A LATE header from substitute Marcus Browne earned Middlesbrough a deserved share of the spoils against Cherries at Riverside Stadium.

Jason Tindall's men had led when a first-half Dominic Solanke effort found its way in via a big touch off defender Marvin Johnson.

But in truth, Boro were on top for large spells with Cherries digging in for what looked an unlikely victory.

However, with just nine minutes left the hosts grabbed the equaliser, with Browne heading in from close range after a brilliant Paddy McNair cross.

Cherries came to life after the equaliser and almost snatched a late winner through both Solanke and Jefferson Lerma, but the spoils were shared on Teesside.

Jason Tindall made three changes from the opening day win over Blackburn. The most notable came in goal, where Asmir Begovic was preferred to Mark Travers. Elsewhere Dan Gosling and David Brooks replaced Lewis Cook and Junior Stanislas, with the latter missing out on the squad altogether.

Middlesbrough were without boss Neil Warnock, who is currently self-isolating having tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Assistant Kevin Blackwell took charge of the hosts.

Up to 1,000 home supporters were permitted into an EFL match for the first time since March with this contest one of a handful of pilot events selected for this weekend.

And they made themselves heard from the off, roaring the players onto the pitch in what felt like a six-month release of waiting to get back into the Riverside.

It was Middlesbrough who made the stronger start with Cherries struggling to get out of their half.

George Saville dragged a shot wide before Begovic got down to comfortably deny Marcus Tavernier. Jonny Howson’s long-range effort was then deflected behind with Boro fans pleased with what they were seeing.

A short corner nearly caught Cherries out just past the hour mark. Tavernier received possession and whipped a ball in for Grant Hall, who mistimed his jump and headed over the crossbar.

Then, out of nothing, Cherries took the lead.

The opportunity arose via a 25-yard Brooks effort, whose curling shot was brilliantly tipped behind by goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.

But from the resulting corner, Arnaut Danjuma delivered low for Solanke, whose flicked struck Johnson and snuck in at the near post.

Middlesbrough looked for a quick reply with Begovic getting a foot to a low Paddy McNair cross, before the midfielder crossed for Ashley Fletcher, who glanced a header wide as Cherries went in at the break ahead.

The hosts again came out the blocks quickest after the restart. A low Tavernier cross deflected behind and the resulting corner from the midfielder was met by the head of Hall, six yards out, but he could only direct it straight into the gloves of Begovic.

The contest was growing increasingly tetchy with Boro unable to force an equaliser.

Both Chris Mepham and Jack Stacey went into the books for fouls right by the dugouts with the latter eventually replaced by Diego Rico with fans baying for a red card every time he made a challenge.

Middlesbrough did get the ball in the net with 72 minutes on the clock. Begovic struggled to deal with an Assombalonga free-kick, shovelling it straight into the path of Johnson. He turned it onto Saville to tuck in, but the flag was up for offside.

Tindall immediately made the double switch with Philip Billing introduced alongside Rico, with Danjuma the other man to come off.

Having soaked up the pressure, Cherries carved out a clear chance to double their tally. Solanke broke in beyond the defence, but his low effort was saved by Bettinelli.

And that proved costly with Boro equalising minutes later. Shortly after Begovic had saved from McNair, the midfielder delivered a wicked cross for Browne in the centre, which he could miss from right in front of goal.

Tindall immediately threw Sam Surridge on and Cherries came to life. First, the substitute picked out Solanke with a low cross, but his shot was deflected behind. The resulting corner from Rico was perfect for Lerma to leap, but his header was parried away by Bettinelli.

Cherries: Begovic; Mepham, S Cook, Kelly; Stacey (Rico, 73), Lerma, Gosling, Smith; Brooks (Surridge, 84), Danjuma (Billing, 73); Solanke.

Unused subs: Simpson, L Cook, Anthony, Travers (g/k).

Booked: Mepham, Stacey.

Middlesbrough: Bettinelli, Spence (Fry, 86), Dijksteel, Hall, McNair, Johnson, Howson, Saville, Tavernier (Morsy, 90+1), Fletcher (Browne, 68), Assombalonga.

Unused subs: Bola, Wing, Coulson, Pears (g/k).

Booked: Saville.