The great Everton centre-forward Dixie Dean was on Wearside on this day almost a century ago, but even he, one of the greatest marksmen to have played the game, struggled to keep pace with Sunderland that afternoon as they blitzed the Toffees at Roker Park.
The Merseysiders had arrived on Wearside at midnight according to the press back in Liverpool and their side had been picked by the Goodison ‘Selection Committee’. With usual stopper Jack Kendall, who coincidentally had turned 20 the day before, out with an injury recently sustained at Birmingham they handed a Football League debut to Charles Menham – a talented amateur who often answered to the name Gordon.
Remarkably given the score line that was to come, Menham was said to have performed well. He made several impressive interventions and had little chance with the attempts he conceded, the first coming via a fine shot from Charlie Parker with less than ten minutes gone. Everton then levelled when Dean put away a difficult chance and although they finished up well beaten in the end, the visitors managed to make a game of it until the final quarter of the match.
Both Menham and his opposite number Albert McInroy were kept busy as the two sides went full pelt, and even when Sunderland nudged ahead again after Billy Ellis had set up Bobby Marshall, they were soon pegged back for a second time. On this occasion, it was Alec Troup scoring from an acute angle, and once he had equalised the Toffees tried to lift the tempo further still.
Dean and Wilf Chadwick had long range efforts whistle just wide and when their aggressive tactics paid off Everton temporarily looked set to inflict a first home defeat of the season on Robert Kyle’s side. Troup earned himself a brace in the early minutes of the second half to put his team ahead for the first time, but from then on it was one way traffic in the Lads’ favour, Dave Halliday leading the charge at first and having a shot ruled out for offside.
Already in the goals during his first year at the club, Halliday was not to be denied. He headed in his first of the match when Ellis once again provided an assist, and it wasn’t long before Jack Prior teed up Stan Ramsay. 4-3 now, and whilst Halliday then struck wide amidst a goalmouth scramble, he quickly found the target again as he dodged both Jock McDonald and Menham and played the ball over their heads into the goal.
Sunderland now had a more comfortable advantage and in the last ten minutes were able to put a sheen on things, aided no doubt by Everton’s William Brown being forced to come off in the final moments through injury. Billy Clunas tucked the ball away from the penalty spot and although Jack O’Donnell cleared Arthur Andrews’ powerful shot off the line it was only a temporary reprieve, with Marshall’s second again coming courtesy of an Ellis cross.
Going to Roker at this point was proving to be an exciting choice for spectators; this victory made it five wins out of five on home soil, with a whopping 25 goals scored despite the departure of Wearside favourite Charlie Buchan at the end of the previous campaign. A press article on the following Monday was bemoaning the general downwards trend in terms of goals over the last few weeks, with 194 seen in the Football League on the 28th of September, 148 on the 3rd of October and then 128 on the 10th but nobody could point the finger at Sunderland.
They had certainly done their bit, and whilst Buchan was also on the scoresheet on this day as his new club Arsenal lost to Bolton Wanderers even the best – both he and Dean – couldn’t fail but be impressed by the firepower of the men in red and white.
Saturday 10 October 1925
Football League Division One
Sunderland 7 (Parker 9’, Marshall 29’, 88’, Halliday 61’, 73’, Ramsay 65’, Clunas, pen 80’)
Everton 3 (Dean 20’, Troup 35’, 49’)
Sunderland: McInroy; Cresswell, England; Clunas, Parker, Andrews; Prior, Marshall, Halliday, Ramsay, Ellis.
Roker Park, attendance 26,755