Britt Assombalonga scored a hat-trick as Middlesbrough handed a 5-0 defeat to Hartlepool United in Saturday’s friendly encounter.
After losing their last three tune-up games against Augsburg, Accrington Stanley and Rochdale, Tony Pulis’ men returned to victory with an emphatic first-half performance.
Assombalonga who racked up 15 goals in 46 English Championship league outings last season got the curtain raiser in the 34th minute.
The 25-year-old attacker then added the second three minutes later before completing his treble - sandwiched by a pair from Ashley Fletcher - at the nick of 45 minutes to seal the imposing first-half display against the National League side.
45: GOAL! @BrittOfficials has his hat-trick! This time it's a close-range header from a @Tavernier60 corner
🔵 0-4 ⚫️
👉 https://t.co/jrY0CpF0YW 👈 #UTB pic.twitter.com/p0W4LVguzu — Middlesbrough FC (@Boro) July 28, 2018
However, just before the restart, the former Nottingham Forest player was replaced by Julien de Sart after picking up a knock.
The Smoggies who narrowly missed out of promotion to the English Premier League last term after finishing fifth will hope for more of this when they kick-off their 2018-19 campaign against Millwall on August 4.