Portsmouth 2 Sunderland 3

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MANAGER Bob Stokoe made is first changes in the Sunderland team for this afternoon’s game against Portsmouth when he recalled Mick McGiven, who has completed a three-match suspension, and made adjustments in all three sections. McGiven came into the back four, Mick Horswill who has been sweeper since he was first introduced, moved into mid-field and Bobby Kerr went up to share the striking role with Hughes and Tueart.

Portsmouth, who were without Norman Piper at Blackpool last week, called him in at No. 7, with Brian Lewis dropping out to substitute.

There were only about 5,000 present when Kerr won the toss for Sunderland and Portsmouth started the game on a pitch which had made a remarkable recovery from the steady downpour throughout the week.

The first move on goal was made by Sunderland when Watson took a free-kick in midfield. The ball travelled straight through, but bounced before it reached Horn, who was a little uncertain as he gathered it.

There were further free-kicks as the Portsmouth defence came under pressure and Sunderland were near to a goal from one of them when Hughes was brought down on the left wing.

Porterfield took the kick, and Watson, going up outside the far post, headed back into the middle where an overhead kick by Tueart just cleared the bar.

Kerr twice found the pace of through-balls favouring Horn. When he tried to come back again he was unceremoniously upended by McCann without gaining any reward from the referee.

After Malone had held the ball in a tight situation and tried to create an opening for Hughes down the right wing only for Collins to spot the danger and intercept. Kerr was caught offside when Chambers hit a long ball down the same wing.

Tueart was back to join with Coleman in cutting out a dangerous-looking effort by Wilson and then a promising interchange of passes between Tueart and Hughes ended with an interception by Hand.

Montgomery was injured and had to receive attention when Reyolds followed through dangerously as the goalkeeper went down to gather a back pass from McGiven.

Portsmouth built up quickly when a misdirected pass by Hughes enabled Jennings to break from midfield.

There was little cover in front of goal as a shooting chance was set up for Piper, but McGiven managed to get in the important tackle.

Sunderland were running into a lot of trouble against a powerful Portsmouth defence which seemed able to make every tackle count.

Montgomery had to recover a well-hit shot by Collins and shortly afterwards was gathering another from Jennings.

A free-kick against Hiron and then Monks had Portsmouth on the defensive and from the second of these Horn brought off a brilliant save when gathering a well-placed header from Hughes.

In the 28th minute McCann, who had received attention briefly on the track before trying to carry on went out of the game and was replaced by Lewis.

Watson headed away when Collins sent a free-kick for a foul by Malone into the Sunderland goalmouth, and when Piper was pulled up for a foul on McGiven in midfield Watson headed the kick away.

The game was a long time coming to life and a long sequence of errors by both sides made them a target for derision from the crowd.

Munks raised Portsmouth’s hopes with a 30-yard drive which was not too far away.

Sunderland were first to warm up and it looked as if they were on their way to a goal when Malone took a free-kick in midfield and following up to collect the headed clearance and force his way through the defence. Stephenson prevented him from getting in a shot, however, and in his effort to win space, sent the ball behind for a goal-kick.

Then Horswill broke through strongly to hit a left-foot drive which was brilliantly turned over the bar by Horn. From the resultant corner, Sunderland took the lead in the 36th minute.

Chambers took the kick and when the ball was touched on to the far side, Watson gained possession outside the far post to hook in a shot wide of Horn and although Collins tired desperately to cover, the ball was already over the line before he made contact.

So Watson had to wait until going back into a defensive position to claim his first goal of the season.

Sunderland were up again to force another corner and this time it was Hughes who made the challenge without getting any power into his headers.

Then in the 42nd minute, Jennings broke strongly on the left and his centre was picked up by Hiron, who looked a certain scorer from close in. Montgomery, driving to his right, made a great save but was unable to hold the ball and when Hiron rushed in again he was challenged by McGiven and sent sprawling. The referee immediately awarded a penalty but consulted a linesman and eventually booked Chambers before the kick was taken.

Lewis gave Montgomery no change with a well hit shot from the spot, and Portsmouth were undeservedly on level terms.

Kerr had a great change of opening up the path to goal in a break from midfield, for it was two against one, Hughes wide on the left and Stepehenson stalling in an attempted to cover both players.

Instead of the early ball which must have given Hughes a great chance, however, Kerr tried to go it alone and was beaten by the centre half.

Porterfield made a strong break on the left and reached the penalty area before making his shot, which was turned away for a corner.

Sunderland were having to absorb a lot of punishment and it was Hughes’ turn to be brought down by Piper, again with no more than the award of a free-kick.

Watson had to give away a corner when Jennings moved dangerously on the left and in a quick break from a defensive situation after Montgomery had twice fisted out, Chambers set up a grate chance for Sunderland to go ahead again. He moved well on the right before chipping a crossfield pass which reached Tueart in space on the other wing. Tueart moved in strongly, but with only Horn to beat sent his shot wide.

Portsmouth hit back quickly to go ahead in the 54th minute. Jennings beat Malone in a swift break on the left and cut in to hit a strong shot which beat Montgomery and came back from the inside of the far post.

Montgomery dived for the ball but Jennings, who had followed up, beat him to it to tap it over the line.

Stephenson was booked for a foul on Hughes as Sunderland finally began to get a little rhythm into their attack.

Suddenly scoring chances or at least the promise of them began to show, but Kerr was sadly at fault through poor control when the path to goal appeared open.

In the 70th minute Tones came into the game in place of Chambers, with Watson moving up into attack.

Sunderland continued to push forward hopefully, but were so far adrift in their finishing that they never got near enough to trouble Horn.

Hiron made and wasted an excellent chance of increasing Portsmouth’s lead by shooting wide from a good position and then Montgomery had to make an excellent save when the ball came at him from a ruck of player in front of goal.

Then Jennings cut in from the left to shoot narrowly wide. Hiron was back to make the important tackle when Hughes moved dangerously on the left and then Watson forced a corner. Kerr made it a short one to Coleman, and when he crossed the ball into the middle Porterfield got in a powerful header which made back into play from the bar.

Hughes was following up however, and directed his header to the vacant part of the goal to put Sunderland on level terms in 87 minutes.

Sunderland came back again with Kerr, Hughes and Tueart linking on the left for Hughes to gain a corner. Kerr took this kick and when Watson’s header was forced out by Stephenson Tones hit a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty are which brought a fine save from Horn.

With only a minute to go Sunderland brought their nine-game sequence without a win to a happy conclusion when Tueart was sent clear on the right and from his centre Kerr dived in to head the winner.

Portsmouth: 1 Horn, 2 Hand, 3 Collins, 4 Wilson, 5 Stephenson, 6 Munks, 7 Piper, 8 Reynolds, 9 Hiron, 10 McCann, 11 Jennings. Sub Lewis.

Sunderland: 1 Montgomery, 2 Malone, 3 Coleman, 4 McGiven, 5 Watson, 6 Porterfield, 7 Kerr, 8 Horswill, 9 Hughes, 10 Chambers, 11 Tueart. Sub Tones.

Referee: Mr IP Jones of Treharris, Glamorgan.

How the goals came

Watson 36 mins.

Lewis (pen), 42 mins.

Jennings 54 mins.

Hughes 87 mins.

Kerr 89 mins.

Verdict

The promise that Sunderland might stage a comeback after dropping into a losing position against Portsmouth was always there. But no one could have guessed that it would have come in such dramatic fashion with two goals snatched in the last three minutes.

Portsmouth anxious, like themselves, had allowed traces of that anxiety to show in their play and both sides served up a lot of indifferent football played with fierce determination.

In this respect the edge appeared to be with Portsmouth, but the switch of Tones for Chambers and the promotion of Watson into attack finally set the game running Sunderland’s way. With Kerr unable to get things moving smoothly, the best of their efforts broken down on the 18-yard line, then Hughes, who had battled on strongly, found the opening for an equaliser from the rebound of a great Porterfield header and Tueart, another hard-working striker laid on the winner with only seconds to go.

Attendance: 5,783.

Story taken from the Football Echo on December 9 1972.