Lewis Wing blasted Middlesbrough into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals as his first senior goal for the club dumped Premier League Crystal Palace out of the competition.
The midfielder, who was playing Northern League football for Shildon and working in a factory 20 months ago, thumped home a 25-yard piledriver in first-half stoppage time to clinch a 1-0 victory for Sky Bet Championship Boro in front of a crowd of 11,850 at the Riverside Stadium.
It was little more than the home side deserved on a night when both Tony Pulis and Roy Hodgson made eight changes as the Teessiders found the greater cohesion despite having on-loan Southampton midfielder Sam McQueen carried off on a stretcher before the break.
Boro started brightly with full-back George Friend seeing an early shot deflected into keeper Vicente Guaita’s arms and Grant Leadbitter fire over from distance.
With Martin Braithwaite and McQueen seeing plenty of the ball out wide, Palace found themselves having to defend deep, but they gradually eased their way into the game, although with full-back Pape Souare their most promising outlet, were unable to trouble 39-year-old keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Boro were dealt a blow with 24 minutes gone when McQueen went down after preventing Jeffrey Schlupp from reaching Andros Townsend’s cross and immediately signalled to the bench that he was in trouble.
The home side had a chance to break the deadlock 13 minutes before the break when Wing played Marcus Tavernier into space, but although he cut inside Martin Kelly nicely, the defender recovered to make an important block.
They went significantly closer five minutes later when Jordon Hugill met Friend’s left-wing cross on the half-volley, but saw his effort graze the crossbar.
Braithwaite flashed a header from Paddy McNair’s cross across the face of goal and Hugill blazed well wide as the Teessiders finished the half strongly, and they got their reward three minutes into added time when Wing drilled an unstoppable shot into Guaita’s top corner.
Max Meyer sliced an early attempt well wide as the Eagles looked for a response after the break, but the game developed into something of an arm wrestle with defences largely on top.
However, as Palace striker Alexander Sorloth started to make his presence felt, Boro found themselves retreating, although Konstantopoulos remained untroubled as substitute Luka Milivojevic skewed high over from a promising position with 20 minutes remaining.
Friend had to block Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s late strike and Schlupp miskicked in front of goal with Palace battling to the whistle, and Konstantopoulos preserved his clean sheet with a solid save from Townsend as time ran down.
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