Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough played out a 0-0 draw on Tuesday evening at Ewood Park.
Missed opportunities stopped Middlesbrough from taking all three points as they were dominant throughout the game. They pinned the hosts back for the majority of the game but couldn't get the winner.
Aynsley Pears was the man of the match after some excellent saves from Britt Assombalonga and Marcus Tavernier opportunities.
Tony Mowbray will be the happier manager to take a point and may feel lucky to take anything from the game. Neil Warnock will be very impressed by his side's performance, but disappointed with their finishing capabilities.
Boro remain unbeaten since the opening day, whilst Blackburn end a run of consecutive defeats.
Story of the match
It was the visitors who took control of the first half following a high tempo, scrappy first ten minutes. Boro were happy to allow Blackburn to control possession in low-risk areas before counter-attacking and putting balls into the box to create opportunities.
They announced their intentions in the opening minute when Britt Assombalonga had an opportunity. A ball came into the box from Coulson and the Congolese forward had an attempt saved from Pears.
From the resulting corner, Johnny Howson forced another save from the keeper, who joined Blackburn from Middlesbrough just three weeks ago.
Middlesbrough enjoyed the first half as they pumped crosses into the box, and efforts from Saville, Assombalonga and Spence were all blocked by Rovers defenders.
The biggest chance of the half came on 20 minutes when, after three successive corners, Assombalonga had a sight of goal. An inswinging corner came in from the left, swinging across the face of goal towards him at the back post. His header sailed over when it seemed more difficult to miss.
Boro had another chance when Marcus Tavernier supplied a cross to George Saville, who's header whistled wide.
Tony Mowbray seemed extremely disappointed with his side's first-half display and how they were overrun, though their defending was valiant at times.
Their only efforts in the first half came from similar areas around 25 yards out, with both Brereton and Williams lashing efforts way over the bar.
The second half began the way the first ended. The break did not harm them as it could have done. Just after half-time, another Paddy McNair cross was launched into the box, finding Howson unmarked but, yet again, a Blackburn body blocked it.
Moments later, Dijksteel's cross curved beautifully into the path of Tavernier at the near post. He used the pace of the ball and flicked it towards goal, but Pears made a fantastic acrobatic save to keep his side into the game.
Blackburn almost scored against the run of play on the hour mark when Harvey Elliott finally made an impression on the game. The Liverpool loanee played a cute ball that played Rankin-Costello in behind. He played the ball across the face of goal perfectly, but both Brereton and Gallagher missed tap-in opportunities at the back post.
The final half-hour became scrappy, with both defences coming on top. Blackburn were able to neutralise the Middlesbrough threat after the hour, becoming accustomed to the increasingly predictable Boro attacks.
Fouls and substitutions began to ruin the tempo of the game which, for the most part, was fast, entertaining and not at all like a 0-0 match.
Middlesbrough almost snatched a winner with ten minutes to go as a McNair corner met Fry at the back post. It seemed like he would nod it home but brilliant defending from the substitute Wharton did just enough to put him off.
Takeaways from the game
The home side struggled to make a mark for large swathes of the game this evening. A reason for this is the squad is down to the bare bones. Injuries to key players such as Adam Armstrong, Bradley Johnson and Barry Douglas meant that they struggled to field a strong team for the game.
Add to that self-isolation for Amari'i Bell and Blackburn are struggling.
Mowbray admitted before the game that he is looking forward to the international break so the squad can galvanise and allow key players to return. They will hope this will see their form improve drastically.
Neil Warnock has the same impression on most of the teams he takes charge of. Keep them up - then take them up. It appears that it could happen again with this Middlesbrough team.
For the most part, they were the better team and, allowing for better finishing, they could have ran away with the game in the first half. After keeping 'Boro up last season, Warnock now has his team extremely well-drilled defensively.
They also have well structured, effective attacking patterns of play, with crosses pumped into the box often. It causes defences huge issues. It could lead Middlesbrough to the play-offs this season.