The Lads had scored a total of nineteen goals in their previous four games, conceding only two and were unbeaten in eight games. However, Cardiff was never an easy place to go to and get maximum points and our record there over the years was evidence of this.
Whilst Sunderland had their moments, Montgomery was the busier of the goalkeepers in the first half, making a number of good saves ably assisted in defence by Hurley.
Ivor Allchurch missed a sitter from eight yards out, and amateur winger Lewis gave Len Ashurst as torrid forty-five minutes as any winger had that season.
Despite shading the first half, Cardiff would have wished to have scored whilst on top, because the second half proved an entirely different affair.
Sunderland dominated after the break, with Herd, Crossan and Usher in barnstorming form for the second forty-five. John Charles put in a man of the match performance, almost single handily denying Sunderland until the eighty-sixth minute.
Ashurst (who managed to all but nullify young Lewis in the second period) played a good ball to George Herd down the left wing, he in turn found Mulhall, who powered a low, hard shot toward goal. It was heading toward one corner of the net, when defender Edwards stuck his foot out to try and deflect the ball away, but only succeeded in knocking the ball into the opposite corner of the goal.
On eighty nine minutes, Johnny Crossan was engaging in a bit of time-wasting, slowing the game down and hanging onto possession as he dribbled across the pitch. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted Usher in the clear and he delivered a marvellous pass to the flying winger.
In a flash Usher hit the touchline and bulleted a hard cross that was deftly headed off the underside and into the goal by Nick Sharkey. A typical goal from Sharkey who had scored a hattrick the week before but had been particularly well marked by John Charles up until that point.
It was widely acknowledged in press coverage of this match, that two of the best centre halves in world football had been on show in John Charles and Charlie Hurley.
Two goals in the last five minutes of this contest might have been a bit harsh on Cardiff, but most reports suggest the victory was deserved, for the dominant second half performance.
In a frosty post-match interview, manager Alan Brown strenuously denied that Sunderland had tabled a £10,000 bid for Southampton’s international right winger Terry Paine. Brown commented “Why would we want to do that, young Usher is playing as well as any England international”. On the evidence of this days play, Brown was not wrong.
The victory kept Sunderland hard on the heels of Don Revie’s Leeds United, who would eventually finish as champions that season, two points ahead of Sunderland.
Cardiff 0 - 2 Sunderland
Cardiff: John, Edwards, Charles, Vearnacombe, Baker, Peck, Rodrigues, Caldrick, Allchurch, Burns, Lewis.
Sunderland: Montgomery, Irwin, Ashurst, Harvey, Hurley, McNab, Usher, Herd, Sharkey(1), Crossan, Mulhall (1).