A much-changed North End side bowed out of the Capital One Cup despite a fighting performance at the Riverside Stadium.
Two goals from Lee Tomlin and an own goal from Tom Clarke gave the home side the win, despite Jordan Hugill’s first goal for the Club against the Club he supports.
Lee Tomlin fired home a 20 yard free kick into the top scorer just after the break to give the home side the lead.
Hugill scored his goal, against the side he idolised as a boy, to level matters with a close range header just three minutes later.
However, it took another three minutes before Boro were back in front Adomah’s cross from the right turned into his own net at the front post by Tom Clarke under pressure from Bradley Fewster.
Tomlin then double his and the Teeside team’s lead with a solo run and finish from the edge of the box on 66 minutes and despite late pressure from North End they were unable to get a goal to get back in the game.
Manager Simon Grayson made seven changes to the side that recorded a win over Oldham three days previously; skipper John Welsh starting his first game of the season and Jordan Hugill making his full debut up front, flanked by Scott Laird and Will Hayhurst, also making his first start of the campaign.
The game started cagily and it took until the 11th minute for either side to carve out an opening; Boro’s Bradley Fewster the first to attempt a strike, only to see his effort deflected behind for the game’s first corner, which Hugill headed away from Adam Clayton’s cross.
Just after the quarter hour mark Emilio Nsue – whose night only lasted 41 minutes before an injury – drove over a cross from the right that was acrobatically headed behind by Jack King and again Hugill headed away Clayton’s corner.
On 19 minutes North End won their first corner, after Hugill’s head down to Kilkenny in the box was deflected behind for the crossing opportunity.
The best chance of the opening period fell to the yellows and Hayhurst, who was found at the back post by Scott Laird’s whipped cross, after some good build up play. The No.24 was unmarked, but the ball ricocheted off him and to a relieved Konstantopoulos in the home goal.
Just after the half hour mark some fantastic defending from Jack King denied Fewster after the ball ricocheted into his path 15 yards from goal - one-on-one with Jones – only for the PNE No.22 to recover to get in the tackle.
The home side broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half, a sweetly struck free kick from Lee Tomlin into the top right hand corner after John Welsh was harshly adjudged to have brought down the goalscorer 23 yards from goal just to the right of the ‘D’.
But it took only three minutes to level when Boro-born forward Hugill scored. It was a clever free kick from the middle of the half where Neil Kilkenny drove it wide left to Hayhurst instead of into the box and the Irish winger crossed perfectly to the front post where Jack King flicked it on and Hugill powered the ball into the net at the back post from a couple of yards out.
Aitor Karanka’s side were back in front on 57 minutes, Tom Clarke turning home Albert Adomah’s driven right wing cross at the near post under pressure from Bradley Fewster.
The centre half almost made amends before the hour mark as he found himself free at the back post to meet Hayhurst’s whipped free kick, but he couldn’t keep the ball down with Konstantopoulos beaten.
But it was 3-1 on 66 minutes as Tomlin took the ball off Josh Brownhill almost on half way and raced at the heart of the North End defence before evading a tackle and firing low from the edge of the box into the bottom left hand corner.
Jack King denied Bradley Fewster a fourth with yet another strong tackle when the young frontman seemed to be clean through on goal – another example of a strong performance at centre half from the 29-year-old.
In the final minute of normal time Andy Little found himself in the box in a right hand channel bearing down on goal, but he couldn’t keep his shot down to half the deficit and make the four minutes of stoppage time a nervy one for the home side and they held on for a place in the third round.
Middlesbrough line-up: Konstantopoulos, Damia, Ayala, Clayton, Tomlin (Ledesma, 68), Hines, Husband, Whitehead (c), Nsue (Reach, 41), Adomah (Kike, 77). Subs not used: Mejias, Friend, Leadbitter, Omeruo.
PNE line-up: Jones, Wiseman, B Davies, Welsh (c) (Brownhill, 63), Clarke, King, Hayhurst, Browne, Hugill (K Davies, 68), Kilkenny, Laird (Little, 77). Subs: Gallagher, Garner, Woods, Stuckmann.
Attendance: 10,727 (389 away fans)
Referee: Mr M Haywood