Nottingham Forest 1 Sunderland 0

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Sunderland go down with weakened side

SUNDERLAND’S hopes of salvaging a point from their visit to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground last night held up right to the finish, which came with Forest deserved winners through a goal scored by former Sunderland centre forward Neil Martin in the 69th minute.

It was not a typical exercise by Sunderland, however, with the absence of five of their Cup side, they rarely looked like taking charge.

If there was any satisfaction to be gained from the occasion from Sunderland’s point of view it was that they had removed one more League obstacle from their path to Wembley without adding to their list of casualties. Even then, they could count themselves fortunate, for Tueart was the target for several severe tackles and had to receive attention three times.

Dave Watson, Richie Pitt, Billy Hughes, Vic Halom and Ian Porterfield were all missing from the starting line-up and Ron Guthrie had to be withdrawn at half-time. Little wonder that Forest were spared the kind of pressure which so many other sides have been unable to resist in the last few months.

There was a lot of willing effort, but of the players on duty only Montgomery, Malone and Boldon, a second half substitute for Guthrie did themselves justice. Malone, in fact, was the only defender to impose any measure of control when the ball was in the air and his goal-front coverage probably denied Forest an extra goal or two.

It was not a happy return for Horswill in midfield, nor did Kerr’s hard running and industry make the usual impact, while Chambers gave only a moderate account of himself in an area dominated by keen-tackling opponent, among whom Robertson was the outstanding performer.

McGiven fought hard all the way, but he is still clearly in the process of playing himself back to form and there is a certain sharpness lacking in his play.

Tueart took on a roving commission and always made himself available, but with Lathan fighting a losing battle in his effort to crack a resourceful defence, there was so little space and opportunity for Sunderland’s lightly-supported attack that Forest had few anxious moments.

There was warning in the early minutes that Sunderland were going to have a lot of problems with the ball in the air in front of goal. Martin headed over from a Robertson free-kick and then from a Lyall centre, despite the attentions of both Young and Tones.

Montgomery made a fine save from a powerful shot by Winfield and then a miskick by Chambers sent Robertson clear on the left. A well-placed centre reached Dennehy in front of goal and to Sunderland’s relief he hammered his shot well wide.

Tueart, injured in five minutes, was caught again by a crude Winfield tackle in 21 minutes.

Sunderland’s brightest moment of the first half came in the 30th minute, when a Malone free-kick was headed on by Tones and when Guthrie turned it inside an overhead kick by Kerr sent it on to the bar and behind.

There were two clear-cut chances, before the break for McKenzie, when he shot wide of an open goal with Montgomery stranded after coming out to challenge for a left wing cross and later when a close range drive was brilliant saved by the Sunderland goalkeeper.

Both Dennehy and Robertson missed good chances early in the second half and then Sunderland hit one of their brightest patches. Good work by Kerr, Tueart and Lathan on the right had Chambers breaking at the edge of the penalty area only to shoot over. And then Tueart, moving well on the left, switched inside to hit a powerful shot which struck the goalkeeper and lifted over the bar.

Winfield, coming through from a deep position cut in for goal and had his cross turned behind for a corner by Tones. Winfield took the kick himself and placed it to the far post where Martin was again a clear winner in the air to head a good goal in 69 minutes.

Sunderland kept on fighting for an equaliser, but they were never as near as Forest, who could well have had further goals through O’Neill, who shot wide and McKenzie, who was clear ten yards out but his shot straight at Montgomery and it swung away for a corner.

Notts Forest: Barron, Hindley, Winfield, Cottam, Serella, Robertson Lyall, O’Neill, Martin, McKenzie and Dennehy.

Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie (Bolton), Horswill, Tones, Young, Kerr, McGiven, Lathan, Chambers and Tueart.

Referee, Mr JB Goggins of Manchester

Attendance, 10,306.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on April 25 1973.