Richie Pitt stakes his Cup claim

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ALTHOUGH Sunderland Reserves dominated this North Midland League match for long spells, they paid the penalty for not accepting their chances which should have given them a comfortable victory. A powerful-looking forward line of Harrison, Lathan, Hamilton, and John Hughes created the openings, but it was the same old story when it came to applying the finishing touch.

Hughes, making a come-back after a six-week lay-off, had the support of a bigger-than-usual reserve team crowd right behind him and though showing some of his undoubted skills at times, attempted too much on his own.

The performance of Richie Pitt, however, was most encouraging. Pitt, who had to stand down from the visit to Luton on Saturday because of a virus infection, was the commanding figure in a defence which was often stretched by lively wingers Crandle and Placido.

Positive in the tackle and always looking for the opening to set an attack in motion, Pitt must have staked a strong claim for a place in Saturday’s Cup team.

In a goal-less first half, most of the breaks came Sunderland’s way. At least four clear-cut chances were squandered in the opening 25 minutes before York broke away through Placido whose neat flick sent Crandle racing down the middle only for his shot to scrape the far upright.

Chambers had a shot blocked short of the line and then cleverly chipped the ball over Holestock which just cleared the bar. Tones got up well to a Hughes corner and headed narrowly wide and then Hamilton was off target when well placed.

Five minutes before the interval a four-man move carved up the York defence but Hughes, under pressure failed to get any power behind his drive and the ball was scrambled away.


York showed just how easy it is to cash in on defensive mistakes two minutes after the break. A Harrison pass went astray and though surrounded by four Sunderland defenders, Placido worked an opening to beat Forster from close range.

Sunderland should have been on level terms three minutes later when a corner was only partially cleared off to Chambers who was left with a clear path to goal, but rather than hit the ball, he sent his placed shot against the upright.

Hamilton, who had been guilty of missing from close range previously, lifted another easy chance over the bar and in the 58th minute Hughes finally found his shooting boots after beating Hunter and Calvert only for Holestock to make the save of the night.

Hamilton was brought down heavily from behind by Calvert who was booked in the 64th minute and six minutes later Hughes, suffering from cramp, went off and was replaced by Shannon.

The York goal had an amazing escape in the 73rd minute when Tones headed a Pitt free kick past Holestock and Harrison, in attempting to apply the finishing touch, lifted the ball over the bar from almost on the line.

Shannon dropped a long centre onto the bar with almost his first kick and when sent clear by Pitt shot past the goal.

Crandle and Placido, who got more scope as Sunderland pushed forward in search if an equaliser, created the opening for Schofield to settle the issue in the 80th minute.

Chambers tried to walk the ball past Holestock five minutes later only for Robb to recover and clear and in a final burst Hepworth thundered a drive just wide.

Sunderland Reserves: Forster, Coleman, Rankin, Hepworth, Pitt, Tones, Harrison, Chambers, Lathan, Hamilton, J Hughes (Shannon).

York City Reserves: Holestock, Hunter, J Hodgson, Calvert, Robb, M Hodgson, Crandle, Fountain, Yeats, Schofield, Placido.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on March 13 1973.