A late screamer from midfielder Barry Robson helped Boro keep up the pressure on Championship leaders Southampton at the Riverside.
Robson cut in from the right and unleashed a thunderous 30 yard strike that caught the whole of the Riverside by surprise and brightened up a game that was at times a tedious affair. Both sides found chances few and far between as the teams cancelled each other out courtesy of their tight defensive qualities. However, the Scotland internationals late effort was enough for Boro to register their fourth win on the bounce and send them level on points with second place West Ham.
Both home and away fans turned out in force for the Boxing day fixture and provided an excellent atmosphere for the clash of two promotion chasers, with 27,794 spectators at the game – the highest attendance of the season at the Riverside.
The game started at a furious pace and Middlesbrough made a bright start enjoying the majority of possesion without creating many clear-cut chances. It was the away side that first hit the target with Jason Steele saving smartly from Aaron Mclean and Andy Dawson after Matty Fryatt missed a decent headed chance.
Boro were second best for the majority of the first half, and it took them till well in to the second period to seriously test Hull keeper Peter Gulasci, who had to react quickly to prevent Belgium international midfielder Faris Haroun from scoring his second goal in as many games.
The visitors missed one more opportunity when midfielder Paul Mckenna dragged his shot horribly wide. Ex Celtic man Robson then lashed in the unstoppable winner in the 87th minute to amaze the swelled home support. Robson and sub Merouane Zemmama frustrated Hull defender Liam Rosenior in the corner in the final minutes to make sure of the win and keep up Boro’s impressive record of only one home defeat for the season.
The result leaves the fans on Teesside reflecting on an impressive year under former club Captain Tony Mowbray which had seen the team go from relegation battlers to serious promotion contenders. Mowbray’s men will go into their New year’s eve clash with Peterborough at the Riverside confident, after taking 12 points from their last possible 12 on offer.