Blackburn Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0 - Boro extend unbeaten run to nine games

Middlesbrough made it nine unbeaten but could only manage a 0-0 draw at Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship.
Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga (right) and Blackburn Rovers' Derrick Williams battle for the ball.Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga (right) and Blackburn Rovers' Derrick Williams battle for the ball.
Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga (right) and Blackburn Rovers' Derrick Williams battle for the ball.

The visitors edged the chances in an uneventful game that never looked like bursting into life.

Neil Warnock’s side looked as solid as conceding once from open play this season would suggest, and posed a threat with deliveries into the box all evening.

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Britt Assombalonga passed up a very presentable opportunity in the first half, while Aynsley Pears acrobatically denied his old club in the second half.

Boro remain two points off second place and have now conceded just once in five games.

Blackburn, deprived of their top scorer Adam Armstrong, created precious little, though Joe Rankin-Costello’s second-half cross deserved to be converted.

The visitors’ form over the six previous game is unmatched and it took less than two minutes to fashion an opening, after a corner caused havoc in the Blackburn area. The ball dropped to Jonny Howson, who fired straight at Pears.

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Rovers settled into possession but it was Middlesbrough’s set-piece delivery causing the early problems, as a series of testing corners culminated in Assombalonga planting over a close-range free header.

As the half wore on, the hosts had to rely on last-ditch challenges from Rankin-Costello and Ryan Nyambe respectively to repel the dual threat of Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson.

Blackburn were reduced to long-range efforts, though Williams’s decision to go down that route late in the half was perhaps the wrong one given the space he was afforded.

Paddy McNair produced a dream of a cross six minutes after the break that fell to Howson at the back post, but Pears made a sprawling save to deny his former club.

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Pears made an even better save just after, showing brilliant reflexes to tip over Marcus Tavernier’s improvised shot.

It should have laid the platform for an opener for Blackburn on the hour mark but neither Ben Brereton or Gallagher could lay a limb on Rankin-Costell’s cross.

Blackburn: Pears, Nyambe, Lenihan, Williams (Wharton 77), Rankin-Costello, Trybull (Evans 57), Holtby, Elliott, Dolan (Rothwell 46), Gallagher, Brereton. Unused substitutes: Chapman, Davenport, Buckley, Stergiakis.

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Dijksteel, Fry, McNair, Bola, Tavernier, Howson, Saville, Spence, Assombalonga (Akpom 79), Coulson (Johnson 71) Unused substitutes: Wing, Browne, Wood-Gordon, Roberts, Stojanovic.

Referee: D Webb (County Durham).

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