Tony Pulis' tactical error, a West Brom comeback plus Leeds United's late sucker punch: 13 games which shaped Middlesbrough's season

Middesbrough missed out on the Championship play-offs following a topsy-turvy but ultimately frustrating season.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 11:56 am
It was a frustrating season for Middlesbrough as they missed out on the Championship play-offs by one point.

We look back at some of the key games, highs and lows, which shaped Boro's 2018/19 campaign, from a promising start in August to a disappointing fractious end.

After an unconvincing 2-2 draw at Millwall on the opening day, Boro produced an impressive display against the Blades. The hosts excelled in a 3-5-2 system, with Martin Braithwaite, Aden Flint and Stewart Downing getting the goals.
Pulis' men made it four league wins out of five to start the campaign following a 1-0 win over the much-fancied Baggies. Daniel Ayala's last-minute header was the difference.

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After an unbeaten August, Boro's first defeat of the campaign came at Norwich. Teemu Pukki netted the winner midway through the second half to kick-start the campaign for the Canaries.
Following the Norwich loss, Boro's season began to splutter. Their first home defeat came at the hands of former manager Aitor Karanka as Nottingham Forest cruised to a 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban
Following an away win at Sheffield Wednesday, Boro missed the chance to extend their lead at the top after a goalless draw with Rotherham - despite recording 66 per cent possession.
Boro's well-organised defence was well and truly breached when an in form Villa side scored three at the Riverside. The result saw the Teessiders slip five points adrift of league leaders Norwich.
The home fans didn't hide their displeasure following Boro's Carabao Cup defeat to League One Burton. A chorus of boos rang out at the full-time whistle as the Brewers progressed to the semi-finals.
Despite remaining in the top six, Boro's season had fallen flat following a series of stodgy performances. Their result at the Hawthorns provided hope though, as a Britt Assombalonga double saw them come from 2-1 down.
Less than a week later, Boro were on the wrong end of another cup upset after being knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two Newport. Following the game, reports emerged of some players clashing with fans at the full-time whistle.
Boro were just seconds away from beating their promotion rivals in a pulsating game at the Riverside. Lewis Wing opened the scoring for the hosts before a Kalvin Phillips equaliser in the 11th minute of stoppage time.
Pulis was facing a 'defensive crisis' following injuries to Daniel Ayala and Aden Flint. That prompted a change of system, with Jonny Howson and George Saville playing as wing-backs and Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher up top.
The game when the Riverside crowd really turned on Pulis. At 1-0 up, the Boro boss replaced Assombalonga with George Friend - a decision which changed the game. It was the start of a a six-game losing run for the Teessiders.
Boro bounced back from their slump with three wins in a row, against Bolton, Hull and Stoke. Yet a chastening defeat at Forest proved the final nail in the coffin as the Teessiders were unable to reclaim a top-six spot.