Boro Defender Vows To Make Up For Cup Catastrophe!

Last updated : 24 February 2009 By Boro Mad
David Wheater: "Cardiff was an absolute nightmare. That was the worst day in my career so far by miles.

"I just couldn't get it out of my mind for days. I was completely gutted and so were all my friends and family.

"All the players were really disappointed too. We all knew that we had let ourselves, the club and the supporters down and that hurt us a lot.

"So it would be great if we could repay people for that this time around.

"We've got West Ham at home now and it gives us a great chance to put things right.

"We are all confident we have the beating of West Ham and can go a bit further yet.

"It is a chance to get away from the pressure of the Premier League. Who knows, if we get through and get a decent draw, maybe we can get to the final.

"It is an opportunity to get to Wembley and that is a great incentive for us.

"But we have to take everything a game at a time and focus on tomorrow night.

"We've done well in the cups over the last few years.

"We believe we can win the replay and that will be a great boost for us that can feed into league form.

"We did really well down there. We were the better team in the first half. We created some good chances and after Stewart (Downing) scored I think we could have had a few more.

"We are not leaking goals but the story lately has been that we have not been taking our chances. We have to start scoring soon."


BORO: Schwarzer, Young, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, O'Neil (Johnson 59), Arca, Rochemback, Downing, Alves (Mido 46), Sanli.

CARDIFF: Enckelman, McNaughton (Blake 87), Johnson, Loovens, Capaldi, Whittingham, Rae, McPhail, Parry (Sinclair 82), Ramsey, Hasselbaink (Thompson 76).

Peter Whittingham and Roger Johnson wrote a new chapter in a remarkable FA Cup fairytale as Cardiff pulled off yet another astonishing giant-killing act at Middlesbrough.
The Welsh club, who face a trip to the High Court this week with their very existence under threat, blasted Barclays Premier League Boro out of the competition to book a semi-final trip to Wembley.
City, the only side to take the cup out of England - they did so in 1927 - will now eagerly await a draw which remarkably will include only one top-flight side, Portsmouth, following the demise of giants Manchester United and Chelsea on Saturday.
And the truth is, the Coca-Cola Championship side were full value for their victory as they took the game to Boro throughout.
They forced their way ahead through Peter Whittingham's sensational ninth-minute strike and were in dreamland when defender Roger Johnson headed home a second with just 22 minutes gone.
Thereafter, they not only defended superbly - Stewart Downing's 61st-minute free-kick, which flew inches over the bar, was as close as the home side came to dragging themselves back into the tie - but they might have won even more comfortably.
Dave Jones' side will head for Wembley knowing a good draw could give them a chance of returning for the final on May 17, while opposite number Gareth Southgate now faces a fight for Premier League survival.
The bulk of a crowd of 32,896 - or at least those who remained - made their feelings abundantly clear on the final whistle on a miserable day for the Teessiders.
Cardiff's triumph 81 years ago is the only occasion on which either club has won the trophy with Boro's best effort coming in 1997, when they were runners-up to Chelsea.
But the carnage which had seen Premier League sides fall like nine-pins in this season's competition presented a genuine opportunity for both, and with home advantage, the Teessiders must have fancied their chances before kick-off.
However, with the Riverside Stadium filled to capacity, their hopes were torn apart within a disastrous first 45 minutes.
Full-back Tony Capaldi's long throw had already caused the home defence problems when they failed to deal with another with nine minutes gone.
With Boro appealing in vain for handball, Whittingham shuffled his feet to get a glimpse at goal and then curled a superb shot past Mark Schwarzer and in off the upright.
There was stunned silence from three sides of the stadium, although little could the red and white faithful have expected what was to follow.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who scored 33 goals in 89 appearances for Boro, should have collected his ninth for the Bluebirds this season, but headed Capaldi's cross wide.
However, the reprieve was only temporary and when Johnson dived to meet Whittingham's 22nd-minute free-kick at the far post, he gave Schwarzer no chance once again.
Boro rallied briefly with record signing Afonso Alves forcing a 27th-minute save from Peter Enckelman and then appealing in vain for a penalty after going to ground under Kevin McNaughton's last-ditch challenge.
However, Cardiff continued to look the more threatening and Johnson might have doubled his tally had he got any more power or better direction into a 40th-minute header before Whittingham forced an injury-time save from Schwarzer.
Among the crowd was a flag bearing the slogan 'Spirit of Steaua', and never more had Boro needed the kind of fightback they launched in the UEFA Cup semi-final two seasons ago to see off the Bucharest club having done just the same in the previous round to claw back FC Basle.
Mido's introduction for Alves at the break gave the home side a different focal point, and they started to make an impression as the half wore on.
But Cardiff were not about to surrender their lead without a battle and remained solid in the face of a determined, if often blunt, assault.
They too continued to create chances, Fabio Rochemback having to block a Stephen McPhail drive and then snatch the midfielder's cross just before it made contact with Hasselbaink's forehead with 55 minutes gone.
Downing curled a 61st-minute free-kick just over Enckelman's bar, but Boro had an escape two minutes later when Hasselbaink only just failed to reach a driven cross with the goal at his mercy.
Substitute Steve Thompson might have wrapped things up in style with an 85th-minute header, but directed his effort straight at the keeper, although by then, the already celebrating travelling fans were past caring.