Lewis Wing blasted Middlesbrough into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals as his first senior goal for the club dumped Premier League Crystal Palace out of the competition.
The midfielder, who was playing Northern League football for Shildon and working in a factory 20 months ago, thumped home a 25-yard piledriver in first-half stoppage time to clinch a 1-0 victory for Sky Bet Championship Boro – and a tie with Burton Albion – in front of a crowd of 11,850 at the Riverside Stadium.
It was little more than the home side deserved on a night when both Tony Pulis and Roy Hodgson made eight changes as the Teessiders found the greater cohesion despite having on-loan Southampton midfielder Sam McQueen carried off on a stretcher before the break.
Boro started brightly with full-back George Friend seeing an early shot deflected into keeper Vicente Guaita’s arms and Grant Leadbitter fire over from distance.
With Martin Braithwaite and McQueen seeing plenty of the ball out wide, Palace found themselves having to defend deep, but they gradually eased their way into the game, although with full-back Pape Souare their most promising outlet, were unable to trouble 39-year-old keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Boro were dealt a blow when McQueen went down after preventing Jeffrey Schlupp from reaching Andros Townsend’s cross and signalled to the bench that he was in trouble.
The home side had a chance to break the deadlock when Wing played Marcus Tavernier into space, but although he cut inside Martin Kelly nicely, the defender recovered to make a block.
They went significantly closer five minutes later when Jordon Hugill met Friend’s left-wing cross on the half-volley, but saw his effort graze the crossbar.
Braithwaite flashed a header from Paddy McNair’s cross across the face of goal and Hugill blazed well wide as the Teessiders finished the half strongly, and they got their reward three minutes into added time when Wing drilled an unstoppable shot into Guaita’s top corner.
Max Meyer sliced an early attempt well wide as the Eagles looked for a response after the break.
As Palace striker Alexander Sorloth started to make his presence felt, Boro found themselves retreating, although Konstantopoulos remained untroubled as substitute Luka Milivojevic skewed high over from a promising position with 20 minutes remaining.
Friend had to block Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s late strike and Schlupp miskicked in front of goal with Palace battling to the whistle, and Konstantopoulos preserved his clean sheet with a solid save from Townsend as time ran down.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Ayala, Batth, Friend, McNair, Wing, Leadbitter, Tavernier, McQueen (Saville 28), Braithwaite (Fletcher 65), Hugill (Gestede 55). Unused substitutes: Wood-Gordon, Chapman, Lonergan, Stubbs.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Wan Bissaka, Kelly, Riedewald, Souare (Woods 78), Townsend, Meyer, Puncheon (KaiKai 84), Schlupp, Sorloth, Ayew (Milivojevic 65). Unused substitutes: Speroni, Williams, Wickham, Kirby.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
Carabao Cup quarter-final draw: Arsenal v Tottenham, Leicester or Southampton v Manchester City or Fulham, Middlesbrough v Burton, Chelsea v Bournemouth. Ties to be played in the week commencing December 17.