THE ATTRACTION of Wear-Tees “derby” game brought the biggest League crowd of the season to Roker Park this afternoon but it was still some way short of expectations. When the game started the game was still under 30,000.
Sunderland made one change, recalling Richie Pitt in place of David Young, who was injured at Hillsborough last week and again named Brian Chambers as substitute. Middlesbrough were unchanged, but Nobby Stiles, who has missed the last four games through injury, filled the substitute spot. Middlesbrough supporters were there in strength and there was enough trouble on the terraces before the game.
Sunderland players wore black armbands as a token of respect for the two supporters who were killed in a road accident when returning from the Reading replay last week.
Middlesbrough won the toss and Sunderland started the game attacking the Fulwell End.
Halom had Sunderland moving well in their first attack, which broke down when the ball was played wide on the left with no-one to take advantage. Then came free-kicks against Hickton and Smith and two fine tackles by Pitt to throw back a Middlesbrough attack, Watson made a first-time clearance when Smith centred on the right, and when Craggs overlapped on the right it was again Watson who made the headed clearance.
Tueart forced the first corner of the game on the left and when this reached Halom on the far side of the goal, his first-time shot travelled into the goal-front bunch and was scrambled away.
A Pitt foul on Smith gave Boro a free-kick out on the right wing, but when Craggs sent the ball into the middle Montgomery gathered it under challenge from Hickton.
Then came a break by Hughes on the right, and when his cross cleared the middle and was pushed back by Tueart, Horswill moved up to send in a shot which was turned behind for a corner.
Middlesbrough were near to taking the lead following a Craggs free-kick just inside the Sunderland half. Craggs sent the ball out to the left, and Maddren went up to direct a powerful header just inside the post and Montgomery did well to turn it behind.
A brilliant recovery by Watson took all the sting out of right-wing attack led by Smith and then Tueart and Porterfield seemed to have opened up the middle of the Middlesbrough defence, but Tueart was unable to control the Porterfield pass which would have sent him clear.
Then Halom sent Hughes away with a magnificent pass down the left wing, and when Hughes made his cross, Platt had to go in bravely to Kerr’s feet.
Then in the 25th minute Sunderland jumped into the lead through a first-ever League goal by HORSWILL. Hughes made the running on the left, and when his cross was pushed out Horswill raced forward to slam a 25-yard drive into goal, giving Platt no chance.
Halom was well held by Boam when Sunderland came back again, but in the next minute Middlesbrough built up strongly on the left to gain a scoring position. A back-pass by Pitt fell short and was intercepted and pushed into goal before it was realised that the referee was signalling a free-kick for a foul on Pitt by Mills.
Platt picked up a Halom header from a cross by Guthrie.
Craggs was just off target with a 40 yarder after Sunderland had failed to make a decisive clearance and McMordie had them in difficulties again with a well-judged centre from the right.
Boam was content to run the ball behind for a corner when a Halom centre looked like opening up the middle, and then Horswill stepped into the shooting line again when Tueart teed up a chance for him and Platt had to cover his drive carefully.
Craggs and then Smith went close for Middlesbrough and there were strong appeals for a penalty when Montgomery dived out to beat Mills and the Middlesbrough forward was sent sprawling.
Guthrie rescued Sunderland with a powerful tackle in front of goal and from the break Tueart outstripped Boam and held off Craggs, Maddren and Spraggon to make space for a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but at the end of his long run, he was unable to get any real power into his drive and Platt was not troubled.
Sunderland were quickly on the attack again and after Tueart and Porterfield had failed to make progress on the left Kerr pushed up to force the corner on the right. This was followed by two more corners on the left, with Middlesbrough looking anxious under pressure.
Sunderland went further ahead in the 53rd minute with Halom crowning his home debut with a great goal. He was in the build-up on the right and then broke clear at the angle of the penalty area to leave Platt helpless with a right-foot drive.
Shortly afterwards Horswill hammered a low drive narrowly wide.
A third goal was not long delayed, however, and it came in the 56th minute through HUGHES.
The move started with Hughes sending a brilliant pass down the wing for Porterfield who stabbed it on to Kerr. By this time Hughes was in line to receive an inside pass from Kerr and he made space cleverly before hammering a right-foot wide of Platt.
Two minutes later Kerr made a square pass along the edge of the penalty area for TUEART to ram home a fourth goal.
Sunderland was really turning on the pressure now and after good work by Kerr and Tueart had posed more problems to the Middlesbrough defence. Halom headed just over the bar from a Malone centre.
Tueart and Hughes had Craggs on the run again, but Hughes came under pressure when he switched inside and his shot was intercepted by McMordie.
The industry of McMordie had Middlesbrough moving into a series of strong attacks and in one of them the ball bobbed dangerously in front of the Sunderland goal before it was driven over the top by Hickton.
A fine interception by Watson prevented what would have been a clean break by Smith, and the Sunderland centre half who was having a brilliant game, halted Hickton with a fine tackle as the Middlesbrough striker was beginning to break.
Then Middlesbrough had a lucky escape when a header by Halom struck the bar and came back into play.
Halom had Tueart racing clear in the middle, but when he went down at the edge of the penalty area, the referee indicated that there was no case for a penalty.
Seconds later, Hughes sent in a diving header from a Halom cross and Platt made a brilliant one-handed save at the expense of a corner.
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes W, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart. Sub: Chambers
MIDDLESBROUGH: Platt, Craggs, Spraggon, Gates, Boam, Maddren, McMordie, Mills, Smith, Hickton, Souness. Sub: Stiles
Referee: Mr R Capey of Crewe.
HOW THE GOALS CAME
HORSWILL 25 min.
HALOM 53 min.
HUGHES 56 min.
TUEART 58 min.
SUNDERLAND played this one as though they meant to win it right from the start, but when they turned on the heat in the second half Boro wilted. A burst of three goals in five minutes was the reward for a lot of brilliant attacking football.
A home debut goal and a first League goal for Horswill were due reward for a lot of forceful football. Kerr, Tueart and Hughes were in great form attack, with Porterfield using the ball well from midfield and Guthrie, Pitt and Malone doing extremely well at the back.
But without a doubt the star of the game was Watson, whose immaculate display at centre-half was in every sense a text-book offering.
CHECKING ON FORM
MANCHESTER CITY, who had their assistant manager and chief scout at Hillsborough last week checking on form with next week’s F.A. Cup-tie in view, gave Sunderland top treatment at Roker Park this afternoon when City manager, Mr Malcolm Allison attended for a first hand view of what City will be taking on next week.
Tueart was just off target from the edge of the penalty area and when he came back on the right he held off Spraggon cleverly, only to be brought down by Boam. Then the free-kick was turned back for Malone, whose well-hit drive lifted high over the bar.
Story taken from the Football Echo on February 17 1973.