REPORT: MIDDLESBROUGH 0 ALBION 0
- Albion hold Middlesbrough to 0-0 draw
- Christian Walton makes late save to deny Kike
- 16-year-old James Tilley makes Albion debut off bench
- Chris Hughton’s side finish 20th in Championship
With neither side in need of points, as the Seagulls secured their safety last weekend and Boro already destined for the play-offs, the game was played out with plenty of endeavour but with no real threat posed by either side.
Aitor Karanka’s side were welcomed onto the pitch to a cacophony of noise from the home crowd and the Riverside spent the first two minutes paying tribute to chairman Steve Gibson for all his work.
Albion almost spoiled the party atmosphere on five minutes though as Gordon Greer sent Dale Stephens’s deep corner back across the face of goal, but Lewis Dunk couldn’t find a touch to direct the ball goalwards.
Christian Walton, starting his first game in goal for the Albion since November, was equal to Albert Adomah’s low drive on 16 minutes and the midfielder came close again, after some neat football from the hosts, but his shot was deflected wide.
After a tepid first half, Kazenga LuaLua tried to spark the contest into life after the break, fizzing a powerful drive just over while Walton was on hand to deny Adam Forshaw up the other end.
Boro continued to be the more purposeful of the two sides, however both keepers were rarely tested, with Chris O’Grady spurning Albion’s best chance on 70 minutes as he fired over from Greg Halford’s cross.
The best opportunity of the game came on 79 minutes as Kike’s excellent turn saw him one-on-one with Walton but the young keeper made an excellent stop to keep the scores level.
Inigo Calderon saw a deflected shot saved in injury-time while 16-year-old James Tilley was brought on for the final seconds to make his Albion debut, but Chris Hughton will now turn his attentions to the summer and rebuilding for the 2015/16 season.