Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock says defender Dael Fry almost lost his eye after an unpunished first-half challenge in their 1-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers.
The controversial moment saw Boro denied a 14th-minute penalty and a possible Rovers red card after Jarrad Branthwaite sliced Fry's face with a very high foot that forced the defender off with the nasty injury.
"The doctor says he's a millimetre from losing his eyeball," Warnock told BBC Radio Tees after the match.
"When I saw Dael's injury, I saw the challenge like everybody's seen, it's a red card, it's endangered the player's safety. He should have been sent off, it should have been a red card," he added.
"That turned the whole game for me that, I was gutted for Dael when I saw the mess that he was in."
Fry's replacement Nathan Wood hit the post from close range on the hour mark after Thomas Kaminski had palmed away Jonny Howson's header from a corner.
But the deadlock was finally broken when Joe Rothwell side-footed home unmarked from 12 yards after an excellent passing move between Harvey Elliott and Adam Armstrong.
The win sees Rovers move up to ninth place, three points and two places below Boro, who themselves remain three points and one place outside the play-off places.
Armstrong had Blackburn's best first-half effort when he blasted a fifth-minute shot across the face of goal after good build-up work by Rothwell and Barry Douglas.
But the hosts had the better of the first period, with Britt Assombalonga forcing Kaminski to palm a free-kick over the bar, while in stoppage time Rothwell did well to block a Djed Spence effort after some good build-up play.
Boro were the better side immediately after the break as well - Marcus Tavernier and Sam Morsy both went close before Wood hit the post.
Once Rothwell scored with his side's first shot on target, Rovers came into the game as Douglas blasted over from close range, while Marcus Bettinelli saved well after the Championship's top scorer Armstrong had been put through by Ben Brereton.
Armstrong curled an effort over the bar from 15 yards with seven minutes of the game remaining, while substitute Ashley Fletcher headed wide for Boro in stoppage time as Blackburn won back-to-back away games for the first time since April 2019.
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray on the 14th-minute incident:
"I know the boy after working with him for 10 days. He's just a shy boy on a journey who probably can't believe he's left Carlisle to go to Everton.
"He's played four times in the Premier League and now he's at Blackburn trying to learn his trade. He's got no edges to him. He's not angry.
"Neil will be really hurting I am pretty sure and that's reflecting in his emotion and passion for his football club. That's how I see it."
- 6FrySubstituted forWoodat 18'minutes
- 27BolaBooked at 88mins
- 5MorsyBooked at 57minsSubstituted forJohnsonat 72'minutes
- 7TavernierBooked at 81minsSubstituted forRobertsat 81'minutes
- 18WatmoreSubstituted forFletcherat 72'minutes
- 18DavenportBooked at 26minsSubstituted forTrybullat 86'minutes
- 4JohnsonSubstituted forBuckleyat 10'minutesSubstituted forDackat 65'minutes
- 16ElliottSubstituted forBreretonat 65'minutes
- 8RothwellSubstituted forGallagherat 65'minutes
- Dean Whitestone
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Blackburn Rovers 1.
Attempt missed. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonny Howson with a cross.
Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sam Gallagher (Blackburn Rovers).
Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers).
Attempt blocked. Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Brereton.
Marc Bola (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Marc Bola (Middlesbrough).
Bradley Dack (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Marc Bola (Middlesbrough).
Sam Gallagher (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Patrick Roberts (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lewis Travis (Blackburn Rovers).
Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Tom Trybull replaces Jacob Davenport because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Sam Gallagher following a fast break.
Attempt missed. Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers) header from the left side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Bradley Dack with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Nathan Wood.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Patrick Roberts replaces Marcus Tavernier because of an injury.