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Fans pitch in for promotion.

BUBBLING Boro blasted back to the Second Division with a 4-1 thrashing of Oxford to spark scenes of jubilation.

But there were almost scenes of carnage too, as a wall gave way as 10,000 Boro fans piled onto the pitch to celebrate.

A 50ft section of low restraining wall near the tunnel collapsed under the pressure of the surge and, as bodies tumbled forward, a group of children at the front were sent sprawling and trampled on.

Quick-thinking Boro secretary Harry Green grabbed a microphone and boomed: "Stand still everybody" - and a stunned crowd obeyed. Disaster was narrowly averted.

With calm restored, an ambulance shuttle service ferried the 14 injured children the 200 yards to the General and the promotion party began.

It was a dramatic end to one of the most emotionally-charged matches in the club's history - and one of the great watershed campaigns for the club.

It was fourth-placed Boro's game in hand, played a few days after the rest of the division had finished their fixtures, and the two points would clinch promotion.

Demand had been incredible.

With very few season ticket holders, anxious fans had been queuing at turnstiles since early morning in pouring rain.

Officially the crowd was 39,683 but hundreds had scaled the hospital wall into the Holgate and more jammed in as a Clive Road gate was forced. It was a night when everyone got a squeeze.

"Give us a goal John O'Rourke," pleaded the Ayresome Angels and he obliged - with a hat-trick of headers.

The nerves were settled on 29 minutes as the pounds 20,000 ex-Luton man powered home a David Chadwick corner and the same routine brought a second just before the break.

Early in the second half livewire Chadwick crossed for fans' favourite John Hickton to power a header home.

And then on 65 minutes Hickton crossed for O'Rourke to seal his hat-trick. Oxford - featuring Ron Atkinson - pulled one back late on to no avail.

The anticipation and excitement in the crowd was unbearable. Several times youngsters invaded the pitch and with the referee threatening to abandon the game, Boro players persuaded them to get off.

But, with the whistle looming, the crowd inched forward - and when it blew there was an ecstatic pitch invasion that swamped the players.

Then the wall gave way, although the incident did not dampen the celebrations.

BORO: Willie Whigham; Geoff Butler; Gordon Jones; Don Masson; Dickie Rooks; Billy Horner; David Chadwick; John Hickton; John O'Rourke; Eric McMordie; Derrick Downing..The Match Memory BORO 4, OXFORD UTD 1 (AYRESOME PARK) May 16, 1967

CAPTION(S):

PITCH INVASION: Fans crowd onto the playing surface
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 8, 2009
Words:441
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