Having started the 1957/58 campaign in shocking style, Alan Brown’s Sunderland side headed off to Birmingham in search of a much-needed victory - particularly since we had yet to win a game away from home since the season began.
There had been some terrible away defeats in October - a 7-0 loss at Blackpool, a 6-0 loss at Burnley, and two friendlies against Middlesbrough (2-0) and Millwall (4-0) - and a disappointing 3-3 draw at Hillsborough where we conceded a goal in the final minute.
The Birmingham game saw Sunderland approach the occasion with a freshness - namely, by handing a debut to 24-year-old Irish midfielder Ambrose Fogarty, who arrived at the club following an impressive spell with Glentoran.
Brown had hoped the inclusion of Fogarty would spark his side into life - and whilst they still struggled immensely to keep goals out away from home, they did have enough in the tank to help get a positive result, and earn the elusive two points that had escaped his side since the First Division began at the end of August.
The Lads got off to the best possible start, when eventual Leeds United and England manager Don Revie notched the first goal of the game in the opening minute - Stan Anderson moving the ball inside to Alan O’Neill, who pushed it back to Revie, who then left the Birmingham defenders standing before lashing an unstoppable first time shot into the top left hand corner of the net.
Birmingham pressed on for an equaliser and immediately created chance after chance - eventually making one of them count in the 8th minute through Peter Murphy, smashing one past Willie Fraser in the Sunderland goal after a quick free kick was taken by Alex Govan.
Sunderland never gave up, though, and Revie once again hit the back of the net - this time, in the 20th minute, with a well-taken header that was totally misjudged by Brum goalie Merrick.
The Lads carried on grafting hard and went into the break ahead - though a half-time rollicking from Birmingham boss Arthur Turner sparked his side right back into life after the interval, and it was the home side that got the next goal of the game.
Gordon Astall’s free kick into a dangerous area was eventually stuck into the net by Govan, drawing Brum level and adding to the excitement of the game.
Sunderland persisted in looking to get back ahead, and were eventually rewarded after a fine run from Colin Grainger at pace saw him deliver an excellent pinpoint cross to the feet of Northern Ireland legend Billy Bingham, who shot beyond Merrick and into the net.
Sunderland had to defend well in the latter stages of the game, under the floodlights, and were a touch fortunate right before the end when Orritt hit the crossbar for The Blues.
Not that it mattered to much to Brown and his men - they got the elusive victory on the road, and had hoped it would inspire them into better form and better fortunes.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
The Rokermen struggled through the season, never climbing higher than 16th in the table, and were eventually relegated on the final day. Sadly, not even the great Stan Anderson and Charlie Hurley were able to inspire this insipid Sunderland side to greatness that season!