SUNDERLAND produced classical touches to sweep to a convincing 3–1 win over Reading in an F.A. Cup Fourth Round Replay at Elm Park last night and earned the right to challenge Manchester City in the Fifth Round at Maine Road on February 24. And though they did all their charming as exciting entertainers in the first half with three cracking goals, it was also true that scoring chances continued to arrive at the same rate in the second half.
Manager Bob Stokoe put the situation in perspective when he said: “We are not concerned with looking pretty. We’ve got to be effective and there is no point in taking chances after reaching a 3–0 position. If there is any feeling that the lads did not look so good in the second half then you can blame me. I was more concerned about winning than anything else.
“We had to win this one. This was our fourth F.A. Cup-tie of the season and now we have another–the big one at Maine Road. This is absolutely fabulous for our supporters. There were about 2,000 here tonight. There could be over 4,000 at Maine Road and I am delighted that we have been able to give them such a game.
“Look at the reception they gave the lads tonight. This is what football is all about. They are the people who will bring back the big times for the Club again. We owe everything to them and I want to do all I can to keep them happy. Taking on Manchester City at Maine Road is a tough proposition for anyone, but I think all those who support the team know that we’ll die for them in our efforts to get a result.”
Last night’s great win was complete vindication of the claim that Reading had exhausted their supply of luck by surviving that blistering second half assault at Roker Park on Saturday. The comment that no one has ever climbed Everest twice in five days was most fitting.
Reading must have known it would not happen again. Mr Stokoe said: “We could not afford to let them start the way they did on Saturday. We had to go at them and that is precisely what we did.”
He could not have wished for a better start for within 80 seconds team-mates were rushing to congratulate Watson, Tueart and Kerr for a brilliant goal. The move started when Tueart intercepted a square pass by Wagstaff and gave a perfectly-timed through ball to Kerr on the right. Tueart continued to meet the return pass and hammer in a shot which looked like a goal all the way. Hulme cleared from the line, however, but no further than the edge of the penalty area where Watson brought the ball under control before ramming home a shot which gave Death no chance.
Reading never quite recovered from the shock. A team which had conceded only five League goals at home this season faced the problem of having to forsake their natural defensive game and go out looking for something.
Their determination had to be admired but Sunderland remained firmly in control though there was one anxious moment in the 13th minute. After two thrusts had been resisted in the middle Chappell came back on the left and was looking dangerous until tackled and beaten by Young. There were loud claims for a penalty and Sunderland were relieved when the referee took no action.
One minute later Sunderland tightened their grip and it was perhaps predictable that Watson and Tueart, two of the games brightest stars, should be involved.
Watson challenged for a long ball on the left, won possession, and cut inside before stabbing an accurate pass to Tueart. With Death rushing from his line and Dixon and Carnaby moving to challenge, Tueart saw his opportunity and chipped towards an open goal. Reading defenders were stranded and spell-bound as the ball floated through into goal.
After his goal play was halted while Young received treatment for the injuries received in his tackle on Chappell.
Although Hughes was astray with his finishing, he fitted well into the flowing moves which had the Reading defence struggling to find an answer to the superb skills of Tueart, Watson and Kerr.
In the 20th minute Tueart forced a corner on the left and took it himself. Sunderland had only two players up for the kick yet the astonishing sequence was that in a goal-mouth area packed by Reading defenders Watson won in the air and when he headed on Hughes got in a header which had Death going up frantically to save just inside the post.
The contest was virtually over in the 29th minute when Porterfield gained a throw-in on the left about eight yards from the corner flag to produce a chain of events which led to the third goal. Porterfield’s throw was headed down by Watson, snapped up by Tueart and laid back accurately for Kerr to slam home another good-looking goal.
Four minutes later Watson and Tueart moving well on the right and from his inside pass Kerr hit a fierce angled drive which beat Death and came back into play from the bar.
Reading threw extra men forward in the second half in a desperate effort to force a swing in the tide of events. They went close when Hulme headed in from a Cumming corner and Guthrie cleared from the line but only a brilliant save by Death prevented Tueart from extending Sunderland’s lead. Young was booked for a tackle on Chappell in the 65th minute and after 70 minutes Reading brought on Butler as substitute for Carnaby.
Reading gained their consolation goal in 78 minutes when Pitt brought Chappell down with a clumsy tackle at the angle of the goal area and from the penalty spot Cumming gave Montgomery no chance.
At this point Watson gave up the attacking role which he had filled to such good purpose and dropped back to show the same resolve and skill in defence.
Watson, Tueart, Kerr, Young and Guthrie were outstanding in a great Sunderland team effort though in the overall pattern their output was equalled by Hughes, Porterfield and Horswill all of whom worked hard to maintain a running challenge. Malone, who had been a doubtful starter after Saturday’s game, appeared to be restricted a little in movement and there was less attacking effort from him as usual.
Although Pitt was strong in the air particularly in the first half there was a certain lack of confidence in his play later on and under pressure in the last half hour he looked distinctly uncomfortable.
Reading: Death, Dixon, Youlden, Carnaby (Butler), Hulme, Wagstaff, Cumming, Chappell, Bell, Hunt, Habbin.
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Pitt, Young, Hughes, Kerr, Watson, Porterfield, Tueart. Referee: Mr E Jolly of Manchester.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on February 8 1973.