Tony Pulis brands Middlesbrough as 'a bag of potatoes' after Nottingham Forest defeat

Britt Assombalonga missed a big chance for Middlesbrough
Britt Assombalonga missed a big chance for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have missed out on the chance to go top of the Championship after a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Boro could have leapfrogged Leeds - who drew with Brentford in the day's early kick-off - but were second best against Aitor Karanka's Forest.

And that led their manager to liken their early performance to that of a 'bag of potatoes', while he was also left to rue missed chances in what has become a familiar story.

Strikes after the break from Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban were enough for the visitors to claim three points - despite ending the game with ten men.

It was Forest who were on the front foot from the early stages with Jack Colback firing high and wide from 25 yards before Lolley saw a low effort saved by Darren Randolph after a fine solo run.

There was a chance for Boro to open the scoring before the interval though, but Martin Braithwaite saw a deflected shot cannon back off the crossbar.

But it was to be Karanka's side who took the lead after the break - Lolley firing home an unstoppable effort after some fine work from Darryl Murphy to tee him up.

Substitute Britt Assombalonga - booed by the travelling fans - came closest to levelling for the hosts after finding space in the box, but placed his shot too closely to Costel Pantilimon in what was a golden chance.

And the significance of that miss was felt on 77 minutes when Grabban tapped home from close range after Lolley picked out the unmarked striker with a perfectly-placed cross.

Forest ended the game with ten men after Jack Robinson was shown a second yellow card, but there was no late comeback from Boro - leaving Pulis seething.

"The first 20 minutes we were like a bag of potatoes," he told BBC Tees.

"We were playing on our home ground, a decent crowd and we never looked like we were at the races.

"We weathered their storm in the first 20 minutes.

"But they got the goals, made a couple of changes and the big turning point of the game is Britt's chance.

"I think if Britt's goes in it's a different game, he's six yards out."