Match ends, Middlesbrough 2, Watford 2.
Middlesbrough 2-2 Watford
A late header from on-loan Daniel Ayala salvaged a 2-2 draw for Middlesbrough from a scrappy clash with Watford at the Riverside.
Boro went ahead with a well worked Albert Adomah goal in the first half but Watford levelled through Troy Deeney before the break.
The visitors took the lead in the second half through Fernando Forestieri.
But Ayala squared things up in the third minute of added time.
Watford went close in the 11th minute as a slotted pass from Lewis McGugan sent Marco Faraoni racing free into the box but Jason Steele did well to palm away his angled 12-yard drive.
Boro had a chance on 19 minutes as Kei Kamara's downward header from an Adomah cross was blocked.
But Boro took the lead with a well worked opener five minutes later.
Marvin Emnes beat two men then teed up Kamara, who slotted diagonally into the box to pick out the run of Rhys Williams - who backheeled for Adomah to rifle inside the near post.
Watford levelled out of the blue on 32 minutes as Marco Cassetti played a quick chip over a static Boro defensive for Deeney to nip through unchallenged and slam home.
Nine minutes before the break Boro won a free-kick just outside the box but Grant Leadbitter's stinging shot was fisted away by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.
Watford almost broke through in the 40th minute as McGugan sent Daniel Pudil into the box - but he screwed his shot wide.
On the stroke of half-time Boro went close as Emnes crossed for Kamara and his scissor-kick sent keeper Almunia scrambling across to save at far post.
Watford's first foray forward of the second half came in the 57th minute as Murray broke down the right and with no support arriving and Ben Gibson closing in fast he opted to shoot and his low effort drifted well wide of the far post.
Boro had a strong shout for a penalty just past the hour as Gibson put in a glancing header that appeared to hit defender Gabrielle Angella on his outstretched arm but referee Paul Tierney waved play on.
Up the other end Watford threatened as Deeney held off Seb Hines outside the box but he poked his shot wide.
Watford grabbed the lead after a defensive blunder on 73 minutes.
Deeney played a ball forward for Forestieri and defender Ayala missed a chance to clear, leaving the striker free to get into the box and slam a low shot that Steele got a hand too but could not keep out.
Watford threatened with 10 minutes remaining as Murray cut inside as the Boro defenders dithered and stood off him - but he shot just over.
Boro were almost back in it on 86 minutes when Ayala flicked on a Jacob Butterfield ball - but Kamara headed straight at the keeper from close range.
However, the home side salvaged a point deep into stoppage time as Ayala headed in from Leadbitter's corner.
Middlesbrough caretaker boss Mark Venus:
"The lads showed real character and spirit to keep going and get that equalising goal right at the end.
"We started off well and went a goal up and we deserved that, it was a great goal. But the second half was a bit scrappy and it was going nowhere, then there was a costly defensive mistake that let them back into it.
"I was delighted for Daniel. He made the mistake but he made up for it when he got that goal. That shows strength of character and determination."
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola:
"I felt we did not make the most of a couple of very good opportunities to finish it off.
"We made the wrong decisions when we had those chances. We shot when we should have passed and passed when we should have shot.
"But even though we did not take those chances I was surprised not to win the game because I couldn't see Middlesbrough scoring another goal at that stage.
"I was disappointed that we let them back into the game, especially so late and especially from a set-piece."
- 22GibsonBooked at 6mins
- 7LeadbitterBooked at 29mins
- 15HinesSubstituted forFriendat 88'minutes
- 10EmnesSubstituted forButterfieldat 78'minutes
- 19CarayolSubstituted forHallidayat 78'minutes
- 19FaraoniBooked at 37mins
- 12DoyleySubstituted forBelkalemat 45'minutes
- 16MurrayBooked at 14mins
- 23Santos Da SilvaSubstituted forMcEachranat 68'minutes
- 9DeeneyBooked at 87mins
- 10McGuganBooked at 62minsSubstituted forBattocchioat 77'minutes
- 15Acuña Caballero
- Paul Tierney
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 2, Watford 2.
Goal! Middlesbrough 2, Watford 2. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Joshua McEachran.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. George Friend replaces Sebastian Hines.
Troy Deeney (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).
Attempt saved. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Richard Smallwood.
Attempt saved. Kei Kamara (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Daniel Ayala.
Attempt saved. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) header from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Butterfield.
Foul by Sean Murray (Watford).
Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough).
Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jacob Butterfield (Middlesbrough).
Attempt missed. Sean Murray (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Cristian Battocchio.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Brad Halliday replaces Mustapha Carayol.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jacob Butterfield replaces Marvin Emnes.
Substitution, Watford. Cristian Battocchio replaces Lewis McGugan.
Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kei Kamara (Middlesbrough).
Goal! Middlesbrough 1, Watford 2. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).
Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Watford. Joshua McEachran tries a through ball, but Fernando Forestieri is caught offside.
Substitution, Watford. Joshua McEachran replaces Iriney.
Lewis McGugan (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Richard Smallwood (Middlesbrough).
Attempt missed. Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mustapha Carayol.
Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ben Gibson with a cross.
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Lewis McGugan.
Lewis McGugan (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).
Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Sean Murray (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough).