Middlesbrough fell to a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup third round replay.
It’s a result that ends their run of six games without a defeat but also sees them knocked out of the competition for another year.
The Teessiders made five changes for the clash in North London with Tomas Mejias, Marvin Johnson, Adam Clayton and Lukas Nmecha coming into the starting XI.
The biggest call, however, was the decision to hand a first career start to 21-year-old Ben Liddle who started in midfield.
For Spurs, Jose Mourinho named a strong side but dropped Dele Alli and Son Heung-min to the bench in order to rest them for a hectic run of games that are coming up.
Tottenham made the perfect start to the game when a moment to forget for Mejias allowed Giovani Lo Celso to cut inside and stroke the ball home inside three minutes.
Middlesbrough responded well though, and almost got an equaliser 10 minutes later as Nmecha capitalised on a mistake from Davinson Sanchez only to have his low effort kept out my Paulo Gazzaniga.
However that response was put to bed when Erik Lamela capitalised on some lapse play by Jonny Howson to jink through the Boro defence and double Tottenham’s lead after 15 minutes.
Ryan Sessegnon and Japhet Tanganga both had opportunities to extend the lead, while Middlesbrough looked shell-shocked every time the hosts came forward with the ball.
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Ashley Fletcher did have a chance late in the first half but headed agonisingly wide of the mark from a corner.
Middlesbrough looked to find to take that momentum with them as the game moved into the second half.
Lewis Wing came close to clawing one back as his free-kick from 20 yards stung the palms of Gazzaniga down to his left.
The Teessiders continued to push forward and got their reward as George Saville slotted home from range to make for a nervy finale.
But unfortunately for the Championship side the second goal never came and Spurs progressed to take on Southampton in the next round.
While defeat to Spurs will be a blow for the travelling fans, the hope will be that the players can be lifted in time for Friday night’s clash with Fulham as Championship action return.
FULL-TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Middlesbrough