MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray was left frustrated after a battling display by his side went unrewarded at Swansea.
Scott Sinclair claimed a late winner as Swansea eventually made their dominance pay in yesterday’s Championship clash at the Liberty Stadium.
Third-placed Swans had been guilty of wasting a series of chances but Sinclair, cut in from the left in 85 minutes to fire his 12th goal of the season past Jason Steele with the help of a deflection.
Mowbray said: “I was disappointed. The longer the game went on the more I thought we may sneak a goal, although it would have been harsh on them.
“We knew they would have a lot of ball, we tried to frustrate them and in that last 20 minutes we had a couple of chances.
“For the goal there was a big deflection that took the ball past the keeper, who was excellent today.
“The plus points for us today were our work ethic and team spirit, but when we had the ball we were not as good and we need to improve on that area as a team and we will be working on that over the next few weeks.”
Swansea made a bright start and they came close to a fourth-minute opener as Darren Pratley overlapped down the right and fired the ball across the six-yard box, but Sinclair could not make firm enough contact with the goal at his mercy.
Allen fired wide with a speculative effort and it needed a good block from David Wheater to deny Allen again.
Ashley Williams headed over from a Gower corner and Boro keeper Steele saved well from Dyer after the winger linked up with Pratley.
Captain Gary O’Neil blazed over from Boro’s first meaningful attack before the visitors difficult start was compounded when midfielder Kevin Thomson limped off after 20 minutes, Nicky Bailey his replacement.
Matthew Bates diverted a Beattie cross wide with Sinclair lurking although Boro did enjoy a couple of decent counter-attacks, with Lita looking sharp.
The best chance fell to Allen after Sinclair had skinned Bailey down the left, but the midfielder’s shot was well saved by Steele and Angel Rangel’s follow-up effort was blocked over the bar.
Middlesbrough’s best chance came at the start of the second half with O’Neil’s volley from a poor Williams header being blocked by Garry Monk.
Alan Tate and Barry Robson picked up bookings for ill-timed challenges on Bailey and Monk respectively as Boro slowly began to establish a foothold in the match.
On the hour mark Tate tricked his way into the Middlesbrough box and found Sinclair, but deemed to be offside.
Tony Mowbray sent on Julio Arca for Robson and Rodgers took off Gower and replaced him with David Cotterill with the game in desperate need of some inspiration. The hosts were forced into a defensive reshuffle as skipper Monk departed with an injury and Neil Taylor was introduced to the fray.
Lita headed wide from an O’Neil corner and McDonald lashed a volley over as the home fans became ever more disgruntled.
Rangel’s volley was palmed away by Steele and Pratley headed over before Sinclair came to the rescue, finding space as he cut into the box from the left flank and getting away a right-footed shot that took a deflection to creep inside the near post.