by Liam Grace (@GraceyMedia)
AFC Bournemouth progressed to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in their 118-year history with a 3-1 victory over Championship side Middlesbrough.
It was a special night for Cherries duo Callum Wilson and 20-year-old debutant Jack Simpson as Eddie Howe made seven changes to the side that beat Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday.
Wilson, making his first appearance since January 2017 after his second lengthy knee injury in 15 months, bagged a goal and assist as the Cherries cruised into the last eight.
Simpson, a product of the club’s youth academy, scored the first goal and won the penalty for the second after being brought down in the box.
Bournemouth started the stronger of the two teams as Lys Mousset’s header found the back of the net from a neat Ryan Fraser free-kick inside five minutes, but the effort was ruled offside by referee Simon Hooper.
Charlie Daniels then created two excellent chances from the left, first finding the feet of Wilson with a great cross with the striker shooting just wide, before putting a ball in for Ryan Fraser who again was unlucky to score after a goalmouth scramble.
Middlesbrough grew into the game with long-rage yet dangerous efforts from the likes of Max Clayton, Connor Roberts and Adama Traore – but Artur Boruc refused to be beaten in the Bournemouth goal after spilling some earlier shots.
Bournemouth again started stronger in the second half and it didn’t take long to break the deadlock when Fraser’s corner found Simpson in the box and after another scramble, volleyed into the top left from close range on 49 minutes.
However, just five minutes later the visitors were level after Traore burst into the Cherries half with lightning pace, putting in a lovely weighted pass to Marcus Tavernier who slotted past Boruc one-on-one.
A flurry of chances for both sides followed, before Simpson was dragged down in the Middlesbrough box and Wilson cooly slotted into the resulting penalty to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes left.
Substitute Benik Afobe then wrapped up the game with five minutes remaining, Wilson again involved after being played into the box by Adam Smith, who passed across goal for the Congo striker to make it 3-1 to the Cherries and kill any chance of a Middlesbrough comeback.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Simpson (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Simpson, S. Cook, Daniels, Fraser, Gosling, Arter, Pugh, Wilson, Mousset
Subs: Ramsdale, Ake, Afobe, Hyndman, Mahoney, Ibe, Butcher
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Roberts, Fry, Ayala, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw, Traore, Baker, Tavernier, Bamford
Subs: Mejias, Fabio, Gibson, Howson, Fletcher, Downing, Wing
Referee: Simon Hooper