Middlesbrough..1 Blackburn..1 Assombalonga’s wonder a point for 10-man Boro
but Charlie Mulgrew stepped up with his left foot. The Scot took advantage of a badly lined-up Boro wall, and goalkeeper Darren Randolph’s confidence dip, and curled in a beauty.
The Teessiders were growing impatient but fought back from the restart with Assombalonga introduced to help Jordan Hugill.
And they combined to level the scores in the 62nd minute. Hugill laid off to the £15m striker who curled home a brilliant, top-corner shot from 20 yards.
Boro are set-up solidly with the tightest back line in the Championship but their problem is scoring goals. And when they are at the Riverside they lack the attacking pace to break teams down having sold Adama Traore in the summer.
Pulis is hoping to cling on to the automatic promotion race into January before he gets a chance to revamp his squad.
He was annoyed at two other chances missed by Assombalonga as they pushed for a second-half winner.
He said: “Britt scored a good goal, but had BRITT ASSOMBALONGA’S equaliser was Middlesbrough’s first goal from outside the box this season. Until yesterday all previous 22 goals were from inside the box – the only such record in the league. two other chances. For one, the assistant ref put her flag up. He was a yard onside. He missed it but he was a yard on.
“The last chance, without being too critical, he has to score those chances. We need a bit more quality up front.”
Rovers could have had three in the first half, the best of their chances seeing Danny Graham forcing a good save from Randolph.
Dack hit the post after 51 minutes before Hugill went clear on goal on the hour but was stopped by a goal-saving tackle by Mulgrew.
Five minutes from time Assombalonga should have scored when clear on goal but Paul Downing hooked clear.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray said: “There is frustration in the dressing room. We should not have dropped points.
“We needed a second goal. Boro are so solid, even with 10 men.
“We hit a post, go into into good areas. Boro’s goal was brilliant.
We didn’t show resilience that we have done on the road.”
Pulis admitted the home form is a concern. Boro now sit seven points off Norwich, the leaders, and six off Leeds in second.
Their promotion dream could hinge on finding a ruthless striker – and loosening up the tactics to let his team have a go.
But he praised their attitude and added: “We had 10 men but it was their players who were going down with cramp.
“I can’t fault my lads. They ran their socks off and had a go.”