Alan Browne was controversially sent off on a straight red card in Preston North End's 2-0 defeat away to Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship. 

The Republic of Ireland midfielder was sent off following an altercation with Sam Morsy, a decision which so incensed the Preston bench that manager Alex Neil was banished to the stands in the ensuing protests.

In his post-match interview, Neil said of the incident: "Alan is hit twice and instinctively reacts and I don't understand how Alan’s is seen but the incident from the aggressor isn’t seen."

Prior to the red card, the visitors had fallen a goal down, North End defender Jordan Storey sliced a Yannick Bolasie cross into his own net.

Marcus Tavernier wrapped up Boro's 2-0 win early in the second half.

Elsewhere, in-form Watford strengthened their grip on second spot by winning 4-1 at Rotherham while Swansea and Brentford dropped points.

Xisco Munoz's side made it eight victories from nine matches in Tuesday's trip to South Yorkshire, where Francisco Sierralta opened the scoring with his first goal in English football.

Ismaila Sarr and Ken Sema extended the Hornets' lead before the break, with the Millers pulling one back through Freddie Ladapo after Michael Smith saw a spot-kick saved.

But Dan Gosling hit back almost immediately to wrap up a comprehensive win. Kieran Sadlier was introduced as a 73rd minute sub for the vanquished hosts. 

Conor Hourihane and Ryan Manning both started in a night to forget for third-placed Swansea are three points behind Watford after losing 3-0 at Bournemouth.

Philip Billing's volley and Joel Latibeaudiere's own goal put the Cherries in control, with Arnaut Danjuma adding gloss late on.

Fourth-placed Brentford failed to capitalise on that slip-up as they blew a two-goal lead to draw with Wayne Rooney's Derby.

Ivan Toney's penalty and a Sergi Canos strike put the Bees in control midway through the first half, only for Lee Gregory and fellow half-time substitute Louis Sibley to make it 2-2. Republic of Ireland midfielder Jason Knight again played the full 90 in the heart of the home side's midfield.

Cardiff drew 0-0 at home to Stoke on a night when visiting midfielder Joe Allen hit hit the crossbar at the death.

Luton won by the same scoreline against Coventry. James Bree set the hosts on their way, before Elijah Adebayo converted a penalty after Kyle McFadzean had been sent off for handball.