Luton Town secured back-to-back wins for the first time since August as they won 1-0 at Middlesbrough.
Ryan Tunnicliffe scored the only goal of the game as the Hatters won away in the North East on a blustery afternoon.
Victory at the Riverside Stadium was a first away since beating Blackburn at Ewood Park in September, and was a first away Championship clean sheet of the season. It also ended a run of 12 straight defeats away from Graeme Jones’ side.
Luton are now 4 points from safety, with 4th bottom Stoke losing at QPR, although the battle at the bottom has tightened as Wigan drew at Cardiff and Barnsley stunned promotion chasing Fulham.
Tunnicliffe’s goal was the game’s only shot on target. It came just after the quarter hour mark, as the midfielder volleyed home Dan Potts’ cross. The strike was his first since joining Luton last summer.
In a tight first half, defences proved to be on top, with very little created by either side in response to the game’s opener – a stark contrast to a the lively 3-3 draw played out by the two sides on the opening day.
Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu looked dangerous for the away side, with the midfielder firing wide twice just after the restart – the second via a deflection.
The single best chance for Middlesbrough to equalise came in the final quarter of an hour. A cross fell for substitute Britt Assombalonga, only for the highly regarded striker to head wide when well placed.
Despite losing Potts to a head injury late on and six minutes added on, the away side ground out the win. The result means Luton have back-to-back victories after their midweek triumph over Sheffield Wednesday, on a day that saw the Championship relegation battle tighten up.
Luton will seek to build further momentum in a big game next week, as they welcome fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic to Kenilworth Road.