Burnley moved another point closer to securing their Premier League survival with a goalless draw against Boro at the Riverside.
With six games remaining Sean Dyche's side are now eight points clear of 18th place Swansea City and six clear of Hull City, with a far superior goal difference, as their rivals were beaten by West Ham United and Manchester City respectively.
While Boro had the better of the ball, Burnley created more genuine openings though, once again, neither goalkeeper was tested.
Record signing Robbie Brady was closest to breaking the deadlock with a trademark set-piece after Ashley Barnes was clattered by Daniel Ayala.
The Republic of Ireland international, stood over the ball alongside Joey Barton, bent his effort over the wall from 20 yards out but clipped the top of the crossbar with Victor Valdes providing a covering arm underneath.
Midweek match-winner George Boyd also had a good opportunity to test the former Barcelona stopper but, after collecting the ball inside the box from Matt Lowton's cross, the winger sliced wide of the target.
Surprisingly, considering former boss Aitor Karranka was adverse to long ball tactics, striker Rudy Gestede was utilised as the home side's main outlet.
However, when Steve Agnew's side played the patient approach they stretched Burnley's back line.
Having worked the ball from left to right, Antonio Barragan's delivery was glanced wide by the one-time Blackburn Rovers forward after edging ahead of Ben Mee to meet the ball.
Boro's best chance landed in the latter stages of the half when Gestede, a constant menace in the air, flicked on Grant Leadbitter's free kick to Ayala at the back post, the defender drilled the ball back across goal but Christhian Stuani was unable to adjust his feet to convert from close range.
Both sides had chances to get their noses in front after the interval but neither made their chances count.
The hosts were the first to threaten when Downing peeled away at the far post to guide Adam Clayton's cross goalwards only for Michael Keane to get ahead of Stuani on the line to clear.
Then, from the resulting corner, Heaton plunged to his right hand upright to keep out Gestede's header.
After Downing's volley travelled comfortably wide, the Clarets had a big chance to open the scoring.
Ward did exceptionally well on the left flank to carve space close to the bye-line, Ashley Barnes let the full back's pass run and Brady, on his favoured side, stroked the ball wide of the upright.
Heaton has made some big saves for the Clarets this season and he added to his repertoire when keeping substitute Alvaro Negredo's acrobatic strike out.
Agnew went for the jugular, introducing both Adama Traore and Patrick Bamford on the back of Negredo's introduction, as Boro searched for the three points that they so desperately needed.
The Spaniard, signed from Aston Villa, had an immediate impact but, after beating Ward and Mee, the 21-year-old was let down by Clayton's finish.
Ward was a leading contender for the man of the match accolade, at both ends of the pitch, and his productivity in the final third almost secured a first win on the road for the Clarets this term.
The full back beat his marker yet again to close in on goal and picked out Sam Vokes but a combination of Valdes and Bernardo foiled the substitute.
Brady had another chance to add to his spectacular strike against Chelsea on his Turf Moor debut with a free kick central to goal later in the second half. However, the midfielder's effort dropped over the bar.
Leadbitter had a chance from a similar position at the other end and would've scored had it not been for the intervention of Lowton.
The right back raced to the line as soon as the Boro skipper's boot connected with the ball and flicked wide of the upright.
Lowton was then well positioned again to hack clear off the line when Ayala won the header from the resulting corner.
Ayala did eventually fire the ball home but referee Martin Atkinson silenced celebrations when stopping play due to injury to Jeff Hendrick.