Middlesbrough 2 West Brom 2
West Brom manager Bryan Robson would surely have taken some satisfaction on his return to Middlesbrough.
While his team have yet to win on the road in the league, they are becoming increasingly difficult to beat.
In fact Albion finished the stronger at the Riverside Stadium, a ground Robson knows only too well.
It was here he raised Middlesbrough’s profile with some big-name signings.
He is now trying to establish Albion in the top flight for the second successive season and this was a good point following victory against Everton.
Middlesbrough were disappointing after a bright start and were jeered off at the end.
Manager Steve McClaren made six changes after the 0-0 draw against AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Cup but his team lacked invention.
They did, though, get off to a flying start with Mark Viduka opening the scoring in the 12th minute.
The Australia striker found the corner of the net after his initial effort caught the heel of Albion’s Neil Clement.
Albion drew level six minutes later when Franck Queudrue was punished for a moment of carelessness.
He was guilty of ball watching and Nathan Ellington took full advantage to rifle a shot home.
It was another sweet moment for the former Wigan striker after his brace against Everton.
Middlesbrough almost regained the lead in the 24th minute but Tomasz Kuszczak made a marvellous fingertip save from Emanuel Pogatetz.
Kuszczak again showed good reflexes in the 31st minute to turn away a 20-yard shot from Fabio Rochemback.
The home crowd were beginning to get a little bit frustrated, though, at their team’s ability to string passes together.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu found himself clear in the middle of the park after 36 minutes but carelessly gave the ball away.
George Boateng then tried to drive his way through, only to find his path to goal blocked by Albion full-back Steve Watson.
Middlesbrough midfielder George Boateng was again out of luck in the 39th minute, directing his effort from a good position over the bar.
Albion were looking to hit their opponents on the break and Junichi Inamoto tried a shot from distance but it went well wide of the target.
There was a change to both sides at the start of the second half.
Szilard Nemeth replaced Queudrue while Albion’s Martin Albrechtsen came on for Steve Watson.
Albrechtsen was penalised for a challenge on Rochemback in the 55th minute. Rochemback dusted himself down, took the free-kick himself only to see his effort spin off the wall and go for a corner.
Albion went ahead in the 57th minute with Kanu showing the kind of skill that made him such a popular figure at Arsenal.
The lanky Nigerian latched onto a good ball from Paul Robinson, went one way then the other before beating Mark Schwarzer with a precise finish.
No wonder Albion fans savoured the moment. They have not seen their team win on the road in the league this season. Not only that they last won at Middlesbrough 53 years ago.
But their joy only lasted 10 minutes with Yakubu pulling Middlesbrough level from the penalty spot.
He coolly sent Kuszczak the wrong way to make it 2-2 after Robinson’s clumsy challenge on Nemeth.
Nemeth should have put Middlesbrough ahead in the 68th minute but sent his close-range header over the top after Kuszczak’s superb parry.
Middlesbrough boss McClaren rang the changes in the 78th minute bringing on Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Doriva for Viduka and James Morrison.
If anything it was Albion who finished the stronger with Ronnie Wallwork and Jonathan Greening both going close in the last five minutes.
However this was another sign that they could be about to climb the table after a difficult start to the campaign.