Middlesbrough secured safe passage to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 victory over Bradford at the University of Bradford Stadium.
Boro were keen to keep the momentum up from their first league victory, against Southampton at the weekend, and made all of the running in a first half capped by Emmanuel Latte Lath’s strike midway through.
The away side play two divisions higher than their Sky Bet League Two counterparts and made their quality count in the second half through Morgan Rogers as they secured a comfortable away win.
The Championship side came closest to the opener in the third minute after some neat link-up play unlocked the Bantams’ defence, with Tommy Smith sliding it into Lewis O’Brien who blazed over from close range.
The visitors, followed by a 4,000 strong travelling contingent, were on top for the early parts and were inches away from scoring the first but Samuel Silvera’s curling effort from outside the area skimmed the wrong side of a post.
It seemed only a matter of time before Boro got on the scoresheet, and they did just that when Latte-Lath received a ball from Hayden Hackney and squeezed it under Harry Lewis’ legs from inside the area.
Many would argue City’s keeper could have done better for the first but he did well to keep the deficit to one just a couple of minutes later as he remarkably stopped Latte Lath’s header from inside the six-yard box.
Bradford started the second period with more zest and had half an opening after Rayhaan Tulloch danced his way between the Boro defence but curled harmlessly wide of the target.
Boro doubled their lead in the 54th minute after Riley McGree’s square ball found a free Rogers, who easily tapped home to make it two.
Middlesbrough could have made it three just after the hour mark after Hackney flicked the ball into O’Brien, whose goalbound effort was palmed wide by Lewis.
Bradford’s efforts to get back into the encounter seemed tame, which led to large parts of the 15,000 crowd heading for the exit doors early.
The Bantams finally mustered their first shot on target in the 84th minute as Alex Pattison latched onto Tyler Smith’s through ball.
He made Thomas Glover pull off his first save of the night as Middlesbrough advanced in comfortable fashion.