stan cummins

Game of the Day: Liverpool 0 SAFC 1

by Kate Smith

Cummins ensures safety in final day clash at Anfield.

2nd May 1981

Almost 10,000 Sunderland fans made the trip to Liverpool on the final day of the 1980-81 campaign as the Black Cats' fate hung in the balance depending on the game's final result.

Two teams had already been relegated from the First Division and it had went down to the final day of the season to see which team would occupy that third and final relegation spot, with Sunderland, Brighton and Norwich all in the running.

The Lads had the uphill task of taking on Liverpool in their own backyard and despite not challenging for League honours the Reds were in the finals of the European Cup.

Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness and Ray Clemence lined up for Liverpool, alongside Ian Rush who was in his maiden season at the club.

Stan Cummins fired the only goal of the game just after the half hour mark, his shot triggered scenes of delerium amongst the Sunderland fans, followed by a nailbiting second half as the Lads hung on to gain their first victory at Anfield in 20 years and guaranteed Division One football the following season.

Kennedy went close for Liverpool but was denied by the woodwork, come full time Sunderland's travelling fans were in raptures after surviving the threat of relegation, without having to worry about results elsewhere.

Later that month Liverpool were victorious in the European Cup Final, when future Sunderland star Alan Kennedy's goal was enough to see off Real Madrid.

Forward Cummins was named as Sunderland's Player of the Year for 1981 and also the North-East of England Outfield Player of the Year for 1981. He was also the only Sunderland player to play in all 46 League and Cup games that season.

Liverpool: Clemence, Neal, Money, Irwin, Kennedy (Ray), Hansen, Gayle, Lee Rush, McDermott, Souness
Sub: Russell

Sunderland: Siddall, Hinnigan, Bolton, Hindmarch, Elliott, Rowell, Chilsolm, Buckley, Ritchie, Brown, Cummins
Sub: Allardyce