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Alan Brown Sunderland 1979

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On This Day (05 September 1979): Tyne-Wear League Cup clash comes to a dramatic conclusion!

It’s still to this day the only time the two sides have met in the League Cup and on this day in 1979 the tie came to a dramatic conclusion...

Photo by Danny Brannigan/Hulton Archive


Not really sure what the reaction would be in the current day if we were drawn against the mags in the cup - but it’s a different world now isn’t it?

Back at the start of the 1979-80 season, however, the two clubs were pretty much on an equal footing. Both looking to return to the top flight having dropped back into the Second Division over recent years and in essence, we were rivals who were likely to be fighting it out for promotion as well as traditional local ones.

It was a week after the first leg at Roker, where 27,658 were in attendance to see late drama unfold into a 2-2 draw to give Newcastle United an advantage going into the second leg by bagging two away goals.

If you need to catch up on all the action from the first leg before we get to the conclusion of the second leg - get up to speed here before carrying on any further.

Unlike the week before there was no goal in the early stages this time around, and in actual fact, not much goalmouth action to speak of before the break. If any side had the edge it was probably the home side and Barry Siddall was required to make a couple of useful stops to deny Withe and Nicholson, but other than brief flashes the first half was cagey and lacked any form of real excitement.

The second half began much the same, other than Jim Pearson rattling the Sunderland bar with a header soon after the interval to give the Lads an early scare, but with around fifteen minutes left on the clock, the game suddenly burst into life.

A Wilf Rostron free-kick from the right hand side of the area found the head of Alan Brown, and from a seemingly impossible angle, he managed to find the far corner of the net to put the Lads back in the driving seat of the tie once again.

This position of superiority would, however, only last six minutes, when Stuart Boam levelled the game but once again to give Newcastle the advantage, with Boam’s equaliser being another header from a difficult angle.

Both sides were now in full cup-tie mode and knew that another goal would completely change the complexion of the game in the final stages - and it did.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Sunderland Photocall
Jeff Clarke
Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland appeared down and out when, with six minutes left of the regulation ninety, Alan Shoulder scored the third headed goal of the game to put Newcastle 4-3 up on aggregate.

If Sunderland were to get back into the tie there would be the need for late drama, and in typical fashion we left it as late as we possibly could.

In the second minute of injury time, Jeff Clarke punted the ball forward more in hope than anything else. But once it landed at the feet of Alan Brown, he produced a piece of magic by cutting inside to beat the scorer of Newcastle’s first goal, Stuart Boam, before driving it beyond Steve Hardwick in the Newcastle goal.

2-2. 4-4 on aggregate. Newcastle’s away goal advantage had now been wiped out.

But there was almost time for another twist before the need for extra time. With the very last kick of injury time, Peter Withe missed a great chance when his shot could only find the side netting of Barry Siddall’s goal.

Steve Whitworth Sunderland 1979
Alan Brown
Photo by Danny Brannigan/Hulton Archive

The miss meant the game went into extra-time, where the Lads were unlucky not to take the lead once again on the night and on aggregate.

Alan Brown failed to complete his hat-trick with a good chance and ‘Pop’ Robson went even closer when he saw his goal-bound header come back off the inside of the post when it seemed destined for the back of the net.

Extra-time failed to break the deadlock and this meant one thing - penalties.

It’s easy to forget, but back in 1979 the penalty shootout was still a new element of the game that people were accustomed to. In fact, this was Sunderland’s first-ever penalty shootout in a competitive fixture.

To put it in perspective, the first penalty shoot-out in the FA Cup didn’t take place for another twelve years (October 1991 when Rotherham knocked Scunthorpe United out in the first round if you’re interested).

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Sunderland Photocall - Roker Park
Barry Siddall
Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Our chance of success in the shoot-out had also taken a dent by the substitution of our main penalty taker Gary Rowell, who made way for Gordon Chisholm in the first period of extra-time. But, as he did on so many occasions, ‘Pop’ Robson stepped up to get the Lads off the mark.

Rostron, Buckley, Ashurst and Whitworth tucked away Sunderland next four penalties meaning we’d scored five from five, but unfortunately so did the home side, which meant sudden death.

The substitute Gordon Chisholm tucked home our sixth, with David Barton replying likewise for Newcastle, then Alan Brown smashed home the seventh to put us 7-6 ahead and score the thirteenth successive penalty without anybody failing from the spot.

Jim Pearson was next up for the mags and as he attempted to place into the right side of the goal, Barry Siddall was there to make the all-important save that meant Sunderland had won the tie.

Siddall did what every goalkeeper has done since in penalty shoot-outs and celebrated like he’d just scored the winner and was joined by his teammates and we were through to take on Malcolm Allison’s Manchester City in the third round.


Wednesday 5th September, 1979

Football League Cup

Second Round, Second-Leg

St James’ Park

Newcastle United 2-2 Sunderland (aet)

(4-4 on aggregate - Sunderland won 7-6 on penalties)

[Boam 80’, Shoulder 84’ - Brown 74’, 90’]

Sunderland: Siddall, Whitworth, Bolton, Clarke, Elliott, Ashurst, Buckley, Rostron, Rowell (Chisholm), Robson, Brown

Newcastle United: Hardwick, Brownlie, Davies, Martin, Barton, Boam, Shoulder, Pearson, Withe, Hibbitt, Nicholson (Cartwright)

Attendance: 30,553



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