Date: 16th September 2017 at 11:58pm
Written by: Vital Boro

Middlesbrough twice fought back to claim a 3-2 victory against Queens Park Rangers at the Riverside.

Winger David Wheeler earned the visitors an instant advantage cancelled out by Lewis Baker before the break.

However, substitute Jamie Mackie restored the away lead, only for fellow replacement Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga to reply in quick succession.

Boro hadn’t conceded at home yet this season but that was soon shattered as Wheeler was on the end of Luke Freeman’s second-minute cross and finished from close-range.

Former England international Stewart Downing replied by calling goalkeeper Alex Smithies into action and home debutant Marvin Johnson struck wide.

Newcomer Johnson then broke forward and released Baker to equalise with a low shot beyond Smithies nine minutes before the interval.

Goalscorer Baker almost added another as Smithies came to the visitors’ rescue, although they regained the lead when substitute Mackie robbed keeper Darren Randolph on the edge of the area after the restart.

Boro were back level just five minutes later though, Cyrus Christie delivering from the right and substitute Fletcher nodding across the keeper.

The same duration had passed when Johnson worked another cross for record signing Assombalonga to head in from inside six-yards.

Downing later miscued from an ideal position and Fletcher struck onto a post, while Assombalonga cleared the target and Christie’s fierce drive was turned over by Smithies.

But the visitors almost snatched a late point through substitute Pawel Wszołek only being denied by an upright with added time remaining.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson, Fabio, Leadbitter (Howson 56), Clayton (Fletcher 46), Baker, Downing (Forshaw 78), Assombalonga, Johnson

subs (unused): Konstantopoulos, Friend, Shotton, Bamford

Goals: Baker (36), Fletcher (55), Assombalonga (60)

QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Baptiste, Robinson, Bidwell, Luongo, Freeman, Manning, Lua Lua (Wszolek 46), Smith (Mackie 46), Wheeler (Sylla 68)

subs (unused): Borysiuk, N’Gbakoto, Lumley, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Wheeler (2), Mackie (50)

Ref: D. Bond

Att: 24,790