PAUL Taylor scored a brilliant late goal to salvage a point for Peterborough on Saturday but Middlesbrough were left ruing the points that got away.
Middlesbrough shaded a dull opening period, and were rewarded early in the second half when Matthew Bates’ header deservedly put them ahead.
But Posh rallied and won a point when Taylor curled home a glorious shot into the top corner with only 10 minutes remaining.
It was a body blow to Bates.
“I’m frustrated and the dressing room is frustrated,” he said. “It’s another day when two points have slipped away.
“The frustration was we didn’t take one of the chances that came our way to finish the game off.
“The team are applying what we work on in training and there were plenty of positives. A second goal would have killed the game off but, credit to them, they kept going and ultimately they got a point.”
The game was a match-up between the Championship’s leakiest and meanest defences, and Middlesbrough – who have conceded only 14 League goals this season – were rarely tested early on by an ineffective Peterborough attack.
The visitors, however, were restricted to long-range efforts, but came close through Tony McMahon’s free-kick which whistled narrowly wide from 20 yards after 32 minutes.
Although Boro were dominating the early stages, Peterborough improved as the half wore on and a rampaging run down the right from Tommy Rowe found Lee Tomlin, whose shot was blocked by Stephen McManus.
From that move, Middlesbrough broke on a counter-attack which ended with Barry Robson’s strike from 25 yards, which had Paul Jones scrambling, but was just wide of the post.
A McMahon corner was met by Bates, who had waltzed into the box unmarked and seemingly unnoticed to power a header into the top corner for his first goal of the season.
And it took 64 minutes for the hosts to finally test Jason Steele when George Boyd broke clear but the England under-21 keeper did well to spread himself and keep Boyd’s effort out with his feet.
Boro were still looking dangerous going forward, but Peterborough were becoming more adventurous and were unlucky not to level in the 79th minute when Tom Kennedy’s blistering run and shot from 20 yards smashed against a post.
But the equaliser came two minutes later when the ball ricocheted to Taylor, who curled a superb effort past the outstretched dive of Steele and into the top corner.
Both sides were pushing for the points and free-kicks from Grant McCann and Tony McMahon failed to beat either goalkeeper, while Middlesbrough midfielder Faris Haroun appeared to have raised his hand to referee Stuart Attwell and may face retrospective action.
Peterborough: Jones, Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Kennedy, Frecklington (Tunnicliffe 55), McCann, Boyd, Rowe (Sinclair 59), Taylor, Tomlin. Subs Not Used: Lewis, Thompson, Kearns. Booked: Tomlin, Taylor, Zakuani. Goals: Taylor 81.
Middlesbrough: Steele, McMahon, McManus, Bates, Bennett, Haroun, Bailey, Rhys Williams, Robson, McDonald, Emnes (Nimely 75). Subs Not Used: Hoyte, Zemmama, Ogbeche, Arca. Booked: Haroun, Emnes, McManus. Goals: Bates 54.
Att: 10,013 Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).