Sunderland head to Stoke City today for a crucial game at the bottom of the Premier League.
It is the first game the Black Cats have played on this date, October 15, for more than a decade – and the Red and Whites have not won on this day for 39 years, since a 2-0 home victory over Millwall in the old Second Division.
Here we look back at some previous October 15 games.
Sunderland 1 Manchester United 3
October 15, 2005
Sunderland’s three-game unbeaten run ended as Manchester United were too strong for Mick McCarthy’s side at the Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats produced a typically determined display, but the lack of quality – the biggest problem throughout the dismal 15-point Premier League season – proved their downfall.
Sunderland had their chances before United made the breakthrough five minutes before half-time, with Stephen Elliott, Gary Breen and Andy Welsh causing problems, but Wayne Rooney settled the visitors, netting from an acute angle after rounding keeper Kelvin Davis, with Justin Hoyte just failing to clear off the line.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy was fed by Rooney on 76 minutes to double the lead, firing across Davis, but Sunderland grabbed a lifeline eight minutes from time with a stunning long-range strike from Stephen Elliott.
Edwin van der Sar saved United with a tremendous stop to keep out an Anthony Le Tallec free-kick, then the visitors sealed victory when sub Giuseppe Rossi beat Davis from just outside the box on 88 minutes.
United’s team featured three future Sunderland players, in Phil Bardsley, John O’Shea and sub Liam Miller.
SUNDERLAND: Davis, Nosworthy, Breen, Caldwell, Hoyte, Lawrence (Le Tallec), Whitehead, Miller, Welsh (Robinson), Elliott, Gray (Stead)
MANCHESTER UTD: Van der Sar, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O’Shea (Pique), Park, Smith, Scholes, Rooney, van Nistelrooy (Rossi), Ronaldo (Miller)
Middlesbrough 2 Sunderland 0
October 15, 1997
Sunderland exited the League Cup fairly meekly, going down 2-0 to Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
The fact that Boro went on to reach the final for the second successive season, losing to Chelsea at Wembley, was of little consolation to Peter Reid’s much-changed men, who were second-best on the night.
Andy Campbell beat second-choice keeper Edwin Zoetebier to make the breakthrough 13 minutes into the second half, but Sunderland stayed in the game until being killed off by a second Boro goal, scored by substitute Craig Hignett, in the final minute.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Schwarzer, Fleming, Harrison, Festa, Whyte, Emerson, Mustoe, Stamp (Hignett), Campbell, Merson, Townsend
SUNDERLAND: Zoetebier, Makin, Scott, Williams, Craddock, Clark, Johnston, Ball, Russell (Smith), Bridges (Byrne), Gray
Sunderland 0 Burnley 0
October 15, 1994
A four First Division game notable only for the debut of former Everton midfielder Ian Snodin in the Sunderland side.
The Rokermen’s defence was as efficient as it had been all season, having conceded only nine goals in the first 11 matches.
But Mick Buxton’s men were toothless up front, with Don Goodman and Phil Gray struggling to get the better of the Clarets’ hard-working back four.
Burnley had Sunderland-born Tony Philliskirk up front, while future Stadium of Light coach Adrian Heath came off the bench in the second half.
The point – from a fourth draw in six home league games – kept Sunderland in the top half of the table.
SUNDERLAND: Chamberlain, Kubicki, Ord, Martin Gray (Howey), Ball, Melville, Smith, Snodin, Goodman, Gray, Russell
BURNLEY: Beresford, Parkinson, Vinnicombe, Hoyland, Winstanley, Randall, Harper, Deary, Philliskirk (Gayle), Robinson (Heath), Eyres
Hull City 0 Sunderland 0
October 15, 1988
Denis Smith’s newly-promoted Red and Whites had to scrap hard for a point at Boothferry Park.
But the game is probably best remembered as the match which convinced Sunderland boss Smith to move for Tigers keeper Tony Norman later in the season.
The Rokermen failed to score for the fourth time in five away Second Division matches, but at least they picked up only a second point on the road, with Billy Whitehurst unable to find the net against his former club.
The draw lifted Sunderland to 19th place in the fledgling table.
HULL CITY: Norman, Warren, Jacobs, De Mange (Smith), Jobson, Terry, Daniel (Payton), Roberts, Moore, Edwards, Dyer
SUNDERLAND: Hesford, F Gray, Agboola, MacPhail, Ord, Doyle, Owers, Armstrong, Whitehurst (Gates), Gabbiadini, Pascoe
Sunderland 2 Stoke City 2
October 15, 1983
Sunderland were denied a third straight First Division win as the Potters twice came from behind to rescue a point in an entertaining Roker Park clash.
Boosted by successive victories over Coventry and Liverpool, Alan Durban’s Sunderland side enjoyed a bright start and their efforts were rewarded when Mickey Thomas unluckily put through his own goal for a 26th-minute opener.
Stoke, though, were quickly level, Welsh international Robbie James netting a minute later.
Gary Rowell restored the home side’s advantage early in the second period, but again James came to Stoke’s aid by levelling on 69 minutes.
The point could not stop Sunderland one place to 16th.
Stoke fielded future Sunderland defender Steve Bould at right-back, while 1973 Roker hero Dennis Tueart was an unused sub.
SUNDERLAND: Turner, Venison, Elliott, Atkins, Chisholm, Proctor, Bracewell, Rowell, West, Pickering, James
STOKE CITY: Fox, Bould, Hampton, James, Dyson, McAughtrie, Painter, McIlroy, O’Callaghan, Thomas, Chamberlain
Sunderland 2 Millwall 0
October 15, 1977
Jimmy Adamson’s Sunderland side celebrated only a second win of the season, in their 11th Second Division game.
Having taken just five points from the previous eight matches, Sunderland were in desperate need of a confidence boost – and it came, eventually.
Gordon Jago’s Millwall – fielding ex-Sunderland utility man Brian Chambers – held firm until the 63rd minute when midfielder Kevin Arnott finally made the breakthrough.
Sunderland never looked back and a second goal from Gary Rowell, eight minutes later, sealed the two points, lifting the home side a place to 17th in the table.
SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Henderson, Bolton, Kerr, Elliott, Ashurst, Rostron, Arnott, Greenwood, Lee, Rowell
MILLWALL: Johns, Donaldson, Walker, Brisley (Seasman), Kitchener, Hazell, Hamilton, Alexander, Pearson, Murphy, Chambers
Sunderland 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0
October 15, 1974
Sunderland climbed back into second place in Division Two after extending their unbeaten run to nine games.
Though Sunderland’s attacking prowess won the game, their defensive qualities again shone through in restricting Wednesday to just a couple of clear chances – and the hosts enjoyed a fourth clean sheet in five matches, with only five goals conceded all season.
Billy Hughes capped an excellent start by Sunderland when making the breakthrough after just four minutes.
Bobby Kerr added a second in the 12th minute, and it was game over just before the interval when Dave Watson got up from defence to make it 3-0.
Future Sunderland boss Ken Knighton had a day to forget in the Wednesday defence.
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Moncur, Watson, Porterfield, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Robson, Towers
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Springett, Rodrigues (Shaw), Thompson, Dowd, Holsgrove, Knighton, Potts, Harvey, Joicey, Craig, McIver
Sheffield United 2 Sunderland 0
October 15, 1966
Sunderland’s disappointing run without a victory reached seven games with a 2-0 defeat at Bramall Lane.
The Blades, managed by John Harris, scored either side of the break, to secure both points.
Mick Jones, a future Wembley cup final opponent of Sunderland (for Leeds in 1973), gave United a 21st-minute opener.
Ian McColl’s men – featuring an all-Scottish front five – were killed off when Gil Reece added a second goal midway through the second half.
Sunderland, who dropped to third-bottom spot with the loss, avenged the defeat by thumping United 4-1 at Roker Park a mere three weeks later.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Hodgkinson, Coldwell, Mallender, Munks, Matthewson, B Wagstaff, Woodward, T Wagstaff, Jones, Fenoughty, Reece
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Irwin, Ashurst, Todd, McNab, Harvey, Herd, O’Hare, Martin, Baxter, Mulhall
Southampton 3 Sunderland 2
October 15, 1960
Sunderland came a cropper on their first ever league visit to The Dell.
The sides had met five times in the FA Cup in the previous 30 years, but Saints’ promotion to Division Two brought the teams together in the same division for the first time.
The narrow confines obviously did not suit Sunderland too well, as they succumbed to a deserved defeat.
Centre-forward Derek Reeves needed just six minutes to give Saints the lead, but winger Harry Hooper equalised in the 19th minute.
Southampton got back in front through George O’Brien on the half hour, and they stormed 3-1 up with Tommy Mulgrew’s strike with 20 minutes to go.
Ambrose Fogarty gave Sunderland a lifeline, cutting the deficit to 3-2 in the 88th minute, but Saints held out to hand the Rokermen a fifth successive league defeat and a drop to 19th place.
SOUTHAMPTON: Reynolds, Davies, Traynor, Conner, Page, Clifton, Paine, O’Brien, Reeves, Mulgrew, Sydenham
SUNDERLAND: Wakeham, Nelson, Ashurst, Anderson, Hurley, McNab, Davison, Fogarty, Lawther, Taylor, Hooper
Sunderland 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
October 15, 1955
Bill Murray’s Sunderland side hit back from an early deficit to record their eighth win of the First Division season.
Brought down to earth by a midweek friendly loss at Scottish club East Fife, Sunderland suffered a nightmare start as a Ronnie Allen penalty saw Albion take a third-minute lead at Roker Park.
Charlie Fleming, though, hauled the home side level in nine minutes.
A draw looked a fair result until Fleming came up trumps again for Sunderland, netting the winner two minutes from time.
It was the former East Fife star’s 10th league goal of the season,and his second successive double to seal a come-from-behind victory, following the previous week’s 2-1 success at Birmingham City.
Sunderland sat proudly in second place following the defeat of West Brom, and they reached top spot by winning the next weekend, 3-2 at Spurs.
SUNDERLAND: Fraser, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Shackleton
WEST BROM: Sanders, Williams, Millard, Dudley, Kennedy, Barlow, Griffin, Nicholls, Allen, Hodgkinson, Lee