Gylfi Sigurdsson netted a debut goal and Yago Falque struck late on as Boro fell to a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at a packed Lamex Stadium.
Over 5,000 fans turned out to see a repeat of last season’s FA Cup Fifth Round tie and both sets of supporters would have enjoyed the chance to see some new faces for their side.
The opening half gave little in the way of goal mouth action; Harry Kane spurned the best chance after being played into the box by Steven Pienaar, but his effort was well-matched by Chris Day in between the sticks.
Boro’s build up play was ever-improving and continued to move towards the standard that manager Gary Smith has so often pointed to as a target. In particular Luke Freeman and Filipe Morais combined well, with trickery and footwork very much on the agenda.
As with the game against Boreham Wood just four days earlier, there was an entirely different XI wearing the red and white strip in the second 45 minutes. Amongst the changes new signing Lee Hills came in at left back whilst youth product Michael Thalassitis took to the attack.
Spurs showed their respect for the tie by bringing new signings Jan Vertonghen and Sigurdsson on at the break as two of seven changes.
A great effort came eight minutes later when Tom Carroll stung Steve Arnold’s hands with an effort that moved in the air; the ‘keeper showed great composure as he watched it all the way and firmly got behind it - moments later though he would be picking the ball out of his net.
The move was created by Andros Townsend who powered his way into the box on the left wing; he cut inside and pulled the ball back in the box to Sigurdsson who turned expertly before slotting it into the bottom far corner.
A late corner gave Boro a chance of an equaliser but the ball to the back post failed to provide a real goal scoring opportunity and soon the Premier League side had their second goal when substitute Falque broke through. He turned inside the box before his low shot deflected into the bottom corner of the net.
Boro First Half (4-2-3-1): Day; Charles, Roberts, Ashton, Gray; Grant, Dunne; Morais, Ajose, Freeman; Haber
Boro Second Half (4-4-1-1): Arnold; Hills, Furlonge, N’Gala, Shelley; Carr, Tansey, Ball, Enver-Marum; Shroot; Thalassitis
Spurs (4-5-1): Cudicini (Friedel HT); Naughton (Bassong HT), Dawson (Vertonghen HT), Kaboul (Gallas HT), Walker (Smith 62); Pienaar (Townsend HT), Livermore (Carroll HT), Jenas (Huddlestone 62), Bentley (Sigurdsson HT), Lennon (Falque 62); Kane (Couliblay 62)
Att: 5109 (1351 away)