REPORT: MIDDLESBROUGH 4-0 NORWICH CITYMIDDLEBROUGH proved too strong for the Canaries as they stormed to a 4-0 win at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night.
Patrick Bamford's header after only five minutes set the tone for the evening and the hosts doubled their advantage through Grant Leadbitter's contentious penalty.
City didn't improve despite changes in the second period, and Leadbitter put the game beyond doubt, completing his brace on 69 minutes with a deft header.
Yanic Wildschut's backheel five minutes from time rounded off a disappointing night for Norwich, who went closest through Gary O'Neil in their only lengthy spell of pressure in the first half.
Neil Adams kept faith with the same starting eleven and substitutes that saw the Canaries to victory against Bolton, with O'Neil in the side against the club he made 120 apperances for between 2007 and 2011.
Former Canary Daniel Ayala was named in Aitor Karanka's Boro, who were captained by ex-Ipswich Town midfielder Leadbitter.
After Ryan Fredericks blazed over inside two minutes, the home team took the lead just three minutes later with a simple goal.
Kike played in Albert Adomah on the left, whose pace enabled him the space to pick out Bamford. The former Chelsea man had lost his marker in the box and stooped low to head the ball beyond John Ruddy.
City responded with some tidy football and could have levelled on 13 minutes when Jonny Howson picked out O'Neil, but the midfielder saw his low shot palmed behind by Dimi Konstantopoulos.
Cameron Jerome and Kyle Lafferty then put difficult opportunities over before Middlesbrough slowly began to dominate, although Michael Turner should have done better with a free header from an O'Neil set-piece.
The hosts then won a dubious penalty on 33 minutes when City failed to deal with a high ball and Russell Martin was adjudged to have brought down George Friend in the box.
Leadbitter stepped up and confidently despatched his spot-kick, going the opposite way to Ruddy's dive and opening up a cushion for Karanka's team.
Bamford scooped a shot over after more sloppy work at the back from Norwich, and Adams will have been grateful for the half-time whistle when it arrived.
HALF-TIME: Middlesbrough 2-0 Norwich City
Adams replaced Alex Tettey with Gary Hooper at half-time, switching to a 4-4-2 formation to try and forge a path back into the game.
Redmond and Jerome combined nicely before the latter fired over, before Ayala nodded wide off balance for Middlesbrough from Adam Reach's cross.
Josh Murphy replaced Lafferty for City but Boro went close on 59 minutes when Leadbitter's drive from 20 yards whistled just by Ruddy's post.
Ruddy then made an excellent stop low down to his right from Ben Gibson's well-struck shot, and it was the hosts who looked the most likely to get the next goal of the game.
They did, on 69 minutes, as Leadbitter nodded home his second of the night, looping the ball over Ruddy from Lee Tomlin clever lofted pass.
They continued on the front foot and got a fourth five minutes from time. Ruddy spilled Leadbitter's corner and Wildschut was on hand to improvise with a backheel that found the net and compounded City's misery.
FULL-TIME: Middlesbrough 4-0 Norwich City
GOALS: Boro: Patrick Bamford (5), Grant Leadbitter (pen 33, 69), Yanic Wildschut (85) - Canaries:
MIDDLESBROUGH: Konstantopoulos; Friend, Ayala, Gibson, Fredericks, Clayton, Leadbitter (c), Adomah (Reach 49), Bamford (Vossen 75), Tomlin, Kike (Wildschut 68). Subs not used: Mejias (GK), Nsue, Whitehead, Omeruo.
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Turner, Olsson; O'Neil, Tettey (Hooper 45); Redmond, Howson, Lafferty (Murphy 57); Jerome (Grabban 78). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Cuellar, Johnson, Miquel.
REFEREE: Nigel Miller