Frustrated Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray admitted his side had missed an opportunity to end their dismal run of form.
“We were very disappointed to only be 1-0 up at half-time as we had lots of opportunities to score and didn’t take them,” he said.
“We told them at half-time about concentrating, but Hull didn’t have to work hard for their first goal, and it gave their supporters a lift.
“Then they got the second goal and it gave us a result that we could not have foreseen at half-time.
“There are now four games left and I think we probably need to win three of them.
“We’ve been drawing games that we should have been winning.
“The way the league table is suggests that other teams have been on similar runs. Perhaps it has been partly due to inconsistency of selection, but I don’t want to make excuses as lots of teams have injuries.
“The performance level of the team is still pretty good and we know we can win football matches, but we have to score goals. We have to go and win games and we can’t keep giving teams goals.”
In an end-to-end opening, Fryatt and King went close while Scott McDonald had a shot blocked at the other end after good work from Tony McMahon.
But Middlesbrough took the lead after 13 minutes when Emnes beat the offside trap to latch on to Nicky Bailey’s through ball and slotted a cool right-footed finish beyond Vito Mannone.
Emnes streaked clear again minutes later, but Mannone produced a fine smothering save.
Hull should have equalised within a minute of the restart, but Corry Evans scuffed his shot when Fryatt’s cutback presented him with an open goal.
However, the hosts were on level terms 13 minutes into the second half, when King intercepted Barry Robson’s loose pass and rifled an unstoppable right-footed shot into the roof of the net.
With two minutes remaining, King produced a mazy run and slipped a pass through for Fryatt to poke home from eight yards.
King nearly created a third goal for Hull in stoppage time, but Evans fired wide.
Hull manager Nick Barmby hailed on-loan Manchester United forward Josh King after Matty Fryatt’s late winner ended his side’s run of five consecutive defeats with a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
The 20-year-old Norwegian levelled the scores after Marvin Emnes’ first half opener and then set up Fryatt’s 12th goal of the season to keep Barmby’s side in the play-off hunt.
“You could see Josh King getting stronger in the second half,” Barmby said.
“We need people to make things happen and he certainly did that. He nearly created a third goal too.
“I thought in the first 20 minutes we were the better side and we were unlucky not to score.
“We were on top, but the opposition hit us on the break. We got punished trying to play offside.
“Vito [Mannone] made a great save [from Emnes] when it was 1-0 and it was the turning point of the game. He’s been doing that for us all season.
“But then we got the players in at half-time and told them that we needed to be tighter as a team as our shape wasn’t right.
“We showed a lot of bravery on the ball in the second half, which was important. We don’t want anyone to be shying away from the ball, and we didn’t.”
Hull have now moved to within two points of Middlesbrough, who have slipped out of the play-off places on the back of a run of eight games without a win, but Barmby is playing down his team’s chances of gatecrashing the top six.
“No one has been saying we’ll do anything all season, so we’ll just try to keep playing as we did today and see what happens,” he said.
Hull: Mannone, Garcia, Chester, Cooper, Dawson, Evans, Cairney, King, Koren (Olofinjana 90), Brady (Stewart 77), Fryatt. Subs Not Used: Gulacsi, East, Cullen. Booked: Cooper, Evans. Goals: King 58, Fryatt 88.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, McManus, Hines, McMahon, Arca (Hammill 74), Bailey, Robson (Martin 87), Smallwood, McDonald, Emnes (Ogbeche 74). Subs Not Used: Thomson, Jutkiewicz. Goals: Emnes 13.
Att: 19, 613 Ref: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire).