SUNDERLAND had on show all their available talent for their final work-out of the season at Roker Park on Saturday afternoon. Not surprisingly, this domestic operation did not prove to be a crowd-puller and only 883 paying customers went along to check on the current form.
Those who bothered to make the trip, however, would find a degree of satisfaction in the form shown by the side line-up, in claiming a 6-0 win .... and in the promise displayed by the younger elements, who looked good enough to ensure that the supply of talent which has already shaped a promising senior side will be maintained.
It was a final full-scale work-out for the senior side in preparation for their opening game against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park on Saturday and from it came the assurance that creative ability through the side is still on the upgrade.
Ace striker and goal-maker Dave Watson had to sit this one out through the ankle injury which he received at Berwick a week earlier. But Jimmy Hamilton, the 17-year-old Scott who filled the No. 9 spot, showed the kind of form which marks him down as a candidate for a regular first team place in the near future.
The brisk, bustling work of Dennis Tueart indicated that he is all set for a bright start to the season, with John Lathan’s work-rate proving of value to a hard-working attack.
Ian Porterfield, Mick McGiven, and Bobby Kerr were all in good trim too, and when John Blyth took over from Porterfield in the second half he demonstrated clearly enough the progress which he has made.
Mick Horswill was in fine form, too, easing the worries which might otherwise have arisen from the long-term.
It was a comfortable work-out for Richie Pitt and Dick Malone and after Joe Bolton had shaped well in the first half, Keith Coleman put on an impressive display in the second. Neither Jimmy Montgomery nor Trevor Swinburne was seriously tested in goal.
Jackie Ashurst was an outstanding performer with the Reserves, both promising play from both Mitchell and Chris Kent giving useful support.
In the second half, Keith Waugh, Tom Callaghan, Mike Henderson, Ken Henderson, Peter Stronach and Tommy Mason were all able to make an impact on the play and confirm their promise.
The goal scorers were Pitt (4 min), Porterfield (34), Lathan (44 and 62), Hamilton (57) and Tueart (75).
Sunderland: Montgomery (Swinburne), Malone, Bolton (Coleman), Horswill, Pitt, Porterfield (Blyth), McGiven, Kerr, Hamilton, Lathan and Tueart.
Sunderland Reserves: Foster (Waugh), Rankin, Hepworth (Callaghan T), Ashurst, Tones, Harrison (M Henderson), Shannon (Stronach), Mitchell (T Mason), Southwick (K Henderson), Chambers and Kent.
MANAGER Alan Brown had better news of Watson’s progress this morning. With the all-clear from physiotherapist John Watters that the centre forward was ready for light training, he jogged around the track at Roker Park yesterday.
Today he was able to continue light training and will be stepping it up progressively that he is fully in stride for a return to duty on Saturday.
So it is good news for Sunderland and uncertainty for Middlesbrough, who now look like being without the services of their leading goalscorer John Hickton for Saturday’s “Derby” and the next two games. He will be the first player to work out a penalty under the new disciplinary code.
Bobby Park, who has been out of action with a knee injury, and Matt Robson were able to return to training today too, so that leaves Martin Harvey and Brian Thompson as the players who are still battling to overcome the effects of injury.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on August 7 1972.