Fulham fought to fashion anything in a disappointing follow-up to Saturday's heartening triumph through Alexander Kacaniklic rifled a 35-yard attempt that simply swerved broad. The 25-year old has signed a four and a half year deal in the Riverside Stadium. The goal of Watt was the highlight of a game in which Blackburn's defence let Kemar Roofe none of the liberty afforded to him by Swansea and was outstanding, as this match advanced and he cut an isolated figure. Oxford offered little going forward but could have gone when Liam Sercombe's well-hit attempt that was angled forced a great save from Jason Steele in the Blackburn goal. The domination of Blackburn continued throughout and they should have expanded their two-goal lead when bearing down on goal from the best flank, Elliott Bennett and in hindsight maybe elected when going for glory seemed simpler to square the ball for Watt. It was left to Marshall to get the match beyond Oxford and prompt a 76th-minute mini-exodus from those dying to win against the traffic with a superbly struck free kick that arced into the bottom left-hand corner. And on Friday night, both clubs agreed on a fee for the 25-year old, who'll travel for discussions about a possible move to Boro.

A Rovers statement on their official website said: Blackburn Rovers can verify they've unwillingly granted Middlesbrough permission to talk to striker Jordan Rhodes. The player has expressed his urge to speak with the Teesside club and certainly will travel to the North East for discussions. The acquisition of Rhodes will be a big statement of purpose for Middlesbrough as they plan to procure back promotion to the Premier League. Boro's move for Rhodes was resurrected subsequent to the transport fell through. Aitor Karanka has added his promotion rivals and his firepower after passing up a return to the Premier League in last season's playoff final.


But Blackburn took a tremendous step towards stopping their winless run when Elliott Bennett's brilliant free kick was met 12 yards out by Duffy, whose header was overly strong despite Lonergan's best attempts. Yet Karanka did Kike Sola, pick one debutant. That Kike has only left on Teesside and returned to Spain to play for Eibar. They confront, in the following four weeks amongst others, Barcelona and Sevilla. Promotion-pursuing Middlesbrough has moved a step closer to signing Jordan Rhodes after Blackburn unwillingly gave them permission to talk to the striker. The brand new Kike survived one-half and was unattributable pub a deliberate handball for which he was booked. Kike's inability to change the match was shared by his new teammates and it empowered Blackburn to play. Tony Watt nearly scored in 20 minutes and led the line with vim.

No rhythm could be engendered by Middlesbrough and when Kike was replaced by Cristhian Stuani not Rhodes at halftime, there was no progress. Stuani put a 71st-minute header over that when Nugent's goal arrived, it was Boro's first attempt on target. There is lots of pressure on them," Lambert said. At times, you can try overly difficult. At the opposite end, Moussa Dembele revealed a glance of his capability to engineering space in the region to fire a strike that was great low that Jason Steele tipped away. Paul Lambert used his programme notes to encourage his team to awaken fast but they were sleeping on when Michael Madl had two opportunities to score, one of which was a volley early as well as the other saw the Austrian lash broad shortly after. Rhodes was on the pitch when David Nugent equalised eight minutes after, stabbing in the far post in an Emilio Nsue cross although he wasn't involved. But there was to be no late residence victory; in fact, the Hope Akpan of Blackburn had the opportunity to take each of the points in the 89th minute, simply to haul a 12-yard shot wide from an enticing position.

With his team mired in a wretched run of league form, this might have been an excruciating day Paul Lambert, for the Rovers manager. The Scot made six changes, finalise a deal and one of them driven by the departure from the team resort of Rhodes to finish a medical at Boro reported to be worth GBP13m. His replacement Tony Watt was fast to step into the huge metaphorical boots of his forerunner. Matters went rapidly down and began pretty poorly for Oxford. Johnny Mullins was lucky to stay on the field after bringing Simeon Jackson after only five minutes down, but the referee, Andy Davies, deemed yellow satisfactory despite being swarmed by Rovers players needing a red card. From the ensuing free kick, Ben Marshall hit broad. In the thick of the action, Joe Skarz after tripped Jackson as he progressed into the penalty area in pursuit of a through-ball from Watt. Davies pointed to Ben Marshall quickly slotted into the corner and the place.


As it was there was a smattering of boos on the last whistle along with Paul Lambert, the visiting manager, noted: You can feel there is an anxiety here. Lambert said his side were better and Karanka didn't argue that, saying 70 minutes to the opening weren't the reaction he was expecting after two 1-0 defeats, to Nottingham Forest and Bristol City. We did not have the intensity we wanted, Karanka said. You also have more quality and in case you play with the same intensity as your competition, then you're going to win. Devotion to the players that have lifted Middlesbrough to this position had meant Karanka had left the likes of Gaston Ramirez and Rhodes on the seat. But, Karanka said, that notion has been examined.

From that point, the first half was dominated by the hosts, with Graham making a clever move and shot and Chris Brown heading a Marshall cross directly to Andy Lonergan. The second half began as the first finished in possession with Fulham sloppy and Blackburn dangerous. Marshall wreaked havoc using a teasing inswinging cross which was perfect for Graham but a telling contact could not be made by the forward under pressure. There appeared to be little doubt the nine-match run with no win would be finished when the remarkable Ben Marshall converted his fourth spot kick of the season in the 15th minute. Fulham, on the flip side, never have won in nine at Ewood and has currently only one win in their last 10 away games. Middlesbrough spent GBP9m on Jordan Rhodes, then left him to the team that had just sold him on the seat for 77 minutes. Aitor Karanka, Boro's manager, tends to receive only compliments but there are the starts of restlessness on Teesside.

It was an outcome that arrived as a surprise to many who considered the League Two side favourites regardless of both divisions dividing the sides. I guess it is quite flattering to go into a match where a number of people may have seen us as favourites, said their manager Michael Appleton. But it is foolish as well due to the variety of league positions between both teams. They might have been purveyors of the very prominent third-round impact within their defeat of the but Oxford's latest Cup experience of Swansea is not going to live long in the memory.


In the first 25 minutes we played the same as a five a side team, he said. We did not earn the right and we were only a little bit innocent. Karanka's decisions were being challenged, a section of the crowd chanted: Attack, attack, strike!" And for Boro's dressing room, fanbase and the team, they could do with winning their match in hand at MK Dons on Tuesday. Issues will settle. Rhodes' entrance, one of five major signings in January taking spending since last summer to around GBP30m was meant to indicate a shift in gear. Middlesbrough was level. Boro did save a point with Rhodes on the pitch. After Blackburn's own debutant Jordi Gomez, on loan from Sunderland, had drilled in a generally sweet left-foot drive Karanka at last, in the 73rd minute. The pace, driven by their shortage in addition to their signing of Middlesbrough, rose immediately. Grant Hanley returned from harm, as did Graham from the defeat to Hull in two of four shifts. So Luke Garbutt and Sakari Mattila deputised Fulham was without Lasse Vigen Christensen and Scott Parker from the thumping of QPR.