Britt Assombalonga’s put the home side ahead in the first half with the Tigers unable to claw their way back despite dominating after the break.
For the third successive game, Nigel Adkins named an unchanged starting eleven with just one alteration on the bench where Liam Ridgewell returned after missing out in midweek. Young left back Brandon Fleming was the one to make way.
A serious accident on the A19 delayed the arrival of a number of travelling supporters and those that did miss the kick-off also missed an early chance for the Tigers when Eric Lichaj got in down the left. The US international pulled the ball back for Fraizer Campbell but he couldn’t get a clean strike away.
That formed part of what, in general, was a decent start from the away side as they forced their hosts into a number of loose passes.
Kamil Grosicki saw a low effort saved by Darren Randolph with the first shot on target of the afternoon, while ‘Boro’s best chance in the opening quarter came from a set-piece which was headed just wide by Aden Flint at the far post.
An opening goal wasn’t long in coming, though, and it went to the home side in the 25th minute. Ashley Fletcher got free down the right and his low cross found Assombalonga who tapped in from close range.
That lead should have been doubled a couple of minutes later but George Saville somehow failed to convert from almost on the line before Markus Henriksen picked up a booking for a foul on Mo Besic. From the resulting free kick David Marshall made a save from Saville.
Two big chances came and went for Middlesbrough just before the break as Fletcher volleyed over when left free to meet Ryan Shotton’s cross at the far post, with Assombalonga then crashing a shot against the underside of Marshall’s bar to leave it 1-0 at the interval.
The Tigers began the second half with a higher tempo with Lichaj seeing a headed chance deflect over from a Grosicki cross after the full back had initially started the attack wide left. It was an incident that led to a lengthy stoppage in play with former Tiger Daniel Ayala needing treatment before eventually being stretchered off.
Play restarted with a corner, which resulted in another and from it the Tigers really should have been level but Campbell headed wide when unmarked at the far post.
A first change by Adkins saw Chris Martin replace Marc Pugh before Marshall made a save to deny Fletcher.
Campbell missed another good chance when not connecting properly from Jarrod Bowen’s pass 12 yards out ahead of a second change that saw Evandro come on for Todd Kane.
Martin saw a looping effort cleared off the line by Shotton before appeals for a penalty were waved away when Campbell went down as he looked to get on the end of Jackson Irvine’s cross.
A final change saw Daniel Batty replace Jordy de Wijs and Ayala’s injury contributed to seven minutes of time being added.
However, as has so often been the case on Teesside over the years, it wasn’t to be the Tigers’ day, a fact highlighted five minutes into added time when Grosicki’s superb 25-yard free kick came down off the underside of the bar and refused to cross the line.
Middlesbrough: Darren Randolph, John Obi Mikel, Daniel Ayala (Adam Clayton 61), Ryan Shotton, Britt Assombalonga, Jonny Howson, Ashley Fletcher (Marcus Tavernier 79), Dael Fry, George Saville, Aden Flint, Mo Besic (Stewart Downing 79).
Subs Not Used: Dimi Konstantopoulos, Jordan Hugill, Paddy McNair, Rudy Gestede.
Hull City: David Marshall, Todd Kane (Evandro 77), Reece Burke, Jordy de Wijs (Daniel Batty 87), Eric Lichaj, Markus Henriksen, Jackson Irvine, Jarrod Bowen, Marc Pugh (Chris Martin 65), Kamil Grosicki, Fraizer Campbell.
Subs Not Used: George Long, Kevin Stewart, Robbie McKenzie, Liam Ridgewell.
Referee: Mr R. Jones.