Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Fulham 1.
Oliver Norwood's penalty in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time gave Fulham victory at fellow play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough.
The on-loan midfielder tucked in from the spot after he was tripped in the box by Boro's Grant Leadbitter.
Britt Assombalonga almost scored for the hosts moments before, but saw his effort come back off the crossbar.
Assombalonga's strike partner Rudy Gestede spurned two one-on-one chances in the first half.
The Benin international first miscontrolled when played in by Norwood's poor back pass, then dragged another effort wide of the post five minutes before the break.
Fulham had few chances, with Tomas Kalas hitting the side-netting and Stefan Johansen firing wide, but victory took Slavisa Jokanovic's side up to eighth in the table, one point off the play-off places.
Boro had penalty claims waved away when Martin Braithwaite went down in the box under the challenge of Kalas and the Dane fired an effort just wide after being played through in the second half.
The defeat was Tony Pulis' second in three Championship games following his appointment as Boro boss on 27 December, and the Teesside outfit are now two points outside the top six as they seek an immediate return to the Premier League.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis said:
"I am disappointed because I thought we were the better side, especially in the first half when we had three or four chances and Fulham didn't do anything to hurt us. We were the dominant force.
"We didn't play as well in the second half but looking at the Braithwaite penalty, it is a really disappointing decision. We understand and recognise referees will make mistakes but when they affect matches they should be called into question.
"The player falls before Grant touches him. The big thing in the game nowadays is when legs tend to buckle without any challenge being made, which is difficult for referees to get right.
"I am not sure who is in charge of Championship referees but you would love to ask the referee why he didn't give it. It has happened to me loads of times but the disappointing thing is they get a penalty at the other end which was harder to call but he blew straight away."
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic said:
"They pushed each other (Braithwaite and Kalas) and the referee was in perfect position to make the decision.
"For our penalty, it was clearly a contact between Norwood and the Boro player and, again, the referee was in the perfect position to give the penalty.
"This is only three points and given us a positive push for the next challenge ahead. We want to win, and it is an important points and it is important to win these games. I think we will have positive week in front of us and (will be) ready for next time."
- 3FriendBooked at 37mins
- 16HowsonBooked at 55mins
- 7LeadbitterBooked at 90mins
- 37TraoréSubstituted forJohnsonat 82'minutes
- 39GestedeSubstituted forAssombalongaat 63'minutes
- 10BraithwaiteSubstituted forClaytonat 82'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 2FredericksBooked at 57mins
- 4OdoiBooked at 60mins
- 3R Sessegnon
- 8JohansenBooked at 13mins
- 19OjoSubstituted forKalasat 52'minutes
- 47KamaraSubstituted forFonteat 58'minutes
- 20PiazonSubstituted forKebanoat 85'minutes
- 43S Sessegnon
- Geoff Eltringham
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Fulham 1.
Goal! Middlesbrough 0, Fulham 1. Oliver Norwood (Fulham) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.
Penalty Fulham. Oliver Norwood draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.
Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Adam Clayton with a through ball.
Foul by Rui Fonte (Fulham).
Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Neeskens Kebano (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Fulham. Neeskens Kebano replaces Lucas Piazon.
Foul by Rui Fonte (Fulham).
George Friend (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Marvin Johnson replaces Adama Traoré.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton replaces Martin Braithwaite.
Attempt missed. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter.
Attempt missed. Stefan Johansen (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.