Final Score: Middlesbrough 0 Blackburn 0
MIDDLESBROUGH’S goalscoring drought continued after they recorded a third successive goalless draw, this time against Blackburn Rovers at the Riverside.
The Teessiders have now gone 360 minutes without scoring, despite dominating proceedings on home turf.
There were chances aplenty for Aitor Karanka’s men, but they lacked conviction in front of goal despite Danny Graham making his first start since returning to the club.
Karanka made four changes from the goalless draw with Doncaster last weekend with Graham, Jonathan Woodgate, Joszef Varga and Dean Whitehead all coming in to the side.
The Boro boss had spoken about his side rediscovering their style and focus after three games without a win and they made a positive start with Paul Robinson saving twice in the opening five minutes.
George Friend and Muzzy Carayol combined well to set up the winger, whose effort was saved by the Rovers keeper. From the resultant corner Nathanial Chalobah rose above everyone to get a header in, but again Robinson denied Boro taking an early lead.
Gary Bowyer had instructed his side to double up whenever Carayol received the ball, but even that wasn’t enough with the Boro man running from deep in his own half to send a cross into Graham, but Robinson got there first.
The hosts were piling the pressure on their opponents and saw another effort go begging when Matthew Kilgallon got an important foot on Friend’s shot to deflect it over the bar.
Moments later Carayol cut inside and sent a low drive towards goal, but again Robinson did enough to tip his shot wide.
At the other end, Blackburn were struggling to create chances and the best they could do in the first half was Rudy Gestede’s first-time strike from an improvised Tom Cairney corner that went wide.
Such was Boro’s domination, Rovers failed to test Shay Given in the opening 45 minutes with Ben Gibson and Jonathan Woodgate keeping Gestede and Jordan Rhodes very quiet.
Gary Bowyer made a change at half time with Adam Henley replacing right-back Todd Kane, who had endured a torrid time marking Carayol in the opening 45.
The chances for Middlesbrough continued after the break with Carayol just missing out on making a connection with Ledesma’s corner, before Grant Hanley almost deflected the ball into his own net with a dodgy clearance.
From a Blackburn attack, Graham sent a long ball up field for Carayol to chase. The lively winger beat Hanley for pace and then brushed him aside to get a shot in on goal, but once more Robinson saved.
Cairney forced a save from Given just before the hour mark, but frustration began to show as Boro continued to miss their own chances.
Karanka introduced Albert Adomah for Ledesma and he weighed in with a chance of his own, a long-range bullet that Robinson somehow managed to tip over.