The win, a first on home soil since February, was enough to take Boro to back within a point of sixth-placed Bristol City and to provide a dent in Hull’s hopes of continuing their late bid for a top-six spot.

The game followed a familiar pattern for Boro on home soil with Tony Pulis’ side making all the early running and creating a number of decent chances.

The first scare for Hull came when a Jonny Howson ball into the box resulted in Todd Kane heading straight at goalkeeper David Marshall in an horrendous mix-up. From the resultant corner, Aden Flint got up well at the far post but couldn’t direct his header on target.

The breakthrough came shortly before the half-hour, though, when Ryan Shotton released Ashley Fletcher and his low pull-back was met by Britt Assombalonga, who was in the right place to convert from close range.

Boro had another golden opportunity when Mo Besic picked out Fletcher, who headed back across goal, but neither George Saville or Jonny Howson were able to connect.

Hull goalkeeper Marshall had to be alert to block a Saville free-kick, but he was beaten moments before half-time by Assombalonga with a shot which rattled against the underside of the bar before bouncing back to safety.

Boro have been punished for the profligacy in front of goal in recent weeks and it took the intervention of Frazier Campbell to deny one of his own players with a goal-bound header in the opening minutes of the second half.

That was a warning for Boro and with Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen proving to be threats, the home side had some defending to do. It was after one attack was repelled that Daniel Ayala was forced to leave the action on a stretcher with blood on his head and his leg strapped up.

After a lengthy stoppage, play resumed with Bowen whipping in a cross which Campbell should have converted with a header from close range.

But it could so easily have been 2-0 moments later when Howson delivered another great ball in and Fletcher headed straight at Marshall from close range. Another chance presented itself when Assombalonga was through on goal, but he looked to lay the ball off only for no one to be there.

That was the cue for Hull to come forward again and Boro defended in numbers getting in vital blocks, including John Obi Mikel heading one effort off the line.

Seven minutes were added on following the stoppage for Ayala’s injury, and in the first of those Assombalonga almost put the seal on the victory when he sent an effort just wide.

There was still time for Hull to hit the bar with a free-kick which bounced down onto the line before being scrambled away, and it was a tense ending, but Boro held firm to record what could prove to be a vital victory.

Scorer Assombalonga 25

Boro: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala (Clayton 61) Flint, Fry, Howson, Mikel, Besic (Downing 79), Saville, Fletcher (Tavernier 79), Assombalonga. Subs: Dimi, Hugill, McNair, Gestede. Order of subs on 79: 1) Downing; 2) Tavernier

Hull City: Marshall, Kane (Evandro 76), Burke, de Wijs (Batty 86), Lichaj, Bowen, Henriksen, Irvine, Grosicki, Pugh (Martin 64), Campbell. Subs: Long (gk), Stewart, McKenzie, Ridgewell.

Referee: Robert Jones. Merseyside
Yellow Cards
Boro Clayton 90+3, foul
Hull Henriksen 35, foul

Attendance 22,427 (927 Hull)