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On This Day (31st August 1921): Charlie Buchan’s brace beats Burnley!

Sunderland’s super striker Charlie Buchan was at the double as the Lads stuck two past league champions Burnley at Roker Park.

In the 1950’s, Sunderland acquired the nickname “The Bank of England Club” after their copious spending on new recruitments.

This name could also be applicable to the team of the 1921-1922 season as the club brandished the chequebook for many new high-quality purchases.

In March, they broke the transfer record twice on defenders Warney Cresswell and Michael Gilhooley whilst also splashing out another big fee on Jock Paterson on the same day as Gilhooley signed.

When completing the club's annual report at the time, they indicated that the exponential spending was down to injuries and illnesses that overtook the squad of players. They said their small profit was turned into a substantial loss due to this.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Everton Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

In fairness to the club, the injuries were not fabricated stories. Four games into his new career at the club, Gilhooley suffered an injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.

With all these injuries - along with a few others - the club relied heavily on their prized asset Charlie Buchan throughout this season. His 21 goals were three times more than anyone else managed in Bob Kyle’s team. Buchan scored a brace in each of the opening two games.

On this day in 1921, Sunderland’s defeat of league champions Burnley was one of the games where Buchan bagged a brace.

Having begun their defence of the league title with an away win at Birmingham the previous weekend, Burnley came to the north east to take on a Sunderland team who had produced a magnificent win against Liverpool - who would go on the be the champions.

In truth, Kyle’s men played better against Liverpool than they did here on a heavy pitch, but this was a closer match requiring a fight-back and a marvellous late winner.

Soccer - Football League Division One - Brentford v Manchester City Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

The previous season’s top scorer Joe Anderson opening the scoring in this game after seven minutes giving Burnley the perfect start after the home side had a goal disallowed.

In fact, it was what they deserved as the away side played with a zest and confidence notwithstanding the loss of England international Eddie Mosscrop, who was a school teacher and unable to play midweek away fixtures.

Luckily for Sunderland, they had the aforementioned Buchan in their ranks and he had the home side ahead by the interval with two lethal strikes.

Having equalised mid-way through the half with a goal that illustrated his pace and determination, Buchan edged Sunderland ahead just before the break, finishing off a move involving Paul Stannard and Harry Martin.

Future Sunderland forward Bob Kelly bagged an equaliser for Burnley with reports calling it an ‘opportunistic finish’ with twenty minutes to go.

The final period of the game was labelled ‘nip and tuck’ as both sides battled for the winner. Three minutes from time, Bobby Marshall was the hero for Sunderland as his goal gave Sunderland a 3-2 win.

Despite a strong start to the season, Sunderland’s reliance on Buchan saw them drop down the table as his goals dried up somewhat.

Defeat on the final day at Bramall Lane dropped us into the bottom half of the table on goal difference as Sheffied United leapfrogged them.

Defeat came as no surprise. Only three clubs won fewer away games than Bob Kyle’s men with the team finishing the season in 12th position.

Sunderland: Dempster, Hobson, England, Parker, Kasher, Poole, Stephenson, Buchan, Stannard, Marshall, Martin.


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