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An incredibly erratic Sunderland were one of the most unpredictable teams in the league during the 1933-34 season.
Though they were littered with some household names such as Raich Carter, Bobby Gurney and Patsy Gallacher, the team's patchy away form coupled with a mid-season slump led to the aspirations of league glory dissipating throughout the season.
Whilst the opening lines of this piece lie on the side of negativity, it must be stated that this team were the second-highest scorers along with being in the top five for best defences in the league.
Notwithstanding their mid-season goaless slump, it is no surprise that this team were so prolific with some of the aforementioned names featured in this side.
Johnny Cochrane’s men didn’t just beat teams rather they would destroy them. Scores such as 4-1, 5-0, 4-0 and 6-0 were all features of a stunning record - there was even a 6-5 defeat to West Bromwich Albion included in this fixture!
On this day, Cochrane’s team travelled to play their local rivals Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park - with the 28,915 crowd witnessing a terrific performance from the away side with the newspaper the Sunday Mercury describing Patsy Gallacher as having a ‘field day’.
From minute one, Sunderland dominated the game. Such was the tempo and quality that the away side were playing at, the newspaper report suggests that Middlesbrough were staggered and could not gain any foothold in the game.
Sunderland played football so swift, clean and precise an order that Middlesbrough scarcely had possession of the ball until three goals had been scored.
Within the first twenty minutes, Sunderland scored three goals all scored by that man Gallacher with the third of them being a pile driver from 25 yards.
According to the report of the game, Gallacher had his teammates to thank with Carter, Gurney and Bert Davis doing all the dirty work.
It was a great triumph for Gallacher who scored all three goals inside 12 minutes with the last one a terrific shot from 25 yards.
Gurney, Carter and Davis shared in some capital work leading up to these successes.
It simply was a day to forget for Middlesbrough. After the turgid start they had to the game, the team simply couldn’t score after that with the report citing the role of Sunderland player Jock McDougall who cleared one off the line from ‘Boro attacker George Camsell.
Unfortunately for the home side, the damage was done in the first half with the game petering out somewhat in the second.
Misery was compounded even further for Peter McWilliam’s men when his attacker Freddie Warren suffered a serious injury before Raich Carter scored a fourth.
Though the team went on to beat Arsenal 3-0 in the following game at Roker Park, this win was one of the final few before the team went on an eight match winless run.
In many ways, it typified the team this year, vastly talented but grossly inconsistent.
They finished the season in a respectable sixth.
Sunderland: Thorpe, Shaw, Murray, Hastings, McDougall, McNab, Connor, Gallacher, Gurney, Carter, Davis.