Davis strike sinks Boro
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Davis struck in the 38th minute of a game largely dominated by the hosts who claimed a welcome three points to steer them somewhat away from the relegation battle.
Boro had not scored away from home since September 28 and it was clear to see why as they offered little throughout the game, although Fulham's inability to finish off the travel sick opponents threatened to give Steve McClaren's men a chance.
Facundo Sava had an early chance to put the hosts ahead when he had a free header from seven yards out but got it all wrong and the ball went wide.
Alain Goma and goalkeeper Maik Taylor nearly gave Boro a chance after 17 minutes when they left the ball to each other to give Noel Whelan a sniff of a chance but the keeper eventually took charge and gathered.
Davis forced a tidy save from Mark Schwarzer on 21 minutes when he was given time and space on the edge of the box to turn a shoot goalwards.
Steve Marlet turned Tony Vidmar on the edge of the box and powered a shot towards goal but Gareth Southgate stood firm to deflect the ball wide for a corner.
Jean Tigana's side were dominating the game as the visitors offered little in attack, and it was easy to understand why they had not scored away from the Riverside in the Premiership since September 28.
Fulham made their dominance tell on 38 minutes when Davis notched his third goal of the season.
Sylvain Legwinski stroked a superb ball through the heart of Boro's defence and Davis latched onto the ball to coolly poke it beyond Schwarzer into the bottom corner.
Despite Boro's poor showing in the first 45 minutes they could have gone in level thanks to an almighty blunder by Taylor who came for a long ball only to let it bounce over his head and towards goal, before Martin Djetou's alertness prevented an embarrassing equaliser.
Marlet had the chance to double Fulham's lead two minutes after the restart when he beat Schwarzer in the air following a penalty box scramble.
The ball then dropped to the Frenchman only for him to blaze over from close range.
Boro then mustered up some pressure of themselves and enjoyed their best spell when Massimo Maccarone flashed across the face of the goal, before substitute Joseph Desire Job forced Taylor into a good save.
Marlet could have settled matters on 56 minutes when he went to collect Sava's clever flick but was unable to control the ball on the penalty spot and wasted a glorious chance to make it 2-0.
Sava then had a chance of his own just after the hour when he climbed well to meet a corner only to see his thumping header smack the crossbar and rebound away from danger.
Bjarne Goldbaek then unleashed a screamer from range and Schwarzer was forced to save at full length to tip round the post.
Djetou had a late chance from a header as Fulham continued to torture their opponents down the flanks but yet again were unable to find the finish to kill the game off.
Middlesbrough could not magic up an equaliser and fell to their tenth away defeat of the season, seven of which have been by a 1-0 scoreline.
The three points gives Fulham some welcome breathing space near the foot of the table as they try to avoid getting involved in the relegation scrap.