Tyne/Wear derby countdown: How Gary Rowell wrote his name in record books and other 70s memories

Alan Brown draws Sunderland level  in the 1979 2-2 draw at St Jamess Park
Alan Brown draws Sunderland level in the 1979 2-2 draw at St Jamess Park
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Newcastle 1 Sunderland 1

January 23, 1971

Sunderland took time off from their hit-and-miss Second Division campaign renew their rivalry with Newcastle.

The old foes arranged a friendly on a free weekend following ignominious FA Cup exits (Sunderland falling to Orient), and there was plenty of partisan support for both teams, despite a crowd of just 16,330.

Despite miserable, wet conditions, the sides produced plenty of entertainment, but the goal action all came in the final six minutes.

Sunderland struck first after Dennis Tueart held the ball up well on the right and maintained possession under pressure from Ron Guthrie. Though his eventual cross was cleared from the danger zone, he raced in to fire in a shot. Bobby Moncur headed clear, but Billy Hughes stepped in to slam home to delight the travelling fans.

The Magpies, though, hauled themselves level two minutes from time, after Martin Harvey conceded a corner when challenging Bryan “Pop” Robson.

Jimmy Smith picked up Stewart Barrowclough’s short corner and lifted the ball high into the box, with Moncur rising to head past Jimmy Montgomery from close range.

Argus wrote in the Echo: “There was enough derby atmosphere to keep the play lively, and while Newcastle did most of the forcing in the first half, without being able to crack a resourceful defence, Sunderland had much the better in the second and could well have had more than a single goal to show for it.”

NEWCASTLE: McFaul, Craig, Guthrie, Young, McNamee, Moncur, Barrowclough, Robson, Davies (Hindson), Smith, Foggon (Nattrass).

SUNDERLAND: Montgomery, Irwin, Harvey, Todd, Pitt, Porterfield (Park), Chambers (Horswill), Kerr, Hughes, Harris, Tueart.

Newcastle 0 Sunderland 2

August 6, 1975

Sunderland took great delight from victory over First Division Newcastle – no matter that it was a pre-season Anglo-Scottish Cup tie.

The Rokermen, about to embark on a tremendous campaign which ended with the Second Division championship, deservedly claimed a 2-0 St James’s success, with Jeff Clarke a stand-out performer in central defence, with his commanding aerial form proving too much for the hosts.

Bobby Kerr and Dennis Longhorn impressed in midfield, while ex-Magpie Tommy Gibb’s desire to score against his former club was obvious. He went close to a super goal only to be denied by a classy, one-handed save by Willie McFaul.

Sunderland led from the 35th minute when Bryan “Pop” Robson, facing his former club, intercepted a pass from Glenn Keeley to Geoff Nulty and set up a shooting chance for Kerr. McFaul covered the Scot’s strike, but he spilled it and Robson, alert as ever, pounced to score.

Vic Halom doubled the advantage in style with a fierce header from Longhorn’s left-wing free-kick, following a foul by Irving Nattrass on Ian Porterfield.

Argus commented: “There is always a sense of satisfaction for Sunderland when they play winning football against Newcastle United, no matter what sort of label the game carries. But there had to be reservations in view of the moderate performance by United.”

NEWCASTLE: McFaul, Nattrass, Nulty, Howard, Keeley, Hibbitt, Cannell, Cassidy, Macdonald, Gowling, Bruce.

SUNDERLAND: Swinburne, Ashurst, Bolton, Gibb, Clarke, Moncur, Kerr, Longhorn (Finney), Halom, Robson, Porterfield.

Newcastle 2 Sunderland 0

December 26, 1976

Newcastle took the lead in the Tyne-Wear derby record books with a 37th win in the 101st match – with Sunderland having only themselves to blame.

The Red and Whites slumped to a fifth successive First Division defeat, a run with just one goal scored by Jimmy Adamson’s men, despite creating as many chances as the home team.

Newcastle, sitting fifth in the table, were firmly held in check by a competent Sunderland defence and an industrious midfield formation which denied them time and space.

But the visitors struggled up front, with 17-year-old Alan Brown the pick of the bunch alongside moderate performances from Billy Hughes and Bob Lee.

Brown sliced wide when clear with his best chance, while Gary Rowell’s best effort was smothered by keeper Mike Mahoney, and Hughes squandered a good opportunity in Sunderland’s best spell.

In contrast, Newcasle stormed ahead on 40 minutes when Mickey Burns swept over a cross from the left and Paul Cannell met it with a spectacular diving header which flashed past Barry Siddall.

Lee, set up by Brown’s vision, wasted an excellent chance to level before Adamson acted, bringing on Tim Gilbert for his debut and throwing Jeff Clarke up front in a change of tactics.

Clarke went close in the final minute, angling a drive narrowly wide, but Sunderland were already two behind at that point, with Wearside-born Alan Kennedy spinning quickly to fire home from a very acute angle after Siddall’s excellent save to deny Alan Gowling on 81 minutes.

Argus commented: “If Sunderland, in defeat, looked a moderate side, then United were little better. Yet, between them, they gave a 48,400 crowd a lot of excitement and incident.”

NEWCASTLE: Mahoney, Nattrass, Kennedy, Cassidy, McCaffery, Nulty, Barrowclough, Cannell, Burns, Gowling, Craig.

SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Malone, Bolton, Towers, Clarke, Holton, Kerr, Hughes, Lee (Gilbert), Brown, Rowell.

Newcastle 1 Sunderland 4

February 24, 1979

Glorious Gary Rowell’s greatest day left Newcastle reeling, as a magnificent derby hat-trick kept Sunderland within three points of top spot in Division Two.

The Seaham-born homegrown star’s memorable treble – his first in the league – led the way in the most one-sided Tyne-Wear derby in many years, with Newcastle escaping lightly with a 4-1 drubbing, such was the blue-shirted visitors’ dominance.

Rowell looked a class act all over the park, and even had a hand in Sunderland’s fourth goal, scored by striker Wayne Entwistle.

Rowell needed only six minutes to make the breakthrough, with Jeff Clarke launching a free-kick from the Sunderland half into the box, Gordon Chisholm heading down and Rowell beating keeper Steve Hardwick to the ball to touch it home.

Sunderland kept up their relentless start and doubled the led on 25 minutes with a tremendous goal. Kevin Arnott’s beautifully judged pass left Rowell in the clear. Running clear with only Hardwick to beat, Rowell left the goalie stranded with a cleverly placed chip to send the visiting fans wild.

John Connolly gave Newcastle a lifeline, pulling a goal back five minutes into the second half, sending a fierce header just inside the post from Nigel Walker’s cross.

But rampant Sunderland quickly regained the initiative and Rowell completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot on 62 minutes, after sub Kenny Mitchell chopped down marauding full-back Mick Henderson.

Sunderland maintained their control until the end, adding a fourth goal on 71 minutes when the tricky Rowell centred from the right, Hardwick failed to cut it out and Entwistle made sure, although the ball might well have crossed the line anyway.

Argus enthused: “Sunderland had the edge all the way through. They had the power in defence and midfield and, of course, where it mattered most in turning command into goals, they had Gary Rowell.

“His cool, professional attitude was both lesson and inspiration to everyone.

“Rowell’s pride in his own achievement was certainly shared by his dad, Jack, himself a former Sunderland player, who was still jumping for joy long after the game had finished.”

NEWCASTLE: Hardwick, Brownlie, Nattrass, Martin, Bird, Blackley (Mitchell), Shoulder, Walker, Withe, Hibbitt, Connolly.

SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Henderson, Bolton, Arnott (Docherty), Clarke, Elliott, Chisholm, Rostron, Entwistle, Lee, Rowell.

Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2

September 5, 1979

Sunderland enjoyed another joyous trip to St James’s Park less than seven months later.

Following a 2-2 Roker Park draw, the Wearsiders forced another draw in the second leg of their League Cup tie before progressing 7-6 in the club’s dramatic first ever penalty shoot-out.

Yet there was no sign of the ensuing excitement in a tight first half, with Barry Siddall, in Sunderland’s goal, forced to make fine stops to deny Peter Withe and Gary Nicholson. Jim Pearson also headed against the Rokermen’s bar.

But Sunderland silenced the home support by going ahead on 74 minutes from Wilf Rostron’s free-kick, with Alan Brown knocking the ball up and directing his header just inside the post from an almost impossible angle.

Stuart Boam’s headed flick from an equally acute angle levelled matters, then Newcastle looked through when Alan Shoulder nodded in after Mick Martin flicked on Terry Hibbitt’s 84th minute corner.

Deep in injury time, though, Sunderland equalised, with Brown beating Boam to Jeff Clarke’s long ball and coolly turning inside to score with a magnificent right-foot drive wide of Steve Hardwick’s right hand.

Extra time failed to produce a winner, though Brown was close to a hat-trick and Bryan “Pop” Robson headed a Mick Buckley cross against the post, then the shoot-out had the nerves jangling on both sides.

Though Gary Rowell had been substituted, Robson, Rostron, Buckley, Jackie Ashurst, Steve Whitworth, Gordon Chisholm and finally, two-goal hero Brown all converted for Sunderland, with Siddall saving at the seventh attempt, defying Jim Pearson, to clinch an unforgettable win.

NEWCASTLE: Hardwick, Brownlie, Davies, Martin, Barton, Boam, Shoulder, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson (Cartwright).

SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Whitworth, Bolton, Clarke, Elliott, Ashurst, Buckley, Rostron, Brown, Robson, Rowell (Chisholm).