A real battle with table-topping Norwich returned a point for Boro.

The travelling Teessiders more than matched their hosts, who ended the game a man down after Emi Buendia was sent off in the second half.

Boro were boosted by the return of Dael Fry in central defence after his gnarly facial injury against Blackburn, while Neil Warnock handed debuts to both signings he made this week with Darnell Fisher slotting in at right back and Yannick Bolasie leading the line up top. Marvin Johnson was the other fresh face from the midweek defeat to Rotherham.

The league-leading Canaries dominated the ball in the early stages, and carved out a big chance inside ten minutes when Mario Vrancic weaved his way into the area and dragged a low shot just past the post.

There was another half-chance for the home side when Lukas Rupp sent a looping header up and over the Boro crossbar.

But Boro grew into the contest as the first half wore on, and Bolasie was given his first glimpse of goal when he headed over from a Paddy McNair free-kick.

Bolasie was involved again as he created another half-chance just before the interval, squeezing into the area and pulling a low effort wide at the near post. It was a good first shift from the loan man, who was replaced by Chuba Akpom early in the second half.

Todd Cantwell sent a low shot skimming wide in the early stages of the second period, but as the game began to open up, it was Boro who looked increasingly threatening. A couple of breakaway opportunities went begging, and Jonny Howson saw a header well saved by Tim Krul from a corner.

Boro gained some more momentum when Buendia was dismissed for the hosts, picking up a second yellow for clattering into George Saville, but Warnock’s men had to work for openings against a side more satisfied with a point as time went on.

Marc Bola was almost an unlikely hero at the end of a run from the halfway line that was full of endeavour, but his shot was straight at Krul, and Howson sent one dipping over the crossbar at the end of another counter.

There was to be one final chance for Boro as Sam Morsy earned a free-kick in a promising position deep into time added on, but McNair’s effort was blocked by the wall.