Retro SAFC: 1980 – Clark in a rage as Sunderland let Clough’s Forest off the hook

Alan Brown celebrates scoring for Sunderland against Forest in 1980, with keeper Peter Shilton left helpless
Alan Brown celebrates scoring for Sunderland against Forest in 1980, with keeper Peter Shilton left helpless
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Sunderland 2 Nottingham Forest 2 – October 8, 1980: Furious assistant boss Frank Clark laid into Sunderland after the Rokermen let European Cup holders Nottingham Forest off the hook.

The Red and Whites were on course to give Brian Clough’s star-studded side a bloody nose in a thrilling First Division clash at Roker Park, leading 2-0 until the 69th minute.

Pop Robson celebrates netting against European Cup holders Forest

Pop Robson celebrates netting against European Cup holders Forest

Forest, who had been heading for a fourth successive defeat, though, dug in and snatched a point with two goals.

Clark, a former Forest star himself, hit out at the Roker players.

He fumed to the Echo: “I thought of letting them go home thinking everything was great after taking a point from the European champions, but I upset a few of them.

“Certain individuals tried to turn it into an exhibition match, even trying to score from 40 yards against the best keeper in the world.

Sunderland full-back Steve Whitworth gets away from Forest captain John McGovern

Sunderland full-back Steve Whitworth gets away from Forest captain John McGovern

“I could see it creeping in before Forest scored, when a few of them thought we had it won.

“I only hope that they have learned from their complacency.” Kevin Arnott’s passing was an outstanding feature of Sunderland’s impressive display, with manager Ken Knighton delighted with the midfielder, though he went off the boil in the closing stages as Forest fought back.

Knighton was clearly happier than number two Clark and enthused: “Arnott was head and shoulders above anyone else on the field for 70 minutes.

“I think we have got confirmation of the great strides we have made at the club – we now know what we are capable of achieving and the heights we can reach.” Despite a strong wind, Sunderland’s outstanding first-half efforts showed the Rokermen at their best, with Forest unable to cope with a firedup home side’s raids.

Pop Robson tries to  Forest defender Frank Gray, a future Sunderland player, at Roker Park in 1980

Pop Robson tries to Forest defender Frank Gray, a future Sunderland player, at Roker Park in 1980

Alan Brown was close early on, but Sunderland had to wait until the 27th minute to make the breakthrough.

Sam Allardyce found Pop Robson, whose astute pass sent Brown free.

The striker’s pace was too much for Frank Gray to handle and he sent over an inch-perfect cross for Gary Rowell to beat Peter Shilton with a well-placed header to the keeper’s right.

Robson fired over the bar as Sunderland continued to impress, and the lead was increased after a great move instigated by the irrepressible Arnott, with Stan Cummins pinging over a cross to the far side of the box, where Brown outjumped Bryn Gunn to beat Shilton with a looping header.

Forest showed it was not all over when Chris Turner was forced to make a stunning save to keep out an Ian Wallace header, then he defied Gary Mills after the midfielder bamboozled Steve Whitworth.

But Sunderland kept the upper hand in the second half, Arnott and Brown only denied by world-class stops by Shilton.

Joe Bolton wasted a great chance, shooting wide after a one-two with Robson, and Sunderland were to pay for their profligacy.

On 69 minutes, John McGovern caught the home defence flat-footed with a delightful through pass, leaving the lively Mills free to go on and shoot under the diving Turner.

Sunderland were reeling soon after when Forest levelled, Larry Lloyd flicking on John Robertson’s inswinging corner and Ian Bowyer steaming in to slide home at the back post.

It could have gone either way in the closing stages – Rowell missed a great chance after being sent clear by Cummins – but Sunderland at least held on to a point.

Frank Clark’s reaction to a defeat from 2-0 up would have been interesting! H Former Sunderland star Dick Malone signed for Northern Premier League side, Gateshead.

Malone, who already played for Scottish club Queen of the South, joined bottom-placed side Gateshead as their Commercial Manager.

SUNDERLAND: Turner, Whitworth, Bolton, Allardyce, Elliott, Chisholm, Arnott, Rowell, Robson, Brown, Cummins.

Sub: Dunn.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Shilton, Gunn, Gray, McGovern, Lloyd, Needham, O’Neill, Bowyer, Mills, Wallace, Robertson.

Ref: K. Walmsley (Blackpool).

Att: 30,515.

WHAT ELSE WAS GOING ON?

* Future Sunderland striker Tom Ritchie scored twice as Bristol City beat Newcastle 2-0 in a Division Two clash. Manager Arthur Cox criticised his teams lacklustre performance by saying: “This team should not need a goal against them to make them start playing. That’s no good.”

* Middlesbrough were beaten 3-2 by Spurs in Division One. Dave Hodgson scored twice for Boro but still ended up on the losing side.

* Hartlepool were thumped 5-0 away to Wimbledon in Division Four.

* Horden CW beat Northern League rivals Spennymoor United 2-1 in an FA Cup second qualifing round tie. Peter Turner and Dave Evans scored for Horden, with Stephen Hunter on target for the Moors.

ENTERTAINING WEARSIDE

TV: It’s a Knockout; Terry Scott and June Whitfield in Terry and June; Barry Took hosts Point of View; Peter Davison, Patricia Hodge and Matthew Kelly star in Holding the Fort; Tom Baker is Doctor Who; Stephanie Turner plays Juliet Bravo; Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

MUSIC: No 1 – The Police (Don’t Stand So Close To Me); Others – Ottawan (DISCO); Stevie Wonder (Master Blaster); Madness (Baggy Trousers); Randy Crawford (One Day I’ll Fly Away); Black Slate (Amigo) The Specials (Stereotype/International Jet Set); Queen (Another One Bites The Dust); Sheena Easton (Modern Girl).

CINEMA: Jack Nicholson in The Shining; Capricorn Island; Roger Daltrey in McVicar; Chicane; Peter Sellers and Sherley Maclaine star in Being There; Assult on Precinct 13; Halloween; A Force of One; The Empire Strikes Back; Kingdom of the Spiders.

NIGHTLIFE: Tonic performed at the D.L.I. Club; Goldie and Shady Cases played at the Ryhope Poplars Social Club; Love ‘n’ Stuff Show at Doxford Park Social Club; Wall Street were on stage at Grindon Broadway Social Club.