London: Middlesbrough edged ahead in the congested battle to reach the Premier League with a 1-0 victory at Norwich City that helped them leapfrog their promotion rivals at the top of the Championship table on Friday.
An own goal from Alexander Tettey after seven minutes proved enough as Middlesbrough climbed from fourth to first with 84 points.
Having begun the day in second spot, Norwich (82 points) are now fourth, a point below second-placed Bournemouth and beneath Watford on goal difference.
It was a well-crafted away performance from Middlesbrough who blasted out of the blocks and took an early lead before resolutely keeping the back door shut as the hosts piled forward later.
The visitors could have been out of sight as they ripped into Norwich in the opening 20 minutes with Jelle Vossen flashing an effort just wide before Tettey headed an Adam Clayton corner into his own net.
Middlesbrough`s top scorer Patrick Bamford, on loan from Chelsea, had a good chance to add to his 17 league goals this season but his effort was saved comfortably by John Ruddy.
An injury to Bamford, who landed awkwardly on his ankle but played on through the pain, seemed to switch the momentum of the game in Norwich`s favour.
City`s Jonny Howson made a mess of arguably their best chance when he headed wide from six metres and despite dominating possession in the second half the home team struggled to create meaningful opportunities.
Middlesbrough kept men behind the ball as the game went on and sought to hit Norwich on the break. Bamford should have increased their lead but shot wide when through on goal with eight minutes remaining.
Bournemouth host Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday while Watford entertain Birmingham City.
The top two in the Championship go up automatically and the next four teams go into the playoffs that determine one more promotion place.