FA Cup Round 5
Saturday February 18th 2017
Middlesbrough v Oxford United
This is 16th in the Premier League v 11th in League One.
This is the first meeting in the FA Cup and just the 27th game between the clubs, all of which previously have been in the league.
If the game ends in a draw, the replay is provisionally set to take place on Tuesday February 28 at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium, but this date will be subject to confirmation.
Boro have reached this stage courtesy of home wins over Sheffield Wednesday in round three and Accrington Stanley in round four.
Oxford’s path has been a longer one with wins away to Merstham (5-0) in round one, Macclesfield (3-0) at home in round 2 after a goalless draw at Moss Rose, a 3-2 win at Rotherham in round 3 and a 3-0 win at home to Newcastle in round 4.
Only the top two and Manchester United have let in fewer goals, but we are now the joint lowest scorers in all four divisions with just 19 goals, the same as Oldham of League One, with the lowest number of shots and shots on target in the Premier League.
Adlene Guedioura is not available for the game. The midfielder is cup tied having appeared for Watford in their fourth round defeat to Millwall at the Den.
We have also only scored in the first half in five of our last 22 games.
In the third round win over Sheffield Wednesday, Dani Ayala became the fourth Boro player sent-off in an FA Cup match at home, joining Phil Boersma, Jamie Pollock and Craig Hignett. All four were against lower-league clubs.
We have had more success in the FA Cup in the last 20 years than any other time in our history. We have reached one final, two semi-finals, and the sixth round three years in a row. Before 1997 we had never got beyond the quarter-finals. We reached the sixth round five times between 1970 and 1981, and also in 1947 and 1936. We had also reached the same stage in our second season in the Football League, in 1901, and as an amateur side in 1888.
But after making at least the sixth round in each of the last four seasons in the Premier League, we have gone out in the third round four times, the fourth round once, and reached the fifth round just three times since relegation.
Nine of Middlesbrough's last 12 FA Cup ties have been at the Riverside, but that was after a run of just six of the previous 21.
We have gone out of the cup at home in seven of the last nine seasons, and in another drawn at home then lost the replay. Last season was only the second time in those nine seasons we did not go out to a Premier League side. The other was at Burton in 2011.
Oxford sit five places and seven points outside the Play Offs following Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat by a Southend United side who now sit on the fringes of the Play Offs having been just three points ahead of the Us at the start of the game. It was a defeat that ended a run of three successive wins.
They are managed by Michael Appleton. As a player he was a midfielder who played from 1994 to 2003, his career being cut short by a serious knee injury. He played as a professional for Manchester United, Lincoln City, Grimsby Town and Preston North End. He was the assistant head coach at West Bromwich Albion and manager of Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers. He was appointed head coach at the Kassam in July 2014 and in his second season in charge led the club to promotion to League One.
Scottish striker Chris Maguire is leading scorer with 12 goals from 39 appearances this season. He will be facing Boro with a fourth different club having previously played against us for Derby, Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday (four times). His last game for Rotherham was against Boro at the Riverside in November 2015, he joined Oxford soon after.
Goalkeeper Simon Eastwood has played in every one of Oxford’s 43 games in all competitions this season. Boro fans will remember his regular man-of-the-match performances against their team. He was given a free transfer by Blackburn last summer and signed a new two-year contract this week.
Oxford were promoted last season, finishing second in League Two, but 13 points behind champions Northampton and just one ahead of Bristol Rovers and Accrington. They were both its top scorers, with 84 goals, and with its best defence, conceding just 41. They also reached Wembley in the FL Trophy final, losing 3-2 to Barnsley (and very nearly 4-2 as Boro’s Harry Chapman, on loan at Barnsley, had a shot off the line seconds after coming on as a last-minute sub).
This is only their seventh season back in the Football League after relegation in 2006 to what was then called the Conference, where they spent four seasons. They have spent almost all of it between 11th and 14th, plagued by inconsistency, with the exception of a five-game unbeaten run in December.
But they have only lost once away in the last two months, at Wimbledon and have scored in every away game but one since August. They have only scored three goals three times, and only conceded three once.
Only four teams in their league have conceded fewer goals, and they have kept 10 clean sheets.
They won at Birmingham in the EFL Cup before going out at home to Brighton, and put then League One leaders Scunthorpe out of the Football League Trophy 4-1.
This is their first appearance in the fifth round of the FA Cup since 1994 when they went out to Chelsea.
They have only reached the fourth round once in the last 21 years. If they beat Boro it will equal their best performance in the FA Cup, reaching the sixth round in 1964, only two years after joining the League. They won the League Cup in 1986, the first of three seasons they spent in the old First Division, just a few weeks before Boro were relegated to the Third.
Oxford’s squad is from just six countries, with only three non-English players and just two from outside the British Isles. One is the league’s only Liechtenstein international, goalkeeper Benjamin Buchel. The other is Spanish forward Toni Martinez, on loan from West Ham, who paid Valencia £2.4m for him in the summer. He is one of two loan signings last month, the other is Everton forward Conor McAleny.
US v THEM
Boro have twice beaten Oxford 4-1 on Teesside to clinch promotion. The first was in 1967 as Boro ended their first ever stay in the old third division (League One), the next was 31 years later in May 1998 as Boro returned to the Premiership.
Jack Charlton’s team also clinched promotion in 1974 with a 1-0 home win, but this time on March 23rd. the earliest-ever promotion from the Second Division, with seven games to go.
Boro have won six of the last eight meetings, drawing the other two, and four of the last five at home, drawing one.
Oxford only won twice at Ayresome Park, on New Year’s Day 1985 and in August 1970. The only other time Boro failed to score was the only other time they failed to win, a goalless draw in 1991. That is also their only clean sheet in the last nine meetings.
HEAD TO HEAD
Last six meetings on Teesside. Only the first one in the list was played at The Riverside, the rest were at Ayresome Park.
1997/98 – Football League Division One (Championship)
03-05-1998: Middlesbrough 4-1 Oxford United
1993/94 – Football League Division One (Championship)
09-04-1994: Middlesbrough 2-1 Oxford United
1991/92 – Division Two (Championship)
15-04-1992: Middlesbrough 2-1 Oxford United
1990/91 – Division Two (Championship)
09-03-1991: Middlesbrough 0-0 Oxford United
1989/90 – Division Two (Championship)
25-11-1989: Middlesbrough 1-0 Oxford United
1984/85 – Division Two (Championship)
01-01-1985: Middlesbrough 0-1 Oxford United
Andre Marriner. West Midlands.
In 25 games this season Mr Marriner has shown 95 yellow and six red cards, three of those reds coming in a Europa League game between Panathinaikos and Ajax in the middle of September, it was a game where he also showed nine yellows. He was back in Greece in December and showed eight yellows in the game between PAOK Salonika and Slovan Liberec.
It’s the first time Mr Marriner has visited the Riverside since our 1-0 win against Hull City last March when David Nugent scored the only goal of the game.
It was his first Boro game for just over a year, since the 1-0 defeat by Leeds at the Riverside in February 2015, which was his only Middlesbrough match since they were in the Premier League, when they lost 1-0 at Manchester City in February 2009.
Earlier that season he sent-off Emmanuel Pogatetz in a 3-1 Carling Cup defeat at Manchester United. His other games at the Riverside were two defeats, 2-1 to Blackburn on the opening day in August 2007 and 3-2 to Wigan in January 2006, and two 1-1 draws, with West Ham in November 2008, and Liverpool in January 2008.
Boro had never won with him in charge until the Hull game; in his eight others they had lost six and drawn two.
This is his first Oxford game for six years, since they lost 2-1 at Northampton in January 2011 in League Two.
But his first game in the Football League was Oxford’s 1-0 win at Lincoln in August 2003. His only other was a 3-1 win over Darlington in November that year. He sent-off three players in those two games, none of them from Oxford.
Five years ago - Lukas Jutkiewicz scores his second goal in four days as Boro beat Nottingham Forest at home for the first time in 39 years, to end a run of five games without a win and stay sixth.
10 years ago - Boro can only draw 2-2 at home to Tony Mowbray’s West Brom in the FA Cup after twice leading through Julio Arca and Yakubu.
15 years ago - Alen Boksic and Szilard Nemeth score in a 2-1 home win over Fulham, David Murphy makes his league debut as a sub, and Boro move up to 11th, their highest place of the season.
20 years ago - Juninho’s second-half goal at Manchester City puts Boro into the FA Cup sixth round for the first time in 16 years.
25 years ago - Alan Kernaghan gets a late equaliser at Portsmouth to earn a fifth round replay.
30 years ago - a goalless draw at Port Vale takes Boro back to the top of Division Three, but only on goal difference from Bournemouth.
35 years ago - a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal sets a new record of 16 games without a win and keeps Boro bottom, 10 points from safety.
40 years ago - Peter Brine scores after only 38 seconds, David Armstrong and David Mills add two more in a 3-0 home win over Arsenal, a 10th game unbeaten and up to fourth.
50 years ago - Geoff Butler scores his only Boro goal in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth, as they slip to eight points behind the top two.
55 years ago - a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn and Boro are out of the FA Cup after reaching the fifth round for the first time in 14 years.
60 years ago - for the second time in a week Brian Clough scores inside three minutes but Typical Boro go down 2-1 at second-bottom Port Vale, who had taken one point from seven games.
65 years ago - a typical day at Stamford Bridge ends in a 5-0 defeat, but an improvement - Boro had lost their previous two away games 7-1 and 6-0. And they stay third bottom.
70 years ago - a 3-1 home win over Bolton (Johnny Spuhler, Wilf Mannion and George Dews) takes Boro third in Division One.
90 years ago - Boro go out of the FA Cup 3-2 at Division Three South Millwall as George Camsell and Billy Pease miss penalties. Camsell doesn't take another for eight years, a decision which costs him the league's individual scoring record.
115 years ago - Jack Brearley scores four times as Boro win 7-2 at Barnsley and stay second in Division Two.
LAST TIME OUT AT THE RIVERSIDE
Sunday May 3 1998
Football League Division One (Championship)
Boro 4 (Armstrong 47, 48, Hignett 57, 63) Oxford United 1 (Banger 70)
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer; Fleming, Harrison, Festa, Pearson, Townsend, Mustoe, Gascoigne, Armstrong (H Ricard, 67), Merson, Hignett. Subs: Kinder, Beck.
Oxford United: Whitehead; Robinson, Marsh, Gray, Davis, Gilchrist, Murphy (Banger 67), Smith, Francis (Cook 85), Powell (Remy 63), Beauchamp.
Referee PR Richards. Preston.
A mild, dry, but predominantly cloudy day is forecast with the temperature peaking at 11 degrees in a 13mph south-westerly wind.
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