Home side were on course for third win of the campaign when Aboubakar Kamara scored on 86 minutes but Boro hit back to earn a vital point on the road
CYRUS CHRISTIE was the unlikely hero for Middlesbrough as they made it seven games unbeaten by snatching a late point at Fulham.
The right-back popped up to rifle home a loose ball from a corner six yards out – just 120 seconds after Fulham thought they had sealed the win through Aboubakar Kamara’s header on 86 minutes.
But the ex-Derby County man kept a cool head to ensure Garry Monk’s in-form side returned north with a share of the spoils as the furstrations continued for Slavisa Jokanovic and his men.
Despite Boro’s recent good run they found themselves on the back foot for the majority of the first half.
And it was down their right that Fulham caused most problems through the pace and trickery of Ryan Sessegnon and Floyd Ayite.
Christie was certainly earning his wage trying to manage these two, but it proved too much when he received the first card of the game for a foul on former.
Oliver Norwood almost caught out the visitors from the resulting free-kick with a curling low effort heading straight towards the bottom corner, but luckily for Monk his ‘keeper Darren Randolph was alert to tip the ball round the post.
Ayite then sparked into life again as he jinked past Dael Fry and forced the Republic of Ireland stopper into action again.
That’s not to say it was all one-way traffic at the Cottage, and Lewis Baker in particular seemed to be on a mission to get his name on the scoresheet.
He tried his luck from range inside the first 20 seconds, and he would pull the trigger twice more in the opening period, the first effort being tipped over by David Button before sending another sailing above the bar.
Boro’s hopes were boosted further moments before the break when livewire Ayite was forced off through injury.
His absence did not stop Fulham from having the first real opportunity after the restart as Sessegnon failed to connect properly with Sheyi Ojo’s cross and fired over.
Back came Boro on the counter and Britt Assombalonga teed up Patrick Bamford, preferred in attack over Stewart Downing after his two goals midweek against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, but his fierce drive from 25 yards went inches wide of the target.
The big moment the game was craving was still to come and it fell to Kamara with 15 minutes remaining.
The Frenchman was slipped clean through by Rui Fonte but he spurned his big chance to be the hero as he ballooned the ball high and wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.
But he made amends just over ten minutes later as he seemed to hang in the air for an eternity after climbing above George Friend and Ben Gibson to head home at the back post.
However, his hopes of being a hero were snatched away from him by Christie to leave Fulham still searching for just their third victory of the campaign.