Sam Gallagher scored a second-half winner to send Blackburn Rovers second in the Championship as they edged past Middlesbrough.
The 26-year-old took advantage of Paddy McNair’s error to swivel and score his sixth goal of the season with a low shot to separate the sides.
Until that point, Boro were much the better side in the second half but a lengthy delay for a fan taken ill halted their momentum, and moments after the restart, Gallagher struck.
Matt Crooks had a golden chance to equalise towards the end of 12 minutes of stoppage time but headed a free-kick from the right over the bar from inside the six-yard box.
Midfielder Crooks should also have scored with an earlier header from eight yards out, only for Lewis Travis to head off the line, and his Boro team-mate Aaron Connolly saw a right-footed shot deflected just wide after a slick move down the right.
It was just a second defeat for Chris Wilder as Middlesbrough manager since his appointment in November, as his side missed the chance to climb into the play-off places.
They also missed opportunities to clear their lines before conceding what proved to be the winning goal.
There was no obvious danger as a ball was played back towards the top of the Boro penalty area but McNair aimed a wild hack at it, made no significant contact, and it fell for former Southampton striker Gallagher to shoot across goalkeeper Joe Lumley into his right corner.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser in the closing stages of what proved to be an hour-long second period, but on-loan Brighton forward Connolly fired over from a tight angle before Crooks somehow missed the best chance of the night.
The extensive stoppage time was caused by an eight-minute period of treatment for a Blackburn supporter near the dugouts, midway through the second half, with the individual conscious as medical staff led them away on a stretcher.
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Tees:
“I didn’t enjoy watching my team’s performance tonight. I thought we started off on the back foot, they jumped on us and we were never bright enough or quick enough, there were so many things wrong with the performance.
“We were in the ascendancy after half-time, we tightened up, we played quicker and pushed a good team back. That’s what I was looking for from the beginning.
“We had two incredibly good chances but we didn’t deserve anything out of the game.”
- 25van Hecke
- 16WhartonBooked at 90mins
- 2NyambeBooked at 37mins
- 27TravisBooked at 50mins
- 20EdunBooked at 90mins
- 21BuckleySubstituted forZeefuikat 89′minutes
- 7KhadraSubstituted forButterworthat 77′minutes
- 2DijksteelSubstituted forWatmoreat 89′minutes
- 17McNairBooked at 90mins
- 35JonesBooked at 90mins
- 25CrooksBooked at 15mins
- 16HowsonSubstituted forBalogunat 80′minutes
- 7TavernierBooked at 29mins
- 3TaylorBooked at 4minsSubstituted forCoburnat 90+12′minutes
- 26ConnollyBooked at 26mins
- Darren England
Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Middlesbrough 0.
Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Middlesbrough 0.
Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Dael Fry.
Attempt blocked. Deyovaisio Zeefuik (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Matt Crooks (Middlesbrough) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Marcus Tavernier with a cross following a set piece situation.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Josh Coburn replaces Neil Taylor.
Tayo Edun (Blackburn Rovers) is shown the yellow card.
Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Tayo Edun (Blackburn Rovers).
Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Isaiah Jones (Middlesbrough).
Tayo Edun (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Aaron Connolly (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Matt Crooks.
Dael Fry (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daniel Butterworth (Blackburn Rovers).
Duncan Watmore (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Scott Wharton (Blackburn Rovers).
Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough).
Deyovaisio Zeefuik (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.