Ahead of Tuesday’s match against Sheffield United at the Riverside, we take a look back at six of Boro’s best goals against The Blades.
We kick things off with an instinctive finish from Bernie Slaven in November 1987. After a string of three Boro headers in the opposing area, the penalty-box poacher swivelled sharply to produce an overhead kick and give us the lead. Slaven was top scorer that season with 24 goals as Boro won promotion to the First Division.
Next up is a goal from Marvin Emnes on our most recent visit to Bramall Lane in April 2011. Matthew Lowton have levelled up for the home side after Boro namesake Bates’ opener, but Julio Arca fed Emnes to win us the match. After a poor start to the season, things began to pick up for Boro under Tony Mowbray, winning seven and losing just one of our last 12 matches. United, on the other hand, were relegated to League One.
A breakaway goal from Yakubu looked to have earned Boro a point against Neil Warnock’s newly-promoted side in what was our first meeting for eight years in September 2006, but Phil Jagielka’s 90th-minute stunner settled it in the hosts’ favour.
Yakubu was on the scoresheet again (twice) in the reverse fixture, as was Mark Viduka, who showcased his trademark technique to score in a 3-1 Boro win. Again, The Blades would succumb to the drop that year, while Boro finished 12th.
Mikkel Beck’s smart finish from a tight angle was the only highlight of a disappointing pair of meetings with United in our promotion-winning 1997/98 campaign. The Blades were the only team to do the double over Bryan Robson’s side that season, the second defeat the last we suffered that campaign before a run of six unbeaten secured second spot. Sheffield United, who finished sixth, were bested by Sunderland in the play-off semi-final.
Finally, we bookend this collection with another from Bernie Slaven. Having scored against the same opponents in a 6-0 win the previous year - Stuart Ripley got three - Bernie was on target again in September 1989. One of another two for the Irish international that afternoon, our pick was something of a collector’s item for Slaven, as he pulled out a stunning long-range finish in the 3-3 draw at Ayresome Park. This time it was United who would end the season with promotion, while Boro narrowly avoided the drop from Division Two.