After fourteen games of the season these two sides met as the bottom two of the championship at the Riverside.
Middlesboro's new boss Tony Mowbray made two changes for his second team selection since his arrival while George Burley made four changes to the side which lost their last home game against Swansea City.
He was able to welcome back Darren Ambrose and Neil Danns after injury lay offs and Alex Marrow returned to the midfield after illness.
The visitors had the first chance to break the deadlock and this was in the first minute of the match. James Vaughan got on the end of a cross from the left and
his close range header was only kept out because of an excellent one handed save by Jason Steele.
It was not long before the Palace 'keeper at the other end was called into his first save of the afternoon. Joe Bennett turned and shot inside the box and Julian Speroni tipped
the effort over the bar.
Palace looked dangerous on the break and this was in evidence just before the quarter hour mark when Pablo Counago broke down the right and put the ball across the
face of goal where Nathaniel Clyne had got forward but his effort went just inches wide as Steele came out to challenge him for the ball.
There was action at both ends in an open first half and it was Speroni who was called upon to keep his side level on 16 minutes. A free kick was tapped wide to Kris Boyd and his left foot shot had to be turned over the bar by the 'keeper.
The home fans were calling for a spot kick a couple of minutes later as Julio Arca thought he was fouled under a challenge in the box but referee Mark Haywood waved away the appeals.
The opening goal of the afternoon came through a mistake by the home side as they were breaking forward. A pass was misjudged and was picked up by Counago as he broke clear and passed the ball out wide to Marrow, the ball came back across goal and Counago put the ball into the net to give the visitors the lead.
The half closed with a shot from Bennett for the home side which went wide of Speroni's left hand post but it was the bottom placed side who went into the break with the narrow advantage.
The home side made a change at the break as Leroy Lita was introduced the action and his pace was to produce more of a threat from the home side as they looked to come back and pick up their first win in eight matches.
Mowbray's side were denied twice early in the second period by Speroni. Arca was denied when from just yards out as he volleyed a shot towards goal and then Lita side footed a chance towards goal and the 'keeper managed to push the chance away from danger.
The Palace defence were showing some great character to keep their side ahead and just past the hour mark were called upon again. Lita got down the right hand side and crossed into the box and after a scrambled clearance the ball fell to Tony McMahon, who fired in a low shot but the backline were thankful to see this blocked.
Another change from Mowbray was to have an impact on the game as Tarmo Kink came on after 71 minutes. He was not on the field long before he got on the end of a Scott McDonald cross but saw his volley go wide of the target.
It was not though before the Estonian did find the target. With fifteen minutes left a clearance fell to him on just inside the box and he wasted no time in firing the ball towards goal and his effort found its way into the net giving Speroni no chance this time.
The volume of the home support in the 15,000 crowd certainly went up some at this stage and Boro were looking for all three points but Palace knew the same for them and they would be off the bottom of the table.
Wilfried Zaha had by now been introduced to the game to try and get that all important second but it was at the other end that the goal attempts were happening. Kink tried to add to his earlier effort but his shot with nine minutes remaining went over the bar.
The deciding goal was not too far away though and on 84 minutes Paddy McCarthy put the ball into his own net. McMahon crossed from the wing and the ball was headed down in the box and the defender turned the ball past Speroni to give all three points to Middlesbrough.
Four minutes of added time was played but Palace couldn't find an equaliser and the long trip back south was made with disappointment having held the lead in the game until just fourteen minutes remained.
Middlesbrough :- Steele, McMahon, Wheater, McManus (Bailey 38),Bennett, Williams (Kink 70), Bates, Thomson, Arca, McDonald, Boyd (Lita 46)
Subs not used : Ripley, Hoyte, Smallwood, Tavares.
Crystal Palace :- Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Barrett, Wright (N'Diaye), Ambrose, Danns (Dorman 74), Marrow, Garvan, Counago (Zaha 59), Vaughan.
Subs not used : Mann, Andrew, Djilali, Obika,
Bookings : Marrow (54)
Attendance 15,400 (505 Palace) Referee : M. Haywood (West Yorkshire).