On this day in 2002, Boro made the last five minutes count to send Manchester United crashing out of the FA Cup.
Sir Alex Ferguson had made clear his intentions to retire from his post with the Red Devils at the end of the 2001/02 season, and had that come to fruition, the Riverside would have been the stage for his FA Cup swansong as Boro progressed in this fourth round tie.
Losing to his former assistant Steve McClaren on Teesside may well have had sway in Fergie’s U-turn, announced within weeks of this cup upset.
United were league leaders at the time, with Boro in 18th place in the Premiership and in real relegation danger.
Roy Keane hit the woodwork early on, and Robbie Mustoe twice cleared off the line as Boro weathered the storm.
An Old Trafford replay beckoned as the clock ticked on but Noel Whelan - in the scoring form of his Boro career - pounced on Laurent Blanc’s decision to leave a long ball and prodded through the legs of Fabian Barthez, his third goal in three games.
Ferguson had thrown on David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke in search of a response, but it was Boro who got the game’s second goal minutes later Andy Campbell heading in from Dean Windass’ cross at the end of a swift counter.
Having already beaten Wimbledon after a Riverside replay, Boro would also get past Blackburn Rovers and Everton on home turf in the FA Cup that season.
It set up an Old Trafford semi-final against Arsenal, the furthest we’d progressed in the competition since reaching the final in 1997, and a tie which McClaren’s side were unlucky to lose to a fluke Gianluca Festa own goal.
Meanwhile, our league form took an upturn, McClaren steering the club to a 12th-placed finish in his first campaign in charge. Another highlight of the season was again against United, Alen Boksic netting the winner in a 1-0 league victory at Old Trafford in March.