The Boro head coach had been boosted in the build-up by a number of players who were rated as doubts by stating their desire to take the field and play their parts in proceedings.

And as at Derby last week, Boro started the game well and had QPR on the back foot from the off.

Indeed, it only took 90 seconds for Daniel Ayala to find the target when he headed a free-kick beyond the reach of Joe Lumley. But the linesman raised his flag and after consultation with referee David Coote, the goal was controversially ruled out for offside.

The referee was in the heart of the action again moments later when Assombalonga appeared to be brought down in the box, but the penalty appeals were waved away.

Still Boro continued to make the running, Marcus Tavernier heading into the arms of Lumley. QPR’s only attack so far had seen Luke Amos shoot wide after a break down the left.

But the moment the 1449 travelling fans had been waiting for came midway through the half when Boro took a deserved lead. Jonny Howson was the provider and Assombalonga stooped to head the ball home.

Even though it was no less than Boro deserved, the lead lasted less than two minutes before Nahki Wells finished off after some neat build-up play by the home side to level matters.

Darren Randolph was also called upon to deny Ryan Manning with a close range header, but Boro were still in the ascendancy and were the better of the two sides.

Yet, it was the home side who were ahead before half-time as Boro were hit by yet another outrageous piece of bad luck. Randolph got across to palm away a Grant Hall header but the ball hit Howson, who couldn’t get out of the way, and went into the goal.

You couldn’t have made it up, particularly as it was Boro who made most of the running in the second half as well.

Lewis Wing sent a free-kick wide, Marvin Johnson tested Lumley with a low drive, and Assombalonga sent a shot narrowly wide. In reply, Randolph was called upon just once, when he made a great save to deny Manning.

Boro were rewarded, though, with 20 minutes remaining when Assombalonga reacted well to seize on a poor back-pass and the striker, who had looked rejuvenated since his opening goal, showed great composure to bag his second of the afternoon.

There was still time for Randolph to make yet another fine save, and for Boro to force a flurry of corners in the search for a winner, but it wasn’t to be and honours ended even.