Preston 2-2 Middlesbrough (3-4 on pens): Boro win on penalties to make round four of Carabao Cup
Middlesbrough come from behind twice before shootout victory.
Last Updated: 25/09/18 10:36pm
Middlesbrough reached the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as penalty misses from Preston duo Callum Robinson and Graham Burke meant the visitors secured a 4-3 shootout win after a 2-2 draw at Deepdale.
Boro were successful with all of their penalties, having come from behind twice in normal time with goals from Ashley Fletcher and Marcus Tavernier cancelling out efforts from Robinson and Tom Barkhuizen.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis changed all 11 of his players from last weekend's goalless draw with Swansea, and they would have been ahead after just six minutes had Paddy McNair not produced a tame side-footed effort when in space in the area.
Dimi Konstantopoulos was called into action at the other end shortly after, keeping out Paul Huntington's header from a corner, and with Middlesbrough struggling to come to terms with their switch to a five-man defence, Preston enjoyed plenty of action down their left.
Huntington glanced Ryan Ledson's cross narrowly wide of the target, and Pulis was forced to switch his full-backs before the break in an attempt to tighten things up at the back.
But Preston broke the deadlock shortly before the half-hour mark. Alan Browne squared the ball for Robinson, who rolled around 16-year-old Nathan Wood before firing into the corner.
Middlesbrough were level within seven minutes though, Lewis Wing releasing Fletcher through the middle, and the striker calmly rounded Chris Maxwell before slotting home.
Rudy Gestede flashed a header wide on the stroke of half-time, but Preston remained in the ascendancy and Barkhuizen cracked a 49th-minute drive against the base of the left-hand post.
Moments later, and it was Boro hitting the woodwork with Gestede directing a header against the crossbar from inside the six-yard box after Maxwell could only parry Fletcher's effort into his path.
The action was relentless, and Preston reclaimed the lead shortly after the hour mark. The goal owed much to an error from Konstantopoulos as Boro's Greek goalkeeper dived over the ball, enabling Barkhuizen to find the net from 25 yards.
Having gone ahead for a second time, Preston were pegged back again just three minutes later. Tavernier picked up the ball in space, and found the top right-hand corner from outside the box.
That took the game to penalties and with Middlesbrough proving perfect from the spot, misses from Robinson and Burke proved decisive as Preston exited the competition.