THE forecast that Aston Villa would prove the most attractive visitors of the season to Roker Park was fulfilled this afternoon with a crowd of about 18,000 assembled before the start. A big contribution to the increase was the large contingent of Villa supporters, who travelled by rail and coach for the game.
Billy Elliott who has been put in charge of team affairs following the departure of manager Alan Brown made three changes with the idea of increasing attacking fair in the side.
He brought back Billy Hughes and Brian Chambers switched Bobby Kerr to No. 7 and re-introduced Keith Coleman at left back. Mick McGiven was named as substitute,
Villa, who have won only one point from their last two home games, fielded an unchanged side and named Jimmy Brown as substitute.
When the Sunderland team came out on the pitch they threw autographed balls into the crowd. Before this, commercial manager Gordon Dimbleby had started off a popularity poll among spectators by handing out forms asking them to name in order of merit the three outstanding Sunderland players in the game.
The bright morning sunlight had disappeared and conditions were ideal when the game started.
Rioch won the toss for Villa and Sunderland started the game attacking the Fulwell End.
Sunderland pushed forward quickly from the start, but when Coleman played the ball forward for Porterfield, Gidman screened it out of play for a goal kick.
When this was picked up in mid-field, Rioch played the ball back and HUGHES, racing between two defenders went through to draw Cumbes and drive the ball into an empty goal to put Sunderland ahead in 55 seconds.
Tueart worked hard looking for another break on the left, but Gidman stayed with him and eventually it was Tueart who played the ball over the line for a goal-kick.
A well-intended overhead touch by Hughes opened up a half chance for Kerr, but the Villa defence tightened up quickly and he was crowded out.
Evans showed up on the right wing for Villa to force a corner, and after Rioch’s kick had been headed out by Watson, Vowden shot over the bar.
Coleman saved a certain goal by blocking a close-range shot from Rioch and Sunderland were quickly back at the other end with Tueart having forced the running. This was picked up by Chambers, who held the ball through two tackles and lost it in the third, only to see it travel on from a defender and go narrowly wide from a corner.
Kerr led Sunderland into the next attack which led to a Chambers drive from the edge of the penalty area lifting over the bar.
Rioch was pulled up for a foul on Montgomery when challenging for a centre by Anderson.
Coleman made the important tackle when a square pass reached Anderson in the clear just inside the angle of the penalty area. His well-timed tackle gave away a corner and Sunderland immediately broke away to force a corner on the left from the partial clearance Sunderland moved again and after a right-foot drive by Malone had been pushed out, he followed up with a left-foot shot which brought a good save from Cumbes.
Then Coleman went in to have a right-foot drive turned behind for a corner and shortly afterwards Cumbes was gathering a powerful shot by Tueart.
Rioch atoned in some measure for his earlier lapse terms in the 20th minute. Sunderland’s failure to move the ball out of the danger area enabled RIOCH to gain possession of the angle of the penalty area and his fierce shot rebounded into goal from the inside of the far post.
Sunderland were in with a chance again when they gained a free-kick just outside the penalty area. The ball was moved square for Tueart to get in a shot which brought a fine save from Cumbes, who was in action again immediately afterwards following a brilliant run by Chambers.
Hughes took up an ideal position for a high ball into the goal mouth, but he had difficulty in controlling it and was off balance as he lifted his shot over the bar.
Sunderland followed up with two corners but there were no problems from either of them.
Anderson set up another goal chance for Villa with a determined challenge to win the ball against Malone. A crossfield pass found Rioch moving clear on the right after playing the ball through a tackle by Coleman.
Watson passed up a half chance by attempting to provide a better one for Hughes, but the opening had disappeared with Hughes failing to anticipate that the ball was coming his way.
Turnbull was carried off with a knee injury in 33 minutes but Villa did not send their substitute on immediately, waiting for the outcome of treatment which Turnbull reached on the touch-line. And he was back in the game three minutes later.
In his absence Sunderland had been lucky to survive a determined attack, the ball being twice cleared from the line with Montgomery beaten.
A Pitt free-kick following a Vowden foul on Chambers was collected by Watson, but when he played the ball back, Porterfield was immediately in difficulties.
Another great break by Tueart had Villa on the run and when he cut in to shoot, Cumbes dived to concede a corner. Tueart took the kick himself and Horswill’s looping header dropped just over the bar.
Tueart was giving Gidman a lot of trouble and when he came back again, the full back was quite content to give away another corner.
Sunderland were certainly putting on the pressure and Villa lived dangerously through a series of sharp attacks which carried everything except the finishing touch.
Hughes was only inches away from applying the finishing touch to a great through ball by Malone.
A Rioch challenge on Pitt presented Sunderland with a free-kick in mid-field and Villa were extended to move the ball out of the danger area. Then a good tackle by Malone and a long ball down the middle by Chambers had Hughes moving well on the right. He was eventually checked by Aitken, and taking the throw-in himself was offside when the ball was returned to him.
Then Tueart won in the air to start another Sunderland attack which had Watson and Porterfield helping the ball into line for Hughes. Cumbes won the race for possession directly in front of goal, but his clearance was deflected to Kerr. Coming in from the right Kerr had his shot blocked and when it lifted towards goal a Hughes header dropped just over the bar.
Tueart had Cumbes diving out to collect a centre and when Watson headed a Pitt free-kick into the middle Chambers tried a long-range header which Cumbes collected without difficulty.
Play was held up while Pitt and Evans received treatment after bumping heads in going up for a long ball.
Rioch had Sunderland in difficulties again with a strong break on the right before bringing in Evans and Little, only for Anderson to squander a great chance by shooting wide.
Tueart moved on from a Porterfield pass to gain a corner and when he made it a short one to Coleman and received a return pass, he was fouled by Gidman, who was on the edge of the penalty area.
Porterfield took the kick and KERR went in to head Sunderland into the lead again with a near-post header of classical pattern. He gave it just the right touch to deflect it past Cumbes inside the far post.
The Sunderland defence looked far from impressive when Villa hit back for Pitt and Porterfield virtually gave the ball away. Coleman’s intervention was no more successful and it was not until the ball reached the middle that Kerr brought relief by sweeping it away into the crowd.
Then in the 67th minute Villa were back again for an equaliser. Rioch held the ball in a crossfield run before bringing in Anderson, and when the ball was crossed into the middle, LITTLE was a surprise winner of a heading duel to send the ball looping over Montgomery’s head into an empty goal.
Evans headed narrowly wide following a free-kick for a foul by Tueart.
Another great burst by Rioch, followed by a hard-hit centre, had Sunderland in difficulties and they were fortunate that Evans was unable to get a touch directly in front of goal. After Coleman had shot over from the edge of the penalty area Sunderland pushed up again to gain another corner on the left and being more pressure to bear on the Villa goal.
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Malone, Coleman, Horswill, Pitt, Porterfield, Kerr, Hughes, Watson, Chambers, Tueart Sub: McGiven
ASTON VILLA: Cumbes, Gidman Aitken, Rioch, Nicholl, Turnbull, Little, Evans, Ross, Vowden, Anderson. Sub: Brown
Referee: Mr G Laing of Preston
HOW THE GOALS CAME
HUGHES 1 min.
RIOCH 20 mins.
KERR 62 mins.
LITTLE 67 mins.
THERE was a lot to like about the way Sunderland tackled their task in a game to which both sides contributed attacking skill. A greater share of chances fell to Sunderland, and at times they were desperately unlucky not to claim a greater reward. Hughes added a lot of dash to the attack, with Tueart and Kerr right up with him in goal-front menace. There were important contributions, too, from Chambers, who was at his best in a lively first half.
Coleman was a good-going forward, and Porterfield contributed a lot from mid-field.
Story taken from the Football Echo on November 4 1972.