Britt Assombalonga stepped off the bench to secure Boro what could prove to be a vital home point against Blackburn Rovers.
The odds were against the home side after being reduced to 10 men early on, but an enterprising second half performance was rewarded with a share of the spoils.
Boro started on the front foot, dominating the opening stages of the contest, but the game sparked into life in dramatic circumstances.
The catalyst was when Mo Besic delivered a short back pass to Darren Randolph after being caught in possession and as Bradley Dack looked to seize upon the opportunity to bear down on goal, the assistant referee appeared to spot a shirt tug by the Boro man and he was shown a straight red card.
With Boro reduced to 10, and Blackburn having a free-kick on the edge of the box, it was Rovers captain Charlie Mulgrew who stepped up to curl the ball out of Randolph’s reach to give the visitors the lead.
It was harsh on Boro, and the recalled Ashley Fletcher paid a price shortly afterwards when he was sacrificed for Lewis Wing as Tony Pulis looked to make a tactical change with his side reduced to 10 men.
Boro rallied despite the numerical disadvantage, but it was the visitors who went close again before the break. Randolph blocked a shot from Dack, and the on-rushing Danny Graham followed up by lashing his first-time strike wide of the mark.
Half-time brought two more changes for Boro with Assombalonga and George Saville replacing Stewart Downing and Adam Clayton, but it was the visitors who again went close to scoring when Dack cracked a shot against the upright.
Boro did have an opportunity when Jordan Hugill latched onto a long ball forward, but he couldn’t get his shot away, being quickly closed down by Mulgrew, who made the decisive challenge.
The equaliser did come, though, shortly after the hour. George Friend and Hugill combined and Assombalonga unleashed a delightful strike which curled beyond the reach of David Martin and into the far corner.
That was the cue for both sides to look to win to the game and while Assombalonga went close at one end, Blackburn were denied by some great defending at the other. The Boro substitute marksman was the home side’s biggest threat, and with just five minutes remaining he was denied again when Paul Downing hooked an effort off the line.
Boro: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Flint, Friend, Howson, Clayton (Saville 46), Besic (S/O 21) Downing (Assombalonga 46), Fletcher (Wing 32), Hugill. Subs: Lonergan, Batth, McNair, Tavernier.
Blackburn: Martin, Nyambe, Williams, Reed (Brereton 85), Smallwood (Rothwell 75), Graham, Mulgrew, Dack, Downing, Evans, Conway (Armstrong 71). Sub: Leutwiler, Bell, Lenihan, Palmer.
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 21,985 (763 Blackburn)