Date: 18th April 2011 at 8:08am
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The Clarets last played Middlesbrough earlier this season when they came away emptied-handed from the Riverside after losing 2-1 to Gordon Strachan`s men. It has certainly been all change on the managerial front for both sides since that clash with Eddie Howe having replaced Brian Laws in January this year and Strachan leaving by mutual consent in October 2010 with the club in 20th spot. Tony Mowbray is now of course at the helm at the Riverside.

The game earlier in the season was played on the night of Tuesday 14th September 2010 in front of 15,033 fans.

Laws wrung the changes for this game following our fight back to win 4-3 against Preston at Turf Moor in the previous game

Tyrone Mears returned after his one-match suspension replacing David Edgar at right back who dropped back to the bench. However Laws also named Chris Eagles and Jack Cork in his starting eleven, something which Clarets fans had been wanting for some time. The side looked in so much better shape when they came on from the bench against Preston at Turf Moor in the previous game and it would appear Laws agreed by naming them in his starting eleven for the Boro clash. Martin Paterson and Dean Marney drew the short straws having to be content with a place on the bench. We still however persisted in having a lone striker up front and that was Chris Iwelumo. There had been some concern he had still not fully shaken off his hamstring problem despite scoring a hat-trick last Saturday but he came through in the end.

The Clarets line-up therefore that night was as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Eagles, Cork, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo

Subs: Grant, Edgar, Cort, Marney, Paterson, Rodriguez, Thompson

Boro fans were not a happy bunch ahead of this clash, listening to comments on local radio and they were certainly not expecting to win. This could explain the very poor turn out from the home contingent with a gate of only 15,033 and plenty of empty seats evident. About 1000 of those were Clarets fans and we seemed to easily outshout the Boro supporters who looked less than inspired rattling in the home sections of their ground. It was perhaps typical that it was Burnley in the end who gave Gordon Strachan a lifeline by coming away pointless. He would only last another month though.

Yorkshire referee, Jon Moss got the game underway and it was Boro who gave the Clarets an early shock. In the fourth minute a rampant-looking Leroy Lita put over a dangerous cross and Scott McDonald should have done better from close range electing instead to somehow scoop the ball over the bar, much to the relief of Clarets fans. He then later forced a good save from Jensen before lifting another effort over the top. The Clarets had little to shout about in the first half with scoring opportunities few and far between although gradually they did come more and more into the game. A cross from Wallace found the head of Iwelumo but the ball flew over the bar. Bikey then came close with a header from another Wallace cross but the ball hit the post. 0-0 then at half-time and you just sensed that the Clarets had once more failed to hit top gear despite a number of line-up changes.

Laws made no changes for the start of the second half and it was Boro who came close to breaking the deadlock first. Gary O`Neil hit a vicious volley at the far post bringing out another fine save from Jensen before the Clarets began their best spell leading to the first goal. In a 20 minute period, the Clarets seemed to take control with some mazy runs and crosses from Chris Eagles in particular. It was Wallace though down the opposite flank forcing a corner in the 65th minute that led to our opening goal. Alexander took the corner and Bikey got up to head home past Steele.

That goal should have demoralised Boro but we let them off the hook and seemed to take our foot off the gas allowing them to come at us for the remainder of the game. Strachan though made an inspired substitution on 75 minutes bringing on Tarmo Kink for O`Neil and four minutes later the Estonian international had leveled the score. He picked up a lay-off from McDonald to rifle home a low left-footed shot past Jensen into the bottom corner of the net.

Burnley looked to be holding on for a still satisfying point with four minutes of added time running out but disaster struck for the Clarets in the last of those four minutes.

Leroy Lita was judged to have been fouled just outside the penalty area despite the protests by the Clarets. Kink, from the fre-kick thumped the ball home past Jensen into the top corner of the net to notch up a brace on the night. With the seconds of the last minute of added time ticking down, there was just time for Jensen to rush up to the other end after the Clarets were awarded a corner. It came to nothing though and Boro fans went home happy having secured only their second win of the season. The Clarets fans though had to go home demoralised with the club still looking for their first away win of the season.

So that was this season but when did we play them before that? Well, how time flies, it was back in the 1994-95 season!

This was the season of course that Middlesbrough under Bryan Robson were promoted to the top flight as Champions with Burnley under Jimmy Mullen going in the opposite direction and being relegated to the third tier of English football after finishing third from bottom.

Our paths would not cross again (apart from a friendly) until this season.

Back in 1994-95, Boro were still based at Ayresome Park but would move to their new Riverside Stadium in August 1995.

So what happened in our games against the ultimate League champions back in 1994-95? Most Clarets fans will want to instantly forget the results with Boro getting the double over us. We actually played them at Ayresome Park in the opening game of that season but went down 2-0 thanks to two first half goals after 28 and 35 minutes.

We lined up as follows that day in front of a crowd of 23,343:

Beresford, Parkinson, Vinnicombe, Davis, Winstanley, Joyce, A.Harper, Deary, Heath, L.Robinson, McMinn. Lancashire came on as a sub replacing Joyce during the game.

By the time of the return match at Turf Moor four days before Christmas 1994 the Clarets were in 18th spot and desperate to move clear of the relegation zone looming over their shoulders.

Middlesbrough though had other ideas and in front of a crowd of just 12,049 fans won convincingly 3-0. They took a 1-0 lead at half-time scoring a goal in the 14th minute. Two second half goals after 64 and 90 minutes finished us off.

The team that day lined-up as follows:

Beresford, Parkinson, Davis, Winstanley, A.Harper, Heath, L.Robinson, Eyres, Randall, Hoyland, Dowell. Substitutes Gayle and Mullin also saw action that day.

Boro would be relegated in 1996-97 after controversially being deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn Rovers. They were however then promoted the following season and spent eleven consecutive seasons in the top flight before relegation at the end of the 2008-9 season. Burnley managed to avoid them yet again being of course promoted to the Premier League that same season but now the rivalry is restored.

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