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Boro lose at bottom club Barnsley
MIDDLESBROUGH went down 3-2 at bottom club Barnsley despite two late strikes from Albert Adomah at Oakwell.
The Teessiders’ woeful first half performance saw the hosts take a 3-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Paddy McCourt, Chris O’Grady and Jim O’Brien, but it was a case of too little too late for Tony Mowbray’s side.
The defeat – in front of chief executive Neil Bausor and chairman Steve Gibson – will pile the pressure the Boro boss with just one win in their last ten games.
Mowbray made two changes to his starting line-up with Seb Hines and Lukas Jutkiewicz coming in for Rhys Williams and Marvin Emnes.
The visitors enjoyed a good start at Oakwell, but Jutkiewicz missed a great chance to put Boro ahead inside five minutes when his curling shot ended up wide.
That was about as good as it got for the Teessiders, though, who looked shaky at the back when O’Grady turned Hines on the byline and sent a dangerous ball across goal.
Luckily, a deflection off Ben Gibson took it away from goal, but Barnsley continued to push forward with Scott Wiseman going close from 20 yards.
The Tykes, without a win since August 31, had found a weakness and that was once again exposed when Paddy McCourt danced his way through Boro’s backline to slot home the opening goal in the 26th minute.
The goal came moments after Jutkiewicz had missed a glorious opportunity to put Boro ahead, but he couldn’t make the most of a one-on-one situation, firing over from 18 yards.
The goal had given the hosts and their supporters a huge lift and things got better for them – and worse for Boro – four minutes before the break when Jim O’Brien, on for the injured McCourt, finished from the edge of the area, although his shot had taken a wicked deflection off O’Grady to wrong-foot Steele.
Going in at the break 2-0 down would have still given Mowbray’s men something to chase, but two minutes after Barnsley’s second, Boro shot themselves in the foot again when a penalty was awarded against Gibson for a foul on Marcus Pedersen.
O’Grady stepped up and made no mistake giving Boro a mountain to climb with the away supporters showing their anger and frustration as the players walked off at half-time.
As expected, Mowbray made two changes at the break with Richie Smallwood and Marvin Emnes coming on to replace Dean Whitehead and Jacob Butterfield.
Despite the changes, there was very little sign of a fight-back from Boro with Kei Kamara’s weak header collected easily by Jack Butland, before the striker saw his own shot rebound back off him and out for a goal kick.
Substitute Mustapha Carayol did hit the woodwork after he intercepted a sloppy pass from Wiseman on the edge of the area, but it just wasn’t meant to be Boro’s day with his shot smashing off the angle.
Emnes’ snapshot forced a good save from Butland with ten minutes to go, but remarkably there was still time for Boro to get back in it.
Adomah pulled one back when he volleyed in Smallwood’s knock down in the 83rd minute before he headed in from Frazer Richardson’s cross a minute later to make it an interesting final few minutes.
The Teessiders weren’t finished yet, with George Friend’s goalbound header deflected out for a corner, while Carayol and Smallwood also went close, but it was too little, too late with Boro going down 3-2.