Dwight Yorke rounded off an excellent holiday period for Blackburn with the winning goal in a 1-0 victory that saw Middlesbrough's dismal away record plumb new depths.
Yorke linked up with Andy Cole to score the sort of goal that made them a partnership to be feared during their days at Manchester United.
As for Middlesbrough, it is now more than 11 hours of football since they managed to score a league goal away from home - September 28 at Tottenham was the last time - and they can have had few complaints at the outcome.
Boro boss Steve McClaren brought back Massimo Maccarone and Alen Boksic in his search for goals. But both looked out of sorts, and the Italian striker's personal scoring problem - it was also September 28 when he last found the back of the net - must be a serious cause of concern.
Middlesbrough did have the best of the early chances and were handed an opportunity to end their barren spell when Martin Taylor took out Joesph-Desire Job outside the box, but Franck Queudrue swung the free-kick a yard past the top corner.
There was a bad blow for the visitors when less than five minutes into the match Ugo Ehiogu left the action after being injured in an aerial challenge with Brad Friedel, and Tony Vidmar took his place.
A fabulous sweeping move, begun by a delicate Maccarone back-heel, then saw Job latch on to Stuart Parnaby's low centre and bring a good stop out of Friedel.
The match, which had never really caught alight, then drifted into a period of extreme dreariness which was barely enlivened when Job cut in from the right and ballooned his shot over.
Seventeen-year-old James McEveley finally livened things up with a stirring run down the left which opened the way to goal for Cole only for Mark Wilson to step in with a timely tackle and stifle the Blackburn attack.
Maccarone must have wondered how he failed to score when Geremi, Parnaby and Boksic carved open Blackburn down the left -but the Italian missed the ball by a whisker.
That escape seemed to stir Blackburn into action, and Mark Schwarzer denied Cole with a good parry after David Thompson had burst through the centre of midfield.
At half-time Souness injected some much-needed vitality into his side by bringing on Keith Gillespie, and Vidmar had to be on his toes to block Thompson - while Garry Flitcroft was not too far off the mark from 25 yards.
The home side mounted a series of probing attacks with Thompson the chief prompter, but when Cole did get his head to McEveley's cross he did not make enough contact to really test Schwarzer.
The visiting goalkeeper was a relieved man when Neill's low shot took a nasty deflection off a defender and dribbled inches past the post.
Rovers' reward for their positive attitude finally came with a goal in the 57th minute. Gillespie began the move, clipping a low ball into the box which Yorke stepped over before picking up a fortunate touch from Cole and rifling home from 12 yards.
McEveley then left the Boro crossbar wobbling frantically when he struck a sweet drive from 25 yards which hit the top of the woodwork.
Schwarzer produced a one-handed save of the highest quality to thwart Cole as Blackburn tried to press home their advantage, before McEveley earned a free-kick 25 yards out with a lovely turn to deceive Wilson.
The young defender had picked up a knock, however, and departed to a standing ovation.
Schwarzer spilled Thompson's smartly-struck drive from the free-kick but managed to grab the loose ball a second before Cole arrived.
Tugay nearly rounded it off in style, but Schwarzer once again produced an excellent diving save.
Ugo Ehiogu was taken to hospital with fractured ribs and a punctured lung to
compound Middlesbrough's misery from another blank away day.
The England defender was injured five minutes into the game against Blackburn
after an aerial collision with Rovers goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Ehiogu was able to walk off the pitch but was taken to a local hospital while
his team-mates went down 1-0. It is now seven away games - a total of 11 hours
and two minutes - since Boro have scored an away goal.
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren said: 'Ugo has got fractured ribs, a
punctured lung and is in hospital.
'We are not having much luck as it is and that was a real blow to us.'
Dwight Yorke scored the only goal, finishing sweetly after stepping over Keith
Gillespie's pass and collecting Andy Cole's deflected flick.
McClaren added: 'The key to all football matches is when you are on top,
controlling the game and creating the chances you have to take them.
'In the first half we took the game to Blackburn, looked the better team,
created chances and failed to take them.
'Things were bound to change in the second half and it was a big
disappointment for us.'
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness was jubilant after the victory - it could have
been more but 17-year-old's James McEveley's superb 25-yard drive struck the
Souness said: 'I thought in the first 45 minutes it looked like two tired
teams - the holiday period has taken its toll - and I said to my players at
half-time that if they could just step up another gear we would win this game
and that's how it turned out.
'Losing Ugo Ehiogu was an enormous blow to them, but we had some really good
performances in the second half.
'Andy Cole was outstanding and Yorke got a good goal - how many times have
you seen one of them step over the ball, pick up the pass from the other and
score although on this occasion we got a bit of luck with the bounce of the
'You have to be happy with eight points from four games over Christmas. It
has been a good holiday season for us other than two hamstring injuries for
Damien Duff and Craig Short.'