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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
C Burnley 46 26 15 5 93 37
P Middlesbrough 46 26 11 9 89 32
3 Brighton 46 24 17 5 89 30
4 Hull City 46 24 11 11 83 34
5 Derby County 46 21 15 10 78 23
6 Sheff Wed 46 19 17 10 74 21
7 Ipswich 46 18 15 13 69 2
8 Cardiff 46 17 17 12 68 5
9 Brentford 46 19 8 19 65 5
10 Birmingham 46 16 15 15 63 4
11 Preston 46 15 17 14 62 0
12 Q.P.R. 46 14 18 14 60 0
13 Leeds Utd 46 14 17 15 59 -8
14 Wolves 46 14 16 16 58 -5
15 Blackburn 46 13 16 17 55 0
16 Forest 46 13 16 17 55 -4
17 Reading 46 13 13 20 52 -7
18 Bristol City 46 13 13 20 52 -17
19 Huddersfield 46 13 12 21 51 -11
20 Fulham 46 12 15 19 51 -13
21 Rotherham 46 13 10 23 49 -18
R Charlton 46 9 13 24 40 -40
R MK Dons 46 9 12 25 39 -30
R Bolton 46 5 15 26 30 -40
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