It was another efficient performance from the Hornets, who were never spectacular but always solid. They might, on reflection, regret not going for the jugular and putting this one to bed much earlier. They certainly had enough off the ball and the lion's share of the chances. Boro made them pay for not taking them and scored with their only shot on target. That's just the way it goes sometimes.
Still, it's one defeat in 12 games and, a month or even a fortnight ago, everyone would have taken a haul of 79 points and a nice little buffer over Brentford and Swansea with six games to play. The team have, it should be noted, six more points than they had at the same stage of the last Championship campaign – and we all know how that one panned out.
Just like Sheffield Wednesday on Good Friday, Boro made the Hornets work hard, as they were always going to when you are a group of players sent out by Warnock, their wily old fox of a manager. Warnock had done his homework and the upshot was a luke-warm start from the boys in black. There was no early storm to weather, like there probably would have been with a bumper crowd in, while the Hornets didn't come flying out of the traps like they have done at home. João Pedro and Philip Zinckernagel were very bright in the opening exchanges, enjoying skating around on a very slick pitch on Teesside. Boro wanted to make things difficult for the home side, as was evidenced by Darnell Fisher launching one clearance well over the East Stand, which was no mean feat. Their plan was to remain in the game for as long as possible and then have a got at the end.