MIDDLESBROUGH kept their end of the bargain as they signed off for the season with a comfortable win at Rotherham United, but Derby County’s win over West Brom meant they missed out on a place in the Championship play-offs by a point.

For almost half-an-hour, the mathematics were working out in the Teessiders’ favour, but while Boro’s win against an already-relegated Rotherham side was never really in doubt, Derby’s second-half rally scuppered their promotion hopes.

Tony Pulis' side finish in seventh position, and it now remains to be seen whether their manager will remain in place for another season.

Boro knew they had to win to have a realistic chance of scrambling into the top six, and they effectively settled their side of the equation before the interval.

Failing to convert sufficient opportunities has been the story of Boro’s season, and Britt Assombalonga wasted two excellent first-half chances by dragging poor shots across the face of goal, with Ashley Fletcher also passing up an inviting opening in an identical fashion.

Ryan Shotton got in on the act when he directed an unmarked header over the crossbar from Lewis Wing’s free-kick, but just as it looked like it was going to be one of those days for the Teessiders, they were presented with an opportunity to make a breakthrough from the spot.

Clark Robertson tugged down Assombalonga as he spun on to Fletcher’s cushioned pass, and Boro’s leading scorer picked himself up to stroke his spot-kick into the bottom corner.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, with Rotherham striker Michael Smith skewing a shot horribly wide after Matt Crooks pulled the ball back from the byline, but Boro gave themselves some breathing space eight minutes before the break.

Paddy McNair’s downward header from a corner was blocked, but John Obi Mikel swooped on the loose ball and lashed home his first goal since signing as a free agent in January.

The biggest cheer of the second half came from the 2,608-strong travelling support when news filtered through of West Brom’s equaliser at the IPro Stadium, but the mood changed markedly when Derby scored two goals in the space of three second-half minutes.

By then, the game was up, and Rotherham’s 86th-minute consolation, which came courtesy of Michael Smith’s penalty after Mikel had fouled Kyle Vassell mattered little to either team.