Preston 1 Middlesbrough 3: Rodriguez doubles up to help ease out Owls

Goals from Emmanuel Ledesma, Merouane Zemmama and Richard Smallwood put Middlesbrough through to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup as they made easy work of Preston at Deepdale.

North End took Championship scalps from Huddersfield and Crystal Palace to reach this stage of the competition, but the challenge of an impressive Middlesbrough proved too much as a trio of defensive errors put them out at the third round for the fourth year running.

Both Ledesma and Andrew Halliday claimed to have scored Boro’s 13th-minute opener, with the Argentinian’s inswinging corner striking the far post and rolling over the line, Halliday making sure by bundling in.

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Five minutes later, Preston allowed Zemmama far too much time to shoot into the bottom corner from 25 yards, but the hosts pulled one goal back through Jack King’s smart finish after 40 minutes.

Smallwood capped a comfortable win for Boro on 61 minutes, pouncing on the loose ball after Preston defender Paul Huntington headed Zemmama’s cross back to Steve Simonsen, too powerfully for the goalkeeper to hold, as the visitors eased to victory.

Preston: Simonsen, Mousinho (Procter 86), Huntington, Cansdell-Sherriff, Laird, Monakana (Hayhurst 79), Wroe, King (Cummins 79), Amoo, Beavon, Byrom. Unused substitutes: Stuckmann, Buchanan, Welsh, Wright.

Middlesbrough: Leutwiler, Parnaby, Hines, McManus, Halliday, Bailey, Smallwood, Arca (Thomson 86), Zemmama (Emnes 62), Luke Williams, Ledesma (Haroun 63). Unused substitutes: Ripley, Bikey, Jutkiewicz, Park.

Referee: K Stroud (Hampshire).

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League One Swindon moved into the fourth round with a 3-1 win over Championship Burnley.

Paul Benson (19) and Andy Williams (42) gave the Robins a 2-0 half-time lead.

Although Charlie Austin pulled one back (74), Troy Archibald-Henville sealed the win with seven minutes remaining.