Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

That Must Have Been a Hell of a Game to Watch!

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

That Must Have Been a Hell of a Game to Watch!

Article excerpt

TODAY we bring you the second part of our new exclusive weekly series. Every Monday we talk to a Boro legend about his most memorable game for the club.

In the latest instalment, PHILIP TALLENTIRE discusses Boro's remarkable FA Cup semi-final six-goal thriller against minnows Chesterfield at Old Trafford with Craig Hignett.

CRAIG Hignett believes Boro got of jail when they played Chesterfield in a dramatic FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.

But despite the match ending all-square at 3-3, the tricky Scouse striker has no hesitation in selecting it as the greatest game he was involved in during his time with Boro.

Looking back at that April, 1997 afternoon in Manchester, he said: "It was a massive day for us because it was a semi-final and everybody expected us to win.

"They were lower league opposition and people thought we would run over the top of them.

"I've never, in a game said, 'Jesus, this must be some game to watch'.

"I said that to Curtis Fleming during the game.

"When they scored the second I can remember saying to him 'we're having one here'. And he said 'I know'.

"But the game had everything, a sending-off, a goal that wasn't given, 10 men getting back into it, getting the lead and then a last gasp equaliser.

"It was just a fantastic game to be involved in."

Boro started on the front foot but couldn't score against a side who'd turned their indifferent league form on its head in the cup.

"The first five minutes we were pushing and really putting them under pressure and if we'd scored the first goal it would have been like it was when we played them in the replay.

"I definitely think they upped their performance because if they'd played like that all season they would have walked away with the league.

"But we expected them to lift their performance."

Then Vlad Kinder was sent off and that suddenly evened-up the sides.

"It doesn't matter who you are playing, when you are down to 10 men it's difficult," said Hignett.

"The first goal for us was a massive one. To get back into it with Rav's goal to make it 2-1 was crucial.

"We knew then that they would have some jitters because it was massive for them."

The turning point of the game was the 'goal' that wasn't.

Jon Howard's shot hit the Boro bar and appeared to cross the line but it wasn't given.

Had it been awarded Boro would have been 3-1 behind with just 20 minutes remaining on the clock.

Hignett admits he thought the ball had crossed the line.

"I wasn't too far away from it," he said. "I thought it was in, they thought it was in and it was in, so we got away with one there.

"You see things in a game like that happen and you think 'it might be our day, we might get out of jail here' and we did. …

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