WAYNE ROONEY triggered an ugly touchline confrontation between rival managers Steve McClaren and David Moyes on an afternoon of high controversy at the Riverside.

Everton striker Rooney tumbled in the box in the last minute and stayed down as if injured, but then refused treatment and initially failed to leave the field.

In the meantime, Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer had thrown the ball out so that the 17-year-old England star could receive attention.

But when Everton right-back Tony Hibbert took the throw-in, Thomas Gravesen's attempt to sportingly return the ball to Schwarzer came unstuck when it was blocked by Boro's Bolo Zenden and the visitors ultimately retained possession.

That provoked a furious reaction from Boro manager McClaren, who confronted the Everton bench then pointed an accusing finger at Moyes before pushing his counterpart as they stood toe-to-toe and exchanged angry words.

Police and stewards had to step in to restore order and, even though McClaren and Moyes shook hands on the final whistle, the FA are sure to study the incident and could consider disciplinary action.

The big talking point until then had been the failure of referee Alan Wiley and his assistant Nigel Bannister to award a clear goal to Boro in the 39th minute.

Frenchman Franck Queudrue, in his first appearance this season following a five-match ban, met Zenden's outswinging left-wing corner with a firm header which hit the underside of the bar and bounced a good six inches over the line.

TV replays confirmed it was a goal, but the officials amazingly waved play on.

The flashpoints overshadowed Boro's first win of the season, which was sealed by a sixth-minute goal from Joseph-Desire Job.

The Cameroon star began and finished the move, weaving from deep inside his own half to find the overlapping Danny Mills.

On-loan Mills then fed George Boateng, who bided his time before rejecting the option of a return ball to the marauding right-back in favour of a superb reverse pass to Malcolm Christie.

The former Derby striker was onside and in the clear to deliver a cross which took a deflection as it ran to Job, who beat Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo to poke the ball into the far corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

McClaren had caused a stir before the game by axing Riverside crowd favourite Juninho who, perhaps significantly, was kept on the bench all afternoon.

Even with Gaizka Mendieta unavailable because of a calf injury sustained in training, McClaren could find no room for the Brazilian.

The Boro boss had branded the performance and attitude of his players in the 2-0 defeat at Bolton as "unacceptable'', and Juninho was the most notable casualty of a shake-up which brought about four changes to the side that started at the Reebok Stadium.

Juninho had to endure the humiliation of being relegated to the bench, where he was joined by axed striker Szilard Nemeth, while fellow countryman Doriva was preferred in midfield.

Queudrue's return meant teenage defender Andrew Davies was left out after a torrid time in recent weeks.

Christie, having recovered from illness, returned up front alongside Job, who had come on as a substitute for Juninho before an hour was played at Bolton.

And the combination produced an instant dividend by providing the cutting edge to an exhilarating move as Boro made an early breakthrough.

Everton, who had begun promisingly, were rattled and former Newcastle star Steve Watson was booked in the 13th minute for a late, crunching lunge at Christie. On-loan Dutchman Zenden, a Boro debutant in the Bolton debacle, made his home bow and helped to work an opening for Mills whose shot on the turn travelled straight at Nigel Martyn at the keeper's near post.

Rooney's frustration soon surfaced when, after losing possession, he chased Doriva before needlessly scything down the South American.

Rooney furiously protested his innocence, but there was no doubting the intent and the referee raised the yellow card again.

In a nasty, niggly passage of play, Mills was next to be cautioned in the 27th minute for a reckless challenge which caught the ankle of former Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane.

But Mr Wiley's motive for booking Jonathan Greening two minutes later appeared to be to do nothing more than even the score on the card count.

True, the Boro midfielder was a tad late with his challenge on Gary Naysmith, but there was no malice involved and Greening could consider himself unfortunate.

But not as unfortunate as Queudrue, whose effort would have doubled Boro's lead.

Prior to the incident, Zenden had given Everton due warning of the danger he poses from the flank when he whipped in a left-wing centre which Job met with a diagonal header that looped over.

As Mr Wiley made his way off at half-time to a crescendo of boos, Boro goalkeeping coach Paul Barron confronted him over an appalling non-decision.

Rooney had the ball in the net within two minutes of the restart, but interval substitute Lee Carsley, whose header had set up the chance, was ruled offside.

Queudrue had to make a desperate clearance from in front of goal as the busy Carsley tried to get on the end of Kilbane's left-wing cross.

Kilbane then became the fifth player booked after he meted out a measure of retribution on Mills.

From the resultant free-kick by Zenden, 37-year-old Martyn - signed from Leeds this month for a nominal fee - made a less than convincing punch to clear from Job.

When Everton came forward again, Rooney petulantly kicked out at advertising hoardings behind the goal after the move had petered out.

Tomasz Radzinski's glancing header on the end of Hibbert's centre flashed narrowly wide of the far upright as Everton pressed for the equaliser, which almost arrived moments later.

Boateng miscontrolled a dangerous ball in front of his own goal, but Carsley skewed it wide and Radzinski could only force it into the sidenetting.

Mr Wiley then struck again when he awarded Everton a corner after the ball had clearly rebounded over the byline off Rooney.

Everton's former Newcastle striker Duncan Ferguson, a 70th-minute replacement for Tobias Linderoth, saw his header nodded off the line by fellow subsitute Nemeth.

And Schwarzer kept Boro's lead intact when he saved low from Rooney.

Result: Middlesbrough 1, Everton 0.

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