Tony McMahon congratulates Barry Robson - Photo by North News

Boro 1 Millwall 1

In stretching their unbeaten start to the season to 11 games, this current squad edged past the old record set way back in 1910.

But it was their fourth successive draw at home and they dropped to third in the table after West Ham crushed Blackpool.

Jason Steele and Kevin Thomson both started a league game for the first time this season and Julio Arca was recalled to the starting line up in a Boro team showing four changes from the line-up that drew at Reading two weeks ago.

Joe Bennett was fit enough to regain his position after missing the trip to the Madejski Stadium and England U21 duty. Stephen McManus, Justin Hoyte and Faris Haroun were the men to make way, all dropping to the bench, while Carl Ikeme missed the game with a hand injury.

Tony Mowbray had elected to go with a 4-4-2 formation.

The Millwall side showed three changes from the team that lost at home to Burnley in their last game. Patrick Agyemang, on loan from QPR, made his debut and Darius Henderson was fit to start, while Jimmy Abdou was favoured from the kick-off having been on the bench in the last game.

A bright start from both sides set a brisk early pace as Millwall first attacked down the right from where a cross was delivered into the Boro box and headed clear by Tony McMahon.

In their first attack Boro set up Marvin Emnes, who looked set for a run through on goal until he was brought down by Abdou.

From the free-kick, Barry Robson thudded a well-struck shot into the midriff of David Forde.

Millwall allowed Boro plenty of time on the ball, but they defended well as a unit and the game became entrenched in the middle third of the pitch.

Brief flurries in the respective penalty areas raised hopes, but from a free-kick in a difficult position Boro defended well and then Forde wasn't put under too much pressure as the home side struggled to find the quality needed in their final ball.

It needed something special to break the deadlock and that came on 24 minutes as Barry Robson took aim from 20 yards and drilled a low left-footed shot into Forde's bottom left-hand corner.

It was Boro's first goal in 325 minutes of league football.

Scott McDonald tried from similar range a few minutes later but his effort was pulled wide.

Despite winning and enjoying most of the possession, this was still a rather frustrating half for Boro, who all too often looked to release Emnes behind and didn't, and equally regularly passed across the field instead of probing the angles.

But Millwall had offered little more than sporadic breaks that had looked threatening but lacked quality.

Half-time: Middlesbrough 1 Millwall 0

Kenny Jackett made a change at half-time, replacing Agyemang with Jay Simpson.

But it was Boro who almost added to the scoresheet when McDonald headed a left-wing cross against the bar and immediately afterwards brought a smart save from Forde with a low, angled volley.

A goal for Boro now and they would have been flying. But it didn't come and instead, with 54 minutes played, it was Millwall who scored.

Brian Howard took an inswinging corner, Liam Trotter appeared to get a flick on and the ball was deflected past Steele off the shoulder of Rhys Williams with Darren Ward keen to claim the final touch, even though he knew little about it.

It was the first goal Boro had conceded in 559 minutes and just the second Millwall had scored in eight games.

Millwall took heart and at this stage looked the more likely to score and a Henderson shot was deflected out of harm's way.

Boro looked strangely nervous, although a 25-yard drive from Robson that whistled just wide gave hope.

A McMahon cross, drilled over from the right, rounded off a good move and had Millwall under pressure as it flew through the six-yard box and was scrambled behind for a corner.

Back came Millwall, Henderson again causing problems and Steele saved comfortably from Howard.

A close-range effort from Alex Nimely, one of three subs used in the second half, was deflected for a corner as Boro looked for a late winner.

That nearly came in the third minute of injury-time, but a flicked header from Haroun struck the outside of Forde's left-hand post.

Scorers: Robson 24, Ward 54.

Middlesbrough: Steele; McMahon, Bates (Capt), Williams, Bennett, Robson, Bailey, Thomson (Haroun 64), Arca (Nimely 64), McDonald (Martin 83), Emnes. Subs Hoyte, McManus.

*The order of subs: 1 Haroun, 2 Nimely, 3 Martin

Millwall: Forde; Robinson (Capt), Barron (Smith 90+1), Mkandawire, Ward, Trotter, Abdou, Feeney, Henderson, Howard, Agyemang (Simpson 46). Subs Mildenhall (gk); Henry, N'Guessan.

Referee: Robert Madley, West Yorkshire.


Middlesbrough: Bailey
, 35, foul.

Millwall: Abdou, 90 seconds, foul; Simpson, 68, foul; Barron, 85, foul; Henderson, 89, persistent misconduct.

Attendance: 16,669 (270 Millwall)

Conditions: Bright, breezy, warm in the sun, cool in the shade

Website Boro Man of the Match: Barry Robson




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