Boro continue to progress in cup
Tue 25th Sep 7.45pm
Middlesbrough completed their third away win in the Capital One Cup and second in rain-soaked Lancashire in the space of just four days with a 3-1 triumph at League One hosts Preston North End.
Emmanuel Ledesma and Merouane Zemmama both scored inside the opening eighteen minutes for the visitors, who were showing eleven changes from their win at Blackburn Rovers on Friday night.
However, Jack King pulled a goal back just before half-time until Richie Smallwood restored the two-goal advantage early in the second-half.
Boro midfielder Julio Arca struck over during the early exchanges while Smallwood sliced wide after Nicky Bailey had already threatened on a couple of separate occasions.
Seb Hines also headed over for the visitors before Ledesma's 13th minute corner deceived goalkeeper Steve Simonsen and appeared to cross the line, with Andrew Halliday making absolutely sure.
Five minutes later Zemmama powered home an emphatic second with a low shot from around twenty-yards after being found by Smallwood.
Only a fine full-length save from Simonsen then denied Ledesma a third before King turned well and fired past debutant Jayson Leutwiler to reduce the deficit.
That naturally boosted the home side and David Amoo and Joel Byrom were both close following the break before a defensive slip only located Zemmama on the edge of the area and Smallwood eventually tucked in number three.
Keeper Simonsen was also required to turn over from substitute Faris Haroun after ex-Wycombe Wanderers striker Stuart Beavon had already forced a decent block from Leutwiler.
The Swiss keeper then produced a couple of fine later saves while another Boro replacement, Marvin Emnes, saw an effort deflect onto an upright just before the end.
Preston North End: Simonsen, Laird, Huntington, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wroe, Byrom, Monakana (Hayhurst 79), Mousinho (Procter 86), King (Cummins 79), Amoo, Beavon
subs (unused): Stuckmann, Buchanan, Wright, Welsh
Goals: King (40)
Middlesbrough: Leutwiler, Parnaby, Hines, McManus, Halliday, Zemmama (Emnes 62), Bailey, Arca (Thomson 86), Smallwood, Ledesma (Haroun 63), L. Williams
subs (unused): Ripley, Amougou, Park, Jutkiewicz
Goals: Ledesma (13), Zemmama (18), Smallwood (61)