AFTER their unlucky defeat against Queens Park Rangers last week, Sunderland welcomed back Dave Watson at centre forward for this afternoon’s game against Fulham at Roker Park. Jimmy Hamilton, an effective replacement for Watson last week, took over the substitute spot.
Fulham relied on the side which gave them a 2–0 home win over Blackpool last week. Fulham have never been an attraction at Roker Park even in the palmy First Division days, but it was still a disappointment for Sunderland to find that there were only about 10,000 present for this afternoon’s game. Conditions could hardly have been better, with the pitch in perfect trim and the bright morning sun screened by cloud and little or no wind.
Kerr won the toss for Sunderland and Fulham started the game attacking the Roker End.
They made a brisk start too, with Strong going wide on the left, but the referee was quick to spot that Mitchell had handled when the ball reached the middle.
Mellor was twice in action, picking up back-passes before Kerr tried to make a move on the right, only to be halted by Callaghan and though it was clear that the full back was late to play the ball before it went out of play, the referee insisted on a throw-in to Fulham.
When Porterfield sent Tueart away on the left and the ball came back into the middle, Mullery was injured in trying to make a clearance, but he carried on without receiving treatment.
When Mitchell forced a corner out of Horswill on the left, Went moved up into the Sunderland goalfront for Barratt’s kick. McGiven headed away, but a quick return by Callaghan could have been dangerous if Cutbush had not hurried his 20-yard drive which lifted high over the bar.
Sunderland were in with a chance when Tueart broke quickly from a deep position and beat Cutbush before making his centre, which Watson met outside the far post only to see his header drop just over the bar.
Then Watson had Sunderland on the move again from a pass by Malone and his well-placed cross to the far side of goal produced a Tueart header which was collected by Mellor.
Watson moved well from a Porterfield throw, but his effort to get the ball to Tueart in front of goal was intercepted by Went.
Fulham gained another corner and McGiven, covering at the near post, sent the ball behind again to prevent Earle from making contact.
There was a third corner for Fulham immediately afterwards but Barratt sent this one well outside the far post and there was no danger.
Tueart was tripped by Callaghan just outside the angle of the penalty area on the right, but Kerr’s kick was cleared by Went. A Went foul on Watson in mid-field had Sunderland on the attack again, but Mellor raced out to the edge of the penalty area to collect Horswill’s kick with Watson challenging. An Earle throw-in on the left was returned to him by Barratt and from his centre Mullery went up at the far side of goal to head over.
Sunderland were unlucky not to take the lead when Tueart picked up a crossfield pass by Porterfield and moved through strongly after Callaghan had slipped. He hammered the ball low in the middle, where Kerr’s drive from close range struck Mellor and was played behind on the rebound. Next came a long throw by Kerr, which produced a corner with Went heading behind.
Kerr took the kick and Watson, running in from the far angle of the penalty area saw his header travel narrowly wide.
Montgomery recovered brilliantly after McGiven had slipped in his effort to hold up Callaghan. The winger cut in to within a few yards of the near post before driving the ball into the middle. Montgomery made a reflex save without being able to hold the ball, but he was there quickly enough to turn and grasp it before Mitchell could move in.
Sunderland’s effort so far was disappointing and Fulham were being allowed to develop their attacks dangerously from mid-field.
Pitt presented Fulham with a corner when his back-pass travelled wide of Montgomery and Strong’s outswinger was hammered over the bar by Mullery.
Tueart was dragged off the ball by Callaghan when making progress in the right and from Malone’s kick Mellor made a fine save from a Tueart header.
Montgomery had to fist away a Barrett centre after the winger had beaten Malone, then Fulham came back again for Earle to place a Mitchell centre within easy each of Montgomery.
Two determined tackles by Bolton kept Sunderland on the attack and shortly afterwards he breasted down a clearance to send a 30 yard drive over the top.
Sunderland were quickly in action in the second half, with Tueart going on from a Lathan pass only to be impeded by Cutbush at the angle of the penalty area. Porterfield’s free-kick was returned to him and when he lobbed the ball back into the middle Mellor fisted away.
Lloyd produced a rare burst of speed on the left to break away from Malone, and Montgomery had to dive out to collect his hard hit centre.
Offside held up Sunderland’s next attack. A strong run by Porterfield in which he played the ball through two tackles, lost it, and then won it again lost its value when he made his centre for there was no one up in the middle to take advantage.
Tueart gained a corner and after this had been cleared he came through again on the right from a pass by Malone, only to drop his centre behind the goal.
A neat header by Watson set up a chance for Tueart, whose drive was deflected for a corner.
Two corner kicks followed on the left and from the clearance Earle moved dangerously on the right. His crossfield pass to Barrett was collected well enough but the winger’s progress was halted by Horswill.
Sunderland were so eager to dodge Fulham’s offside trap that they twice lost good chances through pulling back before it was properly laid.
In the 64th minute Hamilton came into the game as substitute for Lathan.
Both McGiven and Porterfield were now making a bigger impact on the play and one determined effort by Porterfield looked like carrying him through defenders on the edge of the penalty area.
Offside decisions were coming thick and fast now, but there was one break against the toss when Horswill headed through for Watson, who moved wide of two defenders, before hitting a right foot which had Mellor diving along his line to make a fine save.
Sunderland were back again immediately with Tueart going through to hit a fierce drive which brought another excellent save from Mellor.
Fulham nearly slipped up again when an angled ball by Porterfield caught them moving out and left Watson with a clear run for goal. He was into the penalty area when he was brought down from behind, but appeals for a penalty were ignored.
Montgomery had to go down smartly to collect a well-taken shot by Earle from a Strong centre.
Luck was with Fulham when a well-hit drive by Tueart rebounded from Mellor, but the goalkeeper was able to recover, with Kerr chasing in. Then Porterfield received from Bolton and dummied inside to hit a right-foot shot which went behind off a post.
Tueart made another brave attempt to get through on the right, winning space well to make a right-foot shot which Mellor did to beat away for a corner.
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Malone, Bolton, Horswill, Pitt, Porterfield, McGiven, Kerr, Watson, Lathan, Tueart. Sub: Hamilton
FULHAM: Mellor, Cutbrush, Callaghan, Mullery, Went, Dunne, Strong, Earle, Mitchell, Lloyd, Barrett, Sub: Moreline
Referee: Mr E Jolly of Manchester.
THIS was a clear-cut triumph for the Fulham defence. They had the game in a grip from the start, pulling back extra men when danger threatened.
It was not until the closing stages that Sunderland produced their best work, with Tueart the main striking force. But up to that point it was a disappointing effort, in which Sunderland failed to take charge in vital areas and had endless problems over penetrating a determined rearguard.
Porterfield showed up well in mid-field and in pushing the attack forward, but both Watson and Tueart did not carry the right kind of luck when it really mattered.
Story taken from the Football Echo on October 28 1972.