Instead, we had to endure the pain of a penalty shoot-out exit after Middlesbrough equalised with just five minutes of normal time remaining.
Franck Queudrue struck the vital penalty after Mauricio Taricco's miss to see the visitors through 5-4 in the shoot-out following the 1-1 draw after extra time.
Acting boss David pinpointed a spell mid-way through the second half with Robbie Keane in tormenting mood down the left side as the time we needed to double our advantage.
He reflected: "We started well, played well in the first half, Middlesbrough came back into it in the second.
"We had enough chances on the break in the second half but we couldn't get the crucial goal that would have finished them off.
"I thought when we went to three at the back and we were getting Keane away down the left we just needed one precise moment to get that second goal.
"But although we had a few scrambles and half-chances, we couldn't get that decisive, perfect ball in.
"There was always the chance that they would score and they took that opportunity right at the death.
"It's a cruel way but you can't complain about it. There has to be way of winning a game and that's the path we have to take."
David Pleat is convinced a second goal would have killed off last night's Carling Cup quarter-final.