Middlesbrough FC 1 Rotherham United 1: Millers dogged graft frustrates wasteful Teessiders as they suffer Isaiah Jones blow

There is just something about Middlesbrough Football Club Rotherham United like. The feeling cannot be mutual after Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

Of the four wins the Millers have garnered since Easter, two have come against the Teessiders.

In the first half on Saturday Michael Carrick's side ought to have been out of sight despite – to some respects even because of – a worrying injury for Isaiah Jones, yet Rotherham were able to head home with only their fourth point of the season away from home.

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Boro came from behind to cancel out Cafu's goal but it was frustration, not relief, at full-time, Sam Greenwood having to be kept away from the goalscorer.

INJURY: Middlesbrough winger Isaiah JonesINJURY: Middlesbrough winger Isaiah Jones
INJURY: Middlesbrough winger Isaiah Jones

Rotherham are at their most comfortable with their backs against the wall against good footballing sides, faced with their defensive discipline, Boro simply could not force the issue.

Lining up with a back five and a "box" midfield of two sitters and two further forward on the rare occasions when they got the ball, it was no surprise the visitors spent most of the game defending.

Generally, though, they did it well, limiting Viktor Johansson to three saves.

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Long before any of them, the Millers had a good chance, Sam Clucas pouncing on Morgan Rogers when Tom Glover played an unhelpful pass to the forward, dropping deep to receive it facing the net. Jordan Hugill curled a warning shot wide after just seven minutes.

LIVELY: Middlesbrough's Sam GreenwoodLIVELY: Middlesbrough's Sam Greenwood
LIVELY: Middlesbrough's Sam Greenwood

But apart from when Cafu picked up an attempted pass from Marcus Forss to Luke Ayling after 41 minutes, only to run out of road, that was the sum total of the Millers' threat in the opening period.

Boro took their time turning plentiful possession into potency and more alarmingly, given Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea, lost Jones to injury inside 20 minutes.

The winger was back defending near the centre spot when Teessider Hugill gave him a blatant shove, and Jones appeared to strain his hamstring as he feel. He limped around for a minute or two before making way.

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At least his replacement, Forss, kept up the standards if not raising the,.

Along with Leeds United loanee Greenwood, he was the main first-half threat.

It was Greenwood who times his run much better than Sean Morrison did his push out to get in behind the defence in the 11th minute, only for Hakeem Odoffin to sweep up well.

Greenwood forced Johansson into action in the 35 minute with a good save when a corner was played back to him and had strong claims for a penalty when substitute Peter Kioso – on for the injured Cohen Bramall – pulled him back in the area.

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Forss was livelier still, his pass picking out Rogers, whose shot from a tight angle was poor. He also got a toe on a good pass from Hayden Hackney to bring Johansson into the game.

Add in Matt Clarke twice heading wide corners after getting comfortably above the mass of Millers shirts, and Boro will have been disappointed not to be ahead when they went in at the interval.

A team that had come to frustrate were booed when they arrived much later than hosts for the second half – it will have been music to their ears.

With Kioso pushed higher up as right wing-back, Rotherham restarted the game more positively as Boro failed to rediscover their rhythm.

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The Millers were rewarded in the 59th minute when Jamie Lindsay won the ball at a throw-in, turned on it and fed Hugill, who threaded a pass much like many of Boro's most effective ones out to Cafu. With plenty of time to ponder what could possibly go wrong, Cafu kept his head and picked his spot.

"We've scored a goal!" sang the incredulous Rotherham fans, not used to such on-field frivolity on their travels.

Although Boro inevitably dominated the territory after that, an equaliser never looked that imminent until it actually came.

Ayling took a swing at one and Rogers hit a shot off target on the run but generally the hosts disappointed, no one getting on the end of a cross Ayling flashed over or taking advantage when Johansson made a hash of a corner.

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But then, in the 82nd minute, things clicked beautifully, Rogers backheeling a ball into Forss to finish with aplomb.

From there it ought to have been kitchen-sink stuff but Carrick's team are a bit too cool for that.

In stoppage-time Odoffin threw himself in the way of a Rogers shot and it looked as though Matt Crooks, playing against his old club on his 30th birthday, was the reason a Josh Coburn goal was flagged offside as he stretched to touch on a cross.

Rotherham had ridden their luck but their hard graft had certainly earnt it.

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This was the Millers at their cussed best, Boro at their most frsutrating.

Middlesbrough: Glover; Ayling, Fry, Clarke, Engel; Barlaser (O'Brien 81), Hackney; I Jones (Forss 20), Rogers, Azaz (Crooks 68); Greenwood (Coburn 81).

Unused substitutes: van den Berg, Gilbert, McNair, J Jones, McCabe.

Rotherham United: Johansson; Peltier, Odoffin, Morrison, Revan, Bramall (Kioso 36); Tiehi, Clucas; Lindsay (Rathbone 75), Cafu (Nombe 86); Hugill (Eaves 75).

Unused substitutes: Kelly, Bola, Phillips, Appiah, McGuckin.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

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