Two draws in a row now. I guess that's better than nothing. But that's what happened when we faced Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The game started off pretty much in our favour, with McCormack sending a shot straight over the net. The same thing happened in the eight minute, when Ryan Tunniclife cut a ball to the Scotsman, however Daniel Ayala sent the shot flying off his body. Another effort came on a quarter of an hour when McCormack cut the ball to Tunniclife, this time the midfielder's long distance effort was held by Boro keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Boro's first effort came when Stewart Downing's cross met Diego Fabbrini, however his shot ended up flying wide, before Grant Leadbitter tried a long range strike which was deflected out for a corner by Richard Stearman. Another close call came when Carlos De Pena sent a lob pass to David Nugent, who flopped his shot, while Andrew Lonergan made the save.
More efforts from our way came when McCormack blocked a Boro clearance and played it to Tunniclife, who then played in Lasse Vigen Christensen, who slipped on his shot and missed the ball entirely. De Pena was booked for a tackle on Jazz Richards, however the free kick that followed was sent out for a goal kick. Jamie O'Hara laid a ball to Luke Garbutt shortly after, but the 30 yard shot was easily caught. Dan Burn ended up kicking Nugent in the chest after a midair collision, while the following free kick was saved by Lonergan. Another shot was easily saved, this time a ground cross from Christensen, which was handled before Moussa Dembele could get to it. The home side's counter attack resulted in a shot from De Pena which was grabbed again by Lonergan, before Tunnuclife was booked for a tackle on Fabbrini to close the half.
The home side took charge on the restart, with Stearman having to block a shot from Nugent, who found himself bearing down on goal after collecting a lob pass. Another chance came when a corner from Leadbitter found Ayala, however his header was aimed straight at Lonergan and therefore easily caught. More efforts came when George Friend's long range effort was easily held by our goalie, before Downing's curling effort found its way round to the backside of the net.
On the 56th minute Albert Adomah came on to replace De Pena, while we finally had some chances. Ben Pringle's cross was cleared into the path of Garbutt, whose effort was blocked into the path of Jamie O'Hara; this time the effort was sent straight at goal and easily caught out. Tomas Kalas was shown a yellow for complaining after a free kick was awarded to us. Boro responded with an effort from Adomah, this one was collected by Lonergan. We replied twice, the first effort coming when Garbutt found Tunniclife on the edge of the box, however he shot wide. The second, arguably our best chance of the game occured when a clearance from Friend found McCormack, his effort was extremely on target but unfortunately it was saved.
The home side almost had it in the 73rd minute, when Leadbitter's corner was met by Nugent, however his header went over the net. But Lonergan had to come off as he was unable to continue playing, so Joe Lewis came on to replace him. As the game neared the end, both sides looked for a goal, with Jamie O'Hara sending his shot over. Leadbitter was booked for a foul on Prringle, before Boro sent Fabbrini in for a shot which was blocked by Richards for a corner. Kike (Seriously. Seriously! No slurs. Seriously though. That's his name.) came on to replace Fabbrini before Garbutt was shown a yellow for wasting time. Ryan Fredericks came on for Pringle as the game ticked into the 90th minute.
The final substitute played McCormack in for the final shot of the game, the Scotsman's shot just bending over the bar as the whistle blew, ensuring we left with a point in this 0-0 draw.