CUP football brought Roker Park to life again this afternoon with a crowd well over 30,000 to see Sunderland take on Reading in a fourth round tie. Manager Bob Stokoe, predictably, made only one change from the side which beat Millwall last week, bringing in John Lathan at No. 9 in place of John Hughes, who is both injured and cup-tied. Charlie Hurley made several changes in the side announced on Thursday, but the same players were involved, so they were purely tactical switches. There was a warm welcome for both teams but the biggest cheer was reserved for manager Charlie Hurley when he took up his seat on the Reading bench.
Hulme won the toss for Reading and decided to start the game attacking the Roker End.
There was a free-kick for Sunderland in the first few seconds when Hughes was pushed off the ball as he tried to go through on the left. Porterfield drove the ball low into the middle and Hughes turned it narrowly side.
A good break by Tony Wagstaff on the left set up a chance for Chappell, whose drive travelled straight to Montgomery.
A slip by Horswill allowed Tony Wagstaff to build up again but there was a quick recovery and a break on the right by Tueart. Reading were in difficulties. But it was tighter still for them when Lathan went through on the right and from his centre Porterfield got in a shot which had Death diving late to save at the foot of the post.
Seconds later Kerr accepted a shooting chance laid on at the angle of the penalty area and he, too, brought a good save from the Reading goalkeeper. He did not get away with it, however, for he was tackled by Habbin after he made his shot and eventually had to go over the line to receive attention. It was a brief break, however, and he was quickly back in the game.
Malone made a lot of ground on the right but then came under pressure from Tony Wagstaff and the ball was out of play for a goal-kick before he could make his centre.
Reading built up from a throw-in on the right, and Montgomery had to dive out to Bell’s feet to prevent a shot.
Reading came back again to force a corner after handling by Young, and Malone headed behind again when Cumming’s kick reached the middle.
The Reading winger was more successful with his second kick, however for his inswinger reached Chappell at the near post and his backward header lifted over Montgomery into the net.
When Reading came back again through a midfield free-kick, Kerr took all the danger out of Cumming’s kick with a first-time clearance from the edge of the penalty area. Then Porterfield twice had Sunderland moving strongly and when Guthrie joined in to centre from the left a half-hit shot was comfortably within Death’s reach.
It looked as though Sunderland were on their way to an equaliser when the ball was pushed back for Guthrie to hit a tremendous drive from the edge of the penalty area. His shot was cleared from the line and when he followed up to try again, the ball cleared the bar by inches.
Tony Wagstaff went close after beating Young in a strong run on the right, but his angled drive finished behind the goal.
This was to be the start of a brief spell of ascendancy by Reading, who profited by a series of mistakes in the Sunderland defence to keep their attack moving.
There was a temporary respite when Kerr moved the ball up for Porterfield, but Reading were quickly back again.
Hulme used his hand to beat Lathan to a long ball down the middle and after this had been cleared, Porterfield hit a 25-yard drive which had Death diving to the foot of a post to bring off a great save.
When Tueart was fouled by Barry Wagstaff just outside the penalty area, the free-kick was sent square for Malone, who reached up to send a fierce right-foot shot just over the bar.
Sunderland found the gap they has been looking for in 38 minutes when Hughes, moving well on the left after Lathan had won the ball from Hulme, put over a strong centre. The ball was pulled down in front of goal and Tueart squeezed it through the narrowest of gaps to beat Death.
A great interception by Watson forced the ball away from Bell, and in a dozen strides he was up with the attack to send Tueart away on the left.
Sunderland were quickly on the move and were up in strength to force home a series of attacks without bringing Death into action.
Next came a break by Hughes to gain a corner on the left, but before this was taken tony Wagstaff, who had been involved in a Reading attack, received treatment. It looked at first as though he was coming off, but eventually he decided to carry on.
Malone was unlucky not to shoot Sunderland into the lead a tremendous drive from the angle of the penalty area which struck the underside of the bar, bounced just short of the line, and was then scrambled away for a corner. This kick produced another spell of hectic pressure in front of the Reading goal.
After 54 minutes Tony Wagstaff limped from the field and was replaced by Butler.
A great recovery by Hughes after being beaten by Hulme worked the ball free for Tueart, whose drive from the wing was turned over the bar by Death.
There was another pile-up in front of the Reading goal, with Hughes and Lathan desperately trying to get the ball moving goalwards.
Reading were making a brave fight of it, but so much pressure was being brought to bear upon them that it seemed only a question of time before Sunderland forced another break.
When Horswill centred from the right, Dixon dived to head narrowly wide off his own goal. This corner produced another on the left, and though Death was unable to hold Tueart’s kick he dived on the ball immediately, with Lathan challenging.
Watson, who was having an outstanding game in defence, moved out to beat Bell with a powerful tackle when the centre forward moved on the right.
Hughes was checked by Dixon when he moved on the left, and then brilliant work by Tueart, who won the space when hemmed in by three defenders, enabled Hughes to lay on a shooting chance for Porterfield.
A Horswill chip was picked up by Tueart wide on the left and his drive into the middle was pulled down under the bar by Death.
In the 77th minute Kerr, who had been injured ten minutes earlier, was replaced by Ashurst. Watson immediately moved up into attack with Ashurst taking over in the back four.
Sunderland immediately pushed up to gain a corner and in the moves which followed, Death had to dive out to fight away a shot by Tueart.
It was all Sunderland now, with only the occasional breaks by Reading as they pursued long ball hit out of defence.
Strong penetrating moves had Hughes and then Tueart showing up in dangerous positions, but their menace melted inside the Reading penalty area.
With only two minutes to go, Hughes gained a corner against Dixon and this was followed by another on the right. Malone took this one and when Hulme headed out, a Horswill drive flashed narrowly wide.
Next came a free-kick for a foul on Hughes at the angle of the penalty area, and when Porterfield sent it into the middle Chappell headed wide of his own goal. With only seconds to go Lathan had the ball in the net for Sunderland, only to find a linesman flagging for offside.
Sunderland: 1 Montgomery, 2 Malone, 3 Guthrie, 4 Horswill, 5 Watson, 6 Young, 7 Hughes W, 8 Kerr, 9 Lathan, 10 Porterfield, 11 Tueart. Sub Ashurst.
Reading: 1 Death, 2 Dixon, 3 Youlden, 4 Wagstaff T, 5 Hulme, 6 Wagstaff B, 7 Cumming, 8 Chappell, 9 Bell, 10 Hunt, 11 Habbin. Sub Butler.
Referee Mr J Jolly (Manchester)
How the goals came
Chappell 13 min.
Tueart 38 min.
All credit to Reading for putting on such a brave fight, but Sunderland were so much on top that they cannot be other than disappointed at having to fight again through a replay at Elm Park on Wednesday night. The chances which they were able to carve out against a severely overworked defence should have seen them through, but that is Cup football, and no-one could deny that the second half of this game produced a lot of excitement.
Watson, Young and Guthrie were the outstanding members of a capable Sunderland defence, while Hughes and Tueart ran tirelessly at the front, with Lathan always ready to challenge.
£15,650 (Ground record).
Story taken from the Football Echo on February 3 1973.