Promising youngster Josh Coburn scored a hat-trick, as Middlesbrough defeated Rovers 5-2 in the semi-finals of the U17 Premier League Cup.
Rovers took the lead at a sunny Mowden Park when winger Ben Fyles arrived unmarked at the back post to slot past Max Metcalfe in the Boro goal.
Coburn, who has been in and around Middlesbrough’s first-team squad this season, then bagged a quickfire brace – drilling in the equaliser before rounding Aidan Dowling and tucking home from a tight angle – to swing the tie in the home side’s favour.
However, Zak Gilsenan scored from the spot to ensure the two teams went in level at the break.
Boro regained the lead in the second half when Calum Kavanagh lobbed Dowling, before Jack Stott drilled home the hosts’ fourth.
There was still time for Coburn to complete his hat-trick with a smart finish late on, as Middlesbrough progressed to the final of the inaugural competition, where they will face either Brighton or Leicester City.
Rovers return to league action this weekend when they host Derby County on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm), with Mike Sheron’s side looking to extend their six-match winning streak.
Rovers: Dowling, Haddow, Gent, Weston (Montgomery, 78), Gamble, Pratt (Famiyuwa, 75), Wood (Chmiel, 75), Harlock, Baker, Gilsenan, Fyles.
Unused substitutes: Goddard, Duru.