MIDDLESBROUGH suffered their second successive league defeat at the Riverside after losing 1-0 to Reading.
They did create chances in either half, but a lack of cutting edge in the final third punished Aitor Karanka’s side, who were booed off at the final whistle.
Boro started brightly with Grant Leadbitter’s improvised free-kick finding Adam Reach in the fifth minute, but the winger’s tame shot was easily saved by Federici.
The Royals keeper was called into action again less than a minute later when Albert Adomah fired a shot across goal, but Federici got a strong hand to the ball.
The opening five minutes had been dominated by the hosts, but they were punished for not taking chances when Reading took the lead with their first two minute later.
Ryan Edwards received the ball from Oliver Norwood in the middle and sent a looping ball over the top to an unmarked Cox, who had time to take a touch before sending a cheeky lob over Tomas Mejias.
The goal seemed to settle the visitors, who seemed happy to play the ball around and frustrate their opponents, and it took awhile before the hosts came back into the game.
Leadbitter and Lee Tomlin both went close from range, before Spanish striker Kike saw a low shot saved by Federici.
Adam Reach then sent a dangerous cross to Clayton at the back post, but his first-time shot sailed wide of the mark.
Karanka’s men missed a great opportunity to draw level on the stroke of half time when Leadbitter’s corner found the unmarked Kike, but his powerful header flew over the bar.
In the second half, Reading continued to protect their lead, but their time-wasting, particularly from Federici, infuriated the hosts as they chased for an equaliser.
Karanka introduced Patrick Bamford in the hope of injecting some energy into his side, but it was Reach who went agonizingly close to leveling when his shot deflected off Chris Gunter onto the post.
In the 90th minute Leadbitter sent a dangerous ball into the box that Federici missed, but Boro strikers Kike and Bamford also failed to connect at the back post.