Teenage striker Calum Kavanagh marked his return from injury with a goal – but Boro’s Under-23s were beaten 2-1 by West Brom at Bishop Auckland.
Graeme Lee’s side enjoyed the better of proceedings after Kavanagh’s early penalty, but a soft goal and a second yellow card for Connor Malley at the start of the second half changed the course of the game and the visitors emerged victorious.
Boro had started on the front foot. Sam Folarin was lively and the visitors had to scramble the ball clear when he showed good heels before delivering a low ball back into the box with Kavanagh sliding in.
The goal came when Joe Gibson was brought down and Kavanagh stepped up to convert the spot-kick with aplomb.
Folarin also had a shot blocked while the Baggies defence had to react well to clear an up and under from Cain Skyes and a good ball back in from Gibson.
Folarin was penalised for his keenness when he received a yellow card for chasing down a back-pass to goalkeeper Alex Palmer.
Boro goalkeeper Max Metcalfe wasn’t called into action until the closing stages of the first half when, after Kenneth Zohore sent a shot just over the top, the youngster saved well from Mo Faal.
Unfortunately, when Zohore found space early in the second half, the ball squirmed through the hands of Metcalfe to level the scores.
Boro’s task was made tougher when Connor Malley was harshly booked for the second time in the game, reducing the home side to 10 men for the final 35 minutes.
Boosted by the goal and the numerical advantage the visitors began to assume control of the contest and it was no surprise when substitute Reyes Cleary fired West Brom ahead with 20 minutes remaining.
As the clock ticked down, Faal shot straight at Metcalfe and Boro threw men forward in search of an equaliser, but it wasn't to be. The best opportunity came when.Malik Dijksteel sent a shot over the top in stoppage time.