Middlesbrough chalked up their ninth draw of the season as they were held at home to West Brom on another frustrating night at the Riverside.
Aitor Karanka’s side have now gone six games without a win after a 1-1 draw left them two points above the relegation zone.
The Teesiders fell behind after just five minutes when James Morrison’s fizzing strike opened the scoring for Tony Pulis’ men.
Alvaro Negredo levelled from the penalty spot, however Boro couldn’t make their bulk of first half possession count, meaning they still haven’t won in the league since the middle of December.
West Brom, who had won three out of their last four league games before this encounter, could have won it after the interval after Salomon Rondon and Matt Phillips saw their efforts rebound off the post.
Changes from the cup
Boro manager Aitor Karanka made seven changes after his side overcame Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Antonio Barragan returned from injury in the nick of time to solve the Teessider’s full-back dilemma, following injuries to George Friend and Calum Chambers.
Karanka reverted to the 4-3-3 system which he has deployed for most of the campaign, with Cristhian Stuani and Adama Traore playing either side of Negredo upfront.
West Brom’s team selection reflected the fact that the Baggies had won three out of their last four league games, as Tony Pulis named an unchanged side from the one which started against Sunderland last time out.
Visitors start the fresher
With no cup commitments to worry about, the visitors had received 10 days rest since then and they looked the fresher of the two sides in the early exchanges.
Five minutes had elapsed when Albion were awarded a free kick to the left of the penalty area and Chris Brunt swung in an inviting delivery.
Boro couldn’t clear, and when the ball fell to Albion captain Darren Fletcher, he cushioned it back to Morrison who lashed home a skimming effort from the edge the box.
The visitors went close again when Brunt’s dipping effort landed on the roof of Victor Valdes’ net, however Boro responded to their jittery start moments later, drawing level in the 17th minute.
Penalty draws Boro level
Marten De Roon, who worked tirelessly throughout the first half, played a neat through ball for Negredo, who was brought down inside the area by Gareth McAuley’s clumsy challenge.
The Spanish striker then dusted himself down before confidently stepping up to take the spot kick, converting low to Ben Foster’s right.
Boro saw the majority of possession after that, and the hosts had another appeal for a penalty when Stuani went down under the challenge of Allan Nyom inside the area.
It wasn’t clear whether there was sufficient contact, however referee Stuart Attwell waved away the Boro protests.
The Teesider’s best route to goal appeared to be through Adama Traore, whose cross five minutes before half time was almost deflected into his own net net by Nyon. The West Brom full back was spared the embarrassment of an own goal after a sharp save from his keeper.
Albion almost struck again with Brunt set piece, when the Northern Ireland international curled another free kick into the box which was met by a towering header from McAuley. Thankfully for the hosts, Valdes was alert and kept it out.
Albion finish the stronger
Boro were let off the hook ten minutes after the restart when Nacer Chadli’s cross was headed against the post by Matt Phillips. The rebound fell to Salomon Rondon who amazingly fired against the opposite post from close range.
Back came Boro, with a rare burst forward from Adam Clayton, whose low cross was stabbed goal-bound by De Roon, forcing an acrobatic save from Foster on 56 minutes.
In the closing stages, the visitors grew in confidence and began to pile on the pressure.
With 13 minutes to go Brunt tried his luck from distance, forcing Valdes to tip over the cross bar.
Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu also went close but shot straight at the Boro keeper. 1-1 it finished.