JACK Simpson scored a spectacular debut effort and the fit-again Callum Wilson netted his first goal in nine months as Cherries claimed a Carabao Cup quarter-final spot with a 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough.

Academy product Simpson sent home an acrobatic effort minutes into the second half and although Marcus Tavernier immediately levelled, Cherries came roaring back.

Simpson, who had an assured debut, was dragged down in the box by Dael Fry and Wilson coolly sent Dimi Konstantopoulos the wrong way from the spot.

There was still time for substitute Benik Afobe to register his first goal since April, finishing a neat passing move from close range.

It was just the second time Cherries had reached the quarter-final stage of the competition, following the memorable run during the 2014-15 campaign.

Boss Eddie Howe made eight changes to the side which had won at Stoke City, with Charlie Daniels, Adam Smith and Lys Mousset the only players to retain their places.

Howe handed a start to Wilson, ending the striker’s nightmare spell on the sidelines following the second serious knee injury of his career.

There was also a full debut for 20-year-old Simpson, the former Weymouth youngster lining up alongside Steve Cook at centre-half.

Boro boss Garry Monk, whose side had not won since their victory against Aston Villa in the previous round, plumped for 10 changes.

The visitors made the trip to the south coast some 13 years after winning the competition thanks to victory over Bolton in the final – Stewart Downing on the bench on both occasions.

In front of a sell-out crowd, Mousset tried his luck from 20 yards but saw his shot charged down as part of a lively opening.

There was a scare for the hosts moments later when Adama Traore’s effort took a nick off Simpson and keeper Artur Boruc failed to gather, but the flag was raised.

Still waiting for his first Cherries goal in a competitive game, Mousset thought he had broken his duck when he nodded Ryan Fraser’s in-swinging free-kick back across Konstantopoulous. But as the France under-21 international wheeled away in celebration, a linesman intervened once more, with replays showing the decision had been correct.

Fraser was soon causing problems from a set-piece again. His arching corner was aimed at Simpson and although the former AFC Totton loan star rose well, his header drifted the wrong side of the right post.

In the 17th minute, a well-worked short corner routine saw the ball go through Fraser, Smith and Harry Arter, before Fraser sent in a delivery which Cook headed well wide.

Cherries continued to press and after Charlie Daniels’s cross bounced off Adam Forshaw and into the path of Wilson, the ex-Coventry City man placed wide of the target.

The home side soon had another chance to forge ahead. Daniels lashed in a cross-shot from the left and when Konstantopoulos parried the ball straight to Fraser, the Scotland international diverted agonisingly wide.

Clayton was off-target from range having been teed up by Traore, while Mousset was fortunate to escape a booking after going in late on Marcus Tavernier.

The flag again came to Boruc’s rescue in the 35th minute after he had failed to collect an awkward strike by Connor Roberts and suddenly, Middlesbrough appeared right back in the game.

A Fraser free-kick from a useful position on the right corner of the box came to nothing after referee Simon Hooper spotted an infringement in the box.

And Boro had one of the chances of the half with the interval looming, Traore picking the pocket of Dan Gosling in midfield before driving forward, only to slice past the right upright.

There was brief concern when Fraser stayed on the deck following an challenge by left-back George Friend but the winger was back on his feet – albeit hobbling – after being attended to by physio Steve Hard.

Four minutes into the second half, Simpson was in dreamland. The rejuvenated Fraser swept in a corner and the youngster launched himself into the air and volleyed past Konstantopoulos from close range.

The ball was diverted into the net by the debutant’s shin but he did not worry about that one jot.

However, it took the visitors just seven minutes to level. With Cherries still feeling aggrieved after Fraser went to ground in the box – but got nothing – Boro countered and Traore played in Tavernier, who slotted coolly past Boruc as Cook’s slide tackle arrived a fraction too late.

Wilson then asked a question of referee Hooper when he fell under the challenge of Fry in the area but the man in the middle elected to award a goal-kick.

Boruc easily collected an angled volley from Tavernier after Traore had outpaced Daniels and sent in a deep cross, the game continuing to teeter on a knife edge.

Boro still fancied their chances and Tavernier teed up Forshaw, whose drive was deflected behind.

But the match swung in Cherries’ direction with 15 minutes left when man of the moment Simpson was crudely hauled down by Fry. Whistler Hooper pointed to the spot and Wilson tucked into the right corner as Konstantopolous dived the other way.

Cherries made the game safe with eight minutes remaining. Smith, who had been a livewire all night, wheeled into space and slid the ball in behind the defence for Wilson. The frontman centred and Afobe slotted into an empty net from several yards out.

Afobe might have had a second but he fired wide at the near post after being found by Pugh.

The quarter-final draw is due to take place on Thursday at 4pm and will be streamed live on Twitter by competition sponsors Carabao.


Cherries (4-4-1-1): Boruc; A Smith (Ake, 84), S Cook, Simpson, Daniels; Fraser (Afobe, 76), Arter, Gosling, Pugh; Mousset (Ibe, 70); Wilson.

Unused subs: Mahoney, Hyndman, Butcher, Ramsdale (g/k).

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Konstantopoulos; Roberts, Ayala, Fry, Friend; Forshaw, Clayton; Traore, Tavernier (Downing, 76), Baker (Fletcher, 83); Bamford.

Unused subs: Da Silva, Gibson, Howson, Wing, Mejias (g/k).

Bookings: Fry.

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).