Lee Hetherington fired the home side ahead 16 minutes into the Barclays Under-18 Premier League second phase contest and, despite playing our way into the game in the moments before and after half-time, we conceded three further goals in the last 27 minutes.
It was a disappointing outing for what was once again a young side at Boro’s Rockliffe Park facility.
Charlie Owens, Zenon Stylianides and Ismail Azzaoui were the only members of the starting XI who also began our FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg defeat at Chelsea in midweek, with attacker Keanan Bennetts given his first start at Under-18 level after two previous substitute appearances.
It was Middlesbrough who took the initiative, though, as Hetherington cut in from the right side and lashed past goalkeeper Tom Glover to put his side into a 16th-minute lead.
We continued to work hard and began to find our feet in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
On 35 minutes, Azzaoui work his way in from the left side and tried a shot that flew off target while, five minutes later, a Cy Goddard free-kick was only half-cleared and Owens volleyed over the top.
We started the second half brightly without creating much in the way of clear chances, but we were dealt a blow on 63 minutes when the hosts doubled their lead. Joe Wheatley ran at our defence, found an opening and pulled the trigger from just inside the box – the ball zipping past Glover.
A lapse in concentration at the back allowed Hetherington to grab his second goal of the game on 83 minutes, the front man finishing from seven yards out, before Harry Chapman came in from the left and finished from a tight angle to make it 4-0 just two minutes later.
We might have got a consolation goal shortly afterwards, but a good cross from Bennetts was nicked off the head of Azzaoui by Boro substitute John Helm at the expense of a corner.
Spurs: Glover, Paul, Muscatt, Owens (Marsh 63), Stylianides, Brown, Bennetts, Hayford (Duncan 68), Loft, Goddard, Azzaoui. Substitute (not used): Voss (GK).