SUNDERLAND cut short the goal famine with a handsome 4–1 triumph over Nottingham Forest at Roker Park on Saturday, when their blend of skill and running power was good enough to have doubled the haul. Forest, a side with a lot of experience and strength, were torn apart in the early stages and were never allowed the breathing space to regain their composure. They were dominated at every turn by a Sunderland side geared for attack in every position.
A consoling comment offered by an Aston Villa official on Wednesday night after Sunderland had outplayed Villa only to lose 2–0 was “You don’t have to worry about goal-scoring as long as you can play like that. You are sure to get a stack of goals.” Here was early confirmation of that assessment and Forrest knew well enough how lucky there were to escape with only four against them,
Adding fresh qualities to their play with every game, Sunderland are now going ahead at a great pace. They have been warmly praised for their efforts on opposing grounds and are established among the promotion favourites on their away form. It must have been particularly pleasing for them–and a notable sign of their progress–that they were able to put on one of their special shows for the Roker crowd.
If there is a tendency in some quarters to belittle the performance by playing up Forest’s shortcomings let it be remembered that Forest were destroyed by a highly-skilled operation and not by their own failings.
Seasoned performers like Hindley and Gemmell have been the backbone of a sound defence which has inspired confidence in Forest’s hopes that they can get back to the First Division at the first attempt, despite the departure of unsettled stars in Storey, Moore and Cormack. But like the rest of the side they were brought under control and subjected to a hammering which exposed flaws that had not existed against lesser opposition.
Sunderland now have the promotion bit firmly between their teeth and there is going to be a lot of exciting football along the way as they press home their challenge, Better still if they can make the flow of Saturday’s game the standard offering at Roker Park.
The goal-rush should have started as early as the first minute, when Tueart broke on the left to put over an accurate centre. Hughes was unmarked at the far side of goal, but he judged his header badly and it travelled well wide.
Malone and then Watson had made forceful breaks before Tueart, in great form, stepped in again to lay on the first goal. His neatly-judged pass was snapped up by Lathan, who closed in to give Barron no chance with a well-placed shot.
This was in the ninth minute and Lathan had created a chance for Tueart, whose shot went narrowly wide, before Sunderland were back again for the goal of the game in the 21st minute.
Again Lathan had a hand in it, pouncing on the ball after appearing to lose control on the right wing and sending it strongly into the middle. Porterfield reached it first and, beating Serella as he controlled the ball, raced through wide of Barron on the right to crack home a fine right-foot shot.
With Porterfield and Kerr taking charge in midfield and Malone and Coleman pushing forward at every opportunity. Sunderland stayed right on top and there were several close calls for Forest before Sunderland managed to strike again in the 42nd minute.
It was a devastating three-man move which took the ball out of defence and planted it in the Forest net. Ashurst sent an accurate pass forward to Malone, who controlled it well before chipping forward to Hughes. Making all the space he needed with a quick turn, Hughes headed for goal and swept round Barron before going on to tap the ball into and empty net.
Everyone is waiting to cheer a Malone goal and this so nearly came just before the break, when the Scot raced through the line and cut in for goal to bring a fine save from Barron.
Sunderland’s score could have mounted rapidly in the early minutes of the second half, for Barron had to dive along his line to save from Tueart and then a quick burst of activity had shots by Tueart and Lathan beaten down before a Kerr shot was turned wide by Serella with Barron beaten.
Lathan, clear from a long ball down the middle, sent a lobbed shot against a post and then a Tueart-Coleman-Kerr move on the left forced the corner which produced the fourth goal.
Kerr took the kick and Watson won in the air at the far post to head down for Lathan to first-time the ball home from close range.
Barron had to deal with two more fiery shots from Tueart before Forest claimed their consolation goal four minutes from the end. The chance came when a McKenzie shot came back from the bar and left Richardson with the easiest of tasks in ramming the ball into an empty goal.
Porterfield, Malone, Tueart and Kerr will be remembered as the players who made the most exciting contributions to an attacking pattern imposed with authority.
They were in charge in their respective fields of operation and a lot of brilliant football flowed from them.
The brave, challenging play of Lathan and Watson was vital to the effort, too, and though Watson was not lucky enough to grab the goal which would have taken a little pressure from him. Lathan was certainly entitled to the reward of two well-taken goals.
Hughes was a tireless worker, covering a lot of ground to good effect, though always inclined to attempt a little too much on his own. Yet his first goal of the season was certainly to remember.
With so much play going forward, Horswill, Ashurst and Coleman had to cover a lot of ground in defence, but they coped well enough, while Montgomery, apart from a couple of fine saves, had a comparatively quiet time of it.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on October 2 1972.