Angry Karanaka as Boro throw it away again with Brighton

Boro's Curtis Main goes close with a diving header during the Championship match between Middlesbrough and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Riverside Stadium
Boro's Curtis Main goes close with a diving header during the Championship match between Middlesbrough and Brighton & Hove Albion at the Riverside Stadium

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka was furious with his players after watching them leak a last-gasp goal for the third game running in a 1-0 defeat to Brighton.

After a stoppage-time sucker punch had led to defeat at Derby and a last-minute leveller cost them victory at Birmingham, Karanka was sickened by an 86th-minute Matthew Upson header from a corner which handed the Seagulls the victory at the Riverside and left Boro just three points above the drop zone.

“Yes, of course I am angry,” he said.

“We are giving gifts to our opponents in every game.

“I can’t believe it. It is the same thing again. It is not normal to play so many games when you are probably better than your opponents but you do not get the points.

“The most important thing at set-plays is for a man to know who he is marking and to stop them from scoring goals. That is it. That is the job at set-plays.

“It is always a lack of concentration. It cannot continue in this way. Here we are again after five games now saying the same things.

“All we can do is work hard. The biggest problem though is focus. My hope is that in the next games the players concentrate until the very last minute.“

Brighton took advantage of a jittery Boro defence to carve out the best of the early chances.

They won a corner on 10 minutes and when it sailed to the far post striker Ashley Barnes was unmarked but his angled header came back off the post then was scrambled away.

The loose ball was chipped back and a poor back header by Jonathan Woodgate sent keeper Shay Given furiously back-pedalling to tip over.

Brighton threatened again on 18 minutes when a cross from lively winger Craig Conway from the left was glanced on by a defender to David Lopez in space at the far post but his low shot on the turn was weak and straight at Given.

Boro had their first real chance on 26 minutes as Grant Leadbitter and George Friend combined down the left to pick out winger Mustapha Carayol on the edge of the box and his low 20 yard effort sent keeper Peter Brezovan scrambling to the near post to push it behind.

Boro then enjoyed a good spell of possession that had the visitors penned in their own box and went close as a shot from Rhys Williams clipped a team-mate and went wide.

On the stroke of half-time Boro threatened again as Friend crossed from the left but unmarked striker Lukas Jutkiewicz sent his harmless eight-yard header looping straight into the keeper’s arms.

Brighton pressed first after the break as Conway carved down the right to cut the back and over-lapping full-back Ward hammered in a shot that Given was forced to tip over.

Boro’s first real chance came on 55 minutes as Carayol hassled and robbed Bruno on the left flank then slotted the ball inside for Butterfield to touch on and Leadbitter sent a 25-yard effort wide.

That sparked a lively spell for Boro. George Friend got into the box from the left and drilled across the face of the goal to the far post where it was hacked off the line by Upson. Carayol stabbed the rebound towards goal but it was deflected behind for a corner.

And when Grant Leadbitter’s corner was only half-cleared, Albert Adomah drilled in a low shot from the right which was saved..

Boro went close on 66 minutes as Adomah whipped in a cross from the right to the far post where Jutkiewicz put a diving header just over.

Then on 70 minutes Jutkiewicz did well to hold off a defender on the edge of the box and send a shot on the turn just wide of the far post.

But Brighton snatched the points against the run of play on 86 minutes when they won a disputed corner. Upson connected with a downward header that bounced up and inside the post.