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Match preview: Middlesbrough v AFC Bournemouth
CHERRIES will be hoping to punctuate their perfect symmetry of league results when they make their first trip to the Riverside Stadium tomorrow.
Since winning their opening Championship fixture against Charlton, Eddie Howe’s men have alternated between victory and defeat in their six subsequent outings culminating in Tuesday’s 1-0 success against struggling Barnsley.
In stark contrast, Middlesbrough have registered four score draws in five winless matches with Nottingham Forest battling back from two goals down to snatch a point in midweek, a result which prompted boss Tony Mowbray to call for a more ruthless approach from his side.
The Teesside outfit have lacked a killer instinct in both penalty areas, shipping 11 goals in seven matches while their top scorer in the league, George Friend, has just two goals to his name.
However, the historic statistics bode well for Boro who have a 100 percent home league record against Cherries from four previous meetings at the club’s old ground, Ayresome Park.
Joint leading marksman Tony Priscott scored Cherries’ only goal in a 3-1 defeat in March 1967 as Middlesbrough secured promotion during a season of struggle for the Dean Court outfit.
It would be another 20 years before the sides would meet again when Boro returned to the third tier ahead of Cherries’ historic 1986-87 title winning campaign.
A 4-0 defeat in the north-east was a rare blot on AFC Bournemouth’s copybook as both teams steamrollered their way to promotion.
The following season saw Middlesbrough make light work of Cherries once more, completing a 3-0 win on their way to back-to-back promotions while Cherries laboured in 17th.
Boro crashed straight back down from Division One and struggled alongside Cherries during the 1989-90 campaign.
Despite Luther Blissett’s strike, Harry Redknapp’s side lost 2-1 at Ayresome Park before a 2-2 draw at Dean Court, results that proved pivotal as Boro finished a place and two points clear of relegated Cherries.
Echo man to watch: Despite his injury woes, former England defender Jonathan Woodgate still oozes class and is capable of making the difference for his hometown club.
Club guide: Middlesbrough
Manager: Tony Mowbray
Title odds: 33-1
Last season: 16th in Championship
Ground (capacity): Riverside Stadium (35,100)
Distance from Dean Court: 317 miles
Ground postcode: TS3 6RS
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