Fulham 1 Sunderland 2

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Sunderland were always in command

ON their last visit into the area at Luton Sunderland were without six of their Cup team but for this afternoon’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage only Ron Guthrie was absent. He was ruled out yesterday with an ankle injury. Joe Bolton came into the vacancy with David Young named as substitute.

Fulham, beaten at Blackpool last week, had an unchanged side. There were only about 8,000 present when the game started on a pitch which had been soaked by rain throughout the morning.

Sunderland could have been two goals to the good in the first few minutes and in each case the chances fell to Kerr.

Indecision in the Fulham defence allowed him the first opening, but he tapped the ball wide from close range. Then from a left-wing centre he headed wide of Mellor and the goalkeeper did well to dive to his right and turn the ball away.

Mellor next had to collect a header from Hughes following a free kick on the left and Watson, who had come up for the kick, forced a corner on the right. Kerr placed it well and when it was pushed out Horswill shot over from the edge of the penalty area.

Kerr was unlucky to have off-side ruled against him after breaking well from midfield.

Fulham looked dangerous for the first time and they pushed forward on the left following a series of throws and Barrett gained a shooting position inside the penalty area but was off target.

Fulham went ahead with an astonishing goal in 14 minutes. Pitt had completed a rescue operation by driving the ball behind when Earle looked like reaching a centre by Barrett.

Barrett took the kick and made it a long one outside the far post and Watson won in the air to head towards the far angle where MULLERY was waiting to hit a volley of tremendous force which travelled across Montgomery and just inside the far post.

There can be no defence against these kinds of shocks and Montgomery was given no chance.

Mellor had to leave the line quickly when a well-judged through ball by Hughes had Halom moving on goal and when Fulham built up again on the right Earle dropped his centre behind under pressure from Pitt and Bolton.

After Watson had intercepted a long ball by Mullery to put Sunderland on the attack, Fulham came under heavy pressure. Kerr, Tueart and Hughes buzzed strongly on the right and Mellor was pressed into a series of saves with Halom going closest with a header.

Then in the 15th minute Hughes hit an angled drive from the left which had Mellor in all kinds of trouble and when he failed to push the ball clear Callaghan handled to prevent it going in under the bar.

The referee was right on the spot and there was no hesitation and no complaint over his penalty award. TUEART stepped up to take a kick and left Mellor helpless with a well-placed shot.

Went had to give away a corner when Hughes chased a long ball by Bolton on the left and when Fulham broke quickly from a clearance Malone had to give away a corner to prevent Lloyd from reaching the middle.

Sunderland continued to look much the more dangerous with Tueart and Hughes calling the tune at the front.

Mellor had to rush from goal to snatch the ball away from Halom’s feet and then Tueart showed up on the left only to be crowded out by a packed defence.

Then Porterfield lost the ball in midfield and Bolton was unable to cover Cutbush who went on strongly to hit a fierce drive from the wing an Montgomery, diving along his line, did well to touch it away for a corner.

A good recovery by Pitt sent Sunderland into their next break with Tueart going away strongly on the left. When he was check by Callaghan, Bolton stepped in to bring a good save from Mellor with a fierce shot.

Fulham appealed for a penalty when Earle went down between Pitt and Watson, but they received no encouragement from the referee. Shortly afterwards Montgomery was covering a close-range header by Went.

Watson covered up well when Earle moved dangerously on the right, but in the next minute he became a little casual and gave away a corner unnecessarily.

Montgomery had Barrett’s kick covered but Malone played safe by heading away from the near post.

Mitchell beat an offside trap to go clear on the left and when Montgomery could only push away his centre Horswill took charge of the situation.

Errors continued in the Sunderland defence and enabled Fulham to stay on the attack.

Pitt sliced a clearance behind for a corner and when the ball came into the middle Montgomery was in a covering position, but Watson went in ahead of them and the ball lifted from Watson’s chest and over Montgomery’s head. Fortunately Malone was backing up and saved a certain goal by clearing from the line.

Sunderland went ahead in the 56th minute with a well designed goal. The ball was placed square 40 yards out and when Hughes slotted it through a gap Tueart raced to clear with Richardson moving across to challenge. From ten yards Tueart hit a fierce left-foot shot and when the ball spun from Mellor’s grasp HALOM was there to drive it home.

Mellor had to receive attention for a shoulder injury before play was resumed.

Fulham were on the run again when Kerr sent Malone away on the right and from his centre Halom hammered in a great shot which was forced away for a corner.

Then Horswill was just off target with a powerful shot and after Mellor had failed to take the ball cleanly Tueart worked a clear-cut chance for himself, only to slip as he turned.

The referee lectured Callaghan and Halom after an incident involving both players and then Fulham burst forward with Mitchell gaining a corner against Watson.

Porterfield put the ball back to Montgomery when Fulham threatened from a Mullery free kick and it was Mullery who sent Fulham into their next attack with a brilliant ball out to Barrett in the left. The winger went clear before driving the ball into the middle where Pitt beat Earle with a diving header and Watson tapped the ball back to Montgomery.

Tueart had Mellor diving to save and then Hughes just failed to make up four yards on Richardson in a run through the middle.

Montgomery made his best save of the game when Earle beat Bolton on the right before hitting a powerful centre and Montgomery dived out to snatch the ball away from Mitchell’s head.

Sunderland were near again shortly afterwards when Earle just failed to reach a header from Barrett. Callaghan did well to force the ball away for a corner after Hughes had raced through on the right and Sunderland stayed up for the kick with Porterfield setting up a chance from Halom whose drive went across the goal and out of play at the other side.

In the 86th minute Went was “booked” for a foul on Tueart who was still limping when he resumed after receiving treatment.

Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Bolton, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, W Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart. Sub: Young.

Fulham: Mellor, Cutbush, Callaghan, Mullery, Went, Richardson, Strong, Earle, Mitchell, Lloyd, Barrett. Sub: Pinkney.

Referee: Mr T Bosi (Wolverhampton).

HOW THE GOALS CAME

MULLERY 14min.

TUEART (pen.) 25min.

HALOM 56min.

Verdict

SUNDERLAND were always in charge and produced some of their best football without having the luck to claim the goals they deserved.

There were lean patches during which they invited trouble, but over the 90 minutes Fulham rarely looked like adding to the great goal claimed by Mullery.

Tueart and Hughes were the players who made Sunderland tick at the front, with Halom fighting a physical battle with great determination.

There was a lot of extra work in midfield from Kerr, Porterfield and Tueart with Watson and Pitt outstanding in the back four. Altogether a very satisfactory exercise for Sunderland with two more points to boose their quick climb away from the danger zone.

Attendance: 9,645.

Story taken from the Football Echo on March 24, 1973.