Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Fulham 0.
Middlesbrough lost ground on leaders Brighton at the top of the Championship after they were frustrated by a dogged Fulham side in a goalless draw.
Boro began the day a place behind Albion but drop to third after failing to break down the Cottagers.
Diego Fabbrini and David Nugent were both denied by Fulham's Andy Lonergan, while Dimi Konstantopoulos crucially denied Ross McCormack at the other end.
Fulham remain in mid-table but without a win in three league games.
Kit Symons will have been pleased by his side's ability to stifle Boro's creativity on an afternoon where the hosts were looking to brighten the gloom after the news the local Redcar steelworks would close.
Following a parade around the pitch by some of workers who are to lose their jobs, both teams had chances in the first half, with McCormack smashing over the bar and Nugent deemed to be offside when in a good position.
Former Leicester striker Nugent in particular was testing Blyth-born centre-half Dan Burn, but he found Lonergan in inspired form in the Fulham goal.
By contrast, the second half was one-way traffic as Nugent had a chance early on and Daniel Ayala saw his header well saved.
The visitors might have pinched the points when birthday-boy George Friend failed to clear, but Konstantpoulos was equal to a fierce snap-shot from McCormack.
After Lonergan went off injured and Joe Lewis came on, the ex-Peterborough keeper continued the heroics to deny Fabbrini from close range and ensure a share of the spoils.
Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka:
"We didn't play the way we usually do. I am especially disappointed with the start because you need to begin well at home.
"We have three games away in two weeks now, so that's disappointing. I can understand the crowd being frustrated, because I felt the same way.
"They were always trying to waste time, from the beginning of the game. I spoke to the referee at half-time, but I thought it was the same in the second half. However, I thought the score was fair."
Fulham manager Kit Symons:
"They were having a bit of a grumble during the first half. It wasn't something we set out to do.
"We've had a few chats about managing the game better and you come to somewhere like here, you're not going to go rushing after balls when you're drawing."
"It's mixed emotions, but to come here, get a clean sheet and a point is very pleasing. In the end, we could have won the game, but I am pleased - and that is the overriding feeling at the moment."
- 26KalasBooked at 64mins
- 7LeadbitterBooked at 79mins
- 31FabbriniSubstituted forKikeat 80'minutes
- 10De PenaBooked at 27minsSubstituted forAdomahat 57'minutes
- 24LonerganSubstituted forLewisat 77'minutes
- 33BurnBooked at 34mins
- 3GarbuttBooked at 88mins
- 19TunnicliffeBooked at 42mins
- 18PringleSubstituted forFredericksat 90'minutes
- Peter Bankes
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Fulham 0.
Attempt missed. Ross McCormack (Fulham) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Fredericks.
Attempt missed. Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Adam Clayton.
Substitution, Fulham. Ryan Fredericks replaces Ben Pringle.
Luke Garbutt (Fulham) is shown the yellow card.
Hand ball by Kike (Middlesbrough).
Offside, Middlesbrough. Grant Leadbitter tries a through ball, but David Nugent is caught offside.
Attempt saved. George Friend (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Ryan Tunnicliffe.
Attempt missed. Kike (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Grant Leadbitter with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Kike replaces Diego Fabbrini.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Jamie O'Hara.
Attempt blocked. Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by David Nugent.
Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Hand ball by Grant Leadbitter (Middlesbrough).
Attempt missed. Jamie O'Hara (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ben Pringle.
Substitution, Fulham. Joe Lewis replaces Andy Lonergan because of an injury.
Lasse Vigen Christensen (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough).