Seven Football League seasons were lost as a result of World War II, so the football starved public were desperate for a taste of action when competitive football returned in the summer of 1946.

Shaun Wilson


There were huge crowds everywhere and Ayresome Park was no exception.

Boro started the season with two away wins and the scene was set for Boro’s triumphant return to Ayresome.

43,685 was the official crowd with the gates locked 15 minutes before kick-off with hundreds of fans still outside.

There was slight disappointment that Stoke’s England winger Stanley Matthews was unable to play due to injury.

Boro opened the scoring after 11 minutes through Micky Fenton but 16 minutes later Stoke silenced the crowd when George Mountford equalised.

Two minutes later Boro’s lead was restored with Fenton notching his second goal before The Potters levelled again through Fred Steele.

Fenton completed his hat trick in the 41st minute before Steele scored his second a minute before half time to make it 3-3.

The pace began to drop after the interval but Wilf Mannion made it 4-3 after shooting in off a post.

Boro looked to be holding on before Steele also got his hat trick 10 minutes from time.

It looked a draw all over but the elusive Fenton had other ideas and in the 89thminute he produced the winner out of nothing to send the packed ground into raptures!