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Middlesbrough lost ground on leaders Brighton at the top of the Championship after they were frustrated by a dogged Fulham side in a goalless draw.

Boro began the day a place behind Albion but drop to third after failing to break down the Cottagers.

Diego Fabbrini and David Nugent were both denied by Fulham’s Andy Lonergan, while Dimi Konstantopoulos crucially denied Ross McCormack at the other end.

Fulham remain in mid-table but without a win in three league games.

Kit Symons will have been pleased by his side’s ability to stifle Boro’s creativity on an afternoon where the hosts were looking to brighten the gloom after the news the local Redcar steelworks would close.

Following a parade around the pitch by some of workers who are to lose their jobs, both teams had chances in the first half, with McCormack smashing over the bar and Nugent deemed to be offside when in a good position.

Former Leicester striker Nugent in particular was testing Blyth-born centre-half Dan Burn, but he found Lonergan in inspired form in the Fulham goal.

By contrast, the second half was one-way traffic as Nugent had a chance early on and Daniel Ayala saw his header well saved.

The visitors might have pinched the points when birthday-boy George Friend failed to clear, but Konstantpoulos was equal to a fierce snap-shot from McCormack.

After Lonergan went off injured and Joe Lewis came on, the ex-Peterborough keeper continued the heroics to deny Fabbrini from close range and ensure a share of the spoils.