MIDDLESBROUGH UNDER-23s opened up a three-point gap at the top of the table as they claimed a 3-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

The Teessiders’ second string fell behind in the 16th minute when Joe Rankin-Costello converted Lewis Travis’ low cross from close range.

Aynsley Pears prevented things getting worse when he kept out Joe Grayson’s free-kick, but Boro gradually gained a foothold in the game and began to cause problems of their own.

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They equalised shortly after the half-hour mark, with Luke Armstrong swooping on a loose ball to fire home after good work from George Miller.

Miller joined Boro from Bury this summer, and his qualities were evident as he fired his side into the lead shortly after the interval. Spotting the Blackburn goalkeeper off his line, he fashioned a deft 25-yard chip that looped into the net.

Boro’s third goal came in stoppage time, with former Shildon midfielder Lewis Wing wriggling free of his marker to score at the near post.

Middlesbrough Under-23s: Pears, Cook (Storey 60), Brewitt, McGinley, Dale, Soisalo (Malley 75), Liddle, Wing, Tavernier, Armstrong, Miller.