target with his effort.

Rovers continued to press throughout the five additional minutes with Simon Eastwood sent forward at two late corners.

The first was cleared behind, but as Ben Marshall sent the second into the box Eastwood, Brown, Duffy and Gestede all piled into the area, the upshot being the ball nestled into the back of the net to send the 800 Rovers fans delirious. Gestede the man to claim his 11th goal of the campaign.

The result means Rovers stretch their unbeaten run to nine matches, a 13th point claimed from a losing position this season.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Konstantopoulos, Leadbitter (c), Tomlin, Omeruo, Friend, Vossen (sub Kike 74 mins), Ayala (sub Gibson 84 mins), Bamford, Fredericks (sub Nsue 45+2 mins), Adomah, Whitehead.

Subs not used: Mejias (GK), Reach, Veljkovic, Wildschut.

Goals: Bamford 82 mins.

Booked: Tomlin.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Baptiste, Hanley (c) (sub Henley 41 mins), Duffy, Olsson, Tunnicliffe, Evans (sub Brown 85 mins), Williamson, Marshall, Gestede, Rhodes (sub Conway 68 mins).

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Dunn, Varney, Taylor

Goals: Gestede 90+5.

Booked: Evans.

Attendance: 18,152 (including 794 Rovers fans).

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