Goals from Andrew Halliday, Merouane Zemmama and Richard Smallwood put Middlesbrough through to the fourth round of the Capital One Cup as they beat Preston 3-1 at Deepdale.
North End took Championship scalps Huddersfield and Crystal Palace to reach this stage, but the challenge of an impressive Middlesbrough proved too much as a trio of defensive errors put them out at the third round for the fourth year running.
Both Halliday and Emmanuel Ledesma claimed to have scored Boro's 13th-minute opener, with the Argentine's inswinging corner striking the far post and rolling across - and possibly over - the line before Halliday made sure.
Five minutes later Preston allowed Zemmama far too much time to shoot to the bottom corner from 25 yards, but the hosts pulled one back through Jack King's smart finish on 40 minutes.
Smallwood capped a comfortable win for Boro on 61 minutes, pouncing on the loose ball after Preston defender Paul Huntington headed Zemmama's cross back to Steve Simonsen.