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One Day In History - Middlesbrough 1976-77

One Day In History - Middlesbrough 1976-77


Rangers required a timely boost to fire themselves away from an unlikely relegation place in the top flight.

Teams: Middlesbrough v Queens Park Rangers

Date: Saturday April 16, 1977

Competition: Football League Third Division

Venue: Ayresome Park

The R's came into the season with a wave of expectancy over Loftus Road following their last gasp title blow at the back end of the previous season.

Liverpool pipped the R's to the post after the final day's play, and it was hoped that Rangers could put in a similar challenge to the Reds this time out, with little in the way of personnel change.

The season was quickly turning into a damp squib however with more defeats in the first half of the season than the entire 1975/76 campaign, as Liverpool once again proved dominant at the top.

Rangers were fighting at the wrong end of the table, and despite many critics looking at last season's side believing the R's were better than the relegation places, the side was undoubtedly in a battle.

The R's travelled to Ayresome Park without a win in six games, and only one win in nine - and in that run Rangers had only scored four times to belie their previous season's performance.

Rangers had indeed only won once on the road at Everton (3-1) - meaning that they had only picked up six points on the road in total thus far.

Under the guidance of Jack Charlton, Middlesbrough were consolodating their place in the top flight but at present seemed to be in free-fall.

Charlton's men had no win in the last 11 games, a run compounded by defeats at Manchester City (1-0), Aston Villa (1-0), West Bromwich Albion (2-1) and rivals Newcastle United (1-0).

Dave Sexton made three changes following the home draw with Coventry City (1-1) with Mick Leach, Don Shanks and Dave Thomas making way for Dave Clement, John Hollins and Frank McLintock.

Rangers remain relatively unfancied as they headed to the North-East, given their perilous plight at the wrong end of the table, but games in hand eased the situation somewhat.

McLintock's stout defending set an early marker for the R's as he denied a brisk attack in the opening stages for Boro, and shortly before the half hour mark they reaped the rewards for a solid rearguard action.

Former Boro player Don Masson put a testing ball into the area and Stuart Boam missed his attempted clearance - this gave the opportunity for Rob Abbott to surge into the box unmarked and prod home for the opener.

Shortly before the hour mark Rangers doubled their lead when Boam was in the thick of the action once again to make a goal-line clearance only for Masson to force it home past Pat Cuff.

It was the spark of life that the R's needed to get their fight against relegation under way, following this result up with a thumping home win over Manchester United (4-0).

Despite losing three on the bounce, Rangers lost only one in six games in the season run in to bolster their position to relative safety and 14th place.

Middlesbrough meanwhile secured a 12th placed finish, and following the disappointing home defeat, then went undefeated until the end of the season.

Final Score: Middlesbrough 0-2 Queens Park Rangers

Attendance: 14,500

Middlesbrough: Cuff, Craggs, Cooper, Souness, Boam, Maddren, Hadley, Mills, McAndrew, Boersma (Bailey 65), Armstrong.

Queens Park Rangers: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, McLintock, Webb, Eastoe, Kelly, Masson, Abbott, Givens.

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Writer:Boxer
Date:Wednesday February 24 2010
Time: 7:54AM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Middlesbrough 45 26 10 9 88 32
2 Burnley 44 24 15 5 87 33
3 Brighton 44 24 15 5 87 30
4 Hull City 44 23 11 10 80 31
5 Derby County 44 21 14 9 77 24
6 Sheff Wed 44 18 17 9 71 19
7 Cardiff 44 17 16 11 67 8
8 Ipswich 44 16 15 13 63 0
9 Birmingham 45 16 14 15 62 4
10 Brentford 44 17 8 19 59 -2
11 Preston 44 14 16 14 58 -1
12 Leeds Utd 44 14 16 14 58 -7
13 Q.P.R. 44 13 18 13 57 0
14 Wolves 44 13 15 16 54 -6
15 Reading 44 13 13 18 52 -4
16 Huddersfield 44 13 12 19 51 -3
17 Forest 44 12 15 17 51 -5
18 Blackburn 44 11 16 17 49 -3
19 Rotherham 44 13 10 21 49 -13
20 Bristol City 44 12 13 19 49 -20
21 Fulham 44 11 15 18 48 -11
R MK Dons 44 9 12 23 39 -28
R Charlton 44 8 13 23 37 -38
R Bolton 44 4 15 25 27 -40
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