MIDDLESBROUGH endured a nightmare Capital One Cup embarrassment last night, as League Two minnows Accrington Stanley came from behind to snatch a memorable 2-1 Riverside victory.
Downbeat Boro manager Tony Mowbray, whose men lost their Championship opener on Saturday, admitted that his side’s lack of a cutting edge cost them.
“We have no excuses,” Mowbray said. “We are out because we didn’t take our opportunities and they took theirs.
“And there were plenty of opportunities. The bottom line is you have to stick your chances away and we didn’t do that. You are only as good as your strikers. You can’t have that much domination in a match and not score.”
But Mowbray, facing a crucial trip to Charlton on Saturday, insisted his side would bounce back quickly from the humbling defeat.
“They will feel the hurt of it like we all do,” he said, “but they are professional footballers and will quickly move on and focus on the next game.”
Boro started brightly and went close through Marvin Emnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz before grabbing a ninth-minute lead when a half-cleared corner was headed back into the danger area by Jozsef Varga for Jutkiewicz to deftly chip keeper Ian Dunbavin and then slot into an open goal from six yards.
Jutkiewicz was denied a second by defender Tom Aldred, but Accrington levelled after 38 minutes when Marcus Carver won the ball in the air and flicked a looping header over Jayson Leutwiler.
Rhys Williams attempted to hook the ball clear but the linesman immediately flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line.
Mustapha Carayol and Jutkiewicz almost regained the lead, then Grant Leadbitter’s fierce 18-yarder was diverted over the bar and sub Luke Williams scooped over from eight yards after Adam Reach was denied.
Stanley rode their luck and grabbed a sensational winner on 82 minutes, with Piero Mingoia ramming home through a crowd of players after Boro failed to adequately clear a corner.
Boro laid siege to the visitors’ goal late on, with Reach stabbing just wide and Varga firing narrowly off target before Leadbitter forced Dunbavin to dive full length to fingertip the ball around the post to secure the fine win.
Delighted Accrington manager James Beattie hailed his “heroic” players, saying: “They threw everything at us and we put in a magnificent performance. I’m proud of them.
“It was a fantastic reaction after the defeat at the weekend (4-1 at Newport).
“We put our bodies on the line. We showed commitment.
“There were some real heroic performances out there.
“It was a massive win for the club, financially it could be a great boost for us, especially if we get a lucrative draw in the next round. and it will give the lads another chance to showcase their skills.”
MIDDLESBROUGH: Leutwiler, Hoyte, Friend, Leadbitter, Gibson, R Williams, Carayol, Varga, Emnes (L Williams 78), Jutkiewicz (Reach 74), Ledesma (Main 74). Subs: Steele, Andrew Halliday, Whitehead, Smallwood. Goal: Jutkiewicz 9.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY: Dunbavin, Hunt, Atkinson, Richardson, Liddle, Aldred, Hatfield, Mingoia (Wilson 90), Clark (McCartan 73), Carver (Gray 73), Murphy. Subs not used: Joyce, Winnard, Miller, Windass. Goals: Carver 40, Mingoia 81.
Att: 6,774. Ref: Scott Duncan (Tyne & Wear)
H Boro are close to signing Bristol City winger Albert Adomah for around £1million and have reportedly had a bid for Leeds star Ross McCormack rejected.