clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

On This Day (28 January 1983): Sunderland make the most of their mid-season break!

Sunderland’s players had some spare time on their hands, but they were kept ticking over with a trip to the coast.

The 1982-83 squad, as seen in Sunderland AFC: The Absolute Record

The FA Cup third round over the course of the first weekend in January is one of the highlights of the English football calendar, but the final weekend of the month can sometimes be a write off if you’ve ended up being knocked out of the competition.

Clubs will often use it as an excuse for a warm weather training jaunt these days, but in 1983 such idea would have seemed preposterous.

A somewhat lower key change of scenery was still on the cards for the Sunderland players however, with Alan Durban looking to make the most of the time off afforded to the club after being narrowly beaten by Manchester City in a replay two weeks earlier.

Nick Pickering’s burst led to the breakthrough on this day. Photo from the 1982-83 Swansea City edition of the SAFC match day programme.

The boss opted to take his squad off for a short spell in the north-west, during which he had arranged to use Blackpool’s training facilities before rounding things off with a friendly at Bolton Wanderers; Second Division Bolton were managed by Durban’s old Derby County teammate John McGovern, and the match duly took place 40 years ago today.

Both managers claimed beforehand that this would be a competitive outing, and whilst in truth the game rarely set the pulses racing amongst the sparse Burnden Park crowd there were still one or two plus points for the Rokermen.

The big bonus was seeing talisman Frank Worthington get through the full 90 back at his old stomping ground. The veteran had been forced to sit out several recent training sessions as he attempted to manage an ankle injury, but his work rate pleased the gaffer ahead of the upcoming league fixture against Coventry City.

The Lads would be going into that match on the back of a win too, having been the better side against the Trotters throughout.

The hosts struggled to cope with the pace of Ally McCoist and Stan Cummins and saw the majority of the chances fall to the Wearsiders. Recent new arrival Leighton James put in a wonderful corner that saw Gordon Chisholm go close and there were strong penalty claims when future Sunderland stopper Seamus McDonagh clashed with McCoist as they both looked to get to a through ball.

Former Sunderland defender Steve Whitworth, seen here in All the Lads, played for Bolton in the match.

Chisholm meanwhile looked composed at the other end, playing at the heart of an unfamiliar defence.

Durban had given some fringe names an opportunity to get minutes under their belt and these included both Rob Hindmarch and youth prospect Mick Whitfield; the pair slotted into the back four well and after going 1-0 up early in the second half they were able to keep Bolton at bay.

The goal came after Sunderland’s other defender, left back Nick Pickering, had raced up field in possession.

His original cross was only half cleared and when he put the ball back across the face of goal it deflected in off Mike Doyle – it was slightly fortunate, but it was enough to secure the victory and rounded off a worthwhile mini tour very nicely indeed.

It was soon followed up with three points against Coventry once back on Wearside as well, meaning that the spare weekend had been put to some good at least.

Friday 28 January 1983


Bolton Wanderers 0

Sunderland 1 (Doyle o.g. 48)

Sunderland: Turner; Whitfield, Chisholm, Hindmarsh, Pickering; Buckley, Atkins, Worthington, James; Cummins (Cooke 70), McCoist (Wardrobe 61).

Burnden Park, attendance 1,922


Reader’s Corner: Letting go of being cynical about Sunderland


What would be a good return from Sunderland’s games this week?


Talking Tactics - Sheffield Wednesday (A)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report