LOOKING BACK: MIDDLESBROUGH
We remember an iconic mid-nineties encounter between the Bluebirds and ‘Boro, including a Graham Kavanagh strike… against City.
Most Cardiff City fans will have fond memories of our FA Cup Quarter-Final with Middlesbrough in 2008, as goals from Peter Whittingham and Roger Johnson at the Riverside sealed City’s trip to Wembley.
However, it wasn’t the first dramatic Cup meeting between the sides.
In the 1993/94 season, Eddie May’s Cardiff City were drawn at home to First Division Middlesbrough in the Third Round of the FA Cup.
With familiar names, late goals, and a dose of controversy, the encounter, played over two matches, certainly had its fair share of drama.
‘Boro, then managed by Lennie Lawrence, made the trip down from the North East, and a raucous crowd cheered the Bluebirds on as underdogs at Ninian Park. They saw the visitors take the lead though, as their centre-forward Paul Wilkinson, who would later manage City’s Reserve Team for almost a decade, was first to strike.
After a spell of aerial combat, City’s own no. 9, Phil Stant, then beat the offside trap to stab home an equaliser. The match would turn both ways once more before the final whistle as Alan Moore struck for the visitors, before Garry Thompson levelled for the Bluebirds with four minutes remaining, forcing a replay at Ayresome Park.
In the deciding fixture at ‘Boro’s renowned former home, the Bluebirds thought they had shaded an even contest as Stant was on the mark again, rising high to bullet a header into the top corner.
However, with just five seconds of normal time remaining, a twenty-one year old Graham Kavanagh turned and swept the ball home from the edge of the box to take the match to extra time.
In the additional period, controversy struck as Wilkinson’s header for ‘Boro looked to have crossed the line before Cardiff’s Mark Aizlewood hoofed it clear.
The goal wasn’t given though, and the saga was finally drawn to a close when Nathan Blake’s effort squirmed through the hands of Middlesbrough ‘keeper Steven Pears to give the Bluebirds a 2-1 away victory.
Eddie May’s men went on to face Manchester City at home in the next round, when Nathan Blake was again the hero, netting a famous goal in a 1-0 home victory, before the Bluebirds bowed out to eventual Semi-Finalists Luton Town.