Second half strikes from Adam Reach and Albert Adomah ended Fulham’s fabulous run of form under caretaker manager Kit Symons and extended Middlesbrough’s unbeaten run to six games.
Reach opened the scoring just 45 seconds after the half-time break – prodding home from close range – and Adomah added a second eight minutes from time to make sure of all three points. Fulham had their chances but couldn’t take them, with Tim Hoogland and Lasse Vigen Christensen the most culpable, and were punished for their prolificacy. In-form Middlesbrough were much more clinical and moved up to fifth in the table.
The hosts had the best chance of a rather turgid first period when Adomah rattled the crossbar and bounced away from goal after a fine cross from Ryan Fredericks. Boro took the lead with their very first attack of the second period when Lee Tomlin’s ambitious bicycle kick was guided in by the alert Reach from the edge of the six-yard box. It was nearly two moments later but this time the dangerous Reach was denied by the crossbar.
Fulham recovered their composure after the shock of going behind and could easily have levelled matters. Symons’ side went closest to an equaliser when Hoogland headed against the bar from Ross McCormack’s deep cross. Christensen saw a shot cleared off the line by Daniel Ayala and Hugo Rodallega blazed away after latching onto a through ball from George Williams.
Boro wrapped up the victory when a fine move down the Middlesbrough right opened up the Fulham defence. Adomah and Kike linked up brilliantly and the winger swept the Spanish striker’s sublime cross past a helpless Marcus Bettinelli.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-2-3-1): Konstantopoulos; Fredericks, Friend, Ayala, Omeruo; Leadbitter, Clayton; Adomah, Reach (Nsue 90+4), Tomlin (Vossen 67); Kike (Whitehead 83). Subs (not used): Blackman, Gibson, R. Williams, Wildschut.
GOALS: Reach (46), Adomah (82).
FULHAM (4-1-2-1-2): Bettinelli; Hoogland, Amorebieta (Smith 85), Bodurov, Burn; Parker; Stafylidis (G. Williams 59), Christensen; Ruiz (Roberts 70); McCormack, Rodallega. Subs (not used): Kiraly, Kavanagh, Hyndman, Woodrow.
REFEREE: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire).