Match ends, Brentford 0, Middlesbrough 1.
Middlesbrough moved to within a point of Championship leaders Bournemouth as Grant Leadbitter's penalty gave them victory at Brentford.
The hosts made a bright start at Griffin Park, with Leadbitter clearing James Tarkowski's header off the line and Stuart Dallas striking a post.
But Boro scored the only goal on 44 minutes as Leadbitter netted after David Button felled Patrick Bamford.
Aitor Karanka's side climb into third, while Brentford remain in fifth place.
Boro went into the game having beaten Premier League champions Manchester City in their previous match.
But they were made to work hard against a Bees side they beat 4-0 in the reverse fixture.
Captain Leadbitter's cool penalty was the difference between the sides - and his eighth successful spot-kick of the season maintained his perfect record.
Dallas continued to pose the Bees' biggest threat after the break, volleying narrowly over the top before having a powerful stoppage-time shot blocked.
But Boro, who have the best defensive record in the division, held out for a seventh clean sheet in their past eight games.
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka:
"It was a very important win against a team who are playing for the same position as us. We played really well last Saturday against City so today wasn't as good - but three points is the main thing for me.
"I thought after the City game it would be a difficult week, that maybe everyone would be more excited than normal, but the players worked very well and I thought we could play as well as we did against City.
"So it's good for me that we didn't play as well as we can play, but we can still beat teams like Brentford."
Brentford manager Mark Warburton:
"The difference was the penalty. We were the better team in the first half, we did everything but score.
"It didn't fall our way but overall it was a positive performance."
- 27ButtonBooked at 43mins
- 6DeanSubstituted forSmithat 89'minutes
- 20DiagouragaBooked at 33minsSubstituted forToralat 76'minutes
- 8DouglasBooked at 62mins
- 19GraySubstituted forLongat 76'minutes
- 22OmeruoBooked at 16mins
- 27AdomahSubstituted forForshawat 68'minutes
- 23BamfordBooked at 41minsSubstituted forKikeat 88'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 21VossenSubstituted forReachat 80'minutes
- Simon Hooper
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Brentford 0, Middlesbrough 1.
Attempt saved. Jonathan Douglas (Brentford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jake Bidwell with a cross.
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Ryan Fredericks.
Attempt blocked. Stuart Dallas (Brentford) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Pritchard with a cross.
Moses Odubajo (Brentford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adam Reach (Middlesbrough).
Foul by Jon-Miquel Toral (Brentford).
Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Kike (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card.
Alex Pritchard (Brentford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Brentford. Tommy Smith replaces Harlee Dean.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Kike replaces Patrick Bamford.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton tries a through ball, but Adam Reach is caught offside.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Harlee Dean.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Adam Clayton tries a through ball, but Patrick Bamford is caught offside.
Attempt missed. James Tarkowski (Brentford) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.
Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.
Jonathan Douglas (Brentford) wins a free kick on the right wing.