Sunderland visit Middlesbrough in the Tees-Wear derby on Wednesday night, looking desperately to secure a first win since February 4 in a late bid to avoid the drop from the Premier League
The Black Cats will be heartened by their improved performance in last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with West Ham, and the club’s recent record away to Boro.
Including the FA Cup replay victory at the Riverside in 2012, Sunderland have been unbeaten in their last four visits to Teesside.
Here we look back at the last five meetings of the sides at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough 1 Sunderland 2
February 8, 2012 – FA Cup
Sunderland struck late in extra time on a dramatic night to seal progression to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Following a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland took the lead just before half-time through Jack Colback, when his powerful volley cannoned in off the crossbar.
But Championship side Boro were level when Lukas Jutkiewicz reacted quickest to a loose ball, lashing home Curtis Main’s knockdown for his first goal for the Teessiders after signing from Coventry
Phil Bardsley then struck the post as the visitors pushed on, but neither side could grab a winner in 90 minutes.
As extra time ticked on, and with penalties looming, a mazy run and shot from Stephane Sessegnon bounced back to the Benin international, allowing him to steer home the winner in the 113th minute
Middlesbrough 1 Sunderland 1
Januar 10, 2009 – Premier League
Kenwyne Jones struck an 82nd-minute equaliser to grab a point for Ricky Sbragia’s men at the Riverside.
A tight first half ended with Boro on top, Afonso Alves making the breakthrough just before the interval, finishing off well from the edge of the box after a lively link-up with Stewart Downing.
But Sunderland improved in the closing stages and Jones levelled matters from seven yards out, clinically despatching a fine ball in from the right from sub David Healy.
Sunderland could even snatched victory late on, but Adam Johnson produced a remarkable clearance off the line after Djibril Cisse got his head to an Andty Reid corner.
Middlesbrough 2 Sunderland 2
September 22, 2007 – Premier League
For the opening and closing couple of minutes of this game, Sunderland were irresistible – Grant Leadbitter’s determined opener and Liam Miller’s spectacular closer earning the Black Cats a valuable Premiership point.
But the intervening 86 minutes were a concern for manager Roy Keane, as Sunderland were ragged for long periods and at times hanging on as Boro’s classy midfield and solid defence dominated proceedings.
There were precious few areas of the pitch where the Wearsiders were not second best and only their never-say-die spirit and a moment of brilliance avoided a third away defeat in four this season.
“We got away with it,” was Keane’s ultimate verdict on a game brimful of incident and commitment from both sides.
Leadbitter fired Sunderland ahead early on, after Julio Arca lost possession, but the Argentinian equalised against his former club with a powerful header past Craig Gordon from Gary O’Neil’s cross.
He was later stretchered off but saw Boro dominant and going ahead when Downing smashed a right-foot shot from 25 yards out which swerved in the air and beat Gordon.
Sunderland looked beaten, but a wonderful goal rescued a point when Kenwyne Jones and Davod Wheater went up for a ball on the edge of the Boro area and it bounced back to Miller 20 yards out.
The Irishman chested it forward, moved on to the ball and smashed a left-foot shot which spiralled into the very top right-hand corner of Schwarzer’s goal, sending the travelling fans wild.
Middlesbrough 0 Sunderland 2
September 25, 2005 – Premier League
The newly-promoted Black Cats travelled to Teesside without a win in 22 Premier League games stretching back to early in the 2002/03 campaign.
They started brightly and were ahead within 90 seconds when Gareth Southgate’s attempted clearance fell to Liam Miller, who finished well past Brad Jones.
Sunderland keeper Kelvin Davis, who had come under fire for his first few outings for the Black Cats after joining from Ipswich, put in an inspired display, saving well from James Morrison and Yakubu as the visitors hung on.
A second, clinching goal was then added in controversial circumstances as Howard Webb overruled an offside flag to award Sunderland a free-kick, which was curled home magnificently by Julio Arca.
Middlesbrough 3 Sunderland 0
September 10, 2002 – Premier League
Sunderland succumbed to their first away Premier League defeat of the season, following a 0-0 draw at Blackburn and a 1-0 victory at Leeds.
Massimo Maccarone was the difference between the sides, teaming up well with two-goal Szilard Nemeth to make life tough for Peter Reid’s Wearsiders.
Nemeth made the breakthrough in the 17th minute, firing home the rebound after Thomas Sorensen could not hold onto a fierce strike from Maccarone.
The Black Cats fell further behind eight minutes before the break with Maccarone’s header, and the Italian set up Nemeth to cleverly chip the ball over Sorensen for the killer third goal midway through the second half.