Blackburn 0 Middlesbrough 0: Karanka is thwarted again by Eastwood

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer joked counterpart Aitor Karanka had offered him £200m for Simon Eastwood after Rovers’ back-up goalkeeper produced another stellar performance against Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

Eastwood and the frame of his goal denied Boro a place in the Sky Bet Championship’s top two in a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park as Jason Steele’s understudy once again shone in his moment in the sun.

Ironically, Eastwood was only playing because loanee Steele does not have permission to feature against his parent club and, just as he did at the Riverside last month, he thwarted Boro with a string of fine stops.

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The best two came in the first period when he turned a Jelle Vossen effort onto a post before shovelling an Adam Reach header off his line, while Kike and Patrick Bamford both hit the woodwork late in the second half. Boro were held to a point by Rovers for the second time in 30 days and although there was no repeat of the late drama which denied them victory in the north east, Karanka was again left reflecting on two points dropped.

“It should have been three,” he admitted. “Again, it’s the same story when we play against Blackburn. I’ve been here for one year and we have played against them three times and three times the man of the match was the keeper. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence.

“We’ve not had a lot of chances and haven’t played much better than them but we’ve had three or four clear chances to score today.”

Blackburn: Eastwood, Baptiste, Duffy, Hanley, Olsson (Cairney 33), Conway, Williamson (Taylor 83), Tunnicliffe, Marshall, Rhodes, Gestede. Unused substitutes: Kilgallon, Dunn, Brown, Varney, Kean.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Whitehead, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Wildschut (Bamford 59), Leadbitter, Veljkovic (Clayton 90), Reach, Vossen (Tomlin 63), Garcia. Unused substitutes: Omeruo, Nsue, Adomah, Mejias.

Referee: C Boyeson (E Yorkshire).

Man of the match: Simon Eastwood.