Middlesbrough endured a frustrating afternoon at the Riverside Stadium after falling to a 4-1 defeat against Brentford.
The Teessiders were hoping to close the gap on the play-off places after earning a hard-fought point against Norwich City last week but it seems that the Bees had other ideas.
With Thomas Frank’s side firmly on track to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League it was always going to be a tough test for Boro, but Neil Warnock will no doubt disappointed to come away with what looks like a heavy defeat on paper.
In truth it was a game that was decided by some fine margins.
Here are some of the dilemmas that Warnock faces after suffering defeat.
Deputising for Dael Fry
It’s an absence that has taken on real significance in recent weeks.
Dael Fry is a player who has been a first team regular for a couple of years now but it’s only really been of late that fans have really acknowledged just how key the 23-year-old is to the team.
After coming off against Blackburn Rovers Middlesbrough struggled defensively without a natural centre-back in the side – a problem that arose once again as Fry missed out against Brentford.
Paddy McNair is an excellent option at the back, while the likes of Grant Hall Anfernee Dijksteel and Marc Bola are all certainly competent in the centre of Boro’s defence.
But what we’re seeing is that Fry is a vital player for the team and one who could even be described as irreplaceable.
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A lack of cutting edge
Middlesbrough were far from outplayed against Brentford as the Teessiders had plenty of chances of their own to get a positive result.
The key differential was the how lethal the Bees were in front of goal.
Neil Warnock’s side had opportunities but while Yannick Bolasie and Neeskens Kebano were causing plenty of problems there was just a lack of cutting edge in the penalty area.
Britt Assombalonga started against Thomas Frank’s side, but with Chuba Akpom in contention and Ashley Fletcher returning from injury there’s plenty of options for Warnock to consider.
Middlesbrough need to start winning games and so finding the most clinical finisher could be key in helping the club to bounce back from such a disappointing result.