Middlesbrough came from behind to beat 10-man Rotherham United 2-1 in the Championship night, with the red card decision stirring debate.

Rotherham United boss Paul Warne would’ve watched on optimistically as Derby County fell to a 3-0 defeat at Preston North End last night. It left the Millers with a four-point gap to close on 21st-placed Derby and with three games in hand ahead of kick-off this evening.

Neil Warnock made several changes to his starting line up and substitute’s bench, which only included five outfield players. It was Paul Warne’s side who started strongest though, and they took an abrupt lead after just three minutes when Angus MacDonald headed home Joe Mattock’s cross.

Boro would hit back instantly – Duncan Watmore first had a goal ruled out after a penalty box scramble saw him kick the ball from Viktor Johansson’s grasp, with Chuba Akpom having an effort from the same position cleared off the line soon after.

READ: ‘Never a red’ – Middlesbrough fans back Rotherham United’s Crooks

The game changes on its head when Rotherham’s Matt Crooks was shown a straight red card on 18 minutes. Referee Darren Bond judged Crooks to have collided with Boro defender Grant Hall with his arm, forcing Hall off the pitch with a nasty cut on his head.

It was controversial, and made even more so when George Saville fired home Neeskens Kebano low cross 15 minutes later. Boro would hit the crossbar twice in quick succession through Jonny Howson and Yannick Bolasie, but would eventually go into half-time level.

Warne made some changes to his side, bringing on Matthew Olosunde and Jamie Lindsay, but Boro would have the lead ten minutes after the restart. It was Akpom who was on hand to score a goal similar to Saville’s – his first in 17 Championship appearances.

Despite falling behind, Rotherham continued to hold their own and continued to push Boro. Their best chances of the second half fell to Freddie Ladapo, who first stretched out a leg to meet a free kick but couldn’t steer his effort goalwards, before seeing an acrobatic attempt go over the bar.

All in all it was a hard-fought win for Warnock’s side and Warne can feel disheartened at the result, with the red card definitely having a lasting effect on the game. Rotherham remain in 22nd and with a four point gap to safety, whilst Boro move up a place into 10th.