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Soccer - Roker Park Stadium - Sunderland

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On This Day (10 Jan 1962): Bright lights, brilliant performance and record crowd at Roker!

Sunderland faced Southampton at Roker under new floodlights. An epic evening ensued!

Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland had played really well against one of their fellow challengers for promotion, Southampton, in a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup at The Dell. Stan Anderson and Harry Hooper had scored the goals and Brian Clough had hit the post in the dying embers of the game.

The replay, under the club's new lights, was a great opportunity for the Lads to progress, but there was concern about injuries. Hooper and Hurley left The Dell nursing strains, and unbeknown to the majority, Clough was struggling with influenza and was 50/50 to make it.

The draw had already been made for the next round, and the winners of this tie would be at home to Port Vale, whose manager, Norman Low, was in attendance. It was an excellent chance for Sunderland to progress if they could win this replay.

The teams took the field with Clough and Hurley but minus Hooper, who had an excellent game at The Dell.

Youngster Jimmy Davison would deputise, and 58,000+ (a record crowd for a floodlit game at Roker Park at the time) had gathered under the new floodlights to create a raucous atmosphere.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Leyton Orient v Sunderland
Harry Hooper missed out
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Southampton were a very handy outfit, above Sunderland in the table at this point in the season, with a balance of experience and young talent, including the electric England international Terry Paine.

The Saints were on the attack from the kickoff and had a good five minutes of possession and pressure before Sunderland could mount anything like an attack of note. Hurley, McNab and Anderson were prominent in this period. It dawned on the crowd as the game progressed that Paine had unusually swapped wings. He had gotten very little out of Ashurst at The Dell and this looked like a deliberate formation change to get Paine away from ‘Lenny the Lion.’

George Herd, Stan Anderson and Willie McPheat began to gain some ascendency for the Lads with clever passing and lively movement. It was no surprise when McPheat scorched a thunderous shot past Godfrey that left him rooted to the spot on 16 minutes. The goal was at the Fulwell End and was met by an equally thunderous roar as Sunderland took the lead.

Southampton really struggled to get a foothold as wave after wave of Sunderland pressure engulfed them down either wing or through the centre of the park.

With Anderson enjoying a field day with his accurate passing out of defence and McPheat and Herd continuing to cause mayhem, Sunderland were rampant. A frantic period of pressure, in which eight corners followed in quick succession, had the massed Fulwell End almost sucking the ball into the net.

But a combination of good defending, good goalkeeping and good luck saw the Saints going in at halftime, still just one goal down.

Soccer - Football League Division Two - Leyton Orient v Sunderland
Photo by Barratts/PA Images via Getty Images

Whatever was said in the dressing room, the visitors launched themselves into the second half and were unlucky not to draw level in the first five minutes. However, just as in the first half, Anderson, McPheat and Herd began to regain ascendency for the Lads.

The longer the second half progressed, the more likely Sunderland looked, though it has to be said Clough did not look his usual self.

In a purple patch in the middle of the second half, Herd scored two goals within 13 minutes.

It was just reward for his performance over the two ties, his ability to beat a marker and create space, matched his accurate short and long ball passing and his non-stop movement. He was easily man-of-the-match on a night when McPheat and Anderson played excellently in a good overall team performance.

Sunderland moved forward to the next round, but Southampton had shown over the two ties that they were a decent team and would surely be up there at the end of the season in the battle for promotion.

The record crowd had seen a thoroughly thrilling game, and the board was so delighted at the size of the crowd that plans were made that night to invite a good foreign team to inaugurate the new lights. (Benfica arrived on the 14th of November 1963 in a game that was filmed by Tyne Tees TV, and Sunderland won 5-3, which included a hat trick from Nick Sharkey).

Sunderland did not progress beyond the next round. Following a 0-0 draw at another packed Roker Park, they were rather easily beaten 3-1 in the replay at Vale Park.

Sunderland versus Port Vale 1962
Action from the 4th round game v Port Vale
Photo by ncjMedia Ltd/NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

They would also just miss out on promotion that season finishing third a point behind Leyton Orient. Southampton finished in sixth place, eight points behind Sunderland.

However, this night under the floodlights would be remembered as another magical game in front of a massive crowd.

FA Cup 3rd round replay

10th January 1962. Roker Park

Sunderland 3 - 0 Southampton

McPheat 16, Herd 55, 63

Sunderland: Wakeham, Irwin, Ashurst, Anderson, Hurley, McNab, Davison, Herd, Clough, McPheat, Overfield

Southampton: Godfrey, Patrick, Traynor, Clifton, Knapp, Huxford, Penk , Mulgrew, Reeves, O’Brien, Paine


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