ALTHOUGH there were no more than about 10,000 at Leeds Road this afternoon, Sunderland had a big following in the crowd for their game against Huddersfield Town. They certainly made themselves heart during the preliminaries before the game, but Huddersfield made changes, bring in Dick Krzywicki in place of injured Dave Smith and preferring Terry Dolan to Mick Fairclough, who was named as substitute.
With Huddersfield unbeaten at home and Sunderland unbeaten in their last six games, there was the promise of an exciting and hard-fought game.
Kerr won the toss for Sunderland and chose to take advantage of the wind.
Huddersfield were quickly off the mark, but a first-time clearance by Horswill had Sunderland on the move.
They had an early chance to get to grips with a free-kick just inside the Huddersfield half, but Lyon beat Watson in the air, having forced the pace in Huddersfield’s first attack, shooting just over from the edge of the penalty area.
Tueart had a close shot beaten down at close range and Sunderland stayed up to exert a lot of pressure without being able to trouble Pierce.
When Town broke away, Ashurst checked Gowling with a strong challenge, but when Gowling came again he side stepped the youngster out on the wing to set up at attack which led to Huddersfield taking the lead in six minutes.
Chapman moved though the inside left position to try a shot from the edge of the penalty area and, surprisingly, Montgomery was unable to get anywhere near the ball and it flashed into the net.
A Sunderland raid which started well on the right lost pace and then petered out 20 yards from goal when Watson and Lathan exchanged passes untidily.
Huddersfield were in with a chance again when Dolan who was opening in the back four, moved up to try a shot which just cleared the bar.
A Clarke foul on Tueart produced a free-kick for Sunderland with Porterfield bringing in Malone at the far side, there was a distinct promise until Lathan was tackled and brought down just wide of goal.
There was another anxious moment for Sunderland when Lawson looked like going clear on the right, and Montgomery had to race from his goal and dive on the ball.
McGiven had to receive attention for a shin injury after making a clearance, but was quickly back in the game.
Huddersfield certainly had the edge at his stage and Sunderland were unable to get going long enough to take the pressure off their defence.
There was the chance of a lucky break when a back-pass by Pugh did not look like reaching Pierce, and Watson chased after it. Pierce was there first, but he had to drive on to the ball to prevent Watson from getting a touch.
Then Tueart received an ankle injury in a tackle but had to wait until the ball was out of play before he could receive treatment.
Malone gave away a corner to prevent Gowling from making progress in the middle, but McGiven was able to clear Chapman’s kick.
Gowling showed up again shortly afterwards but he was under pressure from Ashurst as he shot and the ball lifted over the bar.
Hutt forced the ball out of play when Malone tried to break on the right and from Kerr’s throw Sunderland moved on goal, but again without being able to gain a shooting position.
From a long ball by Malone, Watson headed on for Tueart, who held the ball against fierce tackles and then side-stepped Clarke to send in a right-foot shot which had Pierce going down desperately to save.
Then in the 29th minute Sunderland drew level with a surprise goal. Watson had been out on the left wing holding the ball under pressure when he played it back to Porterfield. Without wasting time Porterfield hammered the ball over into the middle and it seemed that Lyon, Pierce and Kerr all had a chance of reaching it.
The centre half failed in his half-hearted attempt and with Pierce apparently concerned about Kerr’s challenge, the ball sailed on into the net. It was truly an astonishing goal.
Kerr, up with Watson gained another excellent position but wasted it by shooting against a defender when a pass to Watson would hare been more profitable.
In the 33rd minute McGiven picked up his third booking of the season after a brush with Hutt.
Watson, shooting on the turn from 20 yards saw his drive go over the stand and out of the ground. A fresh ball was called for and Sunderland were immediately on the attack again, with Porterfield showing great determination to reach a position just inside the penalty area on the left.
To his astonishment he found himself with two balls at his feed because the other had been thrown back into the ground. The referee allowed play to continue until Hutt had headed over to give away a corner.
This led to another and from Kerr’s kick Watson headed on for Lathan, whose shot from a difficult angle finished in the side netting.
Malone led Sunderland into their first attack in the second half, overlapping on the right to hit a great centre, but Watson failed to make contact and the chance disappeared.
Lathan was brought down from behind by Lyon, but the referee took no further action then to give the centre half a lecture.
McGiven saved a certain goal by blocking a close-range drive from Krzywicki, and for a spell Sunderland had to defend desperately while Huddersfield thew extra men forward.
A misunderstanding between Porterfield and Tueart deep in the Huddersfield half allowed Dolan to reach Gowling with a long ball out to the left. It looked like a clear run, but Ashurst was across in time to make the important tackle and send the ball out of play.
Huddersfield were quickly back again, with the ball played through for Gowling to go clear on the right for a right-foot shot which just cleared the bar.
Ashurst was there again when Lawson, looked dangerous on the left, and then Sunderland broke away with Malone and Tueart exchanging passes on the right.
A Tueart centre cleared the middle and when the ball was returned by Kerr he was in an offside position.
A free-kick against Coleman which should have gone the other way, allowed Krzywicki to take a free kick in a dangerous position on the right but the kick became the signal for a Sunderland attack, with Tueart and Malone breaking quickly. Tueart played the ball through a tackle before centring, but Clarke was not under challenge as he cleared.
Ashurst was badly shaken in tackling Krzywicki, but a split second after when the ball was hammered into the middle Coleman headed behind.
Ashurst resumed after receiving treatment but was obviously badly shaken.
In the 63rd minute McGiven was ordered off after a tackle on Lawson, though the referee had allowed much more serious offences by the opposition to go unpunished.
The conviction that it just was not Sunderland’s day so far as the referee was concerned came three minutes later when Porterfield, moving across the goal with a packed defence in front, hit a low drive which beat Pierce just inside the post, only to find the referee disallowing for offside, though within the letter of the law no one could have been interfering with play in the split second between the ball leaving Porterfield’s foot and finishing in the net.
Hughes took over from Lathan in 66 minutes.
When Huddersfield forced a corner on the right Watson was back to clear with a powerful header.
Although Sunderland were down to ten men Sunderland’ cup of sorrows were near to overflowing in the 75th minute when Lawson, who had been instrumental in McGiven being sent off, dived over a tackle by Horswill and the referee awarded Huddersfield a penalty. This seemed to be the end of the line after a brave battle, but, Montgomery, diving to this left, made a brilliant save from Gowling’s kick.
Sunderland were taking a tremendous pounding now, but one or two cool touches by Kerr took some of the heat out of the proceedings.
In the 80th minute Lyon was booked for an over-the-ball tackle on Watson, which sent the Sunderland centre forward hurtling on to the track.
Before play resumed with a free-kick to Sunderland, the referee consulted a linesman and then directed the police to a section of the crowd near where the incident had taken place.
After a headed pass by Watson, Tueart was chopped down two yards short of the Huddersfield penalty area. Kerr took the kick, pushing the ball square for Tueart to hit a shot, which travelled wide.
Lyon was lectured for another “foot up” challenge on Watson and then a brilliant pass by Tueart set up a chance for Hughes, who jut failed to make a break.
Huddersfield: Pierce, Clarke, Hutt, Pugh, Lyon Nicholson, Krzywicki, Dolan, Gowling, Lawson, Chapman. Sub: Fairclough.
Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Coleman, Horswill, Ashurst, Porterfield, McGiven, Kerr, Watson, Lathan, Tueart. Sub: Hughes.
Referee: Mr T W Bowes of Norwich.
How the goals came
Chapman 6 mins
Porterfield 29 mins
Sunderland must hope that there are not many games like this one in store. The standard of control was the worst they are likely to come across, and although the record say that they had one player booked and later ordered off, the offenders consistently were Huddersfield’s strong-arm men.
After 20 minutes Sunderland’s chances of survival could not be rated highly but by half-time they were back in the game and making a tremendous fight of it. The odds were further stacked against them when they had two goals disallowed and then a penalty awarded to reward a spectacular dive.
They deserved their point well enough for a brave fight against staggering odds.
Story taken from the Football Echo on September 23 1972.