Britt Assombalonga scored twice as Middlesbrough ended a 13-month winless run with a 3-0 triumph at Bolton.
Boro’s last win away from the Riverside Stadium came in the Premier League at neighbouring Sunderland in August 2016, but three points on the road were hardly ever in doubt in a one-sided contest at Macron Stadium.
Assombalonga, the £15m recruit from Nottingham Forest, had outstanding team-mate Adama Traore to thank for his 13th- and 71st-minute strikes and the victory was capped off with a goal on debut for Marvin Johnson.
“Obviously we’re delighted to get the win and I think it was well deserved because some of the football we played at times was superb,” said Boro boss Garry Monk.
“It was a big step forward for us. I thought we were dominant for most of the game.
“When you don’t win away from home for such a long time the pressure can build up, so to get that pressure lifted feels great. I’m sure it will for the fans who were superb all game.
“We kept the ball well in the first half, got off to an excellent start, and created a few chances but Traore was excellent. He kept asking questions of the Bolton defence all game.”
Bolton, without a league win since gaining promotion from League One, went close after only four minutes when Darren Randolph beat away Gary Madine’s stinging volley.
It proved their clearest chance of the game, however, as Garry Monk’s side assumed control and hardly looked back.
Boro seized the lead when Madine’s loose pass was picked up by Traore and the former Aston Villa man embarked on a mazy run down Bolton’s left, beating two men to pull a cross back for Assombalonga to head home unmarked from six yards out.
The visitors dominated possession for the remainder of the half but created little of substance, Lewis Baker’s shot from the edge of the box as close as they came to registering a second.
Bolton relied heavily on set-pieces for a goal threat and had a header from Madine deflected narrowly wide of the post just before half-time.
Boro had won the previous four encounters between the sides but the hosts briefly threatened to make it a contest after the restart when Randolph beat away a shot from Filipe Morais and Craig Noone, making his debut for the home side, failed to latch on to the rebound.
The inspirational Traore continued his endless tirade down the right and produced another marvellous run and cross for Assombalonga’s second, bundled in from close range, taking his tally for the season to four.
Boro then got a helping hand from Wanderers keeper Ben Alnwick for their third as Johnson’s shot squirmed through his grasp just 10 minutes after the deadline-day signing from Oxford had been introduced from the bench.
Assombalonga could have wrapped up a hat-trick in stoppage time after going clean through on Alnwick’s goal but pulled his shot wide.