TREVOR Ford enjoyed his most productive day in a Sunderland shirt to inspire a tremendous win at Manchester City – even though the Rokermen were never at their best.
Sunderland felt the benefit of a first unchanged team in 10 games, though, as they eased to a 5-2 Maine Road success, and joined Wolves in joint top spot in Division One in the process.
Argus, reporting in the Football Echo, wrote: “How to explain a 5-2 win away from home without saying Sunderland were brilliant is difficult.
“Yet it was a fact that they have played much better games this season without having nearly so much to show for their efforts.
“They won because they stuck to the hard, fast-moving game which has carried them to the top.
“They had less of the ball than the opposition, but they knew how to use it in front of goal, which was more than City did.
“Outstanding in their collection of fighters was Trevor Ford – a really great centre-forward.
“Wing-halves Bill Watson and George Aitken accomplished the dual task of attack and defence in great style.”
Argus pinpointed City’s problems to the selection of outstanding Wales wing-half Roy Paul at centre-half, saying he was given “the task to which he was totally unsuited, of watching Ford”.
Two goals in the first five minutes showed up City’s folly, with Ford bagging both goals.
A cleverly worked goal brought a fourth-minute opener, Len Shackleton playing in Harry Kirtley, who flicked the ball inside left-back Eric Westwood to Ford. The Welsh forward’s shot appeared to be going wide, and keeper Bert Trautmann was horrified to see it curl in its flight and go in off the inside of his upright.
A minute later, it was 2-0. Tommy Wright sent over a corner and Trautmann gathered comfortably, but he never saw the shoulder charge of Ford, and the ball slipped out of his grasp, allowing an easy tap-in for the powerful frontman.
John Williamson gave City hope, pulling one goal back midway through the first half.
Johnny Hart sent over a teasing cross from wide on the right, with Williamson finishing off at the back post from just two yards.
Sunderland, though, regained their two-goal cushion on 33 minutes as Ford completed a 29-minute hat-trick.
Kirtley lobbed the ball over Westwood for Wright, who crossed into the middle. Tommy Reynolds headed back across goal for Ford, who guided the ball past Trautmann with the outside of his right foot from close range.
Hart’s flying header rallied City to 3-2 right on half-time, following good work from Don Revie and Clarke, with keeper Harry Threadgold getting a touch but unable to keep it out.
But City failed to make the most of their possession and territorial dominance in the second half, as Sunderland clinched their fourth straight victory in an unbeaten seven-match run.
Ford hit his fourth goal five minutes into the second period, converting from the penalty spot after winger Reynolds, who looked to have overrun the ball as he cut in, was brought down from behind by Ken Branagan.
Three minutes later, it was 5-2, with Reynolds again having a hand in the goal. His header into the box was collected by Kirtley, who resisted three tackles in quick succession before firing past Trautmann.
City rarely threatened a comeback as Watson made good on his promise of a “good show” from Sunderland to thank stage and radio comedian Vic Oliver, a big Roker fan, who had entertained the players in their Manchester hotel the night before the match.