West Ham United arrived at the Riverside Stadium on the back of a very encouraging week, having beaten Crystal Palace seven days before and signing Jose Fonte from Southampton on Friday night. A win would be a fine way of ending that and that is exactly what they did.
The away side started the game the brightest and should have been in front two minutes in when Michail Antonio missed from Aaron Cresswell's cross in the six-yard box. A huge chance squandered.
But West Ham didn't have to wait much longer to open the scoring when Manuel Lanzini swung a corner into the six yard box and who else, but Andy Carroll drove into the danger area and sent a bullet-header into the top corner on nine minutes.
Middlesbrough piled on the pressure after this and were well deserved of their equaliser as the half an hour mark approached. It started with Alvaro Negredo's soft, cushion header to Adama Traore at the head of the centre-circle. Traore controlled with his heel and played Calum Chambers in down the right, and he crossed for Cristhian Stuani to side-foot home at the far post.
The hammers were very bright after conceding and managed to go back in front just before half time. They broke, and Middlesbrough defended well initially, but Antonio was allowed to shoot with power from the edge of the box and Victor Valdes parried straight into the path of Carroll, who tapped home. West Ham went into the break 2-1 in front.
Manuel Lanzini should have put West Ham 3-1 in front very early in the second half when he was played straight in by Carroll, but he took a loose touch and shot meekly into the hands of Valdes.
Middlesbrough were so unlucky not to be level in the 64th minute when Traore done brilliantly again, beating players with skill and releasing Negredo. The Spaniard's low cross was speculative but Cresswell cleared against the body of Stuani and it bounced off him to hit the bar.
Chances were few and far between as the game went on and West Ham finally killed the game off in stoppage time when they broke with four on two, played it past the defenders but the final ball to Lanzini was overhit. He managed to keep it in though, and pull the ball back for Jonathan Calleri to have his shot deflected and send Valdes the wrong way.
The game finished 3-1 and West Ham sit in a very comfortable position of 10th. Middlesbrough are still close to the bottom three and are definitely in for a relegation battle if results continue the way they have.
Goalkeeper and defence
Darren Randolph (7) - It was another assured performance from the Republic of Ireland number one. He could do nothing about the goal conceded and made some impressive saves. He also commanded his area well on set pieces and made the right decisions when clearing from danger.
Aaron Cresswell (6) - He is one of the players that has been slightly underwhelming with his performances of late. He hasn't quite been the same since his England call up and yesterday he was at major fault in the second half and was lucky that Middlesbrough didn't score from it.
Winston Reid (7) - He is West Ham's most consistent player this year by some distance. He is the leader at the back and very rarely does anything go through him. This is the form he was showing a couple of seasons ago when he attracted attention from some of the biggest clubs in England.
Angelo Ogbonna (5) - Reports circulated in the week that he had been playing the majority of the season with an injury and had to play as numbers were short at the back. It didn't surprise many people as his performances have been very poor in recent weeks and yesterday was no different. He was way too slow tracking back and lost his man for their goal. His season is over now though as he has to have surgery on his knee and the signing of Jose Fonte looks to have added significance.
Sam Byram (6) - It was a very average performance from the young right back. He didn't do anything majorly wrong but he was beaten a couple of times too easily on that flank. For the goal he lost his man but that wasn't his fault as he drifted into the centre to cover for Ogbonna.
Midfield and attack
Mark Noble (5) - The West Ham skipper was pretty poor. He made a few good challenges but he lost possession too many times and never really looked to go forward. He was taken off 10 minutes into the second half with a knock so there was nothing else to report.
Pedro Obiang (7) - The holding midfielder is another one of West Ham's most consistent players this season. He is so calm and composed on the ball and wins the majority of his 50/50s. His distribution was also very good.
Sofiane Feghouli (6) - It was a performance of no real spark compared to the week before against Crystal Palace. He had his moments but didn't really get into the game enough.
Manuel Lanzini (8) - He followed up his goal the week before with two assists yesterday. His corner which met the head of Andy Carroll was perfect and he put it on a plate for Calleri to finish the game off. He was also very good on the ball and gave the defence a lot of things to think about.
Michail Antonio (8) - It was another good performance from him. He caused the opposition defence so many problems and he's so strong when running with the ball that it is hard to knock him off of it. His bullet shot from outside the area in the first half was very unlucky not to go in and forced a great save from Victor Valdes, which gifted Andy Carroll a goal from the rebound.
Andy Carroll (8) - He showed why he is so important to this side when he is fit and full of confidence. Whenever West Ham go forward, you know that he is going to be a threat and there is no one else quite like him anywhere in the league. He looks to be thriving under the pressure of being the clubs main man up top.
Edimilson Fernandes (6) - He was brought on in place of the injured Mark Noble and it was pretty much a like for like swap. He couldn't get involved and his attempts to square it for the third goal went horrible wrong. He was just lucky that Lanzini kept it in play and they scored anyway.
Jonathan Calleri (6) - He was brought on for Andy Carroll, who went off after a slight groin strain, and made no real impact. The effort was there at times and even though he did score, it was a very lucky deflection which put the ball past Valdes.
James Collins (N/A) - He didn't really get enough time to make an impact. He was brought on with time running out to sure the defence up more than anything. It was a sensible change from Slaven Bilic and it certainly did the team no harm.