SUNDERLAND, playing their last game before coming under the direction of their new manager Mr Bob Stokoe, were unchanged for this afternoon’s game against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Caretaker-manager Billy Elliott did make one change in the pool however bringing in Richie Pitt as substitute. City, made two changes with goalkeeper Ray Cashley ruled out through injury. His place was taken by 18-year-old Len Bond. Brian Drysdale came in at left back and Les Wilson switched to right back displacing Trevor Jacobs.
City were the only team in the Football League without a home win to their credit and with Sunderland having failed to win any of their last seven games, both sides had an obvious target.
There were about 12,000 present when Merrick won the toss for City and though Sunderland started the game, it was City who took up the first attack.
Indecision by Malone allowed them to make progress on the left but a quick dash from goal by Montgomery took all the danger out of the misjudged back pass.
Following a free-kick for a Rodgers foul on Hughes, Sunderland pushed up to gain a corner on the left, but Galley had followed Watson into the penalty area and beat him in the air when Tueart’s kick reached the middle.
A good link up between Tueart and Hughes enabled Tueart to move down the wing from a through ball. He took on Wilson and beat him before hitting a right foot shot which Bond did well to palm away for a corner.
Horswill had to go in strongly when Gow looked dangerous in a break from the middle and when City moved from the throw in Horswill had to give away a corner. This was forced out to the edge of the penalty area from where Sweeney shot high over the bar.
Chambers showed for the first time after Hughes had lost possession to a challenge by Wilson. Chambers immediately switched the point of attack to bring in Malone whose down the wing pass had too much pace to give Kerr any chance of collecting it.
Chambers was back to lend a hand after City had moved strongly on the right with Emanuel’s cross partially cleared from the far side of goal.
A long ball down the middle from Chambers was picked up by Hughes, who made ground well before being obstructed by Rodgers.
No advantage was gained from the free kick but City were in trouble when Sunderland came back again with Porterfield linking with Chambers and then Tueart breaking through on the right to drive a low centre into the middle.
Bond was brave enough to dive out and gather the ball under pressure.
Sunderland built to a spell of pressure which twice had them close to goal. First came a crossfield ball by Chambers which was picked up by Hughes who beat Wilson and Rodgers before hammering the ball into the middle where Merrick was just ahead of Lathan to get the ball away.
Then a left wing corner opened up the City defence again and Hughes and Lathan both had shots blocked just short of the line before the ball was cleared.
Montgomery twice had to cover long range shots, but so far there has been no real pressure upon him.
There was a break for City when Coleman collected a crossfield pass from Porterfield but lost possession in trying to go past Sweeney.
Fortunately the winger did not turn the break to advantage and again it was Sunderland moving on goal with real purpose. Chambers made space for a great shot which rebounded from Bond and Lathan followed up to send his drive over the bar.
Sunderland were mounting their attack smoothly and winning a lot of space on the approaches to goal.
Sunderland were in real trouble when a back pass was obviously falling short and Montgomery had to race outside the penalty area to make his challenge.
He was 15 yards outside of the area where he made his clearance which was picked up by Hughes who raced through to bring another good save from Bond.
Kerr had a shot charged down but the clearance travelled no further than Porterfield who kept the attack going for Chambers to test Bond with a close range shot. Sunderland seemed to have a case for a penalty when Tueart was brought down at the angle of the goal area, but there was no award from the referee.
Another quick break was started by Lathan with Chambers and then Kerr combining before Malone overlapped on the right to drive the ball into the middle where it was forced behind for a corner.
Just before the break Emanuel shot narrowly wide after Drysdale had centred from the left wing.
There was an exciting start to the second half when Fear went on from a Sweeney pass to hit an accurate cross. Tainton looked a certain scorer at the far post and Montgomery racing along his line to meet the challenge was off balance as he turned back to make a one-handed save which was complete by Coleman.
Then three spirited breaks by Tueart had City covering up desperately.
Drysdale looked dangerous when going clear on the left, but there was no takers for his cross when he sent it hard and low into the middle.
Tueart led Sunderland into their next attack with a jinking run on the left to finish with an inside pass which offered Hughes or Chambers the chance of a shot from the edge of the penalty area, but neither of them could withstand the determined challenge issued by Rodgers.
Then Bond was in action again diving out bravely to Tueart’s feet to prevent the winger getting in a shot at an open goal.
The hardworking City keeper saved well from Hughes and shortly afterwards Watson and Hughes moving again to bring another fine save from the goalkeeper.
Corners by Chambers and then Porterfield brought no reward in front of goal and then Tueart shot narrowly wide.
Before a corner was taken in the 67th minute City brought on Sparing as substitute for Rodgers and in doing so incurred the crowd’s displeasure.
Chambers forced a corner and took it himself to put Sunderland in an attacking position again.
The ball was headed out to Tueart whose fierce drive from the edge of the penalty area had Bond making another fine save.
Tueart and then Kerr came under heavy physical pressure and the referee had a word with both Fear and Emanuel.
Shortly afterwards it was Horswill’s turn to receive a lecture for a late tackle. This free-kick was taken by Wilson and the ball broke favourably in front of goal before Fear, whose hurried shot went over the top.
When Sparing eluded a sliding tackle by Horswill and stormed in from the right it looked dangerous for Sunderland, but Hughes was back to meet his cross and head behind for a corner.
Six minutes from the end came the goal which City did not deserve when Montgomery raced 12 yards out of goal to meet a left wing cross and could only push the ball down to the edge of the penalty area. It was played through for Gow, whose drive into the crowded goal-mouth was deflected into goal by Galley.
A determined challenge by Lathan in the next minute had him hammering in a great shot which Bond pulled down and then collected at second attempt.
BRISTOL CITY: Bond, Wilson, Drysdale, Emanuel, Rodgers, Merrick, Tainton, Fear, Galley, Gow, Sweeney. Sub: Sparing
SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Malone, Coleman, Horswill, Watson, Porterfield, Kerr, Hughes, Lathan, Chambers. Tueart. Sub: Pitt
Referee: Mr R C Crabb of Exeter.
HOW THE GOALS CAME
In many respects this was another chapter in Sunderland’s story of the season. Once again they had played the better football and looked much the better side only to have victory snatched away from them by a later break.
The villain of the piece from Sunderland’s point of view was Len Bond, who made a string of brilliant saves from a Sunderland side geared for all-out attack.
Story taken from the Football Echo on November 25 1972.