The Luton Soapbox: Sunderland take another stride towards Wembley

Sixer by Jake
Sixer by Jake

Pete Sixsmith thought he might have seen everything with the fabulous 3-1 win over mighty Man City in the fifth round. Luton Town presented less glamorous quarter-final opposition and the football was not quite so scintillating. But we’re in the semis and that is what counts … continuing our 40th anniversary celebrations of a great year for Sunderland (two days early to avoid a clash with Sunday’s game)

After the last cup game
at Roker, I fear we may have been spoiled. The superb goals scored by Vic and Billy were not matched in this one, but Guth and Big Dave made sure that we have a semi final to look forward to. Radios will be firmly pressed to ears at 12.30 on Monday.

It has to be said that the occasion was far greater than the game but that may well be because we were so fortunate to have witnessed the Manchester City win. Luton had a shortage of super stars like Marsh, Bell and Lee, but John Aston and John Ryan were expected to cause us trouble as they had Newcastle in the Fourth Round.

That they didn’t was due to excellent performances by Tricky Dicky Malone and Ron Guthrie. Both pocketed the Luton wingers and made sure that their forwards had little or no service. It was fitting that Guthrie should wrap the game up in the last ten minutes with a swivel and a shot.

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Monsieur Salut, by Matt
Monsieur Salut, by Matt
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The weather was not really conducive to a good game. The wind howled around Roker and the ball was difficult to control. Luton looked overawed by the size of the crowd and the size of the stands. Compared with their homely Kenilworth Road Stadium, a full Roker can be an intimidating place to play.

Add the fact that our team made it an intimidating atmosphere on the field and, looking back 24 hours later, we were never in trouble. Whereas the City game was full of flair and fire, this one was a much more restrained performance which was exactly what was required.

I gather that Eric Morecambe was absent from this game. From my vantage point in the Clock Stand Paddock, his dome was not visible in the Directors Box and there was a shortage of paper bags in the same area. It would be unfair to describe The Hatters performance as “rubbish” but why should we care.

There were some unfamiliar faces in the Paddock. Those of us who have suffered recent Cup defeats against Orient and have stood through some fairly dismal league performances were squeezed between fans who may well not have been there since the days of Harvey, Hurley and McNab.

For those returnees, there was much for them to admire. We have a centre half as good as King Charlie was and his thunderous header from Bobby Kerr’s corner was as good as anything the Irishman produced in the 1960’s.

They must have seen traces of George Mulhall and Billy Bingham in the tireless running of Hughes and Tueart, while Vic Halom, while not as instinctive as Cloughie, was always a threat to his former team. Micky Horswill is no Stan Anderson but he has the potential to go on and surpass Stan’s number of England caps.

As we drifted away from blowy Roker, crossing the bridge and into the town, the Football Echo appeared on the streets. We poured over the other quarter final scores and wondered who we will get in Mondays draw. I would be happy for Leeds and Arsenal to knock seven bells out of each other while we faced the Wolves. I shall be sat in the not so trusty Hillman Minx at 12.30 on Monday to listen on – and then, after work, off to Deepdale.

Ha’way The Lads!!!!!

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