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Last minute Sinton penalty levels six-goal thriller - History
Thursday, 18th Jan 2018 15:26 by Clive Whittingham

Ahead of a visit from Middlesbrough on Saturday, we travel back to 1992 for a six-goal thriller between newly promoted Boro and Gerry Francis' QPR side.

Memorable Match

QPR 3 Middlesbrough 3, Saturday September 19, 1992, Premier League

The Premier League was just two months old when these sides met at Loftus Road back in September 1992. QPR, into a second year under the guidance of manager Gerry Francis, were looking strong with Les Ferdinand, succeeding Roy Wegerle as the team’s go-to striker, banging in the goals left right and centre. After a second half to the 1991/92 season where they’d beaten Man Utd 4-1, eventual champions Leeds 4-1 and Manchester City 4-0 (three of that year’s top five) the R’s had hit the ground running in the new campaign with one defeat from their first eight matches and four wins.

The only thing holding the R’s back from being among the early pace setters at the top of the league was drawing too many games – Ipswich had rode their luck and Arsenal had got away with several questionable penalty incidents in respective 0-0 draws at Loftus Road.

Middlesbrough came to town as one of the newly promoted teams. Beset by financial problems throughout the 1980s they’d actually been relegated to the Third Division in 1985 and come within ten minutes of liquidation before local businessman Steve Gibson brought together a consortium to save the club. Gibson has spectacularly bankrolled Boro ever since, seeing them move to the brand new Riverside Stadium and reach a UEFA Cup final in 2006. Led by inspirational captain Tony Mowbray and wily manager Lennie Lawrence they finished second in the 1991/92 Second Division and thereby won the right to be founder members of the Premier League.

Boro had started well at the higher level. Champions Leeds were thrashed 4-1 at Ayresome Park and they won four and drew one of their first seven matches prior to the visit to Loftus Road. Lawrence’s side won 1-0 at Man City the week before heading to W12 while QPR were winning 2-1 at Southampton which set up an intriguing encounter between two of the division’s better performing sides at the time.

Boro led at half time. Jimmy Phillips whipped a corner into the near post and the captain Alan Kernaghan headed down into the bottom corner. A goal of embarrassing simplicity from a Rangers point of view.

With Gerry Francis’ words ringing in their ears the Super Hoops came out and blitzed the second half. On the hour patient build up with Andy Impey and Justin Channing at the heart of things eventually crafted a crossing opportunity for Andy Sinton but he wasted that and Chris Morris was able to clear. The loose ball fell to Ray Wilkins and he calmly fed it back to Sinton who checked inside onto his right foot and composed himself for a better delivery that Les Ferdinand attacked ferociously in the air, flying in over the top of Derek Whyte to power a header into the roof of the net from 12 yards out. One of the best headers you’ll ever see as long as you watch the game.

In true QPR style though they then undid the hard work by conceding a second goal almost immediately. Whyte fed young striker Tommy Wright who played an untidy one two with Bernie Slaven down the left wing which was somehow enough to completely unlock the Rangers defence, present Wright with a one on one situation and see Boro retake the lead.

So QPR had to start again. There was certainly an element of hit and hope about Ian Holloway’s long punt down the field a short time later but the niggly, hard running style that Gary Penrice was known for – plus the former Bristol Rovers forward’s desperation to end a goal drought stretching back to the previous February – made something of the chance. First the barrel chested striker caught Whyte trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick and pinched it from him, then having hooked it along the byline he found Brian Horne the on-loan Middlesbrough goalkeeper flat footed and perhaps expecting a pull back so was able to squirm a fairly pathetic shot underneath him and into the Loft End goal for a second equaliser.

All set for a late QPR winner it seemed. Not so. With six minutes left on the watch the QPR defence contrived to implode once more and concede a third shambolic goal of the afternoon. Wright lofted a free kick to the back post and with markers caught under the ball and Stejskal rooted to his line a queue of unmarked Boro attackers formed and eventually Willie Falconer took responsibility to rise unchallenged and power home what seemed certain to be a winning goal.

Rangers were paper thin at the back, but remained spirited and threatening going forwards. Deep into stoppage time they salvaged a draw in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. Substitute Dennis Bailey was one of eight hooped men packed into the penalty box for a final throw of the dice with an Andy Sinton free kick. The initial delivery was cleared but Wilkins squared the loose ball to Holloway who sent in a searching cross to the back post and, with the Middlesbrough defenders this time caught under the ball and the QPR players lined up to take advantage, Impey steamed in with a blockbusting header that seemed a stone wall certainty to fly into the top corner of the net. Somehow, at point blank range, Horne thrust up an arm at the last second and tipped the ball onto the underside of the bar to preserve the visitors’ precarious lead. The QPR fans packed onto the Lower Loft terrace couldn’t believe it but their despair soon turned to loud penalty appeals as, amidst the carnage created by the ball rebounding back into play in a penalty box containing 18 players, Andy Sinton was hacked to the ground as he tried to gather possession and referee Gerald Ashby pointed to the penalty spot.

With the last kick of the game Sinton stepped up himself and rolled a nervous penalty past Horne and into the bottom corner. Three times behind, Rangers were level again and there was barely time to restart. Given QPR’s defence from the previous Middlesbrough kick offs, that was probably just as well.

Rangers ended up fifth that season, the top placed London club. Boro, however, collapsed. Having lost just two of their first nine and come mighty close to winning a fifth game in seven outings in West London they then drew nine and lost seven of the next 18 games plunging them into a relegation battle which they ultimately failed in. Les Ferdinand scored again in a 1-0 win at Ayresome Park later in the season, part of a run of 11 defeats in 15 games for Lawrence’s side, and they were demoted alongside Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.

QPR: Stejskal, Channing, Peacock (Holloway), McDonald, Wilson (Maddix), Impey, Barker, Holloway, Sinton, Ferdinand, Penrice

Sub not used: Roberts

Boro: Horne, Morris, Phillips, Kernaghan, Whyte, Peake, Slaven, Flaconer, Wilkinson, Wright, Mustoe

Attendance: 12,272
Highlights >>> Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 13/14 >>> QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0 13/14 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 10/11 >>> QPR 5 Middlesbrough 0 97/98 >>> QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 95/96 >>> QPR 6 Middlesbrough 1 82/83 >>> QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 69/70

Recent Meetings

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 last season. 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)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0, Saturday September 28, 2013, Championship

QPR turned in one of their best performances of the season, hammering another nail into Tony Mowbray’s Middlesbrough coffin in the process, when these sides met for the first time that season in September. With Niko Kranjcar in scintillating form the R’s could have scored a hat full but eventually settled for the two they managed before half time. The home team took the lead after just four minutes thanks to a mixture of actually committing decent numbers into the penalty box for a change and some shambolic Middlesbrough defending. When the visitors failed to take several invitations to clear their lines Danny Simpson whipped in a low cross that goalkeeper Jason Steele punched out as far as Barton and his bobbling low shot bounced into the net via half a dozen deflections in a crowded goal mouth. Just after the half hour QPR flooded a chaotic penalty area with bodies, Charlie Austin drew a save from Steele and young centre back Ben Gibson handled a follow up shot from O’Neil playing against his former club. Austin took the kick himself, went the opposite side the one he’d picked for his match winner at Yeovil a week previous, and calmly collected his third goal in four appearances.

QPR: Green 7; Simpson 7, Dunne 8, Hill 7 (Ehmer 79, 7), Assou-Ekotto 7; Carroll 6, Faurlin 7 (Henry 79, 6), Barton 7, Kranjcar 8 (Hoilett 83, -), O’Neil 7; Austin 7

Subs not used: Murphy, Traore, Jenas, Chevanton

Goals: Barton 4 (assisted Simpson), Austin 35 (penalty, handball)

Bookings: O’Neil 6 (foul), Simpson 12 (foul)

Middlesbrough: Steele 6; Friend 6 Gibson 7, Woodgate 6 (Parnaby 46, 6), Richardson 6; Butterfield 6 (Smallwood 67, 6), Leadbitter 6, Varga 5 (Jutkiewicz 46, 6), Whitehead 5; Adomah 6, Kamara 6

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Hoyte, Halliday, Carayol

Bookings: Whitehead 32 (repetitive fouling), Gibson 34 (deliberate handball) Adomah 89 (foul)

QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0, Saturday September 10, 2010, Championship

Rangers ripped into Gordan Strachan’s team in the second half of their 2010 meeting to secure a fourth comfortable win of the season after just five league games played. Kept scoreless at the break, and almost falling behind when big-money Scottish target man Kris Boyd missed a gilt edged chance from the middle of the six yard box, Rangers were not in the mood for compromise after the break. Heidar Helguson rolled in a penalty, Hogan Ephraim stabbed home another after a fine pass from Taarabt and Jamie Mackie added a third from an Ephraim assist all within the first 14 minutes of the second stanza. Later in the game Bradley Orr left the field injured, and then his replacement Peter Ramage ruptured cruciate knee ligaments, but manager Neil Warnock quickly shipped in Kyle Walker on loan from Spurs who turned out to be an inspired signing and the week only got better with a 3-0 away win at Ipswich on the Tuesday quickly followed with a 2-0 success at Leicester. QPR would go on to be crowned champions.

QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7 (Ramage 69, 6), Connolly 7, Gorkss 7, Hill 7, Derry 8, Faurlin 8, Mackie 8 (Smith 80, 6), Taarabt 8 (Buzsaky 70, 7), Ephraim 8, Helguson 8

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Leigertwood, Agyemang, Parker

Goals: Helguson 49 (penalty), Ephraim 53 (assisted Taarabt), Mackie 59 (assisted Ephraim)

Middlesbrough: Steele 7, Bates 5, McManus 5, Wheater 5, Robson 4, Tavares 6, O'Neil 5, Bailey 4 (Halliday 79, 6), Kink 6 (Hoyte 55, 6), Boyd 6 (Lita 65, 7), McDonald 6

Subs Not Used: Coyne, Miller, Arca, Smallwood

Booked: Robson (foul)

Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0, Saturday February 23, 2010, Championship

The two thumping 3-0 wins during the promotion season were in stark contrast to QPR’s abject failures against Boro the previous year. Strachan enjoyed his first win as Boro boss in emphatic fashion at Loftus Road – a 5-1 success sparking a meltdown in Jim Magilton’s reign as manager that subsequently saw him sacked after an alleged assault on Akos Buzsaky in the dressing room after a similarly dire defeat at Watford. By the time the R’s travelled north for the return fixture they’d worked their way through Paul Hart and were about to swap Mick Harford for Neil Warnock with relegation starting to loom large. Understandably they put up feable resistance in a dreadful encounter that was settled by two penalties to the home side just before half time. A rash tackle by Peter Ramage on Jeremie Alliadiere set the ball rolling five minutes before the break and that was quickly followed by an equally stupid lunge, this time from Kaspars Gorkss on Leroy Lita. Barry Robson comfortably outwitted loaned goalkeeper Carl Ikeme with both spot kicks. We had an excellent turkey and stuffing roll from a van behind the away end. They also did roast beef.

Middlesbrough: Coyne 7, Naughton 6, Wheater 7, McManus 6, Pogatetz 6 (Taylor 78, 6), Flood 6, O'Neil 6, Robson 8, Aliadiere 5 (Franks 66, 6), Lita 6 (Arca 83, -), Killen 6

Subs Not Used: Jones, Hoyte, Miller, Grounds

Booked: Killen (foul)

Goals: Robson 39 (penalty), 45 (penalty)

QPR: Ikeme 6, Ramage 4, Stewart 5, Gorkss 4, Hill 4 (Borrowdale 53, 4),Cook 6, Leigertwood 7, Faurlin 6 (Taarabt 69, 6), Buzsaky 7, Simpson 6, German 5 (Bent 54, 6)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Vine, Balanta, Ephraim

Booked: Gorkss (foul)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 17 >>> Draws 15 >>> Middlesbrough wins 16

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

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cranieboy added 19:45 - Jan 18
That reminded me to have a watch on you tube of the 1983 thrashing of Middlesbrough with Roeder at his best and a young lad that used to look like me in the front of the Loft giving Gary Waddock a happy slap when his momentum took him into the hoardings.
They were the days.
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