QPR and Middlesbrough shared the spoils on a bitter Saturday afternoon as Britt Assombalonga scored twice in the 2-2 draw at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
It was Middlesbrough who boasted the better record heading into this clash, winning five of the last six meetings between the two sides, and it was easy to see why early on.
Woodgate’s side set out with plenty of energy, squeezing the R’s high up the pitch and allowing them very little room to play.
And with just three minutes on the clock they thought they had taken the lead too. A result of that high intensity paid dividends when Marvin Johnson’s whipped free-kick was headed home brilliantly by Daniel Ayala.
But the Spaniard’s celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag, although the offside call remains incredibly questionable.
It did little to dampen the visitor’s spirits however, and with 22 minutes on the clock, they took the lead.
A mix-up between Ryan Manning and home debutant Lee Wallace allowed Jonny Howson to nip in ahead of them and cross for a stooping Assombalonga to head home.
Jubilation in the away end. But it would be very short lived.
Just two minutes later the game was level as some neat interplay in the Boro box culminated in Illias Chair flicking the ball through to Nahki Wells who made no mistake with his finish, taking his tally in the Championship to eight for the season.
It marked a shift in momentum too. Whilst the likes of Ashley Fletcher and James Tavernier continued to show some nice touches, it was the R’s carrying the greater threat.
And on the stroke of half-time they made it pay, Grant Hall rising to head Ebere Eze’s floated cross goalwards.
The returning Darren Randolph got a strong hand to the ball but only succeeded in pushing the ball off Howson’s back and into the net to turn the game on it’s head.
Boro started the second half in a similar vein to the first with their high press stifling QPR’s desire to play out from the back.
A Lewis Wing free-kick, which flew just the wrong side of the crossbar, signalled their intent to find a way back into the game.
It looked for a while like 2-1 would be how it finished, however. Boro appeared to tire once again as their press began to drop, whilst Warburton sent on Jordan Hugill, hoping he could kill off his former club.
But it was his strike partner who lent a massive helping hand to Woodgate’s side and Assombalonga again, playing a dreadful backpass straight to the feet of the Congolese striker, who dinked the ball brilliantly over the onrushing Joe Lumley.
Both sides were now keen to hunt for three points. Assombalonga nearly found himself slipped through again, whilst Manning continued to be a menace down the left – with one cross finding its way to Hugill’s feet, only for the summer signing to fire off target.
Wells and Eze both forced strong saves from Randolph as QPR began to assert themselves again, although Boro remained a threat in the air with the hosts continuing to concede fouls in dangerous areas.
But there would be nothing to seperate the sides, with QPR missing the chance to climb back into the play-off places whilst Boro remain in the drop zone.