Date: 20th October 2012 at 8:12pm
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Albion were frustrated to another fruitless result at home as Middlesbrough escaped as narrow victors through a deflected effort.

Panning out a similar fashion to their last two Amex outings, Marvin Emnes gave the visitors a first half lead as his shot struck an Albion player and diverted past Kuszczak – with the hosts proceeding to throw everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents, but to no avail.

Poyet’s men came out of the blocks quickest, with Spaniards Bruno and David Lopez linking well on the right – forcing a host of corners and a couple of half-chances. They were dealt a blow, however, on 21 minutes as ‘Boro took the lead with their first meaningful shot.

A misplaced pass from Bruno led to Emnes receiving the ball on the edge of the area, and after purveying the area, the Dutchman elected to shoot, and his effort struck the chest of Gordon Greer, and fortuitously wrong-footed Tomasz Kuszczak in the Albion net.

With the wind now in their sails, ‘Boro enjoyed a short of spell of pressure during which Faris Haroun struck wide from distance. Albion soon looked to respond, however, with Dean Hammond heading well over from a David Lopez cross, before the hosts blew their best chance of the half.

A quick counter-attack saw Wayne Bridge released down the left, and after carrying the ball into the final third, the left-back whipped in a perfectly measured cross for the on-rushing Craig Mackail-Smith, only for Luke Steele to deny the striker from 10 yards with an instinctive hand.

Back in the hunt for goals on his return from injury, Mackail-Smith also saw a curling shot from the corner of the area just evade Steele’s left-hand post. As the game wore on, the visitors became increasingly determined to protect their advantage, as they camped out in their own half.

The Seagulls should have equalised with 60 minutes on the clock when Ashley Barnes’ close range header was somehow kept out by Steele, before a ‘Boro defender lashed the re-bound into the chest of the lurking Mackail-Smith, as the ball looped agonisingly over the bar – summing up Albion’s afternoon.

Andrew Crofts also wasted a gilt-edged chance when the ball dropped to him 12 yards out with the keeper out of position, but could only skew his effort wide. Barnes then forced another fine stop from Steele with a stinging left-footed effort from outside the box.

As Albion threw men forward, they always ran the risk of being caught short at the back – and Ishmael Miller, on as a sub for ‘Boro, had a golden opportunity to wrap up the points, but could only fire wide after finding himself one-on-one with Kuszczak.

And it was to be another narrow home defeat for Albion, as they were unable to convert any of their chances and end the drought.