Middlesbrough 1 Burnley 2Burnley buried their FA Cup third round hoodoo with a sensational fightback to stun Championship leaders Middlesbrough.
The Clarets, who had exited the competition at the first attempt for four successive seasons, could have been heading for another disappointing afternoon when Diego Fabbrini struck after 35 minutes.
The visitors had other ideas though and German striker Rouwen Hennings, making his first start away from Turf Moor, put them back on level terms with a classy finish just before the break.
And Stephen Ward’s first competitive goal for the Clarets 18 minutes from time completed the turnaround to put the Clarets in the hat for Monday’s fourth round draw.
Sean Dyche had made four changes for the FA Cup tie, while Boro topped that with seven!
For the Clarets, Tendayi Darikwa, George Boyd, Hennings and Fredrik Ulvestad all came into the starting line-up.
Andre Gray dropped out of the 18, with Matt Lowton, Joey Barton and Scott Arfield all dropping to the bench
But it was the hosts who started the brighter, with Adam Forshaw firing just over with the first half chance of the game in the 18th minute, following a neat give-and-go with Fabbrini.
Just before the half hour mark, Clarets nemesis David Nugent then sprung the offside trap, only to be denied by a superb block by Tom Heaton.
But 10 minutes before half time, even Heaton’s heroics couldn’t stop Boro from taking the lead.
Nugent’s close range effort was blocked by a defender’s leg and from the rebound the Clarets keeper made a magnificent goal-line parry to somehow keep out George Friend’s follow-up.
But agonisingly the ball fell kindly to Italian Fabbrini, who rifled home from point-blank range to reward Boro’s early spell of pressure.
Soon after, Darikwa was clattered by Friend as he advanced over the half way line, and needed treatment to a head injury following a booking for the Boro skipper.
And in time added-on at the end of the first half, the Clarets stung the hosts by levelling things up with their first clear-cut opening.
Sam Vokes was the provider with a sublime cross from the right that invited a finishing touch and Hennings duly obliged, side-footing home effortlessly into the bottom corner from six yards out.
Burnley remained on the front foot at the start of the second half, with Vokes firing wide after cutting in from the right.
However, the threat remained at the other end and Heaton was alert on the hour mark to push away a drive from distance by Albert Adomah.
And soon after, Burnley had a real let-off when Adomah danced to the by-line and crossed perfectly for Forshaw, who headed tamely wide from an unmarked position 10 yards from goal.
And how Burnley made the hosts pay!
Eighteen minutes from time Vokes’ shot was deflected for a corner - and from David Jones’ delivery Boyd miscued.
However, the ball looped gently and invitingly to Ward, whose scorching volley over his shoulder from eight yards gave Tomas Mejias no chance.
Boyd almost sealed it with a stinging drive straight at Mejias in the dying minutes.
But it mattered not as Burnley rode out four minutes of stoppage time to earn their place in the fourth round.
BURNLEY: Heaton, Darikwa, Mee, Keane, Ward, Kightly (Arfield 70), Jones (Barton 77), Ulvestad, Boyd, Hennings, Vokes (C Long 90)
Subs: Gilks, Lowton, Taylor, Anderson
Booked: Barton 83
BORO: Mejias, Nugent, Forshaw, Friend, Amorebieta (Nsue 52), Kalas, Ayala, Adomah, De Pena (Stuani 76), Fabbrini (Kike 76) Clayton.
Subs: Agazzi, Gibson, Leadbitter, Downing.
Booked: Friend 35
Ref: S Hooper
Att: 18,286 (1,275)