Tuesday night’s game against Middlesbrough was a tough watch, to be honest. We absolutely weren’t at our best but after 4 tough games in a week, it was good to take our unbeaten streak to 7 in the league.

Boro’s form of late hasn’t been great with only 2 wins from their last 7 games following their defeat on penalties in the Carabao Cup to Crewe, so North End fans may have been heading into the game with an air of optimism. Following a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, Jonathan Woodgate’s men would have been looking to bounce back as quickly as possible and I think they would have felt a bit unlucky only coming away from last night’s game with just a solitary point. Here are our ratings from the game…

Declan Rudd

Declan did fairly well in a game in which he had far less reliable protection from his defence than usual. He saved smartly from Marcus Browne and Tavernier at 0-0 and 1-1 respectively to keep North End from falling behind. Solid enough.

Rating – 6

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Darnell Fisher

In an unusually inconspicuous game for the right-back, Darnell was often outfoxed by Middlesbrough’s lively front 3. He was unlucky for the own goal which will be a blot on his record, but in reality it was just a case of him struggling to make amends for the poor defending earlier in the move.

The booking he picked up towards the end means he will now miss Saturday’s game with Barnsley, having amassed 5 yellows already this season.

Rating – 5

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Patrick Bauer

A solid showing from the big German at the back, with 5 defensive aerial challenges won, 6 clearances and 3 interceptions to his name, each the highest of any defender on either side. He was, however, part of a shaky defence on Tuesday night that did not deal with Middlesbrough’s attacks nearly as comfortably as they have dealt with other sides’ recently.

Rating – 6

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Ben Davies

Similarly to his partner at the heart of the defence, Davies had a solid but unremarkable game. He struggled to deal with Assombalonga and particularly Marcus Tavernier at times and was uncharacteristically hesitant on a couple of occasions.

Rating – 6

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Joe Rafferty

Rafferty had arguably one of his weakest showings so far in his time place-holding for Andrew Hughes at left-back. He was turned far too easily by Tavernier who played in Paddy McNair to force the equaliser and was generally given a torrid evening by Boro’s front 3.

Rating – 5

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Ben Pearson

Ben Pearson was the standout performer in an average showing from North End and was certainly the influence in the midfield that stopped us being somewhat overrun at times. His 92% pass completion was superb and the best of all who featured (other than Brad Potts; a 100% completion due to a single successful pass in his late cameo).

Pearo also boasted a 100% dribble completion to add to an impressive display in what was a very bitty game, particularly in the middle third. Oh, he also got booked.

Rating – 7

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Daniel Johnson

Especially compared to his performances so far this campaign, which have earned much praise from supporters, DJ struggled at the Riverside. This was summarised by his squandering of a golden opportunity to win the game late on, as he arrived late into the box and met the pullback with his usually trustworthy left instep, only to skew it well off target.

Rating – 5

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Alan Browne

Alan Browne gave a solid showing in the number 10 role, with 33 completed passes and claiming the assist (via his shot hitting the post) for North End’s opening goal. He also did a job when dropping deeper to help out with defensive duties, although finding himself sometimes caught between these two responsibilities contributed to him failing to link effectively with Barkhuizen, who was leading the line in front of him.

Rating – 6

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Josh Harrop

Despite getting on the scoresheet it was an otherwise quiet game for Josh Harrop in an attacking midfield 3 that failed to dictate the game in North End’s usual fashion. He took his goal well, reacting quickest after Browne hit the post, although there was a hint of offside about the goal.

Rating – 6

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Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire had a difficult time starting in off the left side, finding himself dispossessed more often than any other player on the pitch (6 times), as he was far less effective than usual in keeping hold of the ball and drawing fouls.

Rating – 6

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Tom Barkhuizen

Barkhuizen was again chosen primarily to lead the line at the head of the attack but failed to have much of an impact at all. His most notable contribution was to cooly set up Daniel Johnson for his gilt-edged chance late in the game, otherwise, the man tipped for a possible call up to the South African national team had a rather quiet game.

Rating – 5

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Substitutes

David Nugent

David Nugent came on with just 10 minutes of the second half gone, but failed to have any sort of impact whatsoever and found himself entirely ineffective against Boro’s fairly sturdy back 4, particularly finding himself being constantly beaten in the air as North End looked to play long more often than in the first 45.

Again, apologies that there’s no picture of Nuge in a North End shirt yet. It seems the photographers stop taking pictures in the second half of games that he’s played in.

Rating – 5

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Brad Potts & Paul Gallagher

Both were brought on late in the game and though they both were full of running and energy, neither really affected the final few minutes. Harsh to rate either of them to be honest.

What do you think to the ratings? Let us know on social media if you agree or disagree with any of them.