Tuesday, August 2, 2011

English Leagues the 70s: Leeds Sunderland FA Cup 1972 1973

5 May 1973
Wembley Stadium,

Referee Ken Burns
Attendance 100,000

 Sundeland became the first Division Two side lo win the FA Cup for 42 years when they beat Leeds 1-0 at Wembley, and at the end manager Bob Slokoe ran on to the field straight into the arms of keeper Jim Montgomery. For "Monty" had made a double save midway through the second half that denied Leeds when an equalizer seemed inevitable, with one of the most remarkable pieces of goalkeeping ever seen. Before the match, Sunderland were given no chance. Leeds were the Cup-holders, had finished third in fhe League and were in the final of the European Cup-Winners' Cup. They were a mean side and had seen it all before. Sunderland, though, had a tremendous Wearside following and, as their Cup run progressed, they became infected by the fanaticism of a wonderful crowd. And the manner in which they had beaten Arsenal in the semi-final should have been a warning. At Wembley, they matched Leeds in spirit and showed no little skill. But it was still a shock when they look the lead through Ian Porterfield in the 52nd minute from their first corner. Leeds proceeded to grind away at Sunderland, yet the individual flair that might have made the breakthrough appears to have been sacrificed in this side for the sake of "professionalism".

It seemed, however, that they had finally cracked the Sunderland defence after 65 minutes. Right-back Beaney crossed a long ball to the far post where his partner Cherry had stolen up on the blind side. It looked a certain score as Cherry launched himself at the ball, met it perfectly with his head, and sent it hurtling towards the opposite corner of the goal. Montgomery, whose handling of the ball hitherto had been far from perfect, twisted in mid-air lo parry the ball, bill only on to the lethal right foot of Peter Lorimer. From six yards out, the Leeds winger lashed the ball towards the invitingly unguarded net, but somehow "Monty" managed to lift himself up and deflect the ball on to the bar and eventual safety. This miracle reprieve gave his team-males fresh heart, and planted the seeds of doubt in their opponents. With Horswill, a talented and impudent slip of a lad, and the intelligent Porlerfield continuing to subdue Bremner and Giles, Sunderland firmly retained midfield control. So although the tremendous effort of Hughes, Halom and Tuearl in the first hour began lo take its toll of stamina in the closing stages, Sunderland never really looked like surrendering the initiative. And as Leeds desperately overreached themselves in the tense final minutes Sunderland counter-attacked and very nearly scored again with Harvey making a splendid save from Halom. Sunderland's victory was the most popular at Wembley since the "Matthews final" 20 year ago, not so much because they were the underdogs, but because they emphasized, by beating Leeds, the apostles of cold efficiency, lhat there is no substitute even in the commercial world of modern soccer, for flair, imagination and spirit.

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First Half


Second Half


 Sunderland's previous efforts cut little mustard with the bookies, as Leeds rrived at Wembley the hottest final
favourites in years. Any post-mortem on Don Revie may well have found a single word impressed on his heart - Montgomery. This was not as embarrassing as Colchester, nor as important as the European Cup defeats by Celtic or Bayern Munich. But for anyone searching for an epitome of Leeds' propensity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it came twenty minutes from the end of this pulsating match. Against the odds, Leeds were still a goal down but such was their dominance of the second-half that the breaching of Sunderland's defence seemed only a matter of time. Paul Reaney's cross picked out Trevor Cherry, stealing behind the right-flank, whose downward header brought a full-stretch save from Jim Montgomery. His efforts looked in vain, as his parry fell into the path of an advancing Lorimer. The man with the thunderbolt right foot, instead of burying the chance with a trademark bullet, chose to take the ball on his instep. A back-pedalling Montgomery spotted a sliver of salvation, and twisted in mid-air to parry against the bar. Commentators, crowd and players seemed momentarily frozen, unable to fathom what had taken place. It took a slow-motion replay to highlight the extent of  Montgomery's heroics.

At that moment, the game changed. Leeds sensed their chance had gone, and the remaining twenty minutes ebbed away in a mixture of disjointed attack, frenzied clearances and unbearable tension. Sunderland's lead was earned after a spirited performance in die first half-hour. In the first minute, rookie defender Richie Pitt left Allan well have been sent off. His tackle served to distract the Leeds striker, who spent die rest of the game seeking revenge rather than the ball. His only contribution was a booking after flooring Sunderland captain Bobby Kerr. On thirty-two minutes the first major turning point in the game arrived. A corner from Kerr eluded Watson's head but rebounded from Halom's chest to Ian Porterfield.The former Raith Rovers man smashed the ball home from ten yards. The rest was all about Montgomery. Such was the cacophony of Wearsiders whistling at the death that
Ken Burns's final blast was barely heard. It sparked a frenzy of disbelieving celebration, capped by Bob Stokoe's dash across the pitch to embrace his keeper. The manager's Midas touch had taken Sunderland from relegation candidates to a creditable sixth place in Division Two. It is for this day, though, that his name became  forged in Sunderland folklore.



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