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banner Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 21:51 GMT
Middlesbrough 2-1 Macclesfield
Noel Whelan
Noel Whelan bangs home the equaliser for Boro
Middlesbrough 2-1 Macclesfield

Middlesbrough came through a stirring Worthington Cup clash with minnows Macclesfield at a rain-drenched Riverside Stadium after a thrilling climax.

Goals from Noel Whelan and Mark Summerbell in the closing four minutes helped overturn Richie Barker's 58th-minute opener for the Third Division side and avoid an embarrassing home defeat.

Bryan Robson's Teessiders looked to be heading for their sixth game without a win in front of just 5,244 fans, the lowest-ever crowd at the Riverside, before Alen Boksic performed some magic and turned the game on its head.

The 2.5million summer signing created Whelan's leveller with a majestic chip from 20 yards that crashed back off the underside of the bar for his fellow striker to volley in the rebound.


Midfielder Summerbell then provided the winner two minutes from time, curling a loose ball home from the edge of the area to deny Peter Davenport, a former Manchester United team-mate of Robson, a famous managerial win.

Davenport's Nationwide League side deserved their lead through Barker's diving header and the home crowd knew it, jeering their side off at the final whistle despite the late comeback.

The Premiership club struggled with both the treacherous wet conditions and the endeavour of their lowly opponents.

Boro rarely threatened until the final flurry, full-back Dean Gordon providing the best effort with a 30-yard drive early in the game which skidded off the surface and forced visiting keeper Tony Bullock to save to his right.

Cutting edge

But Robson's side lacked a cutting edge until the 65th-minute introduction of former Lazio striker Boksic.

It was only the fourth appearance by the Croatian since his move to Teesside and his absence was painfully evident in a quiet first period which was spoiled by the sodden conditions.

It was the Boro defence that was predominantly under pressure in the second period as Macclesfield took the game to the Premiership side.

Following Barker's diving headed goal, Macclesfield looked the more likely to score but they had not reckoned on the brilliance of Boksic.

Middlesbrough: Bennion, Gordon, Festa, Ince, Ricard, Armstrong, Summerbell, Whelan, Cooper, Gavin, S. Parnaby. Subs: O'Neill, Maddison, Job, Crossley, Boksic.

Macclesfield: Bullock, Hitchin, Tinson, Ingram, Sedgemore, Barker, Durkan, Askey, Wood, Abbey, Munroe. Subs: Glover, Twynham, Whitehead, O'Neill, Keen.

Referee: M Messias (York)

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See also:

19 Sep 00 |  Worthington Cup
Millwall 2-0 Ipswich
19 Sep 00 |  Worthington Cup
Darlington 0-1 Bradford
19 Sep 00 |  Worthington Cup
Brentford 0-0 Tottenham
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