Derby 1-1 Middlesbrough: Jordan Hugill header earns point for Boro
Report and highlights as promotion hopefuls take share of the spoils
Last Updated: 01/01/19 8:54pm
Middlesbrough showed why they are one of the hardest sides to beat in the Championship by coming from behind to hold Derby to a 1-1 draw at Pride Park.
Harry Wilson had fired Derby into an early lead with another spectacular finish but Jordan Hugill buried a second-half header to earn his side a deserved point.
Wilson went off injured after the break but Derby could have won it when David Nugent was denied by Darren Randolph near the end.
Derby were unchanged but Middlesbrough were forced into a late switch when defender Aden Flint was injured in the warm-up and was replaced by Danny Batth.
Losing the big centre-back might have unsettled Boro's defence which was opened up in the second minute when Jack Marriott's pass released Wilson who flashed a shot past Randolph from just inside the area.
It was just the start Derby needed against a side with such a strong defensive record and Boro struggled to cope with the home side's quick movement as Florian Jozefzoon fizzed a ball across the six-yard box in the 20th minute.
Boro had created little but they went close in the 24th minute when Mo Besic crossed from the right and Lewis Wing and Hugill both had shots blocked.
It sparked a decent spell for the visitors who won a free-kick on the edge of the box in the 36th minute but George Saville's shot failed to get through the wall.
The first half ended with a flashpoint when Saville's challenge on Marriott sparked angry reactions from Derby but referee Robert Jones only produced a yellow card.
Wilson had needed treatment in the first half and he lasted only four minutes of the second before he again sank to the turf and was replaced by Tom Huddlestone.
The midfielder lost the ball in the build-up to a Boro break that led to the equaliser in the 53rd minute.
George Friend whipped in a cross from the left and Hugill got between two defenders to head past Scott Carson.
Derby could have gone behind two minutes later when Batth headed straight at Carson from close range but the home side regrouped and stretched Boro with two swift counter-attacks.
The momentum had swung back Derby's way and a weak clearance fell to Huddlestone on the edge of the area in the 79th minute but his low shot flashed just wide.
Derby had a great chance in the 86th minute when they broke away but Nugent shot straight at Randolph from just inside the area.
Derby manager Frank Lampard: "We played really well for the first portion of the game, it was a great team goal and we slightly let them off the hook after that.
"We came off it, we got a bit sloppy with our passing first half and gave Middlesbrough a feeling they were in the game.
"We were looking after the ball so well but we came off that and they got their equaliser which I was disappointed with because we worked on it but we allowed them to do it.
"Small details can be the difference so it's a big lesson for the players on that one."
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis: "We were very much on the back foot at the back, they got the goal after two minutes but the response of the players was fabulous and I think we took control then for long periods and Danny Batth's chance was the best of the game and he should score.
"The players have worked tremendously hard, especially after such an early setback. To give them a leg-up you think 'blimey, this is going to be a long afternoon' but they showed great character and the midfielders swarmed all over Derby at times."