Boro’s Under-23s were felled by a late Leeds United goal at Thorp Arch on Friday.
Ben Liddle captained the side and Ste Walker started up front after opening his account for the season against Stoke City a week ago. Sol Brynn, Jack Robinson, William Kokolo, Isaiah Jones, Isiah Cornet, Hayden Hackney and Rumarn Burrell all came into the starting XI, joining Daniel Dodds and Cain Sykes as the remaining unchanged faces in the line-up.
One-time Boro loanee Jack Harrison, ineligible to feature for Leeds’ first team against parent club Manchester City this weekend, started for the Whites at left-back. England U19 trio Charlie Cresswell, Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood were also involved for the Whites, while new signing Crysencio Summerville featured.
Boro’s best chances bookended a contest that ebbed and flowed, and Graeme Lee’s side could and perhaps should have been two up inside ten minutes.
First full-back Daniel Dodds pinched possession up by the corner flag, teeing up Hayden Hackney to deliver first-time into a dangerous area. It was primed for Rumarn Burrell to attack at the back post, but the Boro man couldn’t find the target from close range.
Sam Greenwood, signed from Arsenal and with four goals already to his name for Leeds’ development team, had the first sight of goal for the hosts when he spun cleverly away from two Boro shirts but blazed over.
Then, before the contest was ten minutes, old, Boro spurned another golden chance that was almost a mirror image of the first. Ben Liddle was provider, swinging in an inviting cross from the left. Isaiah Jones was on the end of it this time, but the result the same as he volleyed off target.
Successive corners saw Boro tested defensively, midfielder Geldhart nodding one wide at the front post before teammate Creswell saw a header claimed by visiting goalkeeper Sol Brynn.
Striker Stephen Walker came alive for the first time in the contest when he produced a deft flick into the path of the onrushing Isiah Cornet, who stung the palms of Leeds goalkeeper Elia Caprile.
Another half-chance came Cornet’s way when he glided into the Leeds area from the left, but his scoffed shot was into the side netting.
There was more set piece danger for Boro when Harrison’s corner met an unmarked Cresswell centrally, but the defender’s header was wayward.
After the break, Walker became increasingly involved as the focal point of Boro’s attack. Showing smart feet, he ghosted into the hosts’ box and lashed a shot wide by virtue of a deflection.
Greenwood looked the most likely for the home side, and he tested Boro stopper Sol Brynn when he twisted and turned a struck across goal - but Brynn was equal to it.
Boro’s pace on the break caused problems for Leeds throughout, Rumarn Burrell and William Kokolo both ending quick counters by firing over.
There was a better chance still when Walker was forced a sprawling save from Caprile at close range, then sub Alberto Balde was denied on the rebound by terrific block.
But it was the Whites who would edge it late on, Jack Jenkins slipping through to Greenwood who beat the offside trap and lashed it low beyond Brynn for the winner.
View photos from the game in the gallery above.