CHRIS WILDER’s reign in charge of Middlesbrough began in disappointment as they were controversially held to a draw at home by Millwall.
Matt Crooks had a new era with just one Sol Bamba own goal to give the Lions a draw.
But referee Oliver Langford’s decision to first ignore the assistant’s flag for a set-up foul and then a ‘blatant high-five’ on Paddy McNair angered Boro’s new manager. .
“Three things went against us,” says Wilder. Queue staff have the best view in the house and see contact.
“But the second one is the main one. McNair didn’t go down – he went down because there was a forearm smack right in the face.
“It was one and two and then they got lucky with ricochet.”
Duncan Watmore should have given Boro the lead after just 12 seconds but fired straight at Bartosz Bialkowski.
Andraz Sporar was played by Crooks but a brilliant tackle by Daniel Ballard disproved him shortly after.
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Boro’s brilliant start paid off in the 15th minute when Watmore let Ballard stop the bleeding and his cross deflected high into the back post giving Crooks a nod home.
The scorer then squandered the chance to double the advantage by heading after Sporar’s shot was blocked.
Then there was the controversy when Millwall’s equalizer was maintained in the 27th minute.
Langford first ignored the assistant’s flag for a foul on Watmore, then Mason Bennett let McNair block as the ball broke into the Afoba box.
Lee Peltier crosses in to block his shot but the ball goes straight off Bamba and goes inside.
For all zips of the first part, the second half is a much worse problem with very little quality or chance.
Marcus Tavernier forced Bialkowski to fly and block with one hand.
But the big moment came at the last minute when Millwall failed to take the corner when sub Uche Ikpeazu crossed the ball to Crooks who was crossing in – only for the midfielder to bounce high and fly wide in front of goal.
Millwall boss Gary Rowett said: “We’re getting into the unknown because it’s Chris’ first game.
“We talked a lot about the first 15 minutes and we navigated those moments pretty well but then conceded a very bad goal.
“We’ve recovered well – maybe in a controversial moment – and that’s a good point overall.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/premier-league/4109952/boro-1-millwall-1-chris-wilder-first-game/ Chris Wilder forced to settle for a point from the first game after Sol Bamba .’s controversial own goal