Blackpool collected just their third Sky Bet Championship point of the season when holding play-off chasing Middlesbrough to a 1-1 draw at the Riverside.Middlesbrough Vs Blackpool highlights.
However, there was plenty for manager Jose Riga to feel optimistic about following a battling display on Teesside.
It appeared an expected Middlesbrough win was on the cards when Daniel Ayala put his side ahead in the 19th minute.
Yet Blackpool produced an immediate response as Ishmael Miller wheeled away to celebrate a strike against a club he represented on loan three seasons ago, albeit with suspicions that it may have been a James Husband own goal.
And that proved enough to secure a share of the spoils as Middlesbrough failed to triumph at home for the third time in four league outings.
Boro began brightly and almost took an early lead when Emmanuel Ledesma saw his powerful 20-yard effort palmed away by Joe Lewis.
That was the only chance of the opening exchanges, however, as the hosts’ good play lacked an end product.
But they found one eventually as Ayala opened the scoring.
The Spaniard rose highest in the area to cleverly nod over Lewis after Jeffrey Rentmeister had failed to clear Ledesma’s header.
Place your bets on the weekend’s football action
Yet Blackpool found a perfect response, Miller apparently poking home Joan Oriol’s superb cross to level the scores.
And the visitors almost took the lead soon after, with Dimi Konstantopoulos producing a fine one-handed save to deny Andrea Orlandi’s deflected effort.
Suddenly in the ascendancy, Blackpool continued to push forward and again came agonisingly close when David Perkins’ brilliant side-footed effort rattled the woodwork with Konstantopoulos rooted to the spot.
Whatever Aitor Karanka said to his players at half-time appeared to have the desired impact as Boro emerged from the break with added verve.
Grant Leadbitter was looking particularly dangerous from set-pieces, illustrated when his corner was flicked inches wide by Adam Reach.
A period of home dominance ensued, although their final ball was leaving a great deal to be desired as Blackpool battled doggedly.
The best piece of defending came from Donervon Daniels, who produced an excellent sliding challenge to deny Patrick Bamford with the goal gaping.
Lee Tomlin at least tested Lewis with a powerful volley midway through the second half, yet that represented one of the few occasions Boro’s dominance yielded an opening.
Perhaps scenting a first win of the campaign, Riga’s men enjoyed a good spell of their own, Miller sending a powerful header into the side-netting.
But that proved the last real openingFollow @Football7x24