Friday, April 23, 2010

23 April 2006 - Once Is A Coincidence, Twice Is A Trend

On 23 April 2006, West Ham defeated Middlesbrough 0-1 in an FA Cup semifinal played at Villa Park in Birmingham before a crowd of 39,148. West Ham went on to lose in the Final to Liverpool - the second of five consecutive FA Cup competitions in which the team to defeat Boro went on to become losing finalists.

That peculiar streak started in 2005, when Manchester United eliminated Boro in the Fourth Round on 29 January, then lost to Arsenal in the Final. It continued on 23 April 2006 when West Ham striker Marlon Harewood scored the match's only goal in the 77th minute to give the Londoners the win. They advanced to the Final at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium, where they fell to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, 3-3 (3-1).

Manchester United again fell victim to the "Boro curse" in 2007, beating the Teessiders in the Sixth Round, then losing in the Final to Chelsea. In 2008, second-division Cardiff City made an improbable run to the Final, beating Boro in the Sixth Round then Burnley in the semifinals before losing 0-1 to Portsmouth in the Final. In 2009, Boro suffered another Sixth-Round exit, this time at the hands of Everton, who then lost to Chelsea in the Final.

The streak ended on 24 February 2010, when Manchester City, who had beaten Boro in the Third Round, lost 3-1 to Stoke City in a Fifth Round replay.

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