MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Pulis did not hide his dismay and sense of injustice after Rudy Gestede’s game-changing dismissal at Carrow Road.

Gestede was shown a straight red card for a tackle on former Newcastle United centre-half Grant Hanley in the 28th minute.

The French-born forward had been booked five minutes earlier for an accidental high boot into a stooping Alex Tettey’s face.

Pulis disputed both decisions by referee Michael Jones, which, completely changed the dynamic of a game where Middlesbrough looked more than capable of getting a positive result.

After looking good for so long and carving out some decent chances, the game swung on the red card and Tom Tybull sealed it for the Canaries with a cracking finish a minute before the break.

“A game-changing decision by the referee,” fumed Pulis. “It was a good game up until the red card.

“I don’t think Rudy’s first booking is a booking, I don’t think he sees the player.

“He has raised his foot to the ball and the player has come around the side of him. So Rudy hasn’t even seen him. There’s no intent to raise his foot when the player is there.

“The sending-off, I’ve seen challenges this week in the Premier League that have been ten times worse than that and the players haven’t been sent off.

“But I don’t want to talk about the referee. I’m disappointed. We had good chances before the sending-off and a great chance just after it.

“If we’re creating those chances, we’ve got to take them. It was difficult and obviously it was uphill in the second half for us.

If Norwich’s finishing had not been so poor, and Darren Randolph not on such good form, the scorleine could have been so different, even if Boro did dig in.

Pulis’ three new signings - Martin Cranie, Jack Harrison and Mo Besic - all started on the bench, along with former Norwich midfield favourite Jonny Howson and top scorer Britt Assombalonga.

With Martin Braithwaite leaving for Bordeaux and Ashley Fletcher now at Sunderland, Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede led the attack, although if Pulis had got his way, Aleksandar Mitrovic would have been in the reckoning, with Boro having made a late loan bid for the Newcastle United striker.

Norwich made just the one change with fit-again German midfielder Trybull sitting alongside Tettey in front of the three centre-backs.

With City skipper and right back Ivo Pinto out with a knee injury, on loan Southampton midfielder Harrison Reed started at right wing-back.

Trybull, returning after a back injury, celebrated extending his contract with the Canaries until 2021, with a stunning goal moments before the break.

It all started so promisingly for Boro as Norwich defender Hanley was forced into a good block from a first-minute shot on target from Bamford.

Adam Clayton put in an even more last-ditch block to thwart James Maddison after a neat piece of build-up play by Norwich involving Nelson Oliveira and Josh Murphy, twin brother of Newcastle’s Jacob.

Both sides were showing real attacking intent but it was Boro who carved out two more cracking chances early on.

Adama Traore was allowed room in midfield to be able to cut in from the left and shoot unimpeded from 25 yards, but the low drive went wide.

George Friend was allowed a similar amount of space on the left wing and found Bamford who got to the edge of the box before letting fly, again the ball missed the target.

Boro were equally open in midfield as Maddison shrugged of a Grant Leadbitter challenge and slipped the ball in to Murphy. Luckily for Boro, the Norwich wing-back chose to pass back into a crowded area instead of having a crack.

Midway through the first half, Gestede was booked for an accidental high boot into the face of Tettey, but the game in the main was not overly physical.

Even when, five minutes later, Gestede lunged in to win the ball and caught former Newcastle defender Hanley, there didn’t appear to be malicious intent.

Given Gestede had just been booked though it was somewhat reckless and referee Jones didn’t bother with a second yellow and showed the French-born forward a straight red card.

Boro did forage forward occasionally, Stewart Downing tried to catch out the keeper when he returned a punched clearance from Gunn but the ball did not dip enough.

Maddison almost caught out the Boro defence when he hit a 23-yard free-kick low under the wall, but it inched wide of the goal.

The Canaries’ swift countering when Boro did get forward caused problems. Twice Randolph had to get down well to deny Oliveira.

Norwch manager Daniel Farke admitted he was impressed with Boro and Pulis.

Farke said: “Middlesbrough have unbelievable quality in the squad and Tony Pulis is a pretty experienced coach.

“I’m pretty sure that they’ll climb the table and be back in the promotion battle.

“To win against them with a clean sheet is an outstanding result – and I think it was well deserved.”