2017-18 English League Championship, Regular Season
  • Marvin Sordell (6')
  • Britt Assombalonga (90')

Britt Assombalonga bails out Boro at Burton

Substitute Britt Assombalonga earned his Middlesbrough side what could be a precious point with a 90th-minute equaliser to thwart Burton's chances of ending their 15-game home winless run.
Assombalonga headed home a close-range finish after fellow substitute Jack Harrison had seen his effort come back of the crossbar to land perfectly for the striker to nod in and secure a 1-1 draw.
Marvin Sordell bagged his third goal of the season, and first since proving to be the match-winner at Millwall back in November, when he swept home from 12 yards as early as the sixth minute on a soggy day at the Pirelli, and it looked as if that was going to be enough for Nigel Clough's men until the dying moments.
Middlesbrough were out of the traps quickly as they looked to get their speed merchant Adama Traore into the game as quickly as possible.
Instead, it was Albion's veteran winger Lloyd Dyer providing the cutting edge as the Brewers top scorer laid the ball across the box for Sordell to finish with aplomb and give Clough's men the rarity of an early lead.
Patrick Bamford quickly had the chance to level things up, running onto a superb pass from Mo Besic, only for Tom Naylor to stay alert as Albion switched off at the back, the defender making an excellent interception as the Boro striker was about to pull the trigger.
Assombalonga entered the fray in the 37th minute as Tony Pulis' frustrations grew and he took off Jonny Howson in order to make a tactical switch and try to get back into the game.
Stephen Bywater was perhaps fortunate to escape with just a yellow card when he slid out of the area still clutching the ball in his hands on 49 minutes as Middlesbrough attacked and Traore stood over him waiting to pounce.
Traore continued to be Boro's go-to man as they sought him out all too often trying to use his pace and trickery to unlock the Burton defence. The most fouled man in the Championship this season forced Damien McCrory into a challenge that added him to the list of defenders booked for stopping the winger in his tracks.
Both Liam Boyce and Darren Bent went close for Albion as they looked for the comfort of a two-goal cushion, Boyce heading narrowly wide from a Sordell corner and Bent seeing a goalbound shot blocked by Daniel Ayala before Assombalonga spurned an excellent chance to equalise.
Traore burst through the middle before the striker took over and turned to make room for a shot that flew well over the bar. His moment would soon arrive, though, and this time he did not disappoint.
Bent had a chance in stoppage-time to win it back for Albion but his low shot was easily held by Darren Randolph.

English League Championship Standings

1 Norwich City 42 +35 90
2 Watford 42 +31 82
3 Swansea City 42 +19 76
4 Brentford 41 +31 74
5 AFC Bournemouth 42 +28 74
6 Barnsley 42 +8 71
7 Reading 42 +11 67
8 Cardiff City 42 +12 60
9 Millwall 42 +1 59
10 Queens Park Rangers 42 -1 59
11 Middlesbrough 42 +2 57
12 Stoke City 42 -1 56
13 Luton Town 41 -10 56
14 Bristol City 42 -15 51
15 Blackburn Rovers 42 +6 50
16 Nottingham Forest 42 -7 49
17 Preston North End 42 -14 49
18 Coventry City 42 -17 48
19 Birmingham City 42 -18 48
20 Huddersfield Town 42 -17 47
21 Derby County 42 -17 43
22 Rotherham United 40 -13 39
23 Sheffield Wednesday 42 -20 36
24 Wycombe Wanderers 42 -34 34