ALTHOUGH Sunderland failed to claim their fourth First Division scalp of the season when they went down 2-1 to Newcastle in a testimonial for Ollie Burton at St James’s Park last night, they contributed much to an interesting and entertaining game.
With no league points at stake the match lacked the tension of normal “derby” games, but it was still a highly competitive encounter and the 35,873 fans saw plenty of good football from both sides. Tommy Cassidy put Newcastle ahead in the 35th minute and John Tudor made it 2-0 seven minutes after half time. However, Ron Guthrie celebrated his return to Gallowgate by scoring Sunderland’s consolation goal in the 77th minute.
Howard and Nattrass showed Newcastle meant business with two crunching tackles in the opening five minutes, but Sunderland, with Kerr prominent, settled down to play some neat football.
Burleigh saved a Kerr header in the ninth minute when a Malone free-kick was headed on by Halom and then four minutes later the Newcastle keeper fumbled another Kerr header but gathered at the second attempt before Halom could cash in.
Newcastle’s first real chance came in the 16th minute when Montgomery pushed a Cassidy header on to the bar following a left wing corner.
However, Sunderland, playing with a great deal of confidence and rhythm, dominated the first half hour and Halom headed just over then Nattrass cleared a Hughes effort off the line.
But Cassidy gave Newcastle a surprise lead in the 35th minute when he shot home from eight yards when put through by Smith.
It was the boost Newcastle needed and urged on by their own crowd, for whom victory meant so much, they began to take control.
Montgomery made two fine saves from McDermott and Nattrass before the interval but in the 52nd minute Tudor put United two up with a superb headed goal from a centre by Hibbitt.
Both sides made full use of their substitutes in the second half Young and McGiven coming on for Horswill and Pitt immediately after the interval and Newcastle replacing Hibbitt and Tudor with Green and Robson following their second goal.
Gibb later replaced McDermott while Sunderland brought on Bolton and Ellison in place of Tueart and Malone for the last 15 minutes.
Robson quickly tested Montgomery with a close range header when at the other end Burleigh made a great save from a fierce angle drive from McGiven as the fast pace was maintained.
Sunderland got back into the game in the 77th minute when Guthrie rammed home a low Porterfield cross from a few yards but Newcastle were in no mood to let the game slip from their grasp and Montgomery made two fine saves from Cassidy in the dying minutes.
In view of Sunderland’s hectic end of the season they were entitled to feel satisfied with their showing against a team who finished in the top half of the First Division.
After failing to qualify for Europe, Newcastle’s victory over the FA Cup holders brought them some consolation and although there was obviously a tinge of sadness it was a happy night for Ollie Burton who will net a considerable sum from the occasion.
The best players in Sunderland’s last match in England in the 1972-73 season were Montgomery, Watson and Halom, while Newcastle were best served by Cassidy, Burleigh and Green.
Newcastle: Burleigh, Nattrass, Clark, McDermott, Howard, Moncur, Cassidy, Smith, Tudor, Hibbitt, Barrowclough. Subs: Green, Gibb and Robson.
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart. Subs: McGiven, Young, Bolton and Ellison.
Referee Mr C Howell of North Shields.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on May 15, 1973.