Sunderland hit winning form in second half
ALL the qualities which have enabled Sunderland to reach the last four in the F.A. Cup showed through at Roker Park last night, when they claimed a 2–1 win over struggling Carlisle United. Those qualities were not so evident in a first half which belonged to United, brave enough to play attacking football despite the anxiety caused by their League position. But when rhythm flowed freely in their play in the second half it was all over for United.
Arsenal manager, Mr Bertie Mee, briefed by George Male on how well Sunderland had acquitted themselves in beating Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, came along for a first hand view of the men who stand between Arsenal and a place in the Wembley Final. He was not available for comment afterwards, but the confidence which he felt at half-time must have been shaken a little by the fire and skill which Sunderland produced in their second half take-over.
The result itself was extremely pleasing from Sunderland’s point of view, particularly since the balance of power had been with Carlisle in the first half and with it the very real danger that they might just be good enough to make good Manager Alan Ashman’s pre-match claim that they would be going all-out for a win.
Manager Bob Stokoe said: “Another two points means that we are well out of the danger area and I do not think we are going to have any more worries on that score.”
On current form, in fact, there seems nothing to stop Sunderland from climbing into the top six into the leading position behind promotion favourites Burnley and Queen’s Park Rangers.
The first clear chance of the game was forced by Carlisle in the fourth minute, when O’Neil moved wide on the right and from his cross both Laidlaw and Balderstone failed to make contact in front on an open goal. It was closer still at the other end when Tueart anticipated a back-pass by Carr and reaching the ball just ahead of Ross stabbed it inches wide.
A good run by Halom and a ball down the wing to Tueart opened up Carlisle again, but when the ball was crossed into the middle it was cleared from Hughes’s head at the far post.
Montgomery had to dive out to Owen’s feet after Gorman had gone clear on the left and then in 37 minutes Carlisle took the lead with a fine goal.
The move started on the right, where Martin and Train linked after the ball had been won from Bolton. When it was played to the other side of the penalty area Laidlaw was clear and he managed to drive his close range shot wide of Montgomery a split-second before Watson’s challenge arrived.
Horswill headed narrowly wide from a Hughes cross as Sunderland fought back, but Carlisle were near to a second goal just before the break when Martin hit a long ball through the middle. Laidlaw took it in his stride and resisted a tackle by Pitt before sprinting away with only Montgomery to beat. He picked the right time to make his shot, but the ball struck Montgomery’s feet and lifted away wide of goal.
In the early minutes of the second half Malone cut out a break by Laidlaw, but the Carlisle winger came back again and had Montgomery diving to collect a low drive.
Sunderland began to run the game from the point at which Halom centred from the left and the ball was forced away from Hughes’s head.
Hughes shot straight at Ross from a Tueart pass and then lost control in the penalty area when well placed.
There was a reshuffle of Sunderland’s formation in 65 minutes when Pitt was replaced by Chambers, with Horswill going into the back four.
There was a great chance when Halom forced a corner on the right and Kerr made it a short one to Malone, who promptly whipped the ball into the middle. Watson, racing from the far post to meet it, sent his header narrowly wide.
Gorman was booked for showing dissent after being pulled up for obstructing Tueart.
Then came the repeat of a short corner by Kerr hammered into the middle by Malone and this time it was Tueart who failed to apply the right touch.
But the equaliser duly arrived in the 70th minute after Malone had sent Tueart storming through on the right with a great pass. Tueart hit a hard and left centre and Hughes, running across the face of the goal, flicked it wide of the helpless Ross.
Tueart, whose skill and pace on the ball had Carlisle baffled, went close shortly afterwards when waltzing through, only to place his shot within reach of Ross.
He was in the process of repeating the effort in the 74th minute when he was brought down by O’Neil two yards inside the penalty area. United had no grounds for complaint about the penalty award and Tueart, after receiving treatment, sent Ross the wrong way before scoring from the spot.
United brought on Wilson for Balderstone in the 77th minute and managed to provide a shock when a good run by Martin set up a chance for Owen, who shot over from a good position.
But having taken a grip on the game, Sunderland were not to be denied and were still well on top when time ran out for United.
The game, always entertaining, was watched by Sunderland’s biggest League crowd of the season. The first announcement gave the attendance as 39,930, but this was later amended to 40,930.
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Bolton, Horswill, Watson, Pitt (Chambers), Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield and Tueart.
Carlisle United: Ross, Carr, Gorman, O’Neil, Winstanley, Tiler, Martin, Train, Owen, Balderstone (Wilson) and Laidlaw.
Referee: Mr H Williams of Sheffield.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 28 1973.