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Saturday, 25 November, 2000, 17:43 GMT
Ince nets late leveller
Middlesbrough 2-2 Bradford City
A last-ditch equaliser by Middlesbrough's Paul Ince could have helped save his manager Bryan Robson's job.
Ince struck in the 89th minute to earn 10-man Middlesbrough a valuable point against Bradford in this Premeirship basement battle.
The home side showed commendable resolve and spirit in coming back from a two goal deficit as Dean Windass and Benito Carbone put Bradford in front.
Alen Boksic was continually frustrated in front of goal for the home side before Ugo Ehiogu pulled one back and Ince struck in the final stages.
A defeat would have put Robson's future in serious doubt but now he is likely to earn more time to try and improve the fortunes of the Riverside club.
Middlesbrough have not managed a Premiership victory at home this season and began showing the lack of confidence and authority that record suggests.
It took Bradford only three minutes to capitalise when an error by Italian defender Gianluca Festa and poor marking at the back gave Dean Windass the chance to score his seventh goal of the season.
Festa, one of five changes to the Middlesbrough starting line-up, mis-timed an attempted clearance but kept possession only to give the ball away to Bradford's Benito Carbone.
Carbone crossed and Windass rose above Curtis Fleming to head past Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and put Bradford into the lead.
The visitors' striker Ashley Ward was allowed the chance of a header from eight yards out a minute later but could only direct his effort straight at Schwarzer.
On a pitch with lying surface water apparent, the home side's defence lacked cohesion and understanding as Bradford extended their lead.
Carbone took one touch to control Peter Atherton's long free-kick before powering a shot into the outstretched Schwarzer's top right corner.
Dan Petrescu shot over for Bradford before Middlesbrough started to exert themselves on the game but Robson's struggling side were continually frustrated.
Croation striker Boksic had four chances in the first-half. He was supplied by Phil Stamp three times but could not convert.
His first opening saw him shoot into the side-netting before an effort on target was saved.
Boksic then headed narrowly wide and his agony was compounded when another header came back off the crossbar.
In the midst of Boksic's disappointment, Ince had a header parried by Clarke and then saw penalty appeals waved away from the rebound.
Boksic did not appear for the second-half due to injury but the home side provided themselves with a glimmer of hope when their £8m club record signing Ehiogu scored.
The former Aston Villa defender headed in at the far post after Clarke failed to punch out a corner properly after 48 minutes.
Clarke atoned somewhat for his error four minutes later when he saved a Noel Whelan side-footed shot as a determined Middlesbrough pressed for an equaliser.
Festa struck the crossbar with a header from a corner before Middlesbrough's cause was dealt a severe blow.
Promising Argentinian Carlos Marinelli, making his first Premiership start, was dismissed after an altercation with Bradford's Billy McKinlay.
Middlesbrough continued to attack and substitute Joseph Desire-Job had a deflected shot saved by the legs of Clarke.
Striker Brian Deane ran onto a long ball by the home side five minutes from time but his effort was saved before Ince struck late on when he shot through the legs of Clarke.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Fleming, Festa, Mustoe, Ince, Boksic, Ehiogu, Marinelli, Stamp, Whelan, Cooper. Subs: Vickers, Karembeu, Deane, Job, Crossley.
Bradford: Clarke, Nolan, McCall, Lawrence, Ward, Carbone, O'Brien, Windass, Atherton, Petrescu, McKinlay. Subs: Myers, Beagrie, Collymore, Walsh, Blake.
Referee: P Taylor (Cheshunt).
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