Palace kept their seventh clean sheet in a row at Selhurst as James Vaughan's goal proved enough to give Dougie Freedman his first win as manager.
Dougie Freedman handed a debut to new signing Dean Moxey and partnered Jermaine Easter with James Vaugan up front as Palace looked to take the game to Middlesbrough in the early stages.
Moxey in particular started well and it was from his long throw that the first half-chance of the game came, with Vaughan's clever flick almost finding Ambrose in the area. With David Wright and Alex Marrow covering in defensive midfield, Moxey was given the freedom to raid forward and he again found Vaughan minutes later and the young striker turned well but fired wide.
Middlesbrough then found their feet with Leroy Lita first seeing his header well-blocked at the far post and then, after latching onto a through ball, was only denied by a superb last ditch tackle from the returning Anthony Gardner.
Then a quick free-kick from Boro was tapped to Julio Arca who thumped a 20 yard strike onto the post with Speroni helpess, Boro continued to press and look dangerous from set-pieces with Kris Boyd unlucky to see his well-struck shot go just over. Lita again latched onto a through ball, this time from Jonathan Franks, but dragged his shot wide when he should have done better.
The Eagles then came again with Darren Ambrose's short-corner almost falling to a Palace player, and then Moxey digging out a great cross that just evaded Vaughan.
A huge mistake by Seb Hines then changed the game with Vaughan taking advantage in the best way possible, sprinting in behind the defence after Hines completely missed a long clearance and Vaughan's shot taking a huge deflection of Jonathan Grounds and looping into the net for 1-0.
It remained 1-0 at the break, and Palace started the second half well with first Jermaine Easter going close on the break and then Moxey's clever quick throw finding Ambrose in the box and the midfielder drawing a good save from Jason Steele with Vaughan just beaten to the rebound.
Middlesbrough hadn't offered much going forward but Nicky Bailey's rising drive on 72 minutes at least made Speroni work for his clean sheet. Wilfried Zaha continued to look bright for Palace and Iversen replaced Vaughan but it was Boro who threatened next with substitute Scott McDonald heading over from close range.
A great combination between Iversen and Counago almost got Zaha in but Steele was quick enough off his line to avert the danger as Selhurst watched the clock tick down.
In the end, Vaughan's goal proved enough to win it for Palace as they kept their seventh clean sheet in a row at Selhurst.
Crystal Palace: 1. Speroni, 2. Clyne, 3. Wright, 5. McCarthy (c), 7. Ambrose (Scannell '60), 16. Zaha, 19. Easter (Counago '70), 20. Vaughan (Iversen '78), 29. Moxey, 30. Marrow, 31. Gardner
Subs Not Used: 13. Price, 6. Barrett, 10. Garvan, 4. Davis
Middlesbrough: 30. Steele, 10. Bailey, 29. McMahon, 9. Boyd, 24. Hines, 20. Arca, 15. Lita, 27. Bennett, 28. Franks, 26. Taylor, 4. Bates (c)
Subs: 39. Ripley, 23. Grounds, 7. McDonald, 33. Smallwood, 38. Park, 19. Halliday, 3. Haas
Att: 14,060 (1,315) Ref: Mr R East