Relief went around the Riverside at the final whistle as Middlesbrough booked their place in the FA Cup Quarter Final with a hard fought 3-2 victory over Oxford United.
The Teessiders let a two-goal lead slip after Grant Leadbitter and Rudy Gestede put Boro ahead before half time.
Oxford United lead an inspired comeback in the second half with two goals coming in the space of 90 seconds as first Chris Maguire converted a close range free kick and then Toni Martinez scored his second goal in two FA Cup ties.
But a late Cristhian Stuani effort saw Boro earn their third home victory in three FA Cup ties this year.
Build-up to kickoff
Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough came into this FA Cup tie hoping for a confidence boosting win with the Teesside club flirting with the relegation places in the Premier League.
Oxford United and their manager Michael Appleton, however, had hopes of upsetting the apple cart and progressing to the next round of the competition.
The giant killing looked on the cards for the League One side with the game just a minute old as Martinez got past Bernardo Espinosa, but 19-year-old forward could not beat Boro's veteran 'keeper Brad Guzan.
Solid first half for the Premier League side
It was Middlesbrough who would take the lead in the 26th minute after Gestede was taken down in the box and the Boro skipper Leadbitter rifled the ball into the top of the net.
Oxford United did pose a threat in the first half, however, and they had the ball in the net, but Kane Hemmings was judged to have pushed Espinosa to the floor.
The home side would go on to double their advantage as Gestede acrobatically fired home on 34 minutes, after a Fabio cross was put back into the box by Adama Traore.
Middlesbrough could have scored a third with the Colombian defender Espinosa finding the back of the net, but the referee Andre Marriner had blown for a handball by Daniel Ayala.
Second 45 minutes belonged to Oxford United
The goalmouth action continued into the section period as Oxford United had a spell of three successive corners, with Hemmings coming the closest to halving the deficit.
Oxford would score in the 63rd minute from a floated Maguire free kick, and just 90 seconds later Martinez would capitalise from poor Boro defending and score from close range.
The tie looked to be in the balance from then on with both sides looking to make a breakthrough.
The Uruguayan substitute Stuani would score an 86th minute winner to break Oxford hearts as he stole in at the back post to send Middlesbrough through to the FA Cup Quarter Final.