The year began with a high-scoring encounter for Boro's Under-23s at Heritage Park.
Boro started brightly, PL2 Player of the Month nominee Isaiah Jones and Daniel Dodds combining nicely down the right before the latter struck into the side netting.
The next attack was via the opposite flank, Stephen Wearne clipped in a cross and Rumarn Burrell got up well but directed his header wide.
Norwich then took the lead in virtually their first foray forward, right-back Jordan Thomas shimmying the ball onto his left foot and passing beyond Sol Brynn into the far corner.
It was two with twenty played, an own goal via Nicholas Hood as a teasing Canaries cross flicked off the head of the unfortunate Boro defender - enough to carry the ball beyond Brynn and into the net.
Boro almost hit back immediately, Jones breaking forward menacingly and placing his shot just the wrong side of the post.
At the other end in an increasingly end-to-end match-up, Shae Hutchinson raced clear of the Boro backline but prodded his effort narrowly wide.
There was to be no such mistake when Hutchinson was presented another opportunity minutes later, as a poor pass allowed the forward in behind again and he tucked away.
Boro found some reprieve five minutes later, when Jones was brought down in a dangerous area and Ben Liddle curled a beauty of a free-kick well out of the reach of Archie Mair.
More sloppy play from Boro allowed Josh Martin a crack at goal, but our defence recovered and it was blocked behind. The resulting corner saw Time Odusina burst into space at the front post, his glancing header had Brynn rooted but bounced away via the woodwork.
Boro pressed forward, and another Liddle free-kick, this time delivered around the corner and onto the head of Nathan Dale, wasn’t far away.
But the Canaries continued to break dangerously, and Boro had Brynn to thank for keeping the deficit at two as he produced a strong low save to his right to deny opposing captain Isak Thorvaldsson.
Into the second half, and Boro set out reducing the arrears. Jones flashed a cross across goal and just out of reach of Rumarn Burrell, but Stephen Wearne did brilliantly well to keep the ball in play, allowing Burrell to bundle in Boro’s second. Game on.
Liddle teased in a testing corner and Tyrone O’Neill got his head on it, resulting in another scramble. The linesman’s flag went up for offside as Nathan Dale flicked onto the crossbar.
Boro’s set pieces continued to cause problems for the visitors, and once again Dale was the target back post as Liddle went searching - this time Norwich were able to clear behind.
But as Graeme Lee’s side pursued an equaliser, they were undone by another quick breakaway, Josh Martin unmarked at the back post to restore the Canaries’ two-goal cushion.
Ben Liddle had other ideas, though, and with 74 minutes played he fired another long range pearler past Mair to make it 3-4.
Boro were in the ascendancy again as Isaiah Jones races clear of his marker, pulled it back to substitute Sam Folarin. He found Tyrone O’Neill, who showed neat feet in the area but thundered his shot against the upright.
Jones, now on the left, continued to threaten, and had another chance as he darted inside the area but his curling shot blazed over. O’Neill was off target in a similar position as Boro kept pressing.
A stoppage time free-kick offered Boro's last hope of grabbing a point, but as Liddle drilled his cross into a crowd of bodies, the Canaries held firm and cleared their lines.
Boro: Brynn, Dodds, Reading, Hood, Dale, Liddle, Malley, Wearne (Folarin 65), Jones, O'Neill, Burrell. Unused subs: Metcalfe, Robinson, Reed.
Norwich City: Mair, Thomas, Nizet, Tompkinson, Odusina (Scully 78), Adshead, Fitzpatrick, Hondermarck (Omotoye 66), Hutchinson, Thorvaldsson, Martin. Unused subs: Scully, Blair, McAlear.