Middlesbrough maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win over League One Rochdale in the Carabao Cup last night.
Middlesbrough started the game with changes aplenty from Friday’s victory over West Brom, with 10 in total. New signings Muhamed Besic and Jordan Hugill made their first starts for the club, as did 16-year old Nathan Wood.
Goals from Marvin Johnson and Jordan Hugill put the home side 2-0 up, but Ryan Delaney halved the deficit with less than 10 minutes to go, but it was too little too late for Rochdale.
Middlesbrough fans may have been surprised to see both Dani Ayala and Muhamed Besic start the game, given that Boro have a top of the table clash on Friday evening with Leeds United. But both players were substituted at half-time, with Tony Pulis presumably having an eye on the next Championship fixture.
The game sprung into life after an uneventful opening half an hour, with Marcus Tavernier’s whipping cross headed against the upright by Jordan Hugill. The rebound fell to winger Marvin Johnson, who drove a low powerful shot into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
The hosts’ lead was doubled early into the second half with Hugill getting his first goal for the club since arriving on a season-long loan from West Ham United. Johnson this time turned provider, firing a looping cross into the box, which Hugill headed home.
A late flurry of chances for Rochdale made for a nervy end to the game for Middlesbrough, especially after Ryan Delaney made the score 2-1, prodding home after a good save from Boro ‘keeper Andy Lonergan,