Championship side Middlesbrough reached the Capital One Cup quarter-finals with a deserved win against Sunderland in the Wear-Tees derby.
Scott McDonald's neat finish close to half-time was enough for Boro to avenge last season's FA Cup fourth round exit by their Premier League rivals.
McDonald also hit the Sunderland bar, while Black Cats goalkeeper Keiren Westwood denied Faris Haroun.
Stephane Sessegnon went closest for the hosts after a powerful run and shot.
Australian striker McDonald's winner clinched a fifth straight win for in-form Middlesbrough, who had failed to beat Sunderland in the previous six meetings between the north-east rivals.
Boro on a roll
- 30 Oct: Sunderland (A) W 1-0
- 27 Oct: Bolton (H) W 2-1
- 23 Oct: Hull (H) W 2-0
- 20 Oct: Brighton (A) W 1-0
- 6 Oct: Watford (A) W 2-1
It proved an enjoyable return for Boro's former Black Cats players Justin Hoyte and, particularly, Grant Leadbitter - who grew up a Sunderland fan and spent seven years with the club before moving to Ipswich.
Former Boro player Lee Cattermole was given a cool reception by the away fans, while Adam Johnson was also unable to make an impression against the club where he too learned his trade.
Sunderland started brightly and Jason Steele was forced into an early save from England winger Johnson's inswinging corner.
However, Boro soon settled and enjoyed midfield dominance through the energetic Leadbitter and Nicky Bailey.
Faroun drilled wide from outside the box, before testing Westwood with another strike, and half chances for McDonald and Leadbitter further demonstrated their intent.
Mowbray's side looked particularly dangerous on the break and McDonald hit the bar with a curling shot from the edge of the box.
John O'Shea headed just wide for Sunderland from Johnson's cross, but Boro eventually took the lead their pressure deserved.
Ishmael Miller tricked his way into space down the right and his cross was turned in by McDonald at the near post.
O'Neill's side emerged after the break with renewed momentum and created two quickfire chances. First Louis Saha drifted over the bar from distance, before Fletcher skidded a shot into the palms of Steele.
The home support grew exasperated with the lack of penetration, as did O'Neill who withdrew Saha for winger James McClean.
For all their hard work, the Black Cats could find no way through an organised Boro defence and were fortunate to see a shot from Bailey drift harmlessly over the crossbar.
McDonald and Haroun continued to work Westwood, who proved equal to their long range shooting, while Sunderland brought on Fraizer Campbell for Johnson in their bid to take the game to extra time.
McClean fired a shot towards goal which was deflected for a corner and Sessegnon headed wide from the set-piece.
Four minutes of added time increased the tension, but Boro hung on to knock their rivals out as boos rang around the Stadium of Light at the final whistle.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray on BBC Tees:
"For the fans who travelled in such big numbers, it's great to send your supporters home happy. The fans are fantastic, my job is to give them nights like tonight.
"We worked on a game plan, the game plan worked well and we could have broken away and scored late on.
"The team are in confident mood, Scott [McDonald] is back with a smile on his face - he's so desperate to do well. I asked him to play wide today and he did so like a trojan."
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill on BBC Newcastle:
"We didn't have enough clear-cut chances, and taking the wrong option at times didn't help either. It was a disappointing night.
"I think there are areas for major consideration, we didn't deal with the emotion of the occasion, didn't do well enough and we're supposed to be able to cope with the pressure when things don't go for us.
"We need to be big enough to deal with that pressure and we need to pick the option under adversity. In their minds the players should be able to pick the right choice - to play."
Live Text Commentary
Adam Reach challenges James McClean unfairly and gives away a free kick. Keiren Westwood takes the direct free kick.90:00 +4:02 Full time
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +3:21
Stuart Parnaby gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon. Direct free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.90:00 +2:52
Foul by Phil Bardsley on Scott McDonald, free kick awarded. Andre Bikey takes the free kick.90:00 +1:48 Substitution
Substitution Richard Smallwood comes on in place of Ishmael Miller.89:25
Stephane Sessegnon challenges Scott McDonald unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jason Steele.88:36
Stephane Sessegnon has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.88:22
Inswinging corner taken by James McClean from the right by-line played to the near post.88:06
James McClean has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Blocked by Andre Bikey.87:29
The ball is sent over by Phil Bardsley, Andre Bikey makes a clearance.83:21
Shot from just outside the box by Ishmael Miller goes over the target.82:21
Outswinging corner taken by James McClean from the left by-line.81:28 Substitution
Substitution Adam Johnson goes off and Fraizer Campbell comes on.81:12
Shot from deep inside the area by George Friend goes over the bar.80:47
Outswinging corner taken by Grant Leadbitter from the right by-line.80:33
Shot from 30 yards from Stuart Parnaby. Save made by Keiren Westwood.80:08
Scott McDonald takes a shot. Save by Keiren Westwood.78:53
Indirect free kick taken by Jason Steele.78:53 Substitution
Substitution (Middlesbrough) makes a substitution, with Adam Reach coming on for Emmanuel Ledesma.78:53
The referee blows for offside.
Long range effort from Faris Haroun misses to the left of the target.78:07
The ball is sent over by James McClean, Jason Steele makes a save.76:38
Scott McDonald sends in a cross, Carlos Cuellar manages to make a clearance.73:12
Unfair challenge on Steven Fletcher by Andre Bikey results in a free kick. Adam Johnson crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel.71:55
David Vaughan is adjudged to have handled the ball. Indirect free kick taken by Jason Steele.71:22
Corner taken left-footed by James McClean, save made by Jason Steele.70:28
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ishmael Miller on Phil Bardsley. Free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.68:26
Effort on goal by Nicky Bailey from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.67:56
The ball is sent over by Stephane Sessegnon, clearance made by George Friend.65:02
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John O'Shea by Ishmael Miller. Keiren Westwood restarts play with the free kick.64:08 Substitution
Substitution (Middlesbrough) makes a substitution, with Stuart Parnaby coming on for Seb Hines.62:46
The ball is crossed by Adam Johnson.62:09
The ball is swung over by Phil Bardsley, clearance made by Andre Bikey.61:53
Adam Johnson produces a cross, Seb Hines makes a clearance.60:04
Shot from just outside the box by Stephane Sessegnon misses to the right of the goal.58:42 Substitution
Substitution James McClean is brought on as a substitute for Louis Saha.57:09
The ball is sent over by David Vaughan.56:17
Emmanuel Ledesma challenges Jack Colback unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.55:31
Scott McDonald fouled by Stephane Sessegnon, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jason Steele.52:30
Emmanuel Ledesma concedes a free kick for a foul on David Vaughan. Lee Cattermole restarts play with the free kick.49:54
Corner from right by-line taken by Adam Johnson.47:32
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Emmanuel Ledesma, clearance made by Phil Bardsley.47:22
George Friend produces a cross, John O'Shea manages to make a clearance.46:11
Shot by Louis Saha from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +1:16 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.44:53
The ball is crossed by Adam Johnson, Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Comfortable save by Jason Steele.43:33
Scott McDonald concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephane Sessegnon. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Adam Johnson, Faris Haroun manages to make a clearance.43:02
Nicky Bailey sends in a cross, save by Keiren Westwood.42:21
Corner taken by Emmanuel Ledesma played to the near post, Lee Cattermole manages to make a clearance.41:57
A cross is delivered by David Vaughan, clearance by Andre Bikey.40:58
Emmanuel Ledesma concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Cattermole. John O'Shea takes the free kick.40:34
Emmanuel Ledesma takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Blocked by John O'Shea.38:37
Ishmael Miller provided the assist for the goal.38:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Scott McDonald - Sunderland 0 - 1 Middlesbro Scott McDonald finds the back of the net with a goal from close in high into the middle of the goal. Sunderland 0-1 Middlesbrough.37:17
A cross is delivered by Jack Colback, clearance by Nicky Bailey.32:39
Adam Johnson sends in a cross, John O'Shea has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.32:17
Corner from the left by-line taken by Adam Johnson, clearance made by Ishmael Miller.32:00
Shot by Steven Fletcher. Blocked by Seb Hines.28:47
Scott McDonald has an effort at goal.26:40
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson, clearance made by Seb Hines.26:11
Effort on goal by Louis Saha from 18 yards. Blocked by Seb Hines.25:45
Faris Haroun gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Fletcher. Direct free kick taken by Lee Cattermole.25:09
Stephane Sessegnon is ruled offside. Jason Steele takes the free kick.24:22
Scott McDonald concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Cattermole. Free kick taken by John O'Shea.22:41
The ball is sent over by George Friend, mishit right-footed shot by Ishmael Miller. Comfortable save by Keiren Westwood.21:48
Phil Bardsley crosses the ball, clearance made by Emmanuel Ledesma.19:50
Ishmael Miller produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.18:40
Grant Leadbitter has shot on goal from a long way out that goes wide left.16:52
Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Bardsley on Scott McDonald. Andre Bikey takes the free kick.16:21
Shot from outside the area by Scott McDonald misses to the left of the goal.14:47 Booking
Booking Caution for Scott McDonald.12:01
Shot by Adam Johnson from 25 yards. Blocked by Andre Bikey.11:22
Emmanuel Ledesma takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by John O'Shea.10:55
Shot by Faris Haroun. Save by Keiren Westwood.9:17
Emmanuel Ledesma fouled by Lee Cattermole, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Emmanuel Ledesma, Jason Steele makes a save.8:55
George Friend gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon. Direct free kick taken by Phil Bardsley.8:21
Adam Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Nicky Bailey.7:48
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson, Andre Bikey makes a clearance.7:35
Stephane Sessegnon sends in a cross, Seb Hines makes a clearance.5:12
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Vaughan by Scott McDonald. Direct free kick taken by David Vaughan.3:55
Centre by Justin Hoyte, Faris Haroun produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.1:51
Louis Saha produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.1:17
Corner taken by Adam Johnson played to the near post, Justin Hoyte makes a clearance.0:20
Nicky Bailey challenges Steven Fletcher unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Adam Johnson, Jason Steele makes a save.0:00
The game begins.
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