REPORT | Wanderers 1 Middlesbrough 3

Josh Dacres-Cogley applause

Two injury-time goals ended Wanderers’ hopes of a prolonged run in the Carabao Cup as Championship side Middlesbrough struck late to secure their place in round three.

Ian Evatt’s men led through Dion Charles’ fourth goal of the season and look good value for a potential upset as they more than matched their higher-ranked opposition for the first half of a gripping tie.

But the Teessiders managed to get themselves level before the break and then finally made their pressure pay minutes away from a penalty shoot-out as Wanderers’ resolute back line was finally breached again as substitutes Riley McGree and Morgan Rogers both found the net to give their side a slightly flattering margin of victory.

Charles goal net Boro

Wanderers made seven changes to their starting line-up as they gave a welcome return for the first time this season to fit-again defender Eoin Toal and handed opportunities to others to gain valuable game-time.

Toal was asked to fill the considerable boots of injured skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos in a re-shuffled back line in front of goalkeeper Joel Coleman, who was again given the nod for League Cup duty and untroubled in an impressive opening half-hour from the Whites.

Evatt’s men moved the ball well to stretch a Boro side looking to kick-start their season after a winless opening to their Championship campaign.

Wanderers looked a threat and deservedly went ahead mid-way through the opening half.

Charles had been a real livewire and, as is so often the case, he was in exactly the right place to pounce after Boro keeper Tom Glover could only parry out a shot from the fast-starting Josh Sheehan.

Charles celebration Boro

Wanderers – with Aaron Morley going close to a second with a shot he fizzed into the side netting – deserved their lead and having looked in control will have been disappointed to have allowed the visitors back into the game with a 33rd-minute equaliser seemingly out of nothing.

Former Accrington Stanley midfielder Matt Crooks made a forward run into the box and with Coleman off his line was able to lift the ball over the keeper into an unguarded net.

Coleman responded well to make a sharp save from Hayden Hackney in stoppage time from the Teessiders’ only other opening of the half but that proved to be his last piece of the action as he failed to shake off a knock and was replaced by Nathan Baxter at the break.

With an hour gone and Boro just starting to wind up the pressure, Evatt then made the first of his four outfield changes to send on the fresh legs of Josh Dacres-Cogley as both sides pushed to try and find a possible winner as the game became increasingly stretched.

Eoin Toal Middlesbrough

Boro’s pacy attack looked as though they might make one of their break-aways count but Wanderers stood firm with Toal enjoying a tremendous return as the lynch-pin in the centre of the Whites’ defence.

And with 10 minutes to go Wanderers had a chance to go back in front and possibly clinch victory.

Zac Ashworth, making the most of his starting chance, fed the ball into Charles but the striker, who had run his socks off, delayed just long enough for defender Dael Fry to get back and snuff out the danger.

That proved Wanderers’ last meaningful forward forward but they were only minute away from taking the tie to penalties when Boro pounced in stoppage time to book their passage through.

Paddy McNair had just seen a thundering effort touched over the bar at full stretch by Baxter but the Wanderers keeper was then powerless to keep out a superb strike from McGree.

McGree goal

With the Whites’ resistance finally broken, the Teessiders then added a third through Rogers as they advanced to leave Evatt’s men focusing back on League One and the chance to build on their fine start back at home to Derby County on Saturday.

Wanderers: Coleman (Baxter HT); Forrester (Dacres-Cogley, 62), Toal, Iredale; Thomason (Maghoma 70); Jones, Morley (Dempsey 80), Sheehan, Ashworth; Mendes Gomes (Bodvarsson 70), Charles. Substitutes: Nlundulu, Adeboyejo, Williams, Jerome.

Booked: Forrester, Thomason, Iredale, Ashworth

Middlesbrough: Glover; McNair, Fry, Lenihan, Engel; Barlaser, Hackney; Crooks (Rogers 78); Forss (Silvera 73), Latte Lath (Coburn 85), Jones (McGree 85). Substitutes: J Jones, Gilbert, Howson, Payero, Bilongo.

Booked: Jones, Crooks

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 8,624 (2,867)

Read Time: 4 mins