Boro continue to keep the pace with the leading pack in the Championship after another impressive display proved enough to account for Nottingham Forest at the Riverside.
Marvin Johnson capped off another outstanding team performance by scoring the only goal of the game as Neil Warnock’s side inflicted a first defeat on new Forest manager Chris Houghton.
It was an afternoon that saw a moving tribute to the club’s former captain Nobby Stiles and saw Nathan Wood make his full league debut.
It also saw Boro make it three wins from four games and extend an unbeaten run that dates back to the opening day of the season and shows few signs of abating.
Boro were on the front foot and dominant and when Tobias Figueiredo headed wide of his own goal inside the opening minutes with Assombalonga breathing down his neck, it set the tone for an afternoon. Brice Samba had to spread himself well to deny Hayden Coulson who worked himself an opening after reacting quickly to seize on a defensive slip.
Another defensive error allowed in Assombalonga, but we when was denied by Samba, Marcus Tavernier was unable to convert the follow-up and lifted it high over the bar. Tavernier also had an effort block after Wood had scuffed an effort following another good ball into the box.
The delivery of Paddy McNair and Sam Morsy was a good weapon for Boro, Morsy’s afternoon ended early when, after picking up a yellow card, he was brought off to avoid any further punishment amid plenty of provocation in a contest that was littered with free-kicks
Tavernier had a free-kick blocked and the resultant corner was headed against the bar by a Forest defender as the visitors came under increasing pressure. George Saville also sent a shot over after some great build-up play involving Marc Bola and Hayden Coulson.
Boro were absolutely dominant at times and just as Coventry had done a few days earlier at the Riverside, Forest were forced into defending with 10 men behind the ball such was Boro’s authority.
Coulson and Bola were causing major problems down the left, Anfernee Dijksteel was a threat down the right, George Saville turned in another great shift, and Jonny Howson was simply outstanding in the middle of the park.
Just as against Coventry in midweek, the all-important moment came in the 80th minute when Saville delivered a ball to the far post and Marvin Johnson ghosted past former Boro defender Cyrus Christie to convert the cross from close range.
On the rare occasions the visitors did break McNair made a terrific block and the resultant corner saw a header just wide of the mark from Yates. Marcus Bettinelli was also called upon to react quickly on one occasion, but otherwise it was all Boro and their perseverance paid off once again.