JONATHAN WOODGATE tried to avoid going overboard in his criticism of referee Oliver Langford, after Middlesbrough were held to a 2-2 draw against ten-man Wigan Athletic on a controversial night at the DW Stadium.

His Wigan counterpart Paul Cook showed less restraint after a night when he was cautioned after watching his defender Chey Dunkley dismissed in the second half during a game when there were ten yellow cards issued to players.

Woodgate was frustrated earlier when Ashley Fletcher powered in a Jonny Howson cross in the 16th minute only for the officials to rule out the goal for offside.

That was merely the start of the drama on a cold and windy night in Lancashire, in which Boro recovered from falling behind to a Samy Morsy goal in the 29th minute by scoring twice through Lewis Wing in the 64th and 68th minutes.

But Wigan, who had lost Dunkley for his second caution in the build up to Wing’s first range strike from a free-kick, levelled when Middlesbrough’s January recruit Harold Moukoudi headed inside his own net with 14 minutes to go.

“He was a yard onside,” said Woodgate, referring to Fletcher’s opener. “We should have been 1-0 up, but I want to remain professional and not say things I will probably regret.”

Before that he was asked about the night overall, Woodgate said: “I don’t want to talk about the officials.

“It was a typical Championship game, end to end, Wigan took the lead and we started to dominate the game. We went 2-1 up and then there was a freak own goal to make it 2-2.

“I can’t knock the players, at times we moved the ball quite slick, we need to have that slickness but be difficult to beat especially when they have ten men. I don’t want to talk about the officials. I don’t want to get fined.”

Woodgate had followed Cook into the press suite at the DW Stadium and he was asked to comment on the events.

“11 bookings in a game where there hasn’t been a bad challenge,” said Cook. “We feel the decisions were going against us at 1-0 up but the lads showed great conviction to take a point.

“I am not going to get involved, there were so many decisions … all we ask for is consistency. We had 11 bookings and a sending off in a game that was competitive but was never nasty.”

The point ensured Boro remain seven points above the relegation zone going into Saturday’s home date with bottom club Luton Town. Woodgate’s men head to second from bottom Barnsley a week later.

His side have now gone eight games without a win since New Year’s Day, six in the league, but he is not worried.

Woodgate said: “I have been through rougher spells than this. We are not playing badly. We weren’t playing great at times earlier in the season, we need to be more ruthless with the good play.

“I said before the game we want to win, it was important we didn’t get beat so the gap stays the same. We want to win. I have been in tougher situations than this so there is no extra pressure.”

He added: “It was disappointing to concede first, Aynsley Pears needed to do better in that situation. He could do better with that. Dael Fry could have cleared it better too. They are young and learning, I will stick by them. I stick by all my players.

“We played some good football after that, the second half we scored the deflected free-kick. Lewis Wing when he hits those balls … he is playing really well, he does that in training.”

Boro, amid an encouraging debut from Ravel Morrison, will now have Ryan Shotton and George Friend available for selection after they came through a behind-closed-doors friendly with Celtic at Rockliffe Park earlier in the day.

Woodgate said: “Shotton played 60, George played 90. I watched the first 50 of it. I am pleased they are back in the group. They will be available. And both in contention.”