Middlesbrough 2 - Fulham 1

Last updated : 08 January 2004 By Mad Reporter

Middlesbrough gained their revenge for an opening day 3-2 defeat with a display of free flowing attacking football.

Boro have been labelled as boring and negative but on this occasion they turned on the style in their fight to get away from the relegation zone.

Goals have been in short supply at the Riverside Stadium this season so there was a great roar when Cameroon international Joseph-Desire Job put Middlesbrough ahead after 14 minutes.

Job shot in from close range after Edwin Van der Sar had parried an Ugo Ehiogu shot.

This was Middlesbrough's first home goal in open play since they beat Wolves in early November, so it was no surprise that Job was mobbed by his team-mates over his second goal of the season.

Deputy goalkeeper Brad Jones made a good save with his feet to deny former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark an equaliser.

Middlesbrough skipper Gareth Southgate missed a glorious chance to increase the lead before the break when he headed over the bar from four yards.

The England international defender held his head in anguish over his miss.

Middlesbrough increased the lead in the 67th minute when Van der Sar made a rare mistake. The keeper dropped the ball from a Stewart Downing free-kick on the right.

Szilard Nemeth took advantage of the keeper's lapse.

Fulham showed only limited threat in attack. Even leading scorer Louis Saha was kept in check.

Sub Barry Hayles scored a late consolation goal, but there was not even time to challenge for an equaliser.

Middlesbrough: Jones, Queudrue, Mills, Ehiogu, Southgate, Downing, Nemeth, Boateng, Zenden, Juninho Paulista, Job. Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Riggott, Maccarone, Doriva, Parnaby. Booked: Ehiogu.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Green, Djetou, Knight, Melville, Legwinski (Hayles 69), Davis, Clark, Malbranque, Boa Morte, Saha. Subs Not Used: Crossley, Inamoto, Hudson, Petta. Booked: Davis, Djetou.

Attendance: 27,869.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).