1973 FA Cup win

Game of the Day Special

Published:
by Ashley Houghton

There's only one candidate for today's top match!

Sunderland 1 Leeds United 0

5th May 1973

No Second Division side had won the Cup for more than 40 years and none of the 'expert' observers, and few even of the romantics - outside Sunderland - gave the Black Cats anything but the faintest hope of winning.

Leeds were a team made up of ten international players, and they came to Wembley as Cup holders for their third final in four years.

Sunderland were up against some of the era’s biggest names; Billy Bremner, Jonny Giles, Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer managed by former Sunderland player Don Revie.

The Wearside outfit came from the Second Division, and when their new manager Bob Stokoe took over during the season, they were third from bottom.

Sunderland, with Horswill and Porterfield already prominent in midfield, were quick in tackling and intercepting on a greasy Wembley surface.

Leeds were still dominant in their attacking play; Giles’ passing range was arguably the best in the game but they were wasteful when opportunities fell their way.

Chances were few and far between for the holders as Dave Watson, Dick Malone, Ritchie Pitt and Bobby Kerr all fought for the cause in an authoritative manner.

Leeds’ best chance to open the scoring fell to Allan Clarke, but he was thwarted by an excellent last ditch tackle from Watson.

Billy Hughes and Vic Halom worked tirelessly to create opportunities for the underdogs but Norman Hunter was at his steely best.

That was until Sunderland broke the deadlock on the half hour after Kerr’s strike was pushed over by David Harvey to earn the Black Cats a corner.

Hughes’ corner fell to Porterfield and, with admirable composure he killed the ball on his left thigh and swung to hit it powerfully home with his right foot.

Then, with 20 minutes to go, came arguably the best save in Wembley history. Paul Reaney’s centre was met by Trevor Cherry with a diving header across goal.

Montgomery flew to reach it with his left hand and palmed it away - straight into the path of Peter Lorimer, who hit it with full force into what appeared to be the empty goalmouth. Miraculously, Montgomery twisted, changed direction and diverted the ball on to the underside of the bar before it bounced clear.

Sunderland had to battle out until the end as Montgomery made further saves from Bremner, Terry Yorath and Cherry.

The Black Cats could have doubled their advantage in the closing stages as Harvey plucked Vic Halom’s shot from within inches of the top corner.

The lead wasn’t increased but Sunderland did hold out for their finest hour, sparking memorable scenes of manager Stokoe running straight to his goalkeeper Montgomery to embrace the stopper in one of the supreme moments in Sunderland history.

Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart.

Sub not used: Young

Leeds United: Harvey, Reaney, Cherry, Bremner, Madeley, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray (Yorath, 75).