MIDDLESBROUGH marched into the third round of the Carling Cup courtesy of a fifth successive win in all competitions last night.
Tony Mowbray’s in-form team overcame Peterborough at London Road to earn a place in Saturday’s draw.
Barry Robson gave Boro a fourth-minute lead and Seb Hines grabbed a second with a free header in the 26th minute.
The visitors then withstood some intense second-half pressure from the hosts with keeper Danny Coyne making three outstanding saves to deny Posh.
Ahead of kick-off, the Boro boss certainly couldn’t be accused of not taking last night’s tie seriously. He fielded a near full-strength side. He did name midfielders Rhys Williams and Julio Arca among the subs, but gave starts to signings Faris Haroun and Malaury Martin.
Keeper Carl Ikeme once again sat out a Carling Cup fixture as a condition of his loan move from Wolves to Boro with Coyne filling the void impressively.
Seb Hines was awarded his second Carling Cup start of the season, while Scott McDonald was ruled out due to the hamstring strain he picked up in Sunday’s 3-1 win against Birmingham.
Not that Boro missed the Australian striker as the visitors raced into the lead. Joe Bennett advanced from the left into a central position on the edge the penalty as the Posh defence backed off, before sliding a diagonal pass into an unmarked Barry Robson, who simply biffed a low shot under keeper Paul Jones. It was Robson’s third goal in three games, a fine return from a player who’s blossomed in recent weeks.
Posh finally managed an attempt on goal in the 11th minute when Paul Taylor attempted a long-range punt, which dipped at the last moment to give the travelling fans in the Moys End a slight scare before clearing the crossbar by half a foot.
Soon after Boro sliced through their opponents with Bennett hitting a sweet pass down the left channel to Martin, who played the ball to Emnes and the Dutchman fired a powerful shot across the face of the goal from a tight angle.
Bennett was involved again on the quarter-hour mark, unleashing a sizzling shot from well outside the box that shaved the top of the Posh net.
Minutes later Boro had a penalty appeal turned down when Emnes theatrically crashed to the turf following a challenge inside the box from Ryan Bennett.
In the 25th minute the impressive Robson broke clear down the right before cutting the ball back to Tony McMahon, whose first time shot was pushed wide by Jones. McMahon took the resulting corner from the left, picking out the unmarked Hines at the back post and the defender simply headed the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
Posh were limited to long-range efforts as the half wore on through Lee Frecklington and Lee Tomlin. Then Emnes wastefully fired wide with Robson and Martin in better positions on the overlap.
The Dutchman did better with a glancing header from a Martin header which flashed across goal and, in stoppage time, returned the favour by teeing up Martin, whose 20-yard shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Jones.
Posh were brighter after the break and went close to scoring in the 57th minute when Boyd dropped his shoulder to create an opening, but his low shot was superbly saved by Coyne.
On the hour mark the Boro keeper again saved his side pulling off two incredible reaction stops to deny Frecklington’s shot and follow up from the keeper’s initial parry.
Posh were spent from then on and Boro held on to progress.
PETERBOROUGH: Jones, Little, Bennett, Wootton, Alcock (Gordon 46), McCann (Tunnicliffe 46),Frecklington, Rowe, Boyd, Tomlin, Taylor (Ball 67). Subs (not used): Lewis, Ajose, Newell, Thompson.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Coyne, McMahon, Bates, McManus, Hines, Bennett, Bailey, Haroun, Robson (Smallwood 46), Martin (Arca 65), Emnes (Rhys Williams 74). Subs (not used): Ripley, Kink, Main, Franks.
Goals: Robson 4,Hines 27. Att: 5,012