SUNDERLAND had to settle for a replay in a terrific FA Cup fourth round tie at Preston, but they could have snatched victory to delight their 7,000-strong travelling support.
The visitors fell behind but were later ahead twice, only to be pegged back.
Argus enjoyed the occasion, writing in the Echo: “It was a remarkable game in many respects, with perhaps the most surprising thing about it the fact that the goalscoring stopped at six. Each side could have doubled its score.
“Tom Finney gave a delightful display in the first hour, showing his colleagues how the game could be won if they prompted fully to his prompting.
“Then the game’s other genius, Len Shackleton, came in for the last half hour to rival Finney’s earlier offerings.
“I have never seen Len play better in a cup-tie and if he had carried just a little luck in front of goal, the goalscoring chances which he made for himself would have settled the issue conclusively.
“If he had been prepared to settle for something a little short of perfection, he might have managed more than a single goal ... yet, when he gets right in front of goal, control of those twinkling feet seem to desert him to go in search of something better than the ordinary goal.!
“The strength which the Sunderland players showed in pressing home their advantage in the heavy, clinging mud was inspiring ... and a very fine tribute to their physical condition.”
Preston made the breakthrough in the 29th minute, after a period of pressure finally told. Foster dragged the Sunderland defence with him as he moved to the left of goal before expertly squaring the ball for the unmarked Finney, who chose his spot and drove his shot well out of keeper Willie Fraser’s reach.
Sunderland were level four minutes later, with Jack Hedley sending over a free-kick and Billy Bingham heading it into the middle where Ted Purdon turned to bring the ball under control and push it just inside the post, with keeper Thompson slow to react.
The visitors grabbed a crucial second goal a minute before the break. Purdon held the ball up well on the left before Billy Elliott called for it, and the winger raced through before hitting a powerful, low centre which Ken Chisholm stabbed home from close range.
Preston went close three times in a blistering start to the second half before three goals in five sensational minutes had the sides level at 3-3 by the 57th minute.
Morrison levelled on 52 minutes with a fierce shot in off the post, but Sunderland quickly restored their advantage. Shackleton received the ball on halfway and set off on a run to within 25 yards of goal before making what Argus described as “one of his dream chipped shots” which dropped just over Thompson’s head and into the net.
The Deepdale men, though, responded by pulling level again, with Foster pouncing to finish off after Finney’s cross was deflected into his path by a defender.
There were no further goals in the final 33 minutes, but both sides could have snatched it. Fraser’s desperate dive kept out a close-range Thompson shot, but Sunderland had the better of the final 10 minutes.
H Sunderland progressed to a fifth round tie away to Swansea thanks to a 2-0 replay success against Preston four days after the Deepdale clash, with a 57,432 crowd watching – the gates were locked at 2.15pm for the afternoon match. Ken Chisholm pounced for two fine goals, but Argus reported that little else of note happened in a generally disappointing game which never lived up to the original tie for excitement.
Sunderland went on to reach the semis, losing 1-0 to Manchester City.