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A pivotal day on the rocky road to relegation; There's plenty at stake when Boro visit the KC Stadium this afternoon, just as there was when the teams met in 2008. ANTHONY VICKERS turns back the clock.

THERE were plenty of pivotal moments on the chaotic road to relegation in 2009 - and one of them came at Hull.

A sudden spurt of turmoil at the fag end of a tedious basement battle in December helped push brittle Boro under.

Gareth Southgate's soft-centred side squandered the lead in a suicidal late meltdown. That was to be a familiar theme all season.

But the away defeat in December 2008 at then "high-flying" Hull was to prove especially costly: The game was sleep-walking towards a dull goalless draw when Boro shook it awake with a Tuncay goal.

Big mistake. Within 10 minutes they had suffered a massive historical miscarriage of justice, were cruelly punished by serial spot kick nemesis Marlon King and in the long run the relegation maths swung against them. Had that game fizzled out into a draw as the Gods of Football had decreed, Boro would have finished with one more point and Hull with two fewer and Phil Brown's side would have gone down in our place. It still rankles now.

Let's flash back. The game was dull as a Sunday in Sunderland and spluttering out.

Then on 79 minutes a neat back-heel from Jeremie Aliadiere sent Justin Hoyte tearing clear down the flank (yes, you read that correctly) and the fleet-footed full-back squared for Tuncay to flick in balletically from close range.

Having annoyed the fates by ripping up the script, Boro quickly paid a terrible price.

Hull levelled within a minute as a Mendy shot came back off the post then hit spawling keeper Ross Turnbull on the back and squirted in.

Then worse, at the death Boro suffered double - treble - jeopardy as Hull were gifted a controversial winner.

First Hull striker Geovanni was clearly offside as he picked up a long keeper's punt forward.

David Wheater initially stood rooted looking for the flag, then trundled after him and brought him down in a tangle just outside the box.

Then Boro were pummelled by referee Steve Tanner who not only sent the defender off but also awarded a penalty!

Which King inevitably scored. He has also netted from the spot for Coventry and Birmingham against Boro.

Hull that day also included ex-Boro Carling Cup hero George Boeteng and one-time record signing Nick Barmby while Dean Windass was on the bench.

Ironically in the April reverse fixture King scored late on for Boro in a 3-1 win that teased us by offering a lifeline.

King was on loan which was a widely unpopular signing as he was waiting trial on charges for a nightclub assault on a woman.

He celebrated by rushing to the Hull dug-out to scream and gesticulate wildly, a reaction totally out of proportion to the goal.

BORO: Turnbull, Hoyte, Wheater, Pogatetz, Taylor, Aliadiere, Digard (Hines 87), Arca, Downing, Alves, Tuncay. Subs: Jones, McMahon, Grounds, Walker, Johnson, Emnes.

CAPTION(S):

Boro celebrate taking the lead at Hull in 2008. What could possibly go wrong?

Tuncay scores (top), Didier Digard jumps for a high ball (middle) and Marlon King celebrates his goal

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 7, 2015
Words:509
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