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Remembering Michael Reddy, Ayresome Park & winning on Teesside; 3 Lads v Boro games from the 90s

Whilst Middlesbrough hasn’t traditionally been a happy hunting ground for Sunderland in recent years, some good recollections of our trips down the A19 from the 90s stick long in the memory.

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Middlesbrough v Sunderland Photo by Steve Morton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Head-to-head record on Teesside...

Sunderland wins: 22 | Boro wins: 37 | Draws: 18

Last time on Teesside...

Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland (Tavernier 6)

Boro 1-1 Sunderland - Riverside Stadium - 06/11/1999

This Saturday, in the great words of Prince, “let’s party like it’s 1999” - because that was the year we managed to royally piss off the whole of Teesside by going down to ten men, missing a penalty yet still managing to leave with a draw.

Whilst we laughed as we claimed a share of the “derby” day spoils.

Turning up to the Riverside sitting in third place and unbeaten in nine games, our perfect start to the season was under threat as soon as the 32nd minute, with Chris Makin receiving his marching orders from referee Graham Barber for one too many rash fouls.

With a man advantage, Bryan Robson’s Boro took the game to Peter Reid’s high-flying Mackems and subsequently broke the deadlock in the 76th minute, as Hamilton Ricard curled his fine effort into the top corner of the Sunderland goal.

With it looking likely that the home side were going to win the game, up stepped defender Phil Stamp - funny looking fella he was - who pushed over Niall Quinn right in front of the ref only two minutes later.

Kevin Phillips, obviously knowing what beating us meant to the Riverside faithful, even missed from the spot - thankfully, Irish teenager Michael Reddy didn’t read the script and put away the ball on the rebound. You should have seen their faces!

Boro 2-2 Sunderland - Ayresome Park - 11/09/1994

There was once a time when you could sit and watch the Lads live on council telly whilst you tucked into your Sunday dinner, listening to the dulcet tones of Roger Thames - a man whose voice was symbolic with 80’s/90’s relative struggle for us in the Endsleigh Division One.

With Newcastle promoted to the top flight a few seasons beforehand, the big match in eyes of many supporters was the Wear-Tees Derby, and our last ever visit to the intimidating sh*t tip that was Ayresome Park was indeed a cracker.

The table-topping Smoggies had already opened up a decent lead at the top of table, whilst Mick Buxton’s side struggled down near the bottom.

Despite pre-match pessimism, the Lads - who on this occasion adorned that weird yet wonderful teal Avec away strip - took a deserved two goal lead through a Craig Russell double after dominating the early stages of the game.

In true Sunderland fashion, though, we threw all of our hard work away and gifted Boro a way back into the game through an Alan Moore goal with ten minutes left on the clock, before collapsing two minutes later after allowing a man perhaps known better for his inane rants about ostriches to steal a late equaliser.

Nothing much has changed, has it?

Boro 0-1 Sunderland - Riverside Stadium - 19/04/1997

Although it would come to mean nothing in terms of our own Premiership survival as we proceeded to fall through the relegation trap door come season’s end, this was a huge game that, at the time, many had correctly predicted would result in the loser’s almost certain demotion to the second tier.

The Lads hadn’t won since the beginning of March and had dropped into the relegation spots for the first time that season in the lead up to the game, whereas Middlesbrough were in the process of receiving a points deduction due to pulling out of an away game with Blackburn Rovers without gaining permission from the Football Association.

New boy and local lad Chris Waddle had just been added to the Sunderland squad in order to bring some much-needed quality in the final third, and on the stroke of half time it was his perfectly floated free kick that met the head of Darren Williams, who stuck the header straight past Mark Schwarzer before proceeding to cup his lugs at the partisan Smoggie crowd.

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