Days Gone By | City vs. Middlesbrough
Saturday’s fixture between Cardiff City and Middlesbrough will be the 71st meeting between the two sides (66 times in the league, and 4 times in the FA Cup).
The Bluebirds and Boro have been pitting their wits against each other for over 100 years, and whilst there have been plenty of contests, these matches have often come in bursts.
The two teams met eight times between 1921 and 1928, but then didn’t cross paths again until 1952. In those first eight matchups, City went undefeated (winning six and drawing two), but when the sides were reunited in the early '50s, it was Boro who finally notched up their first victory.
The teams would routinely meet until the mid-1970s, before Middlesbrough won promotion to the top flight for the first time in 20 years, with City remaining in the second tier.
During their stint in the First Division, Boro won their only two international honours. They lifted the inaugural (and short-lived) Anglo-Scottish Cup in 1976 by beating Fulham in the Final, before winning the Kirin Cup in 1980.
After a season in Division Three, the Bluebirds bounced back up at the first time of asking and resumed their rivalry with the North-East side.
There were four fixtures played in the 1980s, with both sides taking two wins each, before their fates once again diverged.
City suffered consecutive relegations and fell into Division Four for the first time in their history, whilst Middlesbrough, under the stewardship of Bernie Slaven, would return to Division One.
Both sides would have a few yo-yo seasons in the '90s; City featured in both the second and third tiers, Boro bounced between the Premier League and the second division, but still neither would meet in league action.
Instead, 1994 bought about a Third Round FA Cup tie. After a 2-2 draw at Ninian Park, the Bluebirds won the replay 2-1 at Ayresome Park. Goals from Phil Stant and Nathan Blake saw Eddie May’s side sail into the next round.
As we headed into the new millennium, Boro had stabilised themselves as a successful Premier League side. They won the League Cup in 2004, beating Bolton Wanderers in the Final, before reaching the Final of the UEFA Cup in 2006, losing to Sevilla.
By that time, City had acclimatised to life in the Championship. Another FA Cup affair came in 2008, with City again coming out on top as they marched all the way to the Final. This time goals from Peter Whittingham and Roger Johnson did the damage in a memorable 2-0 win.
After an 11-year stay in the Premier League, Middlesbrough soon returned to the Championship and rekindled their league meetings with the Bluebirds. The two sides have since played in the top division, but both returned to the second tier after a single season of Premier League action.
Since City returned to the Championship in 2019/20, this fixture has been played seven times. The most recent tie came in September, with the Bluebirds running out 3-2 winners at the Riverside Stadium.
First half goals from Callum O’Dowda, Mark Harris and Perry Ng were enough to seal all three points.
City have won 34 times in the 70 meetings between the two. Sabri Lamouchi will be hoping to make it a 35th win on Saturday.