Middlesbrough battled for a deserved 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.
Jonathan Woodgate’s side were riddled with injury worries going into the game meaning that a point against one of the Championship’s top teams.
Ryan Yates opened the scoring for the hosts, before the Teessiders sprung to life in search of an equaliser.
That came late on when Middlesbrough were awarded a penalty which Paddy McNair converted confidently to the jubilation of the travelling fans.
Despite not getting the three points it was quite a night for Woodgate’s side, and this is what we learned about Middlesbrough at the City Ground.
A solid foundation
Middlesbrough did well to grind out a result against Nottingham Forest, and that should be credit to the unit selected by Jonathan Woodgate.
The Teessiders have looked more robust in recent weeks, with the defensive trio of Daniel Ayala, Dael Fry and Jonny Howson supporting Paddy McNair and Adam Clayton down the spine of the team.
This core of players provide a robust nature and experience in the Championship, and if Middlesbrough are to continue grinding out results to move them up the table I think this has to be the foundation that the team is built on.
Another encouraging display from Middlesbrough’s young full-backs
While the core of the team deserves credit, the young players down the flanks were certainly lively.
Jonathan Woodgate stuck with Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson as the two wing-backs and both players once again justified their selection.
On occasion there’s a naivety in their play as they dive into challenges, but it may be the case that the Boro boss has found a natural fit for two of the most important roles in his system.
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The absence of Britt Assombalonga
Middlesbrough salvaged a draw with a late penalty, but it seemed that they were missing a focal point.
During the clash the Teessiders missed Assombalonga in attack as he is often the man to hold up play and provide a physical battle for the opposition defence.
While a point is a good outcome from a trip to the City Ground it certainly showed how crucial the striker is to the team and system.