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On This Day (10 December 1960): Sunderland put in the hard miles down in East Sussex

Was this the day that the Lads could finally get over their barren away run?

Roker Park as seen in the early 1960s, but could the Lads do it away from home?

An On This Day feature from last month - On This Day (19 November 1960): Lads can see clearly following late show - Roker Report (sbnation.com) - touched on Sunderland’s improving form as winter approached in the 1960-61 season, but alas results on the road had not quite caught up yet.

The Lads were still looking for their first away win since victory at Portsmouth in April, and there had been some disappointing outcomes in the trips that had come since – not least losing at Third Division Brentford in the club’s first ever League Cup tie.

The long trek to Brighton & Hove Albion for a 10th of December second tier fixture may have felt somewhat daunting therefore, but Sunderland had been making a habit of starting games well of late and that was once again the case on the south coast.

Full of confidence from the off, they made it an extremely difficult afternoon for their hosts, and whilst the final few minutes were to be a bit anxious home supporters would have been forgiven for assuming their guests had been beating teams in their own backyard for months.

Harry Hooper went close in the opening few minutes when he beat two defenders and raced toward goal, almost catching goalkeeper Charlie Baker out at his near post with the resulting shot. The dash seemed to alert Hooper’s teammates to the fact that there could be something there for them if they were on it, and a steady resolve grew as the game went on.

Bobby Laverick and Adrian Thorne were two of the dangermen for Albion, but Peter Wakeham was equal most things sent his way. The keeper was deemed to be his side’s man of the match even, but not because he was under the cosh as such – he just happened to do what was expected of him very well, and provided a solid base for a side looking to soak up pressure and spring forward when the opportunity arose.

Peter Wakeham defends his goal in an away game from earlier in the year. Photo from The Lads in the Sixties by Alan Brett & Philip Curtis.

They took the lead from one such counter-attack, Stan Anderson’s beautifully timed tackle seeing him come away with the ball and sparking a swift move. Hooper then carried it on and linked up with Ian Lawther, the pair exchanging passes before the former pulled the ball back accurately for the latter to head home from the edge of the six yard box.

Sunderland were good value for it as well; they may not have dominated possession but they had a game plan and were sticking to it well.

Albion saw Dennis Windross and Mike Tiddy both miss the target as they searched for an equaliser after the break, whilst a brave clearance from Jim McNab meant Wakeham could still breathe easy. When he was called into action, as Tiddy found his range, he made a diving stop to maintain Sunderland’s advantage. The resulting corner had Anderson well placed to clear off the line, and the missed chance at one end quickly led to a goal at the other.

Rather than hauling themselves level, Brighton & Hove found themselves two down after being hit by another sucker punch when Willie McPheat covered the ground and crossed for Ambrose Fogarty to score another headed goal with only 15 minutes left. The closing stages became a test of stamina on a heavily sanded and now churned up surface, but an emerging team spirit saw Sunderland through.

There had been a heart to heart amongst the players on the way back from a draw at Liverpool in October and they had been unbeaten since. It was clear that everybody was all pulling in the same direction in Hove, and although Roy Jennings tucked away a late penalty Alan Brown’s men were able to finally secure maximum points on the road again – and deservedly so.


Saturday 10 December 1960

Football League Division Two

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Jennings (pen) 87’)

Sunderland 2 (Lawther 20’, Fogarty 75’)

Sunderland: Wakeham; Nelson, Ashurst; Anderson, Hurley, McNab; Hooper, Fogarty, Lawther, McPheat, Overfield.

Goldstone Ground, attendance 13,803

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