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Report: Rovers 0-0 Middlesbrough

The clash against Neil Warnock's Boro side ends in stalemate at Ewood Park on a chilly evening

3 November 2020

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In an encounter that wasn't full of chances, Rovers earned a share of the spoils on home turf against in form Middlesbrough at Ewood Park.

In a game that saw opportunities at a premium, Boro probably worked the best chance midway through the second half, but Boro old boy Aynsley Pears was in the right place to tip over Marcus Tavernier's close range flick.

At the other end, the main opportunity for Rovers arrived when Joe Rankin-Costello's cross just missed Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton lurking inside the six-yard box.

Tony Mowbray made two changes to his side from the team that took to the field against Swansea City a few days earlier, with Sam Gallagher and Tyrhys Dolan returning to the starting XI in place of the injured Adam Armstrong and Corry Evans, who dropped to the bench.

The visitors came flying out of the traps in the East Lancashire chill, with Derrick Williams deflecting Britt Assombalonga's attempted flick behind for a corner, before ex-Boro man Pears held onto Jonny Howson's effort from close range from the resulting corner inside the opening minute.

At the other end, Ben Brereton showed fine strength to get away from his man and drive infield, but his ferocious attempt whistled over Marcus Bettinelli's upright.

There weren't too many opportunities for either side going forward, with Williams hoping to replicate his goal at home to Millwall last season, but the Irishman sent a strike over the bar after the space opened up in front of him just a moment before the half time break.

An altertation at the interval saw Joe Rothwell on for his first appearance in a month, with the playmaker replacing Dolan, who hadn't managed to get too much change from Anfernee Dijksteel.

Boro were once again quickest out of the blocks for the second half, and Pears did well to save from Hayden Coulson before he produced an even better stop to flick Tavenier's near post attempt over the upright following Djed Spence's inviting cross.

Rovers created their best opportunity of the game just before the hour mark as Harvey Elliott expertly slipped in Rankin-Costello, but his low cross just evaded Brereton and Gallagher in the box and the chance passed the hosts by.

Opportunities were few and far between, and with nine minutes to go another dangerous Paddy McNair corner was met at the back post by Dael Fry, who headed wide from a couple of yards out.

That was to be the final opportunity to break the deadlock, and the game ended in stalemate, with neither team probably deserving to win.

Rovers will be eager to return to winning ways when Queens Park Rovers visit Ewood Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Rovers: Pears, Nyambe, Lenihan (c), Williams (Williams, 77), Rankin-Costello, Trybull (Evans, 57), Holtby, Elliott, Dolan (Rothwell, 46), Gallagher, Brereton.

Unused substitutes: Stergiakis, Chapman, Davenport, Buckley, Evans.

Booked: Trybull, 18, Rankin-Costello, 50, Lenihan, 78, Wharton, 85, Holtby, 90.

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Dijksteel, Fry, Tavernier, Assombalonga (c) (Akpom, 78), Howson, McNair, Saville, Bola, Spence, Coulson (Johnson, 71).

Unused substitutes: Stojanovic, Wing, Browne, Wood, Roberts.

Booked: McNair, 68.

Referee: David Webb

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