Boro’s unbeaten run in the Championship came to an end at promotion-chasing Fulham with an early goal settling matters.
It was the third game in six days for Jonathan Woodgate’s men, who were unbeaten in five league games, but after conceding early doors his Boro side again showed plenty of fight and endeavour against a side who had their sights on reducing the gap to second-placed Leeds United.
As expected, Fulham looked to dominate possession, the home side bossed the opening 30 minutes of the contest, playing some terrific football.
It took just seven minutes for Fulham to take the lead when Joe Bryan delivered a low cross and Anthony Knockaert was able to slide in to convert.
But a combination of wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping ensured the home side weren’t able to turn their possession into any more first half goals.
Aynsley Pears got down well to deny Josh Onomah after some good build-up play and it should have been 2-0 inside 20 minutes but Ivan Cavaleiro fired over the top after an intense spell of possession from the home side.
An unmarked Onomah was also guilty of a shocker of a miss when he headed wide from a corner while Tom Cairney almost profited from a great piece of skill from Cavaleiro but Pears was equal to the finish.
But, for all that early pressure, you always sensed Boro were more than capable of getting at Fulham.
Djed Spence rifled one early effort across the face of goal and a Paddy McNair corner caused panic for Fulham when Rudy Gestede got up magnificently, but his header was over the top.
Hayden Coulson also had a cross deflected against the bar and Marcus Tavernier sent the resultant corner wider.
Boro started the second half on the front foot and George Saville felt he had good claims for a penalty when he went to ground under pressure from Kevin McDonald - but the referee was unmoved.
There were also shouts for a handball by Onomah as Boro piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
At the other end, Knockaert went close for the home side after finding himself space to have a shot from outside of the box, but that was after 70 minutes and was Fulham’s first real threat in a second period dominated by Boro.
And the home side thought they had scored moments later when Dennis Odoi headed home a free-kick, but the effort was ruled out.
That was the cue for the home side to enjoy their only real spell of pressure of the half, but Boro soaked things up before coming forward again when McNair was denied by the quick reactions of Marek Rodak.