Match ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.
Britt Assombalonga's early goal sent Middlesbrough back into the Championship play-off places as they saw off boss Tony Pulis' former club Stoke.
The DR Congo striker scored his 12th league goal of the season from close range after just two minutes at the Riverside to send Boro up to sixth, at the expense of Bristol City who earlier drew with Reading.
In a game of few efforts on goal, Benik Afobe and Sam Vokes went close for the visitors, sending headers wide.
But despite bossing possession, Nathan Jones' Potters were unable to find an equaliser as Pulis triumphed against the club he managed for 10 years over two spells.
The Teesiders' third straight Championship win puts them a point clear of Bristol City in seventh and three ahead of eighth-placed Derby - although both still have a game in hand.
Victory for Boro was also a first league win over Stoke in four attempts, since a 2-1 win in the 2008-09 season.
In truth, Stoke were probably good value for a point and restricted the hosts to few chances after Assombalonga's strike, but when Peter Etebo fired over late on, their hopes of forcing an equaliser disappeared.
The Potters remain 16th in the table, but have now won just three of their 17 league games under ex-Luton boss Jones, who took over from the sacked Gary Rowett in January.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis:
"I'm pleased with the win. We've played much better than that and lost games at this place.
"We've not been as fluent today. To have five players missing from the backline that we started with at the beginning of the season, it takes a lot of courage and determination from the players to go out there and play the way they played.
"They're having to do jobs they are not used to. Like I say, I think we've played better in other games than we have but we just haven't taken our opportunities and chances.
"It's all about results as a manager, if you don't get results you don't hang around long."
Stoke City manager Nathan Jones told BBC Radio Stoke:
"We've had enough chances to win the game, we were the better side. But that [defeat] is why we're in the position we are.
"It's hard to be positive because we've lost the game. If we had just added a little bit of quality we'd have won comfortably.
"14 chances, we've hit the target once. We need to bring a ruthless streak into the club."
- 8ClaytonBooked at 81mins
- 37BesicSubstituted forDowningat 55'minutes
- 18FletcherSubstituted forTavernierat 73'minutes
- 9AssombalongaSubstituted forHugillat 83'minutes
- 14BatthBooked at 82mins
- 11McCleanSubstituted forDioufat 85'minutes
- 9AfobeSubstituted forVerlindenat 71'minutes
- Darren Bond
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 0.
Foul by Danny Batth (Stoke City).
Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thomas Edwards following a corner.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Paddy McNair.
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Thomas Edwards.
Attempt missed. Peter Etebo (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Thibaud Verlinden following a set piece situation.
Thibaud Verlinden (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough).
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by George Saville.
Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces James McClean.
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill replaces Britt Assombalonga.
Danny Batth (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for dangerous play.
Dangerous play by Danny Batth (Stoke City).
Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Sam Vokes (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt blocked. James McClean (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Danny Batth (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Clucas with a cross.
Adam Clayton (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.