AFTER the highs of midweek win over Birmingham City ,the stark reality of Middlesbrough’s suffering season to date came swinging back round to slap them flush in the face in the capital as they rolled over to defeat at Millwall.

With Boro chiefs watching on in South London, managerless Boro would be fearing of what’s to come if the right man can’t be found to steer the club in the right direction. Preferably up the Championship table as they slipped to fourth bottom.

Riding on the coattails of Wednesday night, Boro came crashing back down to earth as Millwall found the stroke of luck from a direct free-kick to give them the lead. Zian Flemming stepped up from around 25 yards and his low effort didn’t look troubling until it struck the edge of the Boro wall. The wrong footed Zack Steffen tried to keep the ball out with a stretching dive but could not reach to the delight of the Den as Flemming almost apologetically celebrated.

Boro found themselves in a familiar position of falling behind on the road for the fifth but in times where they’ve fallen flat, a rallying effort to feel their way into the game put pressure on Millwall. Matt Crooks latched onto a knockdown from Dael Fry at the back post but had to snatch at the half volley under pressure from a covering defender as the ball sailed over the bar. Riley McGree then found himself in a good position but could only bend his effort from the edge of the box over the bar.

In the closing stages of the first half, Rodrigo Muniz was on the end of a cross that would normally serve as meat and drink for the Brazilian but he sent his free header at the back post over the bar. Percovich’s side missing a killer touch which has been a running theme of the season so far.

Boro’s efforts were almost undone on the stroke of half-time when Zack Steffen got himself and the team out of jail. After initially parrying Andreas Voglsammer’s shot straight to unmarked Tom Bradshaw, the American made himself big and blocked the striker’s goalbound effort to the dismay of the home crowd.

In the early stages of the second half, Steffen could do nothing to prevent Millwall’s second with Boro falling to a simple free-kick into the box. Jake Copper nodded a floated delivery to Flemming who had the freedom of the 18 yard box to slam the ball home. Another goal five minutes into a half but Boro could not feel unfortunate about this one.

Leo Percovich rang through the changes in an attempt to claw the side back into the game but as we’ve seen before, Boro began to run out of ideas.

‘Development signings’ Matthew Hoppe and Marcus Forss could do nothing to change the outcome. The American having a snapshot on the edge of the box well saved by George Long before the keeper palmed away his header at the near post from a corner. After a brief sign of a revival in the first half, Boro were short of confidence. An effective Millwall side played out the rest of the half with the result seemingly rubber stamped. They had little to do against Boro who looked pedestrian and predictable in attack.

After the highs of the Riverside win on Wednesday, Boro reverted back to type and it was a stark reminder of where there season is currently at. If the Boro hierarchy were watching today’s display, they might wonder how long they can go before an appointment is made. Nevertheless, the clock is ticking on Boro’s fledgling campaign.