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Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Saturday, 25 October 2008 20:32 UK

Blackburn 1-1 Middlesbrough

By Nabil Hassan

Benni McCarthy and Paul Ince
Boss Ince has praised McCarthy's attitude in training in recent weeks

Substitute Benni McCarthy rescued a point for Blackburn with a dramatic injury-time header at Ewood Park.

McCarthy levelled after heading home Brett Emerton's corner, which Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson had come up for.

Boro had taken a 74th-minute lead when Afonso Alves smashed the ball past Robinson from the edge of the box.

Earlier Boro's Tuncay Sanli had a overhead kick wrongly disallowed, while Jeremie Aliadiere struck the bar, while Rovers' Roque Santa Cruz hit the post.

Southgate takes positives from draw

McCarthy's equaliser was a cruel blow for Middlesbrough who had looked as if they were going to bounce back from last weekend's 5-0 drubbing against Chelsea.

Boro had the game's first real chance when Aliadiere was left unmarked in the Blackburn box following Chris Riggott's hopeful long ball.

But the Frenchman could only volley against the bar from 12 yards out with just Robinson to beat.

Soon after Emerton forced a fine low save from Ross Turnbull after he latched onto a long ball from Vince Grella.

Santa Cruz, who had passed a late fitness test, began to show his attacking qualities and the Paraguayan fired against the post after Stephen Warnock had found him with a clever pass.

We must be more clinical - Ince

Tuncay then had the ball in the net with a fine overhead kick from just inside the area, but it was ruled out for offside, a decision that was shown to be incorrect by television replays.

On the half-hour Santa Cruz saw his close-range header beaten out by Turnbull and just before the break the Boro keeper again saved well from the Blackburn striker.

Until the last 15 minutes the second-half lacked the cut and thrust of the opening period.

The impressive Carlos Villanueva curled the ball just wide from 20 yards, while on the hour Tuncay had an effort deflected around the post as Middlesbrough pressed.

With 25 minutes remaining Blackburn introduced McCarthy, who had been tipped to start, and started to galvanise the Rovers attack.


But it was Boro who claimed the first goal when Alves latched onto Gary O'Neil's long ball before turning inside Andre Ooijer and firing right-footed past Robinson from the edge of the area.

It was a goal that seemed to have settled the game, before McCarthy, who has only played a peripheral part for Blackburn this season, rose in the third minute of injury time to earn Rovers a point.

Blackburn manager Paul Ince:
"I am delighted and I'm a bit angry and annoyed.

"It would have been a travesty if we had come away from that game with nothing. I have told the lads when you are on top you need to take your chances.

"I always said when I first came to Blackburn if we get a fit and hungry Benni McCarthy he will always be in my side.

"He's a fantastic guy, he's always smiling and he does try hard."

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate:
"It's always painful but I think we've given a performance which restored some pride after last week.

"There were lots of positives to take form it even though we were disappointed at the end. We wanted them to respond in the right way.

"I've got to be pleased with the players, they couldn't have given more than they gave."

Blackburn: Robinson, Simpson, Ooijer, Nelsen, Olsson (Treacy 81), Emerton, Grella, Warnock, Villanueva, Roque Santa Cruz, Derbyshire (McCarthy 65).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Kerimoglu, Khizanishvili, Andrews, Roberts.

Booked: Derbyshire, Olsson, Grella.

Goals: McCarthy 90.

Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Wheater, Riggott, Pogatetz, Taylor, Aliadiere, O'Neil, Digard, Downing, Alves, Sanli (Emnes 85).
Subs Not Used: Jones, Shawky, Adam Johnson, John Johnson, Grounds.

Booked: Wheater.

Goals: Alves 74.

Att: 17,606

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Blackburn's Carlos Villanueva 7.52 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
25 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
25 Oct 08 |  Football

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