Middlesbrough let a lead slip away again

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JUST when will Middlesbrough hold on to a lead?

For the third time in eight days, Boro went in front but failed to take three points.

And boss Tony Mowbray pointed his finger at his leaky defence after an incident packed draw with Bournemouth.

His side were two down after just 12 minutes after Brett Pitman slammed home two penalties.

But Boro battled back to level through Kei Kamara and Mustapha Carayol before the break and they took the lead in the second half with a Grant Leadbitter strike.

The drama was not over as Bournemouth plundered a point late on as Boro’s Jonathan Woodgate turned a cross into his own net.

It followed a 3-1 defeat at Ipswich and a 2-2 midweek draw at Nottingham Forest in which they let slip a two-goal lead.

“We can’t keep conceding goals,” he said.

“You can’t give away three goals at home and expect to win. That’s eight in three games now and that is far too many.

“We actually did very well to come from two down to get into a winning position playing some very good football but then we have shot ourselves in the foot.

“We didn’t defend well enough. We gave away two penalties and an own goal.

“No one is happy with that. Something has to change.”

Boro suffered an early double blow as Bournemouth built up a commanding lead with two penalties.

The first came on four minutes as Tokelo Rantie robbed Grant Leadbitter to get into the box, where he was sent sprawling by Rhys Williams.

The second spot-kick came on 12 minutes as a half-cleared corner was chipped back in and when Lewis Grabban cushioned a header across the face of goal and defender Fraser Richardson handled.

Boro grabbed a lifeline quickly as they clawed a goal back when Kamara poked a shot against the advancing keeper, then bundled the rebound home off defender Steve Cook.

Boro levelled on 32 minutes as Jacob Butterfield picked out Mustapha Carayol on the right and he cut inside then slammed a 25-yard effort that clipped Cook and looped over the keeper on its way into the far top corner.

Boro looked set for victory when they took the lead on 74 minutes. Butterfield intercepted in midfield and pushed forward for Kamara to race to the edge of the box then square for the unmarked Leadbitter to drill a low 10-yard angled shot home.

Bournemouth equalised on 83 minutes as Elliott Ward jinked in from the right and past Friend then fired a low ball into the near post where Jonathan Woodgate stabbed in an own goal.

And Boro were dealt another blow on 85 minutes as Williams was shown a red card for a professional foul, hauling back Thomas as he burst through towards the box.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Richardson, Woodgate, Rhys Williams, Friend, Whitehead (Varga 90), Adomah (Jutkiewicz 90), Leadbitter,

Butterfield, Carayol (Gibson 87), Kamara. Subs Not Used: Hoyte, Andrew Halliday, Leutwiler, Smallwood. Sent Off: Rhys Williams (86). Booked: Leadbitter, Kamara. Goals: Kamara 20, Carayol 32, Leadbitter 75.

Bournemouth: Allsop, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Ward, Pugh, Pitman, O’Kane, Hughes (MacDonald 76), Grabban, Rantie (Thomas 60). Subs Not Used: Harte, McQuoid, McDermott, Addison, Flahavan. Booked: Pugh, Allsop, Cook. Goals: Pitman 4 pen, 12 pen, Woodgate 83 og.

Att: 13,617 Ref: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).