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Ref: Lee Mason

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The DR Congo international, who was celebrating the birth of his second child earlier this week, had Boro on the brink of victory as Jonathan Woodgate’s side came from behind to lead 2-1.

But the club’s new head coach was denied a first away victory after Tommy Rowe levelled matters with 10 minutes remaining to ensure honours ended even.

Injuries had robbed Woodgate of the services of Jonny Howson and Dani Ayala and he was forced into re-shuffling his pack. Dael Fry’s return from injury was a timely boost and he was handed the captain’s armband while Anfernee Dijksteel was also handed a recall to the side.

The first half was something of an end to end affair with both sides looking good on the ball and playing in positive fashion. After a spate of coming up against direct opponents, City’s style was more suited to allow Boro to play Woodgate’s preferred game.

Inside the opening minute, Daniel Bentley had to be at full stretch to palm away an Ashley Fletcher effort and Paddy McNair had a shot blocked as Boro started on the front foot.

City responded with a quick break, Andreas Weimann firing over the bar, and the tone was set for an entertaining clash.

Fletcher went closest for Boro when he hit the post after a delightful ball by McNair, and it took some desperate defending from Boro to prevent Kasey Palmer from barging his way through to goal. A post also came to the rescue for Boro after a glancing header from Nathan Baker clipped the goal frame.

Darren Randolph also had to be at full stretch to save from Benik Afobe, while Assombalonga beat the offside trap and forced an excellent save from Bentley. Moments later, more good movement by the Boro striker saw another shot turned for a corner.

The opening goal came just moments before the half-time whistle, though. Palmer was the man who found space in the Boro box to pick his spot and head a cross from the City left beyond Randolph.

McNair had first sight of goal in the second half when he drilled an effort at Bentley, City replying immediately when Randolph had to get down well to deny Afobe. Weimann sent another over the top and Josh Brownhill had an effort deflected from a corner as the home side enjoyed a spell of pressure.

But Boro were back on level terms shortly after the hour. McNair drilled a cross into the box and City central defender Baker could do little but turn the ball into his own goal to make it 1-1.

And it was 2-1 on 68 minutes. Assombalonga gambled on the shoulder of the last defender and was able to latch on to a Clayton ball forward before displaying terrific coolness to take it forward and drill it past Bentley.

But there was a sting in the tail as the game entered the final 10 minutes as Tommy Rowe pulled it back to 2-2 after finding the space to convert a cross.