Matty Cash’s late winner saw Aston Villa progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup as they beat Middlesbrough 1-0.
Carabao Cup semi-finalists Boro were denied another cup run when Cash’s deflected strike found the bottom corner in the 87th minute.
The Premier League side had threatened from corners in the second half and a set-piece ultimately proved to be Boro’s undoing as Unai Emery’s side prevailed.
The first chance of the contest fell to Villa when Boubacar Kamara flicked the ball to Jhon Duran, who cut in from the left and fired towards the bottom corner but goalkeeper Tom Glover stuck out a leg to turn the ball behind.
The visitors grew into the game and Alex Moreno caused problems with some dangerous crosses, one finding Cash who smashed the ball into the crowded Boro box.
Alex Bangura tried to catch Villa on the break with some good balls through to Josh Coburn and posed a threat after latching on to a great cross-field ball, but Villa were able to clear.
The game suddenly sprung into life in the 32nd minute when Jacob Ramsey’s powerful shot was deflected over the bar and Leander Dendoncker narrowly headed over from the resulting corner.
Duran then forced a great save from Glover and Boro raced up the other end of the pitch as Dan Barlaser threaded the ball to Morgan Rogers, but Emiliano Martinez managed to palm it away for a corner.
The hosts had a great chance just on the cusp of half-time as Bangura fired a dangerous cross across the box, but neither Coburn nor Isaiah Jones could stab home.
A frenetic opening to the second half saw Glover make a fantastic save just four minutes in as a short corner allowed John McGinn to unleash a powerful strike on the edge of the box, but the goalkeeper tipped the ball over the crossbar.
Villa threatened again from corners in the 52nd minute as Ezri Konsa’s header smashed off the inside of the far post and another set-piece one minute later saw Moreno blast the ball over the bar from close range.
They had a penalty shout waved away when Moreno went down in the box and Boro began to threaten at the other end as Clement Lenglet made a fantastic slide to deny Jones’ cross.
The Villa defence were forced to clear a number of balls fired into the box and manager Emery responded with a quadruple change in the 70th minute, bringing on Ollie Watkins, Moussa Diaby, Douglas Luiz and Nicolo Zaniolo.
Emmanuel Latte Lath did well to flick Douglas Luiz’s free-kick behind and the Boro forward was soon involved at the other end of the pitch as Martinez smothered his run from the left.
Diaby had a great chance in the Boro box but scuffed his shot before Martinez was called into action again to hold Rogers’ cross.
Villa struck in the 87th minute as another short corner fell to Cash outside the box and his effort took a deflection off Latte Lath to beat Glover and send Villa through.
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