'Catalogue of mistakes deals blow to Boro's promotion hopes'
Despite taking a 6th-minute lead courtesy an Ashley Fletcher strike, two late goals from Brentford means Boro are now 12 points adrift of the top two teams in the Championship.
Middlesbrough were unable to make it 3 wins out of four as Brentford, who had only won once on their travels all season before this game, came from behind to snatch all three points at the Riverside Stadium.
The home side started the game in brilliant fashion as an Ashley Fletcher strike put them ahead on the 6-minute mark. Brentford, who managed to recuperate from the early setback, remained in the game before a 70th minute Ryan Shotton own goal got them on level terms.
Three minutes later, Middlesbrough were behind. Taking advantage of some comical defending by the home side, Saïd Benrahma sent the ball through the legs of Randolph to give Brentford their first victory at Middlesbrough since 1938.
The defeat leaves Boro 12 points of the top two places and on a weekend when the likes of Norwich, Sheffield United and Leeds United all won. Boro’s defeats means they now face an uphill battle to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Ashley Fletcher was a rare bright spot for Boro in an otherwise listless fixture, as the striker repaid the trust of his manager by scoring in the 2nd second consecutive home game.
The 23-year-old was first in the box to respond after goalkeeper Daniel Bentley couldn't hold on to a Mo Besic shot from 20 yards to gift the home side the opening goal.
Afterward, Brentford had the lion’s share of chances. They scored twice but on each occasion, the goal was rightly ruled out by the officials.
Canos also troubled the Middlesbrough goalkeeper and were it not for some fine stops by Darren Randolph, the away side could have scored more than what they already managed on Saturday.
Boro, who replaced Assombalonga with Friend in the 2nd half, in a decision which was jeered by the home crowd, came agonisingly close to a 2nd goal as Fletcher headed wide of the far post.
Middlesbrough were to rue that miss as, at the other end, a Ryan Shotton own goal was followed by a Saïd Benrahma strike to lend Brentford all three points.
Tony Pulis Responds to criticism
After he had subbed off Britt Assombalonga with the fit-again George Friend, the Middlesbrough manager was the subject of taunts from sections of home fans. Responding after the game, Pulis claimed that he had no issue with the fans who complain wrong only when things go wrong.
"It wasn’t popular decision. I didn’t think Britt looked sharp, quite at it like he has been. The Fletcher header I expected Britt to move and tap in, it went past him."
"People say that substitution affected the game, if I made a mistake I made a mistake I will hold my hands up."