MX23RW : Wednesday, February 20 22:35:10

Tony Pulis wants Boro to be more ruthless after Hull draw

Late penalty keeps the visitors off top spot.

Tony Pulis says his Middlesbrough team need to be more ruthless in front of goal after squandering the chance to go top of the Championship.

Boro let a lead slip in the 1-1 draw away at struggling Hull.

Britt Assombalonga opened the scoring for the visitors but Jarrod Bowen’s penalty ensured spoils were shared.

The result means Boro drop to third when a victory would have seen them go top. After the game, Boro chief Pulis outlined the need for his team to take their chances when they get them.

“We need to get more goals,” said the Welshman.

“We have to take the chances in the final third and be more clinical.

“You’ve got to be 100 per cent every game, but today I didn’t think we controlled the ball enough. We had some great chances.

“But after we got that first goal, we had chances to get more and take the game but we didn’t.

“We just need to be more clinical and I think we are getting there slowly.”

Pulis was especially unhappy about the award of the penalty to Hull, midway through the second half.

Daniel Ayala was adjudged to have fouled home striker Chris Martin in the box, but Pulis questioned the decision by referee Darren England.

“Their lad is very clever for the penalty,” Pulis added. “He actually steps in Danny’s line for the ball.

“You can see why the ref has given it but there’s one later on for us when Martin Braithwaite goes down and is pushed and that was more of a penalty than theirs was.”

Despite their lowly position, Hull started much the brighter.

Bowen should have put the hosts in front after just four minutes but somehow put his header wide after being picked out expertly by returning winger Kamil Grosicki, who was making his first Hull start in five months.

Unlike the first half, Boro came out for the restart zipping with energy and full-back George Friend signalled their intent by planting a shot just over the Hull bar.

Boro, backed by a strong travelling support from Teesside, then went in front on 51 minutes thanks to a tidy finish from Assombalonga.

Hull responded with the impressive Bowen curling a rasping effort over the bar.

Their persistence eventually paid off and with a quarter of the game left, Boro handed the hosts a lifeline from the penalty spot.

Hull boss Nigel Adkins said: “We competed very well today because we knew this would be a really challenging fixture.

“We didn’t realise at the time, but Boro’s goal is offside.

“We didn’t get that little bit of fortune, but we responded in the right manner and kept going.

“That was important and we kept playing good football.

“Their defender has made a challenge and the referee had a decision to make (penalty).

“Jarred Bowen has finished it well and it was a point that I think we thoroughly deserved.”

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