Final Score: Birmingham City 2 Middlesbrough 2
MIDDLESBROUGH conceded another late goal to turn three points into one as they drew 2-2 with Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.
Muzzy Carayol and Daniel Ayala had twice put Boro ahead, but a penalty from Paul Caddis and a header from substitute Kyle Bartley in the 93rd minute drew Lee Clark’s side level.
The draw means Boro have dropped a place to 18th and remain four points above the bottom three.
Karanka made four changes despite being happy with his side’s performance at Derby with Grant Leadbitter, Marvin Emnes, Danial Ayala and Muzzy Carayol making starts.
It meant Jacob Butterfield and Richie Smallwood dropped to the bench with Dean Whitehead retaining his place after an impressive display against Derby.
Jesse Lingard fired an early shot over the bar in the third minute, but it took both sides time to get out the starting blocks.
Dariusz Dudka missed a good chance when he fired wide from the edge of the area, before Emnes almost got on the end of Albert Adomah’s dangerous cross.
With the Blues playing high up the pitch, Boro’s attacking quartet were finding space and the hosts were punished for standing off when Karanka’s men went ahead in the 22nd minute.
Emnes collected the ball on the left and after turning Paul Caddis inside out, the Dutchman sent a low cross in to Carayol, who turned and stabbed home from ten yards.
The goal gave the Teessiders confidence they have been lacking of late and Adomah almost made it two when he flung an out-stretched leg to get on the edge of Rhys Williams’ through-ball after a good run by the Australian.
Meanwhile, all Birmingham could do was shot from range and everything they sent Shay Given’s way, the Republic of Ireland keeper saved comfortably.
Gibson cleared an ineffective Blues corner up to Emnes to control and lay off to Leadbitter. The midfielder sent a first-time pass through to Adomah, but his shot went wide of David Randolph’s near post.
The hosts had offered very little in the first half, but Clark made a change at the break bringing on Chris Burke for the ineffective Aaron Mclean.
And it didn’t take long for the City man to make an impact with Burke supplying a dangerous cross Zigic was inches away from heading in before a second cross was flashed wide by Lee Novak.
Boro seemed to undo all their good work in the first half and looked shaky at the back with Jonathan Woodgate heading off his own post from Mitch Hancox’s cross.
Burke’s presence had given the Blues a new dimension and it wasn’t a surprise that he played a part in getting his side level.
The midfielder beat Gibson for pace on the left and the young Boro defender stupidly pulled him back with referee Darren Bond signalling for a penalty.
Caddis dispatched his spot kick past Given and all of a sudden the dynamics of the game completely changed.
Boro almost got a second when Randolph saved brilliantly from Kamara’s downward header, but in the 80th minute a their second goal did come.
Substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz pounced after Randolph punched a Leadbitter corner clear with Ayala finishing from close range to put Karanka’s men back in front.
However, there was still time for the Blues to level when substitute Kyle Bartley headed home from Burke’s corner in the third of six minutes added on.