Middlesbrough battled to a 2-1 victory at Brentford to keep pace with their Championship promotion rivals on Saturday.

On a weekend where leaders Norwich City, Leeds United and West Brom also won, Boro held on for an important three points away to a Brentford team who have now lost five of their last six.

Sheffield United were the only team in the top seven positions not to triumph.

After a quiet opening period, two goals in the space of five second-half minutes then proved decisive for Boro. The first came 11 minutes after the interval when Jonny Howson tapped into the path of Jordan Hugill to convert from close range, following up on his double against Wigan Athletic last time out.

It was then two as Marcus Tavernier headed into the far corner from Dael Fry's right-wing cross for his first league goal in over a year.

Alan Judge scored his first Championship goal since February 2016 to give Brentford hope, firing in through a crowd of bodies from 18 yards after substitute Josh Dasilva fed him from a quickly taken corner.

That prompted a late Brentford flurry, Sergi Canos' effort saved by Darren Randolph, who then produced a magnificent stop to deny Dasilva's thunderous shot from 30 yards, while Lewis Wing was just off target with a glorious chance at the other end as a frantic finish ended with Boro – now unbeaten in six - holding on.

Tributes were paid to former Brentford technical director Robert Rowan, who died at the age of 28 last week.