NEIL WARNOCK conceded that any faint hopes of promotion have been extinguished after Middlesbrough fell to a second loss in a row following defeat at Bournemouth.

For all their problems in attack, it was poor defending which ultimately cost Boro after they briefly got themselves level in the second half.

“I’m disappointed obviously. I thought when we equalised there was only one team going to win it,” said Warnock. “We conceded out of nothing really. We missed Dael Fry. You put Anfernee Dijksteel, Fry and Marcus Taveriner into that team, a couple of new signings, I think it’s quite exciting really.”

Warnock confirmed that both Fry and Tavernier will be missing for two or three weeks through injury and he made five changes to the team that lost at Millwall before the international break.

Having told Britt Assombalonga that he has no future at the Riverside, Duncan Watmore played as a central striker with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Yannick Bolasie supporting from out wide.

This match had been billed ‘the Jonathan Woodgate derby’ after the former Boro manager took on the side who had sacked him in June as he looked to guide Bournemouth back into the playoffs.

“There’s no revenge. It is what it is – it’s another game for me. I celebrate against anyone. I wanted to win the game,” said Woodgate who lavished praise on missing defender Fry. “I’m a massive fan of Dael Fry. You’re probably looking at £35m after the season he’s had.

The home side threatened first when Jefferson Lerma fired wide from the edge of the area after good work from the dangerous Arnaut Danjuma.

They led early on after capitalising on sloppy Boro defending. Darnell Fisher was unable to convincingly head the ball clear and Danjuma looped the ball over his head to Billing who smashed into the net with Marcus Bettinelli remaining rooted to his line.

Gradually, Boro worked their way back into the game. Neeskens Kebano was the brightest spark, playing in a withdrawn role behind Watmore.

Midway through the half, he dribbled to the edge of the area before pulling his shot wide. Then, on the stroke of half-time, he weaved inside off the right and crossed to the far post for Marc Bola who headed against the top of the crossbar.

Having ended the half strongly, Boro carried that momentum into the restart. Yannick Bolasie twice cut in from the left to shoot. The first curled narrowly over and the second went out for a throw-in.

They were rewarded for their persistence with an equaliser just past the hour mark. Boro worked their way down the left before Bolasie slid the ball across to Watmore who controlled superbly and hit a clever cross-shot beyond Asmir Begovic to score his seventh of the season.

Having worked so hard to get back into the game, Boro were level for fewer than four minutes as the home side struck on the counter. Sam Morsy got in a tangle trying to clear Billing’s cross before Lerma’s shot from the edge of the area deflected off him and past Bettinelli into the corner.

“I don’t think Sam minds me saying it’s a Sunday League goal really,” said Warnock. “He’s apologised but that’s life really.”

The home side wrapped up the points eight minutes from time as they found space on the break once more. Bettinelli saved well from Solanke’s powerful first shot but Bournemouth’s top scorer was first to rebound and poked the ball home.