Middlesbrough 1-1 West Brom: Alvaro Negredo penalty earns Boro point
By Daniel Sandford
Last Updated: 01/02/17 12:39am
Alvaro Negredo's penalty earned Middlesbrough a point with West Brom in a thrilling 1-1 draw at the Riverside on Tuesday.
James Morrison fired in a low effort from the edge of the penalty box to give West Brom the lead after just six minutes, as Middlesbrough failed to deal with Chris Brunt's delivery.
But against the run of play, Negredo sent Ben Foster the wrong way from the penalty spot after he was felled in the box by Gareth McAuley.
Brunt came close to getting a second for the Baggies but his volley fell onto the roof of the net, before Cristhian Stuani appeared to collide with West Brom defender Allan Nyom but his penalty protests were waved away.
Adama Traore was taking the game by the scruff of the neck and after another driving run, his cross was deflected towards his own goal by Nyom, forcing a superb point-blank save from Foster.
The two sides met at the Hawthorns in August and played out a dull goalless draw, but there was no such chance of a repeat here, as the heavy rain provided the perfect back drop.
Aitor Karanka's side had not won in the league since beating Swansea 3-0 in December and made yet another nervy start, as they gave away consecutive free-kicks.
This would prove costly as Brunt swung in an excellent cross, which fell to the feet of midfielder Darren Fletcher who teed up Morrison to convert.
West Brom continued to look dangerous following the breakthrough and Boro were struggling to deal with the pace of Matt Phillips on the wing.
Moments later, the pendulum swung controversially in favour of the home side, when, after neat build up, Negredo was impeded by a sliding tackle from McAuley with the referee awarding a penalty.
The former Manchester City forward picked himself up and coolly converted from 12-yards, sending Foster the wrong way for his sixth goal of the campaign, but they remain the divisions lowest scorers with just 18 goals.
The response was immediate from the visitors and Brunt went close when his dipping volley grazed the roof of the net.
In Traore, Middlesbrough have a real star on their hands and he once again showed his class. Dribbling past three players, the 21-year-old played the ball to Stuani and he was halted by Nyom and despite calls for another penalty, the referee ordered play to continue.
With the half almost over, Foster was forced into an excellent save to stop Nyom turning into his own net and Valdes fumbled at the other end, before the whistle bought an end to an excellent opening 45 minutes.
The momentum was with Middlesbrough after the break, but a stray elbow from Negredo on McAuley earned the former a yellow card.
Tony Pulis was animated on the touchline and saw his side nearly go in front, when Phillips stooped low to head the ball against the woodwork before Rondon followed up by striking the opposite post.
Foster was again called into action, once again making a brilliant save to push Fletcher's steered back-pass over the bar, before Negredo and Traore tried their luck from distance.
Phillips skied over the bar when well placed following a brilliant low cross from James McClean and Brunt stung the palms of Valdes, before the referee blew the final whistle.
Middlesbrough: Valdes (6), Barragan (6) , Gibson (6), Bernardo (6), Fabio (6), Clayton (6), De Roon (6), Forshaw (6), Stuani (6), Traore (7), Negredo (7)
Subs: Bamford (5), Gestede (5)
West Brom: Foster (7), Nyom (5), Dawson (6), McAuley (6), Brunt (7); Yacob (6), Fletcher (6), Chadli (6), Morrison (7), Phillips (7); Rondon (6)
Subs: Robson-Kanu (6), McClean (6)
Man of the match: Adama Traore