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Report: Middlesbrough 1-1 Rovers

Lewis Travis scores at the Riverside, but Hayden Coulson's equaliser earns a share of the spoils

1 February 2020

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A fine Lewis Travis goal wasn't enough as Rovers picked up a hard fought point on the road against Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

Travis expertly slotted home calmly just before the hour mark that put the visitors in command on Teesside, but Boro battled back to earn what was a deserved point.

Emerging off the bench, Hayden Coulson struck an equaliser just six minutes after entering the action to earn a share of the spoils in the north-east.

Boro had their chances late on to win the game, with substitutes Britt Assombalonga and ex-Rover Rudy Gestede both somehow firing wide of the target late on.

All in all, Rovers will see it as a decent point on their travels and it's now seven points from the nine available from the last three tough league games.

The one change made by Tony Mowbray on his return to the Riverside saw Joe Rankin-Costello start for the first time in the league, with the youngster replacing the injured Joe Rothwell on the left flank.

There were five minutes played when the first opportunity of the game arose, but Lewis Wing's low free kick from 20 yards out didn't test Christian Walton.

Boro had started the better in the opening 10 minutes and Walton was forced to tip over a Marvin Johnson drive as the hosts came flying out of the traps.

At the other end, Lewis Holtby kept Aynsley Pears busy with a volley that bobbled before reaching the young goalkeeper.

That was to be Holtby's only notable action in the ame, with the German playmaker replaced on the 37th minute by Elliott Bennett after picking up a slight knee injury in a collision with Wing.

There were five minutes remaining when Paddy McNair's cross-shot nearly caught out Walton, but fortunately the Northern Irishman's effort clipped the top of the bar and dropped behind for a goal kick.

The second half started with Boro once again forging the first opportunity, but Marcus Tavernier's low attempt was straight down the throat of Walton and east for the Rovers stopper to hold.

A warning shot from skipper Jonny Howson saw the defender venture into the Rovers box before sending a strike just wide of Walton's right-hand post in the closest either side came to taking the lead 10 minutes after the interval.

And then out of nowhere Rovers took the lead through an excellent finish from Travis.

The midfielder burst forward, played in Armstrong, he returned the favour in finding his fellow 22-year-old, who took a touch before sliding the ball low beyond Pears and put Rovers in command just before the hour.

The response from Jonathan Woodgate was to throw on Assombalonga, with the talented frontman on in place of Tavernier, before Wing tried his luck from range again soon after; sending a shot flying over Walton's upright.

But that equaliser came with under 15 minutes remaining through substitute Coulson's first goal in senior football.

An intricate one-two between Ashley Fletcher and Wing saw the latter go for goal, and although Walton was equal to the attempt, the parry went only as far as Coulson, who tapped home from close range.

There was to be almost an immediate response from Mowbray's men, but Sam Gallagher slid the ball wide from an acute angle after being played in on goal.

Assombalonga almost turned the score around for Boro with under 10 minutes remaining, but his acrobatic attempt was sent over the bar.

Ex-Rover Gestede was on for the final six minutes of the game and he immediately was right in the thick of the action, heading downwards only for Walton to produce an expert stop to flick over, before the Benin international sent another headed effort past Walton's right-hand post.

That was to be the last of the action as Rovers returned to East Lancashire with a draw and another point added onto the tally.

Next up, Fulham visit Ewood Park on Saturday 8th February, kick-off 3pm.

Middlesbrough: Pears, Nmecha (Gestede, 84), Fry, Johnson, Tavernier (Assombalonga, 60), Spence, Fletcher, Saville (Coulson, 70), Howson (c), Wing, McNair.

Unused substitutes: Meijas, Clayton, Wood, O'Neill.

Goal: Coulson, 76

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Adarabioyo, Lenihan (c), Bell, Travis, Downing (Johnson, 82), Gallagher, Holtby (Bennett, 37), Rankin-Costello (Graham, 67), Armstrong.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Williams, Samuel, Brereton.

Goal: Travis, 58

Booked: Travis, 85, Lenihan, 87.

Referee: Matthew Donohue.

Attendance: 19,937

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