Middlesbrough 1 Blackpool 1: Boro left frustrated by Riga’s battling Seasiders

Daniel Ayala scored an early goal for Middlesbrough but they had to settle for a point.
Daniel Ayala scored an early goal for Middlesbrough but they had to settle for a point.
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play-off aspirants Middlesbrough had to settle for a draw at the Riverside as Blackpool collected just their third Championship point of the season.

There was plenty for visiting manager Jose Riga to feel optimistic about following a battling display on Teesside.

It appeared an expected Middlesbrough win was on the cards when Daniel Ayala put his side ahead in the 19th minute.

Yet Blackpool produced an immediate response as Ishmael Miller wheeled away to celebrate a strike against a club he represented on loan three seasons ago, albeit with suspicions that it may have been an own goal by James Husband.

That proved enough to secure a share of the spoils as Middlesbrough failed to triumph at home for the third time in four league outings.

Boro began brightly and almost took an early lead when Emmanuel Ledesma saw his powerful 20-yard effort palmed away by Joe Lewis.

The hosts’ good play lacked an end product, until they found one when Spaniard Ayala rose highest in the area to cleverly nod over Lewis.

Yet Blackpool found a perfect response, Miller apparently poking home Joan Oriol’s superb cross to level the scores.

And the visitors almost took the lead soon after, with Dimi Konstantopoulos producing a fine one-handed save to deny Andrea Orlandi’s deflected effort.

Suddenly in the ascendancy, Blackpool continued to push forward and again came agonisingly close when David Perkins’s brilliant side-footed effort rattled the woodwork with Konstantopoulos rooted to the spot.

Boro emerged from the break with added verve. Grant Leadbitter was looking dangerous from set-pieces, illustrated when his corner was flicked inches wide by Adam Reach.

A period of home dominance ensued, although their final ball left a great deal to be desired as Blackpool battled doggedly.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Fredericks, Ayala, Gibson, Husband, Ledesma (Nsue 75), Clayton (Garcia 29), Leadbitter, Reach, Bamford, Tomlin. Unused substitutes: Friend, Omeruo, Morris, Wildschut, Blackman.

Blackpool: Lewis, McMahon, Daniels, Rentmeister, Joan Oriol, Cubero (Lundstram 46), Perkins, Orlandi (Mellis 60), Oriol (Zoko 90), Miller, Delfouneso. Unused substitutes: Cywka, Dielna, Zenjov, Parish.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).