Nottingham Forest Under 23s began their Premier League Cup campaign with a defeat as Middlesbrough ran out 3-0 winners.
Goals from Luke Armstrong, George Miller and Hayden Coulson sealed the win for Boro at Alfreton Town's Impact Arena against a young Forest side.
The Reds started brightly, pressuring their opponents high up the pitch and almost took the lead on 11 minutes through Lewis Walters as his rising drive clipped the top of the crossbar.
A fortuitous deflection off Walters played Tyler Walker through on goal on the quarter-of-an-hour mark but his shot was well saved by Aynsley Pears in the Boro goal and a brilliant block from Choz Charlesworth denied the visitors at the other end on 20.
It was an evenly-contested opening half-hour with few chances, but the Premier League 2 side started to grow into the game. Lewis Wing tested Dimitar Evtimov from range then the Bulgarian stopper pulled off a fine stop to deny George Miller's curling effort on 36.
A swift break forward on 43 by Gerry McDonagh saw the Irishman play Walker in on goal, but a heavy touch forced him wide and he could only shoot across the face of goal, and he tested Pears a minute later with a deflected effort which the keeper gathered at the second attempt.
Evtimov was again called into action in first-half stoppage time as he tipped Ben Liddle's effort over the bar as the two sides went in level at the break.
Hayden Coulson fizzed an effort narrowly over the crossbar to start the second half and neat link-up play between Walker and McDonagh led to the former shooting in to the side netting on 53.
It was the visitors who found the clinical touch though as they took the lead on 57. Armstrong had half-a-yard of space inside the Forest area and he fired low and hard into the far corner to put Boro in front.
It was two shortly afterwards as good play by left back Patrick Reading saw him skip down the wing and deliver a great cross for Miller in the middle to convert from close range, and Miller almost doubled his tally on 68 as he latched onto a long ball forward but Evtimov was equal to his effort.
Forest probed for a way back into the game but Middlesbrough secured the win on 82 as Coulson added a third. The winger pounced on a loose ball in the Forest box and smashed past a helpless Evtimov to take the Group A points back to Teeside.
Forest: Evtimov, Otim (En-Neyah 83'), Charlesworth, Richardson, Stewart, Edser, Walters (Appiah 69'), Taylor, McDonagh, Walker, A. Smith (Hayes 78')
Unused subs: C. Smith, Shelvey
Booking: Taylor 90'