Match ends, Ipswich Town 2, Middlesbrough 0.
Ipswich Town leapfrogged Middlesbrough to go second in the Championship table with a comprehensive victory over their fellow promotion hopefuls.
Daryl Murphy's strike set the hosts on the way to a sixth win in nine games.
Jay Tabb headed in Teddy Bishop's cross in first-half injury-time to deservedly make it 2-0 at the interval.
Boro, who like Town were eight games unbeaten prior to the match, improved after the break, but struggled to make chances and Ipswich eased to victory.
|Daryl Murphy is the Championship's leading scorer with 14 in 21 starts this season|
Lee Tomlin's introduction at the interval sparked new life into the visitors, who briefly looked more like the side who impressed in a 2-0 win over Derby County last Saturday.
But the damage had been done during a first half in which they failed to muster a shot on target and were outmuscled and outplayed by an Ipswich team who have now lost just once in 18 matches.
Tractor Boys centre-backs Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra dominated with Patrick Bamford and Jelle Vossen unable to make an impression in attack.
In stark contrast, Murphy and David McGoldrick posed problems for the away defence throughout and, after teeing up a chance for Paul Anderson who shot over the bar, Murphy then opened the scoring.
Boro keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos made a superb save to keep out McGoldrick's initial strike after good work by Tabb, but Murphy was on hand to score from eight yards.
Town continued to threaten and doubled the lead seconds before the break when the diminutive Tabb rose highest at the far post to nod in Bishop's fine centre.
George Friend had a tame shot saved and Bamford looked lively as Boro made a bright start to the second period, but the danger was short-lived.
Town remained comfortable and came closest to another goal when Smith's shot came back off the base of the post.
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy:
"It was a hard game against a very good team with good players. The two real bits of quality came from us but a lot of the match was tough.
"Tabby's goal was awesome but he is excellent in the air. He could have left in the summer, but he said he wanted to stay and I am delighted he has. His attitude has been fantastic."
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka:
"This is the first time I have been angry with my players' attitude. After last week's win against Derby County, we thought we were a Champions League team. But today it is impossible to take anything from the game.
"Ipswich wanted it more than us. Murphy was first to the rebound for their first goal, Teddy Bishop at 18 years old was the best player on the pitch and Jay Tabb, at 5ft 5ins, scored with his head.
"It was our worst performance of the season - it is difficult to understand."
- 11AndersonSubstituted forSammonat 82'minutes
- 27BishopSubstituted forAmbroseat 71'minutes
- 8SkuseSubstituted forBruat 52'minutes
- 10McGoldrickBooked at 38mins
- 22OmeruoBooked at 28minsSubstituted forVeljkovicat 62'minutes
- 3FriendBooked at 88mins
- 27AdomahSubstituted forTomlinat 45'minutes
- 21VossenBooked at 21minsSubstituted forKikeat 62'minutes
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ipswich Town 2, Middlesbrough 0.
Attempt saved. Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Patrick Bamford.
Attempt blocked. Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Clayton.
Attempt saved. Darren Ambrose (Ipswich Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
George Friend (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by George Friend (Middlesbrough).
Kevin Bru (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Darren Ambrose (Ipswich Town).
Foul by Kike (Middlesbrough).
Jay Tabb (Ipswich Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Darren Ambrose (Ipswich Town).
Offside, Ipswich Town. David McGoldrick tries a through ball, but Daryl Murphy is caught offside.
Attempt missed. George Friend (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Ipswich Town. Conor Sammon replaces Paul Anderson because of an injury.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Jonathan Parr.
Attempt missed. Kike (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Adam Reach with a cross.
Attempt missed. Darren Ambrose (Ipswich Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by David McGoldrick with a headed pass.