Two Lee Tomlin strikes sent Preston North End crashing out of the Capital One Cup as he fired Middlesbrough to a 3-1 win at the Riverside Stadium.
North End went out in the second round of the Capital One Cup for the second year on the trot thanks to two stellar shots by Tomlin and an unfortunate own goal.
Tomlin opened the scoring for the Championship outfit in the 51st minute as his fierce free-kick sailed past Jamie Jones into the top left hand corner.
But North End launched an immediate fight back as Jordan Hugill bagged his first goal for the club on his first official start minutes later as he pounced at the back post heading past Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Pacy Boro winger Albert Adomah fired a tempting cross into the North End box and Tom Clarke slid in at the near post but diverted the ball past his team mate Jones to restore Boro’s advantage.
And former Peterborough player Tomlin sealed the victory in the 65th minute as he tore through PNE’s defence and sent a low shot rocketing past Jones into the bottom right hand corner.
PNE manager Simon Grayson made seven changes for the Capital One Cup second round clash against Middlesbrough.
Only Jones, Clarke, Jack King and Scott Laird remained from the starting XI that beat Oldham 1-0 at Deepdale on Saturday.
Ben Davies, Alan Browne and Neil Kilkenny returned to the starting line-up as North End set up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Club captain John Welsh, Will Hayhurst and Scott Wiseman made their first starts of the season. But Welsh came off with a slight injury late in the game.
In the 16th minute PNE defender Clarke was on hand to powerfully head Emilio Nsue’s fierce cross out for a corner at the near post.
King suffered a bust nose after clashing with a Boro defender in the host’s box.
And in the 25th minute a teasing Laird cross fell to Hayhurst unmarked on the right hand side of the box. But the youngster’s first touch was too heavy and flew towards the grateful grasp of Boro keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Boro’s Adomah was booked by referee Mark Haywood for upending Hayhurst as he sprinted down the right wing in the 31st minute.
Bradley Fewster found space in the PNE box and appeared to be clean through on goal but Welsh managed to recover and poked the ball away from the Boro striker’s feet before he could test Jones in the 33rd minute.
Boro were forced into a change in the 41st minute as the lively Nsue failed to recover from Kilkenny’s crunching tackle. The Australian midfielder was booked for the foul and Adam Reach came on to replace the right winger.
And after a lacklustre first 45 the game exploded into life minutes after the restart.
At the start of the second half Middlesbrough appealed in vain for a penalty as Fewster advanced into the box. The striker was challenged by Clarke and despite Boro’s protestations the referee ruled that the PNE defender had won the ball fairly.
And minutes later the hosts took the lead as Tomlin sent a set-piece on the edge of the box soaring into the top right corner in the 51st minute.
But North End equalised moments later as Hugill latched on to King’s flick-on from Hayhurst’s teasing ball and bagged his first goal for the club in the 54th minute.
But Boro restored their lead moments later as Clarke diverted Adomah’s fizzing right wing cross beyond his own keeper Jones in the 57th minute.
James Husband whipped the ball into the box and Adomah stole in at the back post but Jones got down quickly to stop the shot.
Moments later Tomlin bagged his second as he stormed his way down the middle channel, danced through PNE’s defence before firing a fierce low shot home in the 66th minute.
In the 78th minute Kike nearly caught PNE out. The substitute striker nearly latched on to a back pass as Jones came out to clear on the edge of his box but Clarke recovered to mop up the danger.
PNE: Jones, Wiseman, Clarke, King, B Davies, Browne, Welsh (Brownhill, 63), Kilkenny, Hayhurst, Laird (Little, 77), Hugill (K Davies, 68). Subs not used: Stuckmann, Gallagher, Garner, Woods.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Damia, Ayala, Clayton, Tomlin (Ledesma, 69), Hines, Husband, Whitehead, Nsue (Reach, 41), Adomah (Kike, 77), Fewster. Subs not used: Mejias, Friend, Leadbitter, Omeruo.
Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)
10,727 (PNE 389)