Cult Heroes: David Corner - Why Didn't He Put It In Row Z!?

The FA Cup provides a nice break from the rigours of the Premier League at probably just about the right time this weekend. The momentum that we have picked up since Martin's triumphant arrival has been nothing short of staggering but has not come without a price and a number of the lads will be given a well deserved rest you'd imagine.

Peterborough United provide the opposition in a glamorous enough tie for ITV to stump up the cash for the rights to televise the Sunday afternoon clash in a game that has all the hallmarks of being a decent encounter between the two sides.

So as we look forward to the romance of the Cup here on Roker Report we take a moment to look back, as is customary, at a player that represented both sides. In keeping with the Cup competition theme, today's entrant into the RR Cult Heroes Hall of Fame is a man that made his name in another cup competition, although not for quite the all the right reasons...

With Jack Colback currently doing a fine job within the modern day Sunderland setup we cast our mind back to another red-headed lad who was left red-faced in one of the biggest games in modern(ish) SAFC history - the 1985 Milk Cup Final.

David Corner was a local lad living the dream we all share, plying his trade as a defender at Roker Park in the mid nineteen-eighties. David made a handful of appearances for the side, making his debut against Nottingham Forest in a defeat to Nottingham Forest in 1984, before his real chance came at the expense of Shaun Elliot on the biggest of stages - Wembley in the Milk Cup Final against Norwich City.

At the time Len Ashurst had his Sunderland side drilled into a five man defensive system, often utlising a sweeper but rather than shake things up following the suspension of Elliott, Len instead entrusted his young defender corner with a role in that back line, only his fifth appearance for the lads.

The moment that no Sunderland fan that witnessed the game will forget came in the first half, the defining moment of not only the game itself but of young Corner's career. David attempted to keep a ball in play early in the second half that really, no definitely, should have just been put into the stands to allow Sunderland to regroup. Instead Corner's mistake led to Norwich's goal, an Asa Hartford shot which beat Chris Turner at his near post via a deflection off Gordon Chisholm. Disaster for young Corner.

"It was a great honour for me to be playing for my hometown club in a national final, but I have to hold my hands up and say the goal was my fault."

To be fair to Corner he wasn't the only one to have a bad day at the office that afternoon as SAFC squandered an opportunity to draw level in the second half when we were awarded a penalty after Norwich defender Dennis Van Wijk handled the ball in the area. Clive Walker stepped up and missed the subsequent spot kick, firing his shot wide of the goalkeeper's left-hand post.

David's Sunderland career never really recovered from that afternoon at Wembley and he found first team football hard to come by. Corner spent the 1985/86 season in Division Three on loan with Cardiff, before returning to Roker Park the following term. The 1986/87 season was more profitable for the defender as he made seventeen appearances and managed to get himself on the score sheet.

Corner's link to Sunday's FA Cup opponent's Peterborough arose during the 1987/88 season as he joined the then Division Four side on loan. David starred in nine games for The Posh, making his debut in a 1-0 away win over Exeter City in March of 1988.

Despite being reminded on a daily basis of "that mistake" Corner can now look back on that incident in good humour and can be found regaling his tale at the Stadium of Light as part of the "Legends Talk-ins" that the club host.

"As a local lad I would have been at the games supporting my team anyway, but to have the opportunity to pull on the red and white shirt was an honour"

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