Sunderland 5 Burnley 0 – February 9, 1980
Stan Cummins revelled in the “most memorable day” of his career after shooting down Burnley.
Sunderland’s former Boro star grabbed his first ever league hat-trick, and topped that by adding a fourth goal as the Clarets were swamped 5-0 at Roker Park.
“I fancied I could have tried anything and got away with it,” enthused the £300,000 striker to the Echo, with the match ball tucked under his arm.
“This was certainly the most memorable day of my career. I have never scored more than one goal in a match in first-class football, so this is a great feeling when goals like this come your way.
“The first goal gave me most pleasure as it put us ahead, but obviously the third one was the most satisfying.”
Cummins’ haul made it eight goals in just 12 outings for Sunderland, and things were to get even better by the end of the season, scoring the winner in a Wear-Tyne derby and clinching promotion back to Division One.
The 5ft 3in star adapted better than most to the heavily sanded Roker pitch, though Burnley had the better of the opening exchanges, with Sunderland reliant on Jeff Clarke more than once to keep the visitors at bay.
The opener came in the 17th minute, and was a beauty despite the glue-pot surface. Kevin Arnott played a neat one-two with Pop Robson and crossed to the far side of the penalty area, where Cummins was waiting to measure his shot just inside Alan Stevenson’s lefthand postd.
Arnott added a second goal nine minutes later, but Cummins was involved, taking possession after Joe Bolton won a tackle and sending over a low cross, which Alan Brown unselfishly turned back for Arnott to crash home from just outside the box.
Burnley held firm for more than half an hour, only to be well and truly sunk by Cummins in the second half. He notched on 58 minutes, and it had the hallmark of a training ground rehearsal.
Chris Turner’s long kick bounced over two Burnley defenders and Cummins got in on the blind side to flick the ball with his head over a helpless Stevenson.
Shaun Elliott headed against the bar in the run-up to the next goal 20 minutes later, with Robson teeing up Cummins, who weaved his way into a shooting position and firing a left-foot drive in off the upright.
Then Cummins completed his quartet with seven minutes to go. Claudio Marangoni, who found the difficult conditions hard to cope with, showed his class by flicking a ball on for Brown, who fed Cummins to score with another left-foot effort.
Assistant manager Frank Clark paid tribute to the diminutive frontman, saying: “It is the milestone of any footballer’s career to score four goals in a match. He took them all very well.”
Victory took Sunderland within three points of third-top Newcastle, beaten 1-0 at Wrexham, and just four adrift of leaders Leicester.
Sunderland: Turner, Whitworth, Bolton, Clarke, Hindmarch, Elliott, Arnott, Marangoni, Brown, Robson, Cummins. Sub: Dunn
Burnley: Stevenson, Scott, Jakub, Burke, Overson, Rodaway, James, Dobson, Hamilton, Cavener, Smith. Sub: Dixon.