Matty Cash's 87th-minute deflected strike secured Aston Villa's first FA Cup win since 2016 as they triumphed 1-0 against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. The Championship side, on the brink of forcing a replay, faced a resilient Villa led by Australian goalkeeper Tom Glover, who made notable saves against Jhon Duran and John McGinn.
Villa's frustration heightened as Ezri Konsa's header hit the post before Cash's decisive goal, marking his fourth of the season across various competitions. Middlesbrough, already successful in the Carabao Cup, managed just one on-target attempt, with Emiliano Martinez denying Morgan Rogers.
Despite Middlesbrough's solid cup run, they struggled to break Villa's defense, and their solitary attempt on target was thwarted by Martinez. Villa believed they were denied a penalty when Isaiah Jones fouled Moreno, but without VAR in operation outside the Premier League, play continued. As the prospect of a replay loomed, Cash netted the winner with an assist from substitute Douglas Luiz, ending Villa's eight-year FA Cup victory drought and securing a spot in the fourth round for the first time since 2016.
Unai Emery, Villa's manager, fielded a robust lineup, including Ollie Watkins coming off the bench. The introduction of Watkins and substitute Nicolo Zaniolo injected energy into Villa's attack, with Zaniolo narrowly missing a goal with a curling attempt. The final whistle brought relief to Emery and Villa's fans, marking a significant turnaround from last season's FA Cup exit to Stevenage. Villa can now anticipate a fourth-round tie, breaking the pattern of eight consecutive defeats in the competition.