Managers Tony Mowbray and Neil Warnock were surprised by the late red cards that both Blackburn and Middlesbrough received during a competitive 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
Boro captain Jonny Howson struck nine minutes before half-time with a tidy lob to cancel out Rovers’ brilliant opener when Sam Gallagher struck from distance in the 17th minute.
Neither side did enough after that to win the game, with both having players dismissed in the last 10 minutes. Rovers’ Hayden Carter was sent off for a second booking before Sam Morsy saw red.
In the end Blackburn boss Mowbray was satisfied to have left his native Teesside with a point after a tough Championship encounter.
“It wasn’t very nice was it?” said Mowbray. “It takes two teams to play a football match, Boro deny you playing that, it’s very combative in there.
“It was an eye opener for our young players today. We stuck at it, there was no fluency to the game.
“Daniel Ayala was immense. It was no surprise that when he was up for a corner they broke and scored.
“Sam has a bazooka in his right foot, he never uses it. I am pleased he did today. It flew in off the post. I thought we looked like we could score.
“It was a bit of blood and thunder, not sure if it was a game of two sending offs, but there you go.
“I think Hayden tried to kick the ball, the lad put his head in. The ref could have used his common sense. The first yellow was definitely a booking.
“The second red? I can’t see Morsy’s red card. The referee was quick to get it out. I will let Neil complain about that.”
Middlesbrough looked more dangerous without really testing goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski on too many occasions.
Warnock’s side have only won one of their opening five matches and there was a sense of frustration from the experienced boss afterwards – most of it directed at referee Michael Salisbury.
Boro boss Warnock said: “It was a very poor decision, he said to the fourth official that it was a straight red card (for Morsy), deliberately injuring him. I don’t even think it was a yellow.
“A red card? He has flicked his foot out, not a straight leg I will give him that, but he hardly made contact. It compounds his afternoon. We will appeal against it.
“It shows the situation when I walk on to the pitch calmly and he says ‘can I see you in 30?’ Twenty-nine-and-a-half-minutes later, he has gone with everyone. That sums him up today for me.
“But we played some nice stuff today, even though we had nothing on the bench. Hopefully we will have two or three by Tuesday who we can change a game with.”
Warnock also confirmed that Middlesbrough are closing in on the loan signing of Norwich’s Onel Hernandez, who was sat in the stands watching. He added: “I am hoping to have a chat with him. He is the type of lad we need.”
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