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Relegation-haunted QPR suddenly trounce Boro 5-0 - History
Friday, 8th Mar 2024 07:39 by Clive Whittingham

We're back to 1998 for the History this week, as a woeful and apparently relegation-bound QPR side suddenly coughed into life and stunned expensively assembled promotion chasers Middlesbrough at Loftus Road.

Memorable Match

QPR 5 Middlesbrough 0, Wednesday March 4, 1998, First Division

In the 2010/11 Championship winning season, Queens Park Rangers randomly lost an away match 4-1 at lowly Scunthorpe United, who finished the season relegated and never to return to this level. They were winning before that, and they picked up straight away again afterwards with a 1-0 at Barnsley that midweek. But for one afternoon at Glanford Park, couldn’t find their own arse with both hands.

Middlesbrough’s well financed, star-studded, First Division promotion winners of 1997/98 had their equivalent at Loftus Road. The top of the second tier that season was fiercely competitive, and riddled with quality sides. Nottingham Forest would win the league with Pierre Van Hooijdonk and Kevin Campbell up front, Kevin Phillips’ Sunderland were pipped in the greatest play-off final of all time by Clive Mendonca’s Charlton despite amassing 90 points in third, George Burley’s stylish Ipswich side were fifth. Boro went up second, three off Forest and one above Sunderland, with a team that included the division’s best player Paul Merson, Craig Hignett, Emerson and others.

In the weeks leading up to the trip to W12 they had cemented their credentials in two competitions with an unbeaten run of seven matches, six of them wins. Sunderland, most crucially, had been vanquished 3-1 at the Riverside, but the run also included a 2-0 home win against Liverpool in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final which set up a cup final at Wembley against Chelsea for later in the year — cup run breeding confidence for promotion push shocker. They had, however, been dicked 4-0 by Forest at the weekend, though I’m not sure that would have raised too many concerns about an evening in Shepherd’s Bush.

QPR’s class of 1997/98 was utterly dire. Relegated from the Premier League two years prior, they’d put their faith in Arsenal assistant Stuart Houston to return them to the big time, and spent millions of new owner Chris Wright’s money on John Spencer, Gavin Peacock, and a host of imports from Houston’s old stomping ground. A ridiculously talented Rangers team including the likes of Trevor Sinclair, Andy Impey, Alan McDonald, Paul Murray and Nigel Quashie had somehow contrived to miss the play-offs altogether in 1996/97, and they responded to that by spending a club-record fee on Mike Sheron from Stoke in the summer. Things started well, a 1-0 home win against Pompey in September put Rangers joint top on a run of six wins in seven (they, too, lost 4-0 in Nottingham during that period), but tailed off quickly, with a falling out between the previously miraculous and prolific Spencer and assistant manager Bruce Rioch not helping.

Rangers went on a run of two wins in 14 through the autumn. Houston was dismissed. Ray Harford, flying high at West Brom at the time, promised the QPR board you couldn’t fail to be promoted with a starting strike line of Gallen, Sheron and Spencer, and was poached in controversial circumstances. This proved to be disastrous for both team’s seasons. With it becoming increasingly clear that Rangers, and Wright, had overstretched themselves and financially mismanaged the club, purse strings were tightened at a crucial moment. Mark Kennedy, a magnificent loan from Liverpool, couldn’t be signed permanently, though his impact while here temporarily would eventually rescue the club from relegation.

Leading up to the Boro game Rangers had won one of 14 games, two of 19, and three of 24. Only their September results were keeping them above water. Kennedy won one of those, a 3-2 homer with fellow strugglers Crewe, essentially by himself. It was a prolonged run of drek that already included three failed attempts to beat Middlesbrough — Rangers soundly beaten 3-0 at the Riverside then drew them at home in the cup, fought back late through Kevin Gallen to force a 2-2 replay, and then fell in another 2-0 hole up in the North East. Nobody expected what came next, particularly with an already thin team damaged further by a seventh minute injury to Mark Perry which saw young Paul Bruce sent on from the bench.

With Kennedy irresistible, and Boro perhaps a little complacent, Steve Vickers got the ball rolling just after the half hour by miscuing a clearance horribly over Andy Dibble and into the net for the opening goal. Ten minutes later, by half time, with the floodgates blown apart, Rangers were 4-0 up. Bruce’s cross took such an outrageous deflection I’m surprised that didn’t go down as an own goal as well but there was no doubting the veracity of Gallen’s goal, scored after beating Dibble to a long ball forward and then finding the net from a tight angle in composed fashion, or Sheron’s opener on the stroke of half time as Boro stood off and allowed him to pick a spot from 20 yards.

Sheron steamed in on an immaculate Kennedy delivery early in the second half for 5-0 and if this wasn;t all hilarious enough then former Chelsea tosspot Andy Townsend was booked by referee Andy D’Urso and lost the plot over it to such an extent that he left a late, high one on George Kulscar not even 30 seconds later and was sent off in a hail of dissent and bile.

Boro calmly went about sealing their promotion regardless, though sadly did lose the League Cup final to Chelsea. QPR didn’t win again for the rest of the season. They lost the next three, abjectly, against Birmingham, Swindon and Stoke. With Vinnie Jones and Neil Ruddock added as emergency deadline day reinforcements they set about grinding their way to safety through a series of draws. There were 1-1s with Oxford, Bradford and Huddersfield, a 2-2 at Sunderland where Mike Sheron scored a late brace to at least pay Boro back a little bit by harming a rival, an excruciating 0-0 with Wolves, and then finally the 2-2 at Man City where Jamie Pollock scored the greatest own goal of all time to cement safety with a game to go. Rangers, after 45 games, somehow safe, with five wins from their final 38 league fixtures.

QPR: L Harper, D Bardsley, S Morrow, G Kulcsar, K Ready, S Yates, M Perry (P Bruce, 7), N Quashie (A Heinola, 89), M Sheron, K Gallen (S Slade, 83), M Kennedy

Goals: Vickers og 32, Bruce 37, Gallen 38, Sheron 45, 53

Bookings: Yates, Gallen

Boro: A Dibble, G Festa, C Fleming, S Vickers, N Pearson (N Maddison, 45), R Mustoe, C Hignett (A Armstrong, 45), A Townsend, M Branca, P Merson, M Thomas (M Beck, 45)

Red Cards: Townsend 64

Attendance — 11,580

Classic Encounters

LFW regular and AKUTR’s columnist Dave Barton has set up a QPR Memories YouTube channel, with a mixture of clips, classic games, and old highlights packages. His Middlesbrough packages are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.

Recent Meetings

Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2, Saturday September 2, 2023, Championship

One of the rare high spots of Gareth Ainsworth’s reign in charge came in quite unexpected circumstances at Middlesbrough in September. Andre Dozzell, who hadn’t scored a goal for QPR in two years of trying, calmly popped one in off the post from 30 yards in the first half on what was approaching his hundredth appearance. Jack Colback followed in on a scramble in the second to make it 2-0 and seal what was a surprisingly comfortable away win.

Boro: Dieng 5; McNair 4, Fry 5, Lenihan 5, Engel 3; Howson 5 (O’Brien 69, 6), Hackney 5; Silvera 5, Rogers 6 (Greenwood 58, 5), Jones 6 (McRee 58, 6); Lath 4 (Coburn 69, 5)

Subs not used: van den Berg, Barlaser, Gilbert, Glover, Bilongo

Bookings: Greenwood 77 (foul)

QPR: Begovic 8; Kakay 6, Fox 6 (Larkeche 85, -), Cook 7 (Clarke-Salter 45, 6); Smyth 8, Dozzell 8 (Duke-McKenna 85, -) Colback 8, Field 6, Paal 7; Chair 8 (Willock 85, -), Armstrong 6 (Kolli 72, 7)

Subs not used: Archer, Dixon-Bonner, Kelman, Adomah

Goals: Dozzell 43 (assisted Colback), Colback 71 (assisted Smyth)

Bookings: Colback 50 (foul), Chair 65 (foul)

Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1, Saturday February 18, 2023, Championship

In form Middlesbrough delivered the last rites on Neil Critchley’s brief reign as QPR manager with a comfortable 3-1 victory at the Riverside in February 2023. QPR, beset by injuries and in chronically poor form, actually held their own for an hour before the division’s leading marksman Chuba Akpom scored first from a cross and then on a rebound from his own saved penalty after Tim Iroegbunam’s ludicrous tackle in the penalty box. Ilias Chair’s stoppage time goal from out near the halfway line, aided and abetted by Boro’s woeful keeper Zach Steffen, looked like being a consolation until Rangers broke again straight from the kick off and Chris Martin’s volley from point blank range was one extraordinary block on the goalline away from the most unlikeliest of equalisers. Boro, stung, went straight up the other end and made it three through Riley McGree to make double sure of the points and Critchley was dismissed immediately afterwards after 12 games in charge and one win.

Boro: Steffen 4; Smith 6, McNair 6, Lenihan 6, Giles 7; Barlaser 8 (Mowatt 88, -), Hackney 6 (Bola 90+3, -); Ramsey 7 (Howson 78, 6), Akpom 8, McGree 8; Archer 7 (Crooks 78, 7)

Subs not used: Fry, Forss, Roberts

Goals: Akpom 64 (assisted Lazer Quest), 77 (rebound off missed penalty), McGree 90+3 (assisted Crooks)

Bookings: Akpom 64 (over celebrating — steady down mate, there’ll be another along in a minute or two)

QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5, Dickie 5, Dunne 6, Paal 6; Field 6, Dozzell 5 (Adomah 69, 5), Iroegbunam 4, Chair 6; Martin 6, Lowe 5

Subs not used: Johansen, Archer, Dicks and Boner, Gubbins, Drewe, Aoraha Borealis, Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb, former culture and media secretary Tessa Jowell, Davis Love III etc.

Genuine goals, no make up: Chair 90 (assisted Steffen)

QPR 3 Middlesbrough 2, Saturday August 6, 2022, Championship

QPR continued an impressive run of results against Middlesbrough with a seventh unbeaten meeting at Loftus Road in August 2022. Chris Willock made it three for three against this opposition with a goal of the season contender after 12 minutes, and that was followed up with close range goals from Jimmy Dunne and Lyndon Dykes off set pieces before half time. Matt Crooks’ goal made it 3-1 just prior to the break and when Marcus Forss got it back to 3-2 with half an hour still to play there was a cliffhanger ending in store, but Rangers hung on grimly to post a first three points of the season.

QPR: Dieng 7; Kakay 6, Dickie 8, Dunne 7, Paal 6; Amos 7, Johansen 7 (Dozzell 82, -), Field 7; Willock 8 (Adomah 74, 7), Chair 6 (Travelman 88, -), Dykes 7 (Bonne 87, -)

Subs not used: Masterson, Shodipo, Walsh

Goals: Willock 13 (unassisted), Dunne 27 (assisted Chair), Dykes 38 (assisted Johansen)

Bookings: Johansen 77 (very fouly foul), Kakay 90+1 (time wasting)

Boro: Steffen 4; Dijksteel 4 (McNair 46, 7), Lenihan 6, Bola 5; Jones 6, Crooks 6, Howson 6, McGree 6, Giles 7; Forss 7 (Smith 68, 5), Watmore 4 (Akpom 46, 7)

Subs not used: Fry, Boyd-Munce, Roberts, Finch

Goals: Crooks 41 (assisted Giles), Forss 56 (assisted Crooks)

Reds: Lenihan 90+2 (denying an obvious goalscoring opp/serious foul play)

Mellow yellows: Forss 17 (naughty, naughty), Bola 73 (pointy finger foul)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2, Wednesday February 9, 2022, Championship

QPR’s play-off hopes were still well alive when Middlesbrough, one of the in-form chasers, came to town for a midweek match in February, 2022. Ilias Chair, fresh back from the African Cup of Nations, curled a brilliant opening goal around returning goalkeeper Joe Lumley midway through the first half to give Rangers the lead. But they couldn’t see that through to half time, with Jimmy Dunne’s error from a corner in stoppage time giving Boro a second bite at a delivery and Dael Fry equalised into the bottom corner. Lumley then treated his former club to a second goal straight after the restart when he dallied over a back pass long enough for Chris Willock to steal the ball and score. But amidst an onslaught from the visitors which really should have yielded an away win, Albert Adomah turned into his own net against his former club.

QPR: Marshall 8; Adomah 6, Dickie 6, Dunne 6, Barbet 6, Wallace 6 (Odubajo 78, 6); Field 7, Johansen 5 (Gray 68, 6), Chair 7 (Hendrick 60, 6); Willock 7, Dykes 7

Subs not used: Amos, Austin, Sanderson, Mahoney

Goals: Chair 29 (assisted Willock), Willock 46 (assisted Lumley)

Boro: Lumley 4; Jones 8, Dijksteel 6, Fry 8, McNair 6, Taylor 6; Crooks 7 (Payero 87, -), Tavernier 8, Howson 7; Sporar 6 (Connolly 81, -), Watmore 7 (Balogun 71, 6)

Subs not used: Peltier, Bamba, Daniels, McGree

Goals: Fry 45+2 (unassisted), Adomah og 60 (assisted Jones)

Bookings: Howson 84 (foul)

Middlesbrough 2 QPR 3, Wednesday August 18, 2021, Championship

Arguably QPR’s best performance of the whole 2021/22 season came in match three at the Riverside Stadium, with Rangers overcoming a one-man deficit for almost the entire second half to win 3-2 regardless. Boro flew out of the traps and subjected the visitors to an absolute barrage in the first quarter of an hour, with numerous near misses and sitters gone begging eventually made to pay with Uche Ikpeazu’s penalty after Lyndon Dykes was adjudged to have manhandled his opponent at the far post. But the pressure subsided and QPR worked their way back into the game, equalising straight after half time when Jonny Howson turned Lee Wallace’s low cross past his own goalkeeper. Any momentum that might have generated should have dissipated when Moses Odubajo then picked up a dumb second yellow to leave the R’s with ten men for the rest of the game, but Lyndon Dykes responded immediately with a second goal that Joe Lumley should have saved. Crowd stunned, Rangers might have been able to see that out had Dom Ball not dallied in possession having done the initial hardest part of the task — Matt Crooks smacked in an equaliser. Once again though the visitors stormed forward immediately, scoring a shock third through Willock, and almost adding an immediate fourth from the same source.

Boro: Lumley 4; Dijksteel 6, Hall 5, Fry 6, Bola 6; Howson 5, McNair 6; Spence 6 (Payero 86, -), Crooks 7, Jones 8; Ikpeazu 7 (Akpom 71, 5)

Subs not used: Morsy, Peltier, Bamba, Daniels. Coburn

Goals: Ikpeazu 7 (penalty, won Fry), Crooks 72 (assisted Jones)

Bookings: Jones 54 (foul), Payero 90+8 (foul)

QPR: Dieng 7; Odubajo 4, Dickie 7, De Wijs 7, Barbet 7, Wallace 7 (Dunne 86, 7*); Ball 6, Johansen 7, Chair 6 (Kakay 58, 7); Dykes 6 (Austin 68, 5), Willock 8

Subs not used: Archer, Thomas, Dozzell, Adomah

Goals: Howson og 48 (assisted Wallace), Dykes 56 (assisted Willock), Willock 76 (assisted Johansen)

Red Cards: Odubajo 50 (two yellows)

Bookings: Odubajo 38 (foul), Odubajo 50 (foul), Johansen 90+3 (time wasting)

Middlesbrough 1 QPR 2, Saturday April 15, 2021, Championship

QPR finished last season with a trio of away wins to surpass the previous season’s total of seven. One of those was at Middlesbrough where an initial blast stunned the home team, Rob Dickie scored from fully 30 yards, and Lee Wallace finished a flowing move with a back post header. A comfortable win became a nervous one when Bolasie pulled a goal back on the half hour and, having got away with a similar incident in the first half thanks to a great recovery save, Seny Dieng was sent off for chopping down an opponent outside the box. Joe Lumley’s cameo off the bench featured two outstanding saves as the R’s hung on to win 2-1.

Boro: Archer 6; Fisher 6 (Johnson 55, 6), Hall 6, McNair 6; Spence 5 (Coulson 63, 5), Saville 7, Howson 6, Bola 5; Kebano 6, Watmore 7, Bolasie 8 (Assombalonga 82, -)

Subs not used: Bettinelli, Akpom, Fletcher, Hackney, Coburn, Malley

Goals: Bolasie 28 (assisted Kebano)

QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5, Dickie 8, Barbet 6; Adomah 6 (Ball 74, 7), Thomas 6 (Lumley 60, 8), Johansen 6, Chair 6 (Duke-McKenna 86, -), Wallace 8; Willock 7 (Field 74, 6), Dykes 7

Subs not used: Kane, Bonne, Bettache, Hämäläinen, Kelman

Goals: Dickie 15 (assisted Dykes), Wallace 18 (assisted Dykes)

Red Cards: Dieng 58 (denying obvious goalscoring opp)

Yellow Cards: Kakay 31 (foul)

QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1, Saturday September 26, 2020, Championship

QPR and Middlesbrough fought out a 1-1 draw in a run-of-the-mill Championship fixture at Loftus Road back in September 2020. QPR’s set piece hangover from 2019/20 continued early on as Chuba Akpom stole in at the near post to head home a nineteenth minute corner, but Bright Osayi-Samuel was soon on hand to convert from close range after Bettinelli spilled a routine shot. Luke Amos and Britt Assombalonga both missed great chances to score and Tom Carroll’s shot somehow hit the inside of the post, rolled all the way along the line and eluded a host of would-be scorers to ensure the scores finished deadlocked.

QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 7, Dickie 6, Barbet 5, Wallace 5; Cameron 5, Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 7, Thomas 6 (Carroll 60, 6), Chair 6 (Smyth 73, 6); Dykes 6

Subs not used: Kane, Ball, Oteh, Masterson, Kelly

Goals: Osayi-Samuel 28 (assisted Amos)

Boro: Bettinelli 5; McNair 7, Hall 6 (Fry 55, 6), Dijksteel 5; Tavernier 5, Howson 6, Johnson 5, Saville 6, Spence 5 (Morsy 64, 6); Assombalonga 5, Akpom 6

Subs not used: Wing, Browne, Bola, Coulson, Pears

Goals: Akpom 19 (assisted McNair)

Bookings: Dijksteel 85 (foul)

Middlesbrough 0 QPR 1, Saturday July 7, 2020, Championship

QPR recovered from a rocky start to lockdown football with a 1-0 away win at Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough. Jordan Hugill scored a first half winner so spectacular it exploded his hamstring and it turned out to be his final touch for the club before a summer move to Norwich. Typically, it came just seconds after he’d butchered a far easier one on one chance with the goalkeeper. Middlesbrough threatened sporadically but this was a rare solid day at the office for the rickety QPR defence, and Joe Lumley played well on his recall to the side.

Boro: Stojanovic 6; Howson 6, Fry 5, Friend 5, Johnson 4 (Coulson 80, -); Moukoudi 5, Saville 5 (Wing 65, 5); Roberts 7 (Tavernier 80, -), Morrison 4 (McNair 66, 6), Fletcher 5 (Nmecha 66, 5); Assombalonga 5

Subs not used: Dijksteel, Shotton, Clayton, Pears

Bookings: Johnson 38 (foul), Saville 51 (foul), Assombalonga 89 (diving)

QPR: Lumley 7; Kakay 7, Cameron 6, Barbet 7; Kane 6, Manning 7; Amos 5, Ball 6, Eze 7 (Oteh 70, 5); Osayi-Samuel 7, Hugill 6 (Chair 35, 6)

Goals: Hugill 32 (assisted Manning)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2, Saturday November 9, 2019, Championship

QPR were very QPR indeed when they met an injury ravaged Middlesbrough for a banker home win at Loftus Road back in November. An early Britt Assombalonga goal was equalised by Nahki Wells quickly enough, and a Jonny Howson own goal off a corner before half time set things back according to the script. But a second half of procrastination left the score perilously close and when Wells inexplicably passed the ball straight to Assombalonga deep in the QPR penalty box the game was up and two points were lost.

QPR: Lumley 5; Hall 5, Cameron 4, Wallace 5; Kane 6, Manning 5; Ball 6, Amos 5 (Scowen 62, 5), Eze 6, Chair 6 (Hugill 62, 5); Wells 5

Subs not used: Smith, Pugh, Mlakar, Osayi-Samuel, Barnes

Goals: Wells 25 (assisted Chair), Howson og 44 (assisted Hall, pre-assist Eze)

Bookings: Wells 42 (unsporting), Hall 53 (foul), Ball 83 (foul), Cameron 89 (foul)

Middlesbrough: Randolph 5; Fry 6, Ayala 6, Friend 6; Howson 6 (Dijksteel 65, 6), Johnson 6; McNair 7, Wing 6, Tvaernier 6 (Clayton 77, 6); Fletcher 7, Assombalonga 7

Subs not used: Coulson, O’Neill, Walker, Liddle, Pears

Goals: Assombalonga 23 (assisted Howson), 65 (assisted Wells)

Bookings: Fry 90+2 (foul), Randolph 90+4 (time wasting)

Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0, Saturday February 23, 2019, Championship

QPR made it seven league games without a win with an abject display and thoroughly deserved 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in February. They conceded with barely three minutes on the clock, in Boro’s first attack, by letting Jonny Howson run through unchecked to nudge a cross through Joe Lumley. The young keeper’s difficult afternoon got worse when Ashley Fletcher beat him far too easily at his near post for 2-0 on the half hour. He did save from Assombalonga shortly after that when Toni Leistner was caught dallying in possession, and again after half time as Boro went through the second half motions and won at a canter.

Boro: Randolph 6; Howson 7, Ayala 6, Shotton 6, Fry 7; Wing 6, Mikel 8, Besic 8 (Downing 59, 6), Saville 8; Assombalonga 6 (Hugill 78, 6), Fletcher 6 (Tavernier 73, 6)

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Clayton, McNair, Van La Parra

Goals: Howson 3 (assisted Besic), Fletcher 31 (assisted Besic)

Bookings: Besic 14 (foul), Howson 63 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 3; Furlong 4, Leistner 5, Hall 5, Bidwell 5; Wszolek 5 (Wells 81, -), Luongo 5, Cousins 5, Manning 4 (Osayi-Samuel 46, 6); Eze 6; Hemed 4 (Smith 69, 5)

Subs not used: Ingram, Scowen, Kakay, Lynch

Bookings: Cousins 70 (foul)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 1, Saturday December 15, 2018, Championship

QPR snapped a four-match winless run with a good performance and 2-1 win against promotion chasing Boro at Loftus Road in December. The R’s started fast and took a third minute lead thanks to a close range finish from Pawel Wszolek. Boro bit back after half time with George Saville making the most of Darnell Furlong’s unfortunate slip to find the far corner. But that was their only shot on target across the 90 minutes and Rangers deserved the win supplied to them by Nahki Wells from Wszolek’s assist on the hour.

QPR: Lumley 6; Furlong 7, Leistner 8, Lynch 5 (Scowen 52, 6), Bidwell 6; Cousins 7, Luongo 8; Wszolek 8, Eze 7 (Smith 88, -), Freeman 8; Wells 8 (Oteh 90+3, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, Chair, Osayi-Samuel, Smyth

Goals: Wszolek 3 (assisted Bidwell), Wells 60 (assisted Wszolek)

Boro: Randolph 5; Shotton 6, Ayala 6, Flint 6, Friend 5; Howson 6 (Wing 64, 6), Clayton 6; Saville 7 (Fletcher 82, -), Downing 6 (Tavernier 64, 6), Assombalonga 5; Hugill 5

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Batth, McNair, Fry

Goals: Saville 51 (unassisted)

Bookings: Saville 58 (foul), Flint 73 (persistent fuckwittery), Assombalonga 88 (foul)

QPR 0 Middlesbrough 3, Saturday January 20, 2018, Championship

QPR’s fluid formations, fast rotating team and wildly inconsistent form came a cropper against a well drilled and expensively assembled Tony Pulis side at Loftus Road in January. Although Jack Robinson wasn’t far wide with an early 30-yarder, Boro took the lead when Daniel Ayala was left unmarked to head home a corner and it was 2-0 before half time when George Friend was given all the time he needed to pick out the top corner from 25 yards. A pair of half time substitutions barely stemmed the bleeding and the game was finally put to bed five minutes from time by Adama Traore.

QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 5, Lynch 5, Robinson 5; Furlong 6, Bidwell 5 (Osayi-Samuel 46, 5); Scowen 5 (Eze 70, 6), Freeman 5, Luongo 5; Washington 5, Oteh 5 (Smith 46, 5)

Subs not used: Ingram, Manning, Baptiste, Wszolek

Boro: Randolph 6; Shotton 7, Ayala 7, Gibson 7, Friend 7; Bamford 6 (Clayton 72, 7), Leadbitter 7, Howson 7, Traore 8; Downing 7 (Christie 87, -); Asombalonga 6 (Gestede 69, 7)

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Braithwaite, Fletcher, Johnson

Goals: Ayala 24 (assisted Traore), Friend 34 (unassisted), Traore 85 (assisted Gestede)

Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2, Saturday September 16, 2017, Championship

Injury-hit QPR’s makeshift defence suffered from a mad five minutes on the hour and ended up losing a game they could easily have won when these sides met back in September. Debutant David Wheeler slammed in Luke Freeman’s cross shot early on to give Rangers the lead and, although Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker equalised for Boro before the break, a typical Jamie Mackie goal early in the second half restored Rangers’ advantage. But missing Nedum Onouha, Grant Hall, Joel Lynch and James Perch, the defence finally imploded on the hour as Boro’s big money attack scored twice in quick succession through Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga to win 3-2.

Boro: Randolph 5; Christie 6, Fry 6, Gibson 6, Fabio 5; Leadbitter 6 (Howson 56, 6), Clayton 6 (Fletcher 46, 7); Baker 8, Downing 6 (Forshaw 78, 6), Johnson 8; Assombalonga 7

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos, Friend, Shotton, Bamford

Goals: Baker 36 (assisted Johnson), Fletcher 55 (assisted Christie), Assombalonga 60 (assisted Johnson)

Yellows: Clayton 34 (foul), Leadbitter 39 (foul), Christie 66 (unsporting), Baker 66 (foul)

QPR: Smithies 7; Furlong 6, Baptiste 6, Robinson 6, Bidwell 6; Luongo 8, Freeman 7, Manning 7; Lua Lua 6 (Wszolek 45, 6), Smith 6 (Mackie 45, 6), Wheeler 6 (Sylla 68, 6)

Subs not used: Borysiuk, Ngbakoto, Lumley, Osayi-Samuel

Goals: Wheeler 2 (assisted Freeman), Mackie 50 (unassisted)

Yellows: Luongo 32 (foul), Wszolek 47 (foul), Smithies 52 (timewasting), Mackie 66 (unsporting)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 3, Friday April 1, 2016, Championship

QPR’s defence played the April fools as Middlesbrough won 3-2 at Loftus Road when these sides met towards the end of 2015/16. Jordan Rhodes made the most of Grant Hall’s mistake to round Alex Smithies and give the visitors a seventeenth minute lead but Jamie Mackie’s powerful volley off the underside of the bar equalised on the say-so of the linesman. Ale Faurlin fouled Albert Adomah for an obvious penalty straight after half time but Smithies, typically, saved Leadbitter’s kick. From the resulting corner, however, was headed in by Ramirez and more slack marking at a corner allowed Gibson to make it three soon after. Tjaronn Chery’s spectacular late strike served as mere consolation after Seb Polter had a goal incorrectly disallowed.

QPR: Smithies 7; Onuoha 5, Angella 5, Hall 5, Perch 7; Faurlin 5 (Washington 79 6), Henry 7; Phillips 5 (Hoilett 62, 6), Chery 7, Mackie 7 (El Khayati 69 6); Polter 6

Subs not used: Ingram, Luongo, Petrasso, Robinson

Goals: Mackie 31 (Unassisted), Chery 86 (assisted Polter)

Bookings: Perch 77 (foul)

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 6; Nsue 7, Kalas 6, Gibson 6, Friend 7; Clayton 7, Leadbitter 7, Adomah 8, Ramirez 7 (Forshaw 67, 6), Downing 6 (Ayala 84, 6); Rhodes 6 (Nugent 78, 6)

Subs not used: de Laet, De Pena, de Sart, Agazzi

Goals: Rhodes 18 (Assisted Leadbitter), Ramirez 51 (Assisted Leadbitter), Gibson 57 (Assisted Leadbitter)

Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0, Friday November 20, 2015, Championship

Officially Neil Warnock was in temporary charge when QPR played at the Riverside Stadium that season, although family issues meant he didn’t attend the game and Kevin Blackwell was the man delivering instructions from the touchline. A horrifying image. QPR, as was their style at the time, started with no striker at all and should have been behind at half time when Konchesky got caught out of position by Adomah but his low cross was turned onto the inside of the post by David Nugent from a yard out. A rally at the start of the second half saw Matt Phillips miss an equally good chance for the visitors but the game looked to be drifting to a goalless draw until an injury time corner wasn’t dealt with and Leroy Fer deliberately handled the resulting shot on the line to prevent a goal. A red card, and successful Grand Leadbitter penalty, the inevitable outcome.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 6; Nsue 6, Ayala 6, Gibson 6, Friend 6; Leadbitter 7, Clayton 7; Adomah 6 (Kike 78, 6), Fabbrini 7 (Stuani 63, 6), Downing 6; Nugent 5

Subs not used: de Pena, Meijas, Stephens, Zuculini, Woodgate

Goals: Leadbitter (penalty, handball Fer, 90)

Bookings: Leabitter (foul)

QPR: Green 6; Perch 5, Onuoha 7, Hall 7, Konchesky 5; Henry 6, Sandro 6 (Emmanuel-Thomas 81, -), Fer 5, Faurlin 6 (Tozser 75, 5), Phillips 6, Yun 6.

Subs not used: Smithies, Angella, Luongo, Petrasso, Blackwood

Red Cards: Fer 90 (deliberate handball preventing a goal)

Booked: Phillips (foul), Faurlin (repetitive fouling), Onuoha (foul)

Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3, Saturday March 22, 2014, Championship

Rangers secured a fourth straight victory against Boro when these sides met at the Riverside in 2014 — although the circumstances behind it were rather bizarre. Harry Redknapp's side had been in mediocre form for a couple of months, with Charlie Austin out injured and a rushed collection of loan signings failing to cover for the talismanic forward. Another defeat looked on the cards when George Friend put Boro in front from close range after Joey Barton bottled a tackle in his own penalty area, and even when Yossi Benayoun equalised before half time the home side still looked the more likely to win. And everybody thought they had, with a minute to go, when Friend met a loose ball flush on the volley from 20 yards out, beat Robert Green all ends up but somehow missed the target by half an inch. When it's not your day, it's not your day — second later keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos came out of his area to execute a routine clearance downfield only for the ball to hit a discarded drinks lid and hop over his foot. Bobby Zamora, scarcely believing his luck, walked the ball into the empty net for the winner. The score was given a very flattering look by a fabulous Ravel Morrison goal deep into injury time as Boro pushed forward for an equaliser.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 5; Varga 6, Omeruo 5, Gibson 6, Friend 7; Whitehead 5, Chalobah 7; Butterfield 6 (Tomlin 63, 6), Kamara 6 (Ledesma 88, -), Adomah 6; Graham 4

Subs not used: Steele, Williams, Main, Morris, Atkinson

Goals: Friend 19 (unassisted)

Bookings: Chalobah 65 (foul), Friend 71 (foul), Kamara 75 (unsporting conduct)

QPR: Green 6; Hughes 5, Onuoha 6, Hill 6, Suk-Young 7; Carroll 6, Barton 5; Benayoun 5 (O’Neil 76, 6), Morrison 7, Kranjcar 6 (Hoilett 61, 6); Keane 5 (Zamora 64, 7)

Subs not used: Simpson, Murphy, Donaldson, Petrasso

Goals: Benayoun 44 (assisted Kranjcar), Zamora 90+2 (unassisted), Morrison 90+5 (assisted Zamora)

Bookings: Carroll 22 (foul), Kranjcar 31 (foul), Morrison 75 (unsporting conduct), Barton 75 (unsporting conduct), O’Neil 90+1 (foul)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 23 >>> Draws 18 >>> Boro wins 19

2023/24 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2 (Dozzell, Colback)

2022/23 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1 (Chair)

2022/23 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 2 (Willock, Dunne, Dykes)

2021/22 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (Chair, Willock)

2021/22 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 3 (Howson og, Dykes, Willock)

2020/21 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 2 (Dickie, Wallace)

2020/21 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Osayi-Samuel)

2019/20 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 1 (Hugill)

2019/20 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (Wells, Howson og)

2018/19 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0

2018/19 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 1 (Wszolek, Wells)

2017/18 QPR 0 Middlesbrough 3

2017/18 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2 (Wheeler, Mackie)

2015/16 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 3 (Mackie, Chery)

2015/16 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

2013/14 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 (Benayoun, Zamora, Morrison)

2013/14 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0 (Barton, Austin)

2010/11 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 3 (Helguson 2, Taarabt (pen))

2010/11 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 (Helguson pen, Ephraim, Mackie)

2009/10 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0

2009/10 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 5 (Agyemang)

1997/98 QPR 5 Middlesbrough 0 (Sheron 2, Gallen, Bruce, Vickers og)

1997/98 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0 (FA Cup replay)

1997/98 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (FA Cup - Gallen, Spencer)

1997/98 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 0

1995/96 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (McDonald)

1995/96 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1992/93 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 1 (Ferdinand)

1992/93 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 3 (Ferdinand, Penrice, Sinton)

1988/89 QPR 0 Middlesbrough 0

1988/89 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1982/83 QPR 6 Middlesbrough 1 (Allen 3, Mickelwhite, Flanagan, Gregory)

1982/83 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 1 (Allen)

1981/82 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1** (Stainrod)

1981/82 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 3** (Stainrod 2, Neill)

1978/79 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Goddard)

1978/79 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2 (Harkouk, Eastoe)

1977/78 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 0 (Busby)

1977/78 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 1 (Busby)

1976/77 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2 (Masson, Abbott)

1976/77 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 (Givens (pen), Masson, Bowles)

1975/76 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 2 (Francis 2 (1pen), Givens, Bowles)

1975/76 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 0

1974/75 QPR 0 Middlesbrough 0

1974/75 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 (Bowles, Givens, Rogers)

1972/73 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 0

1972/73 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (Givens, O’Rourke)

1971/72 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 0 (Clement)

1971/72 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2 (McCulloch, Marsh)

1970/71 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Francis)

1970/71 Middlesbrough 6 QPR 2 (Clement, Marsh)

1969/70 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1969/70 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 (Bridges 2, Clark, Clement)

1967/68 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1 (L Allen)

1967/68 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Marsh)

1966/67 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 2 (Marsh, Lazarus)

1966/67 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 (Marsh 3, L Allen)

1946/47 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1** (Boxshall)

1946/47 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1** (Pattison)

1912/13 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2**

** - FA Cup


Don Masson >>> Boro 1964-1968 >>> QPR 1974-1977

Don Masson was born near Aberdeen and supported the Dons as a youngster but was moved from there to Middlesbrough at age 12 so his father could pursue a life-long dream of becoming a bus driver. Having initially been taught to play football as a young boy by his mum, Masson caught the eye of then Second Division Boro and made his debut there as an 18-year-old in a League Cup game at Charlton.

Masson played more than 50 games for Boro and scored six times as they were relegated from the Second Division, but then bounced straight back from the Third as runners up behind the all conquering QPR team led by Rodney Marsh which secured a historic Third Division title and League Cup double win that season. Masson was known as a fierce trainer who demanded similarly high standards of his team mates, and he pissed the rest of the Boro squad off to such an extent that a ‘round robin’ letter was circulated and signed by the team demanding he be sold.

Having impressed in a reserve game against Bradford Park Avenue earlier in the week, Masson felt sure that’s where he was heading when he was summoned to Ayresome Park for transfer talks. Instead, Notts County manager Billy Gray was waiting there to do a £7,000 double deal for Masson and Bob Worthington. County were two divisions lower, and winless in their first seven matches at that level, but Masson jumped at the chance to move and it proved to be the making of him.

Between his arrival in 1968 and departure in 1974, County enjoyed something of a golden era. Former Celtic charge Jimmy Sirrel replaced Gray in 1969 and made his fellow Scot Masson the club captain at age 22. The pair won the Fourth Division in 1971, remaining unbeaten at Meadow Lane all season, and then won promotion from the Third Division in 1972/73. Sirrel was poached by Sheff Utd, and Masson by QPR, but both returned to Meadow Lane to complete the job with a third promotion in 1981 taking the Magpies from the bottom division to the top inside a decade. Masson has since been voted Notts County’s greatest ever player by the club’s supporters. He is the only player in the club’s history to win its Player of the Year trophy outright on three separate occasions.

Masson was rated as the best player outside the top division in England, and finally got his chance at the highest level aged 29 when Dave Sexton took him to QPR in 1974 for £100,000. Widely said to be the ‘final piece in the puzzle’ of that brilliant QPR side, he claimed a runners up medal when the R’s finished second to Liverpool in 1975/76. His performances across 144 games for the R’s were enough to belatedly bring him his first international honours for Scotland aged 30, and although he is widely remembered for missing a crucial penalty kick against Peru in the 1978 World Cup, he also scored for Scotland against England in a 2-1 win in 1976 to clinch the first of two Home International Championships during his career.

He moved from Loftus Road first to Derby in exchange for Leighton James before a second successful stint at Notts County, had a spell with Minnesota in the fledgling MLS, and was player manager at Kettering Town for a time before retiring to run a guest house in Nottingham and then later in Elton — which he’s still doing to this day.

You can hear our in depth interview with Don via our Patreon.

Others >>> Seny Dieng, Boro 2023-present, QPR 2016-2023 >>> Jordan Archer, QPR 2021-present, Boro 2021 >>> Joe Lumley, Boro 2021-2023, QPR 2013-2021 >>> John Eustace, QPR (assistant) 2018-2022, Boro (loan) 2003 >>> Neil Warnock, Boro (manager) 2020-2021, QPR (manager) 2010-2012 >>> Albert Adomah, QPR 2020-present, Boro 2013-2016 >>> Grant Hall, Boro 2020-2022, QPR 2015-2020 >>> Ravel Morrison, Boro (loan) 2020, QPR (loan) 2017, QPR (loan) 2014 >>> Jordan Hugill, QPR (loan) 2019-2020, Boro (loan) 2018-2019 >>> Alex Baptiste, QPR 2017-2019, Boro 2015-2017 >>> Steve McClaren, QPR (manager) 2018-2019, Boro (manager) 2001-2006 >>> Martin Cranie, Boro 2018, QPR (loan) 2007 >>> Fabio Da Silva, Boro 2016-2018, QPR (loan) 2012-2013 >>> Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, QPR (manager) 2015-2016, Boro 2004-2006 >>> Gary O’Neil, QPR 2013-2014, Boro 2007-2011 >>> Luke Young, QPR 2011-2014, Boro 2007-2008 >>> Emmanuel Ledesma, Boro 2012-2015, QPR 2008-2009 >>> Kieron Dyer, Boro 2013, QPR 2011-2013 >>> Ishmael Miller, Boro (loan) 2012-2013, QPR (loan) 2011 >>> Carl Ikeme, Boro (loan) 2011, QPR (loan) 2010 >>> Marcus Bent, QPR (loan) 2010, Boro 2009-2010 >>> Andrew Davies, Boro 2002-2008, QPR (loan) 2005 >>> Mikkel Beck QPR (loan) 2000, Boro 1996-1999 >>> Jamie Pollock, QPR 1998, Boro 1990-1996 >>> Bruce Rioch, QPR (assistant) 1996-1997, Boro (manager) 1986-1990 >>> Dave Thomas, Boro 1982, QPR 1972-1977 >>> John O’Rourke, QPR 1971-1974, Boro 1966-1968

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