Fresh from there exertions with the first team at Villa Park on Tuesday night, Lewis Wing and George Miller were in from the start tonight.

A bright start saw Boro on the front foot from the start and Hayden Coulson struck a low left-footed shot from the edge of the area on target, but straight at Daniel Gyollai, the goalkeeper who was initially named on the bench but replaced Josef Bursik who damaged a finger in the warm-up.

That proved to be a rare chance as the visitors, who had endured a six-hour journey to get to the game, made an energetic and extended riposte.

Boro were forced to defend, which they did pretty well though they were made to work. Aynsley Pears was well protected and not overly-busy, though he had little chance with the opening goal which came on 32 minutes.

Set up with a neat ball behind the back line, Tyrese Campbell was brought down by Nathan Guru inside the box and sent the resulting penalty right down the middle with Pears moving to his left.

Campbell was following in the footsteps of his dad, Keven, who caused Boro plenty problems when playing for Arsenal and Everton a few years back.

It was nearly two a few minutes later when Oliver Shenton pounced on a loose ball, but struck well over.

With three minutes of the first half remaining the game was halted when a small fire in the ladies' toilet set off the alarm and hailed the fire brigade.

Good work from the brigade brought the fire under control quickly, though there was still a 35-minute break in play, during which time the players had to stay out on the pitch.

Fans were not allowed back in the main stand, but were allowed to from the rest of the ground.

Paul Stephenson made a change for the start of the second half, replacing Steven Roberts, on trial from Guisborough, with Mikael Soisalo.

With the smell of smoke still lingering, both sides went close in the early exchanges with Krisztofer Szereto bringing a full-length save from Pears with a low shot, before Miller headed a decent chance at Gyollai and was then inches away from meeting an excellent low cross from the right from Luke Armstrong.

Wing cracked the bar with a terrific free-kick from 22 yards before delivering the free-kick that led to the equaliser with 68 minutes played.

Wing cracked the bar with a terrific free-kick from 22 yards before delivering the free-kick that led to the equaliser with 68 minutes played as George Miller rose in a crowded box to head home.

Stoke were reduced to ten men when Cameron McJannet was shown a second yellow after seeming to show dissent, 24 minutes after kicking the ball away.

Only the woodwork prevented Miller from heading Boro in front when he met a Soisalo cross a few minutes later.

Soisalo smashed a low shot across the face of goal as Boro went for a winner, though they were nearly undone when Szereto raced through the middle, rode two challenges and shot low at Pears from the edge of the box.

With three minutes remaining Boro edged in front when a free-kick was whipped in from the right with Miller the closest Boro player to it, forcing the mistake which led to City sub Luis Da Silva heading into his own goal.

Referee Paul Marsden
Red card McJannet 51, kicking the ball away and 75, dissent

Yellow Cards
Boro
Stoke Banks 73, foul

Boro Pears; Tinkler, Guru, McGinley (Capt.), Reading, Roberts (Soisalo 46), Liddle, Wing, Coulson (Malley 63), Armstrong, Miller. Subs James (gk); Dale, Curry.

Stoke City Gyollai; Banks (Capt.), McJannet, Waddington, Cherdieu, Wara, Hill, Shenton, Campbell, Sorensen (Da Silva 68), Szereto. Subs: Twyford, Ayoola, Devlin.

Conditions Cool, still and dry.

Attendance 360