Boro ease into fourth round
Sat 5th Jan 3pm
Middlesbrough avoided any serious embarrassment with a routine 4-1 victory over Ryman Premier League side Hastings United in their FA Cup third round meeting at the Riverside.
Merouane Zemmama scored twice for the injury-hit hosts alongside Andy Halliday and Ishmael Miller, who also missed a penalty. Bradley Goldberg claimed the visitors a fine consolation from distance.
Boro as expected pressed early and Miller headed over a Luke Williams corner while Kevin Thomson had a 20-yard shot deflected behind.
And when Miller was brought down inside the area by Matt Whitehead on sixteen minutes they had the perfect chance to settle any lingering anxieties - until Hastings' on loan goalkeeper Liam O'Brien promptly fell to his right to meet Miller's penalty.
But five minutes later the recalled Zemmama curled into the top corner from 25-yards to earn them the lead.
Adam Reach next tried his luck for the hosts and Jamie Crellin saw an attempt diverted behind at the expense of a corner at the other end. Boro keeper Jason Steele was then forced into action from a deflected shot while Zemmama drove wide in reply and Miller was denied by O'Brien.
Two minutes into he second-half the home side doubled their advantage when Halliday poked in Luke Williams' corner at close-range.
Halliday went close to another as O'Brien saved from eight-yards, but Hastings continued their plucky approach with skipper Lee Carey forcing Steele to turn his shot against an upright.
His opposite number O'Brien - who only arrived on loan from Barnet on Friday - was at the centre of things again when next thwarting Zemmama from the edge of the area.
But the Moroccan midfielder added his second of the contest courtesy of a deflected strike from similar distance, although Goldberg swiftly flashed in a tremendous 25-yard effort to reduce the deficit.
Zemmama curled another free-kick wide as he went for his personal hat-trick before Miller's low shot finally completed the scoring with five minutes remaining.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby (Haroun 73), R. Williams, Bailey, Halliday, Reach, Zemmama (Morris 82), Thomson, Smallwood, L. Williams (Jones 61), Miller
subs (unused): Leutwiler, Burgess, Jutkiewicz, McDonald
Goals: Zemmama (22, 68), Halliday (47), Miller (85)
Hastings United: O'Brien, Cox (Manning 72), Whitehead, Ray, Jirbandi, Dixon (Okijie 76), Vickers (Ellis 51), Carey, Crellin, Camara, Goldburg
subs (unused): Howard, Daly, Richardson, Abbot
Goals: Goldburg (69)