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Memorable Match: Middlesbrough 3-3 Norwich City

19 November 2020

Norwich City travel to the Riverside Stadium for this weekend’s Sky Bet Championship game.

Rewind the clock 27 years, however, and the Canaries arrived at Ayresome Park off the back of what had been an outstanding Premier League season.

Middlesbrough 3-3 Norwich City
May 8, 1993
Premier League
Ayresome Park

What was on the line?

For City, it was a place in the UEFA Cup first round. With this game the final one of 42 in the 1992-93 season, Norwich were battling for the top three with Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers; only two of the three teams could qualify for Europe.

Middlesbrough’s fate had already been sealed. After a difficult season in the topflight, 1992-93 saw them relegated to the Championship alongside Nottingham Forest and - on the last day of the season - Crystal Palace, so there was nothing to play for but pride.

How the game unfolded

Efan Ekoku gave City the lead inside just 14 minutes, before Willie Falconer pulled one back for the hosts beyond the half-hour mark.

Hearts were in mouths for the Canaries’ European hopes when Paul Wilkinson gave Middlesbrough the lead in the 64th minute.

In what appeared to be a cruel twist of fate, Blackburn went 1-0 up at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the 65th minute, knocking City down to fourth and out of contention for UEFA Cup qualification, but not for long.

efan ekoku 1993.jpg

The nerves were jangling for mere seconds, Norwich also scoring in the 65th minute to equalise, Efan Ekoku putting them back into the top three.

Andy Johnson made it 3-2 City moments later, before John Hendrie equalised for Boro in the 72nd minute.

Norwich held on for the excruciating final 20 minutes of the game to draw 3-3 and finish one point above Blackburn. Had the sides been level on points, Blackburn would have finished third with a significantly greater goal difference.

Norwich City XI: Gunn, Culverhouse, Polston, Newman, Sutton, Phillips, Bowen, Crook, Fox, Johnson, Ekoku
Unused substitutes: Marshall, Woodthorpe, Robins

What happened next?

After achieving an all-time best record of third in the Premier League, City finished 12th the following season, but enjoyed unforgettable wins against Vitesse Arnhem and Bayern Munich to reach the third round of the UEFA Cup, where they were knocked out by Inter Milan.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, came ninth in the First Division in 1993-94, returning to the Premier League as First Division champions at the end of 1994-95.

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