Championship
Middlesbrough1Preston2

Middlesbrough 1-2 Preston North End: Daniel Ayala red card costs Boro points

Daniel Ayala is sent off
Middlesbrough had been in control until Daniel Ayala's red card

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis said the "shocking decision" to send off Daniel Ayala cost his side victory at home to Preston.

The Lilywhites came from a goal down to win at the Riverside Stadium after Ayala's 60th-minute red card for a foul on Brandon Barker - despite the defender seeming to play the ball.

A dominant first-half display saw Boro twice hit the post before Ashley Fletcher gave them a 32nd-minute lead as his shot deflected off Jordan Storey and past Declan Rudd.

But Paul Gallagher levelled from the free-kick that came from Ayala's red card before substitute Jayden Stockley headed North End to victory with nine minutes left.

Ayala's red card turned the game on its head - with the Boro bench furious at the decision to send him off for what appeared to be a firm but fair challenge.

"I think it's a poor decision," Pulis told BBC Radio Tees after the match.

"He's miles away from it and he's got people between him an the ball. How he makes that decision, a game-changing decision, from where he is, is just astonishing for me.

"In my opinion he's made a shocking decision tonight."

Jayden Stockley celebrates
Jayden Stockley's winner was his second goal for Preston since his January move from League Two side Exeter City

Boro should have been further ahead before half-time as Ayala headed against the post from a sixth-minute corner, before John Mikel Obi struck the upright five minutes later.

Rudd made two smart saves in the final three minutes of the half as Jonny Howson and Fletcher went close to doubling the hosts' lead.

Preston only threatened after their opponents were reduced to 10 men, as Ben Pearson and Barker also had chances to score.

Boro stay fifth in the Championship but now have just a three-point buffer between them and Bristol City in seventh place, while Alex Neil's side move up to ninth, four points behind their hosts.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"The game will be spoken about for the sending-off, because it does change the game, it puts it in our favour.

"The issue you've always got with the sending-off is what is the rule nowadays?

"If the rule is if you win the ball it's not a sending-off, then the lad certainly won the ball. If the rule is dependent on how quickly you go into the ball, how high your foot is and a whole host of other things, then you could understand why it might be a sending-off.

"If I was Middlesbrough I'd be really disappointed, but naturally for us I'm pleased."

Line-ups

Middlesbrough

  • 23Randolph
  • 5Shotton
  • 24Flint
  • 4AyalaBooked at 61mins
  • 16Howson
  • 2MikelSubstituted forTavernierat 85'minutes
  • 37BesicSubstituted forHugillat 77'minutes
  • 3Friend
  • 26Wing
  • 18FletcherSubstituted forFryat 64'minutes
  • 9Assombalonga

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 8Clayton
  • 11Hugill
  • 19Downing
  • 20Fry
  • 22Saville
  • 28Tavernier

Preston

  • 1Rudd
  • 14Storey
  • 6Davies
  • 16HughesBooked at 90mins
  • 8BrowneSubstituted forRaffertyat 22'minutes
  • 11Johnson
  • 4PearsonBooked at 55mins
  • 12GallagherSubstituted forStockleyat 75'minutes
  • 3EarlSubstituted forBarkerat 45'minutes
  • 45Nmecha
  • 24Maguire

Substitutes

  • 13Crowe
  • 15Rafferty
  • 17Ginnelly
  • 18Ledson
  • 20Stockley
  • 21Barker
  • 23Huntington
Referee:
Keith Stroud
Attendance:
21,088

Match Stats

Home TeamMiddlesbroughAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home22
Away17
Shots on Target
Home4
Away6
Corners
Home10
Away7
Fouls
Home9
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Preston North End 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Preston North End 2.

Attempt saved. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Brandon Barker.

Attempt blocked. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by George Friend with a cross.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Sean Maguire.

Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).

Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Andrew Hughes (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Andrew Hughes (Preston North End).

Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Brandon Barker (Preston North End) header from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Lukas Nmecha with a cross.

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sean Maguire.

Attempt missed. Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonny Howson.

Attempt missed. Lukas Nmecha (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Sean Maguire.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Marcus Tavernier replaces John Obi Mikel.

Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Middlesbrough).

Ben Davies (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough).

Goal!

Goal! Middlesbrough 1, Preston North End 2. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Andrew Hughes (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Brandon Barker.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by George Friend.

Attempt blocked. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sean Maguire.

Attempt blocked. Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Britt Assombalonga.

Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).

Jordan Hugill (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jayden Stockley (Preston North End).

Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill replaces Muhamed Besic.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Jayden Stockley replaces Paul Gallagher.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Ryan Shotton.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lukas Nmecha.

Attempt blocked. Joseph Rafferty (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Paul Gallagher.

Attempt missed. Lewis Wing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Muhamed Besic.

Attempt saved. Ben Pearson (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Joseph Rafferty.

Attempt missed. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Ryan Shotton.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich37229675472875
2Leeds37227863382573
3Sheff Utd37218863342971
4West Brom371810971482364
5Middlesbrough361513840281258
6Derby371511114644256
7Bristol City361510114538755
8Aston Villa371315965541154
9Preston371412115750754
10Nottm Forest371314105143853
11Sheff Wed371313114449-552
12Birmingham371214115348550
13Hull37148155254-250
14Brentford3613101360491149
15Swansea36138154546-147
16Blackburn371211145056-647
17Stoke371016113742-546
18QPR37127184357-1443
19Millwall37910184155-1437
20Reading37812174056-1636
21Wigan3799193655-1936
22Rotherham37715153959-2036
23Bolton3778222458-3429
24Ipswich37314202961-3223
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