THE curtain came down on Boro's pre-season campaign on Saturday with a defeat at the hands of Villarreal.

With over 6,000 in the ground, Boro were boosted by a healthy crowd for the visit of a Spanish side who look in good shape ahead of their new season.

It was Villarreal who had the first opportunity when Giovanni Dos Santos forced an early save from Mejias, but there was little to choose between the sides for much of the half.

Kike had a shot saved and the Spaniard was in the thick of the action again when Daniel Ayala forced the ball home on 17 minutes, only to see an offside flag raised.

The visitors took the lead, though, halfway through the first half when Gerard Moreno Balaguero delivered a good finish from distance.

Kike did head wide again before the break, following good work by Albert Adomah, and he had another effort blocked, but it was the visitors who struck again before the break.

Matias Nahuel Leiva was the goalscorer after some good play around the box as Villarreal held a two-goal advantage going into the break.

Lee Tomlin was first to threaten in the second half when he broke from the halfway line, but Adam Reach's cross was just too deep for Kike to get on the end of.

A flurry of substitutions for both sides changed the flow of the game but after Cani tested Dimi Konstatopoulos, Tomlin went close for Boro with a well struck free-kick which required a fingertip save from Juan Carlos Sanchez Martinez.

There was a debut for new recruit Emilio Nsue, who completed his switch to the club on Friday, and his first involvement was to send in a good ball for James Husband which the midfielder fired just wide.

That proved to be the final action of the game as focus now turns towards Birmingham next weekend. 

*Goals from Callum Cooke, Dael Fry and Bryn Morris saw Boro's U21s come from behind to beat TNS 3-1 in a friendly in Oswestry this afternoon.

Teams:
Boro:  Mejias (Konstantopoulos (60), Bennett (Hines 45), Friend, Ayala, Gibson, Whitehead, Adomah (Williams 55), Butterfield (Leadbitter 55), Kike (Fewster (77), Tomlin (Husband 73), Reach (Nsue 76). Subs: Smallwood, Halliday, Burgess.

Villarreal: S.Martinez (Andres 46), P.Martinez (Rukavina 46), Dos Santos (Cani 46), Munoz (Rodriguez 63), JAD Ramirez (De Abreu 73), Jorda (Gomez 63), Llido (JDS Ramirez 73), Leiva, Cherysev (Isla 63), Balaguero (Uche 63), Pineda.

Attendance: 6,380 

Referee: Mark Clattenburg