Middlesbrough 2 Rochdale 1: Youthful Boro hang on to unbeaten start

Goals from Marvin Johnson and Jordan Hugill secured passage into the third round for unbeaten Middlesbrough.

Marvin Johnson scored for Middlesbrough in their Carabao Cup win over Rochdale (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).

Rochdale threatened to stage a dramatic late recovery after Ryan Delaney reduced their arrears with seven minutes left, but a youthful Middlesbrough side successfully held on.

With his side due to face Leeds in a top-of-the-table Championship clash on Friday night, Boro boss Tony Pulis made 10 changes from the side that beat West Brom last Friday with only centre-back Daniel Ayala retaining his place.

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Perhaps predictably the alterations resulted in a stuttering opening until Boro claimed the lead eight minutes before the break. Hugill headed Marcus Tavernier’s right-wing cross against the base of a post and Johnson was on hand to drive the rebound into the far corner.

Fletcher almost doubled the hosts’ lead on the stroke of half-time, but he fired a low shot wide.

Boro made it 2-0 nine minutes after the restart. Johnson crossed from the left and Hugill powered home an eight-yard header to claim his first Middlesbrough goal. Harry Chapman curled a 65th-minute shot against the base of a post before Delaney set up a nervy conclusion.

Middlesbrough: Lonergan, Ayala (Spence 46), Wood-Gordon, McNair, Mahmutovic, Besic (Brahimi 46), Leadbitter, Tavernier, Johnson, Hugill (Chapman 59), Fletcher. Unused substitutes: Konstantopoulos, Walker, Malley, Liddle.

Rochdale: Norman, Delaney, Randall (Rafferty 57), McGahey, Cannon, Michael Williams, Camps, Inman (Dooley 62), Ntlhe, Andrew, Henderson (Gillam 74). Unused substitutes: Jordan Williams, Rathbone, Moore, Adshead.

Referee: Ben Toner (Lancashire).