CITY 2 SUNDERLAND 2
F.A. Cup 5th Round
24th February 1973
City Towers(15), Montgomery(72 og.)
Sunderland Horswill(36), Hughes(69)
Ref R Tinkler
City Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Jeffries, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh, Lee, Towers – used sub Mellor
Sunderland Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Hughes, Kerr, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart – sub Chambers(unused)
from DENNIS TUEART – MY FOOTBALL JOURNEY By Dennis Tueart … I wouldn’t have missed what happened at Sunderland for the world, but our encounters with City in the FA Cup opened my eyes to what it must be like to play for a top club.
… By the time we came to play them though, it had been three years since they’d won any silverware, and Malcolm was under pressure. In the papers that week, he boasted of what his side was going to do to us, and of how we wouldn’t be able to live with City and their attacking force, but it seemed to me a bit desperate.
… There were 55,000 inside Maine Road that afternoon, and I know that this would be the biggest game of my career to date. The ‘Match of the Day’ cameras were there, and I felt that at 23, this was my big chance to perform on the big stage. Bob urged us to go out and enjoy ourselves, and to play our naturally attacking game.
… Allison had said that because his team had knocked out Liverpool the round before, ‘little’ Sunderland wouldn’t offer too much of a threat. His ‘little Sunderland’ jibes certainly fired us up. It was a freezing day and just up the road in Salford, United’s game had been called off, so a lot of Old Trafford regulars travelled to Maine Road to support us. You could hear the chant of “Sunderland United” through the game.
City put us under huge pressure in the first few minutes. Mike Doyle fed Tony Towers and he scored. Rodney Marsh was doing his usual thing, indulging himself with the odd flick here, the occasional nutmeg there, but his tricks came to very little, and when City failed to put daylight between them and us we got stronger and stronger as a unit. Several of our players really came of age that day, and our midfielder Micky Horswill was definitely one of those.
I went in hard on their goalie, Joe Corrigan, when I chased a loose ball. From the resultant free-kick Corrigan passed the ball to Derek Jeffries on the edge of the box, who didn’t really want it there, and Micky steamed through and nabbed the ball before firing into the roof of Corrigan’s net. City were rocked back on their heels.
Bob did his usual thing at half-time, urging us to carry on the way we were playing and telling us that if we plugged away our just reward would come. When it did, the manner of it surprised everyone. City were trying really hard to press their home advantage and carried on knocking it deep. When one of their moves broke down, Dick Malone quickly knocked the ball out to me in midfield, Maine Road had the largest pitch in the country in those days, and the space really seemed to open up for me. I spotted Billy Hughes galloping forward and nudged it in his direction, we’d broken away so fast that no-one was up to support Billy, although Vic Hallom, desperately trying to keep pace with him, was streaming forward as quickly as he could. Billy twisted past City defender Derek Jeffries, teased him left then right, and unleashed a fire cracker into Corrigan’s net. It was nothing less than we deserved, and I could see City players shooting each other nervous glances. They knew they were in a fight.
Late on, from a City corner Monty struggled to get sight of Summerbee’s cross. Marsh was standing in his way. Even in those days, when you could get away with a lot more on the pitch than you can today, I knew that Rodney was breaking the rules, and the ref should have blown up with the ball in mid -flight. But he didn’t, and Monty could only palm Summerbee’s corner into the roof of the net. 2-2. City didn’t celebrate too hard. I think they knew they’d got out of jail, and the ref blew up soon afterwards.
To the familiar strain of the ‘Blaydon Races” from their loyal fans Sunderland, from the Second Division, shook First Division City to snatch a surprise draw. But Jim Montgomery had not somehow managed to rob Rodney Marsh of his due reward with a fantastic 3rd minute save it might have been a different story.
Even so, City squandered the advantage of an early lead from Tony Towers, who rammed home a powerful shot which left Montgomery helpless.
Just before the break a tragic error by Joe Corrigan handed the “Geordies” a gift equaliser Corrigan tried to find Willie Donachie with a free-kick and Mickey Horswill nipped in to lob the ball over Corrigan’s head into the net. In the second-half Montgomery was magnificent. He twice saved from Francis Lee and from Mike Doyle before Sunderland went ahead in the 67th minute.
City were committed to attacking and Dennis Tueart found Billy Hughes with a defence- splitting pass. Derek Jeffries made a desperate but unsuccessful tackle on Hughes and the Sunderland man raced on to beat Corrigan with a low shot.
City forced an equaliser in the 71st minute with a tragic own-goal from hero Montgomery. Mike Summerbee’s low curling corner had the Sunderland ‘keeper in two minds and with Marsh breathing down his neck he lost the ball and it trickled into the net.
‘Memorable Match’ published in the City programme 26th September 1979
I don’t remember much about the first game just that it was very intense and Sunderland had brought nine or ten thousand fans but I can’t remember scoring the goal at all. I can’t remember why I was sent off either, I think it was something to do with Micky Horswill. I thought that both of us should have got sent off. I was waiting for him coming down the tunnel and he didn’t come, I couldn’t believe it! But that was the game then, it was rough and tumble.
THE THOUGHTS OF TONY TOWERS ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE SUNDERLAND PROGRAMME 12TH APRIL 2008