The SAFC squad that represented the city of Vancouver. Purchase this item as a unique A3 (42cm x 29.7cm) souvenir. £7.50 plus £4 P & P – 300GSM material.
Golden Gate Gales 6 v 1 Vancouver Royal Canadians
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, Attendance 8,177 – 28 May 1967
Sunderland flew to North America 4 days before the match from the North East minus Manager Ian McColl who had stayed behind for a week to start team strengthening for the 1967/68 campaign early, following the red and white’s poor showing the previous season. “I have some business to complete before I go” he was quoted as saying. This was translated as McColl stepping up Sunderland’s interest in Chelsea’s Eddie McCreadie and Southampton’s Ron Davies. The latter incidentally was on and end of season tour with his club at this time and scored all 3 goals when The Saints defeated an Asian All Stars team at the Perak Stadium in North Malaysia on the same night as SAFC crumbled to Den Haag. Although the above potential signings showed the football club’s determination to improve on their shocking record since returning to the top flight, the team without their Manager would fare badly early on, despite a thorough team briefing prior to departure. At the Kezar Stadium Sunderland never got going and were stunned by 2 first half goals from 21 year old Henk Houwaart, the first a penalty after 26 minutes. Houwaart carved out a managerial career for himself after his playing days were over. Lambert Maessen made it 2 just before the break. In the second half Vancouver folded. Houwaart completed his hat trick, Maassen scored his second, which meant that Colin Suggett’s 74th minute strike counted for very little. As if to rub salt into our wounds Harry Heynen added a 6th shortly before the end, a tap in from close range. There is confusion however as to whether Suggett scored our goal or it was an own goal by Goldtt. Houwaart incidentally would end up the second top scorer in the competition with 9 goals, behind Roberto Boninsegna of Chicago Mustangs (Cagliari).
The San Francisco Golden Gate Gales were presented with a trophy by the local newspaper to commemorate their first victory in the competition.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Forster, Irwin, Parke, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Herd, Mulhall
Detriot Cougars 1 v 1 Vancouver Royal Canadians
University Of Detroit Stadium, Detroit; Attendance 11,629 – 4 June 1967
Sunderland were in the Doghouse following their 1 v 6 thrashing. When news reached home of the debacle there were howls of derision. There was no room for another defeat. Following the Den Haag debacle Ian McColl had rushed out to the USA and was looking for a much improved performance against Detroit. The Influential Glentoran Player Manager John Colrain was absent, suspended, after a heated exchange of words with officials at the end of the game against Boston Rovers (Shamrock Rovers) at the Manning Bowl.
In this match Sunderland had to come from behind as Detroit’s left winger Eric Ross (described after the game by Irish reporter Brodie as “sheer genius” – and wearing spectacles) beat George Kinnell near the touchline, dribbled past Cecil Irwin and laid on the centre for Danny Trainer to head home for The Cougars after just 2 minutes.
However Sunderland came back and it was Irwin, making repeated forays down the left wing, who laid on a headed equaliser for George Herd 5 minutes before half time. In the dying minutes of the half Sunderland did everything but score. Billy McCullough cleared off the line and the Detroit goalkeeper Kennedy, recently acquired from Glasgow Celtic, was in fine form.
In the second half Detroit had much the better of the game and it was left to the 18 year old Sunderland custodian, Derek Forster to shine. Apart from the occasional flashes of brilliance Jim Baxter looked jaded and offered little in the Sunderland attack. Walter Bruce and Danny Trainer both hit the post for the Irishmen in a game played out in 86 degree heat and humidity.
The draw gave the Sunderland players their first financial bonus of the tour. The journalist covering the tournament indicated that the Roker players shared $400 for a win and $200 for a drawn game in which goals were scored; with nothing for a scoreless draw or of course a defeat. Back home in England, Sunderland were said to be interested in the Wrexham full back Steve Stacey. However the £17,500 price tag slapped on the player by the Welsh club soon cooled Sunderland’s interest. We allegedly offered £8,000. The price tag was excessive due to Wrexham having to give a slice of any subsequent transfer fee to Stacey’s former club, Bristol City.
Vancouver Royal Canadians Team: Forster, Irwin, Parke, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Herd, Mulhall
Vancouver Royal Canadians 4 v 1 Dallas Tornado
Empire Stadium, Vancouver – Attendance 10,053 – 7 June 1967
Sunderland Begin To Shine
Brian Heslop, Sunderland’s £3,000 signing from Carlisle United was expected to make his debut in this game, however in the end he had to settle for a place on the subs bench. Manager McColl had hinted that he would play left back but an 11th hour change of heart saw Sunderland keep the same back 4.
Sunderland played particularly well on this their “home” debut and had four 18 year olds – Todd, Forster, Suggett and Hughes to thank for this. Billy Hughes made his appearance 20 minutes from the end and shaped up extremely well whilst the 80th minute appearance by debutant Heslop was also impressive.
Baxter and Herd also gave virtuoso performances and it was the former, the midfield master, who kept Sunderland moving forward relentlessly. It was Herd, however, who laid on Sunderland’s first goal after 15 minutes, a deft touch allowing Neil Martin to put Sunderland ahead from 10 yards out. Sunderland’s defence then went to sleep and a series of appalling lapses should have seen The Red & Whites trail at the interval. “Fortunately” the only damage done was a 38th minute Bill Hainey equaliser for the visitors. The inside left ran onto a lovely long range ball from Mogens Berg, out muscled Todd and drove the ball home.
In the second half it took Sunderland just 60 seconds to effectively seal the game when a smashing move involving inside right O’Hare and Colin Suggett resulted in the latter, superb on the tour so far, netting from close range. Mulhall scored with a crashing header after 74 minutes from a cross by Billy Hughes but kept the best for last, a 35 yard pile driver 6 minutes from time. Sunderland left the field to delighted applause from “their” fans and well deserved it was too.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Forster, Irwin, Parke, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Herd, Mulhall, Subs – Hughes, Heslop
Dallas Tornado: Davie, Millar, Briggs, Neilson, Doug Smith, Moore, Hainey, Gillespie, Dossing, Graham, Herndon.
On the same night that Sunderland were winning in Vancouver, Glasgow Celtic took on Real Madrid in the Spanish capital; a benefit match for the legendary Madrid maestro Alfredo Di Stefano. Di Stefano left the field to thunderous applause after just 13 minutes, but it was the jinking Jimmy Johnstone who caught the eye in the Scots teams 1 v 0 win. The Argentine, by the way, trained subsequently with Elche.
Vancouver Royal Canadians 1 v 0 Boston Rovers
Empire Stadium, Vancouver – Attendance 7,616 – 11 June 1967
After the Dallas game, Sunderland Manager McColl indicated that the Vancouver pitch provided the best playing surface they had yet experienced in North America. It was also evident that the club’s first “home” match had brought out the best in the team, who were eager to put on a show for “their” fans.
Looking back on the 1 v 6 thrashing by Golden Gate, Jim Baxter said “The travelling kills you know. We had a rest, played at home and you saw the difference”. Baxter said that the crowd was knowledgeable and sporting, “They appreciated the fine arts”.
In the Boston game the Vancouver Royal Canadians’ recovery continued, although their 1-0 victory over Boston Shamrock Rovers was achieved with a slice of good luck.
One of the reasons given for Sunderland’s lack lustre performance was the indifference shown by Baxter, the playmaker. He was “uninspired” ands as a result “Sunderland almost sunk to the level of the part timers”.
The tone of the game was set early. Boston goalie Dunne dropped the ball at the feet of Neil Martin but the Sunderland centre forward squandered the opportunity. However the former Manchester United goalkeeper was in generous mood when he did something similar on 21 minutes.
John O’Hare, soon to be a Scottish cap, took a Baxter pass, miskicked it and it trundled past Rovers’ keeper Pat Dunne, even though he got a hand to the ball. The goal summed up the game really.
However this was a highlight in an otherwise poor first half. Sunderland’s passing lacked sharpness and Boston were described as a bunch of “plodders” in newspaper reports. However as exception to the “plodding” was apparently the Irish International O’Neill who was marked by Jimmy Shoulder in for the injured Parke. The young full back had his hands full in containing the winger.
Cecil Irwin had a good game. His right wing forays laid on a couple of chances for Martin and he ably supported the Sunderland attack on several other occasions.
At half time McColl made changes, bringing on Mulhall who had originally been rested to give the young Billy Hughes a chance on the left wing. O’Hare made way. The latter had received a penicillin injection before the match to try and counter the effects of a throat infection.
Mulhall made an immediate impression. First he put through Hughes who drifted past 2 defenders before sending a crashing shot off the post. Next Mulhall himself sent in a great shot, well saved by Dunne. By this point the Inside Left Herd was operating on the right wing.
McColl explained afterwards that this tactic had been employed to give Suggett more of the ball. It nearly worked with Suggett’s enthusiasm earning him a couple of good goal scoring opportunities, waster through inexperience, it was said. His best came when a lovely pass by Herd saw Suggett round the keeper but hit the side netting when faced with a very acute angle.Wood, the Boston left winger hit a shot feet wide as Forster closed down the angle.
To Sunderland’s credit they didn’t sit back on their narrow lead. They attacked continuously and were unlucky when a flying Martin header just missed following a glorious Hughes cross. Mulhall, who had finished off Dallas with a peach of a goal almost did it again when he drew back his left foot and cracked a 25 yard shot off the Boston Bar.
The game was played in glorious sunshine but the poor crowd was blamed on a surfeit of football being shown on television. The Saturday previously the Scottish International side was at Vancouver playing a British Columbia All stars team. The day previous to the Vancouver v Boston match 3 matches had been shown on the television including the exciting Expo Final from Montreal between England and Borussia Dortmund, ruined for viewers when England’s winning goal coincided with a commercial break. Expo 67 was the celebration of Canada’s Centennial which took place in 1967.
“A scrappy game but we could have won by 10” was the accurate post match verdict of Sunderland Manager McColl. There was still no news on injured goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery’s arrival in North America. “He is back at the ground (Roker Park) having treatment for an injured back”, McColl said. This assessment was backed up on Wearside by then Sunderland Secretary Eddie Marshall. “He will not be flown out until our physiotherapist John Watters is satisfied he is 100% fit” said Mr Marshall.
One newspaper quoted that Derek Forster was doing so well on the tour that Montgomery would perhaps be advised to stay at Roker Park and be fully fit for the new season rather than take risks with his back. After the Boston game Forster was voted “number 1 Star” by newsmen covering the match.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Forster, Irwin, Shoulder, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare (Mulhall), Martin, Herd, Hughes
Los Angeles Wolves 5 v 1 Vancouver Royal Canadians
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Attendance 5,251 – 14 June 1967
The news of Sunderland’s 1 v 5 hammering by the LA Wolves left supporters angry and depressed, according to the local media.
Director Jack Parker who headed the Roker Park “Home Guard” in the absence of Chairman Syd Collings and Vice Chairman Mr Jack Cooke who were of course in North America with the team contacted Ian McColl to find out the details of the Los Angeles debacle.
“I can’t understand it”, Parker was quoted as saying. “You don’t mind being beaten but this was a bad result. Of course we don’t know the full details”.
The full details were that in an even first half in front of only 5,251 fans, Brian Heslop equalised a strike from Pat Buckley. However in the second half Vancouver folded and the Wolves first half strike was supplemented by a second from Buckley, Peter Knowles, Derek Dougan and Ernie Hunt. Wolves were looking unstoppable in the Western Section.
Parker was asked whether the defeat would boost the search for new players. “Things will be done” he was quoted as saying. “We have irons in the fire but in fairness to other clubs we cannot mention any names”.
There were more calls for Montgomery to go out to North America, and, after further treatment from Johnny Watters; Monty was allowed to travel over to meet up with his team mates.
What was ironic is that although Montgomery hadn’t been allowed to travel with the Sunderland squad, he was deemed fit enough to travel with the England Under 23 squad for 3 games that Summer, culminating in a 3 v 0 rout of Turkey in Ankara on 7 June. Previously the national team had drawn with both Greece and Bulgaria. Perhaps Sunderland had no choice in this matter ie if the national team wants you, you have to play. The Ankara game had seen a 1 v 0 half time lead supplemented by a goal from Burnley’s Ralph Coates after 55 minutes and Fulham’s Allan Clarke 13 minutes from time.
Montgomery was in outstanding form on the tour and his displays had put him on the short list for the 1970 World Cup in many people’s eyes.
Vancouver Royal Canadians Lineup: Forster, Irwin, Shoulder, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Herd, Hughes, Sub – Heslop
Vancouver Royal Canadians 1 v 4 Houston Stars
Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia – Attendance 6,785 – 18 June 1967
Having seemingly got the invitation tournament back on track Bangu of Brazil representing Houston game Sunderland a 90 minute lesson on the finer art of playing football in this Sunday game.
The South Americans revelled in the sweltering heat of almost 80 degrees in coasting to a 4 v 1 Unites Soccer Association victory before an announced crowd of just 6, 785.
Borges, perhaps the second best player in the world, at that time, to Pele was the driving force behind the attack, and scored a hat trick (although at least 1 newspaper gave 2 of the goals to Fernando who had come off the bench).
Another Brazilian to star was the young half back Jamie who tested Montgomery, playing his first game of the tour, on numerous occasions with blistering shots.
“We made too many defensive mistakes” offered Sunderland Manager Ian McColl. “You don’t make mistakes against Bangu and expect to win”.
Aside from Montgomery, forward George Herd and full back John Parke, the Sunderland side were reported to have lacked cohesion and most of all desire. Centre half Luiz Alberto broke up what attacks Vancouver mounted with some superb positional play and strength. Colin Todd played well during his short stint on the field and scored Vancouver’s only goal. The fans at the end of the game were annoyed with Sunderland, and made that annoyance apparent with boos and jeers.
The key to Bangu’s victory was a fast breaking, short passing game that ripped the Sunderland defence to shreds. It was 3 v 0 at half time and 4 v 0 immediately after the resumption of play. With the Golden Gate rout perhaps on the Vancouver players minds the defence tightened and Todd’s goal came 12 minutes from time. Perhaps undeservedly Sunderland had the chance to reduce the arrears further but Baxter blazed a penalty kick well over the cross bar in the last minute.
Vancouver: Montgomery, Irwin, Kinnell, Heslop (Todd), Parke, Baxter, Herd, Suggett. O’Hare, Martin (Gauden), Mulhall
Houston: Ubirajara (Neri), Fidelis, (Cabrita), Mario Tito, Alberto, Pedrinho, Ocimar, Jaime, Peixinho (Cabralzinho), Fernando, Borges, Aladim
Vancouver Royal Canadians 2 v 4 Toronto City
Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia – Attendance 5,114 – 21 June 1967
More McColl Misery
“Only Our Honour Left” says Roker Chief
Sunderland’s third loss in a row couldn’t have come at a worse time as the team contemplated an 8,000 mile “road trip” to Toronto, Washington and Chicago.
Hibs were by far the more dangerous team on the day and were constantly swapping positions to create the unexpected. In contrast Sunderland had little imagination and hit a succession of hopeful balls into the Toronto penalty area.
However Alan Gauden was the inspiration for Sunderland in this game. The left winger created several great chances, one of which was snapped up by Neil Martin after 28 minutes. But only a minute later a game changing event happened when Martin hit a post, again from a Gauden centre when it looked easier to score. After 31 minutes Toronto drew level when a speculative Stevenson cross was turned into his own net by Heslop. Heslop had an unhappy game and was constantly exposed by the trickery of the Toronto winger Scott. Cecil Irwin replaced him at half time but Scott still prompted and probed and it was such play after 55 minutes that gave Colin Stein the easiest of chances that he accepted gleefully. After 69 minutes Scott scored himself, but the Toronto joy was short lived as just 3 minutes later Herd latched onto an Irwin pass to chip the goalie for a brilliant solo goal. A Baxter blunder just before the end allowed Stevenson to blast home Toronto’s fourth goal.
After the game Vancouver Manager McColl admitted, “We were only playing in bursts, and I’m shaken that we haven’t done better. I’m not a good loser and I feel we have let Vancouver down”.
As it stood Vancouver had the worst defensive record in both divisions and after the latest defeat propped up the table. To make matters worse George Herd went home as he couldn’t sleep while he was away from home. He hadn’t had a decent nights sleep in over 4 weeks and Manager McColl admitted that the inside forward was “shattered”.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Heslop (Irwin), Kinnell, Todd, Parke, Baxter, Herd, Suggett. O’Hare, Martin, Gauden
Toronto City: Allan, Duncan, Davis, Stanton, Madsen, McGraw, Quinn, Cormack, Scott, Stein, Stevenson
Toronto City 2 v 2 Vancouver Royal Canadians
Varsity Stadium, Toronto, Ontario – Attendance 4,385 – 25 June 1967
Prior to this match there was bad news for Sunderland AFC on the season ticket front. The poor showing to date in North America meant that season ticket sales were, at this point, 50% down on the previous campaign.
In order to boost sales, the Board of Directors were accused of panic buying as news came in that the club had bid for 4 players: Fred Pickering, Terry Cooper, Francis Lee, then a Bolton Wanderers winger and Andy McEvoy the Blackburn Striker.
In Ontario, Sunderland salvaged a point from “fellow Canadians” Toronto City. You may have noted that we played back to back fixtures with the side but as teams had to play 12 fixtures and only 12 teams were in the competition a double header was arranged against the team closest to you.
Colin Todd, Sunderland’s England Youth International half back was sent off 8 minutes from the end of this game. Playing in this game at right half Todd received his marching orders from referee Harry Sadler after disputing a free kick awarded against Vancouver.
Sunderland again led this match when Alan Gauden scored after 34 minutes following a poor punch by Toronto keeper Allan from a shot by Neil Martin. Vancouver went further ahead in the second half when Mulhall scored a scorcher from 25 yards. Two minutes later Hibs pulled a goal back through Colin Stein following a melee in the Vancouver penalty box. Joe David grabbed a deserved equaliser from the penalty spot after 88 minutes.
By now Sunderland were being linked with a bid for Chelsea’s Tony Hateley. Also mooted were close tabs on Sheffield Wednesday’s Jim McCalliog following the return of Owls Manager Alan Brown from Mexico. Neil Martin was being linked with Glasgow Rangers.
The showing in North America was continuing to have a dramatic effect on the club back home. So much so that Jack Cooke, SAFC’s VC and Stan Ritson returned home and were replaced by Keith Collings and Ted Evans who travelled out to be with the squad.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Heslop, Kinnell, Todd, Parke, Baxter, Suggett. O’Hare, Martin, Gauden, Mulhall
Toronto City: Allan, Duncan, Davis, Stanton, Madsen, McGraw, Quinn, Scott, Stein, Cormack, Stevenson Sub – Grant
The Washington Whips 1 v 1 Vancouver Royal Canadians
DC Stadium, Washington DC – Attendance 8,709 – 28 June 1967
A second half equaliser by Alan Gauden earned Sunderland a 1 v 1 draw in Washington with the Whips, Aberdeen of Scotland.
As usual in the States, there was pre-match entertainment. Firstly, the customary performance of “Whips’ Cheers” from the Washington Whipettes. Secondly Charlie Gogolak, Washington Redskins’ kicking expert demonstrated the art of place-kicking to the Whips’ players.
Given the Stokers’ defeat in Houston and the Royal Canadians’ erratic record to date, the Whips’ hopes were high as they emerged into the DC Stadium to do battle with some familiar faces.
Twelve minutes into the game and things appeared to be going Washington’s way. Having dominated the early play, the outstanding Francis Munro opened the scoring for the home team. A Harry Melrose pass reached Jimmy Wilson in the middle of the penalty area. The little winger held the ball up until Munro appeared from the left. A little flick to the number 4 saw him first time the ball past Jim Montgomery.
The Whips kept Vancouver pinned back in their own half for most of the rest of the game, but the Wearsiders grabbed an equaliser when a Billy Hughes’ corner was headed on to Bobby Clark’s left hand post by former Pittodrie defender George Mulhall. Alan Gauden’s reactions were quickest and Bobby Clark could only watch as his header found the net. Baxter came on as a substitute at half time and despite orchestrating the Canadian team’s every move Vancouver couldn’t find a second.
One quirky and alleged story from this match was recounted by a member of the Whips squad who thought that he could match 2 of the Sunderland touring party drink for drink after the match (the individuals identity have been kept secret!).
This individual was due to be the fourth member of a golfing party the following morning, accompanying Jimmy Wilson, Eddie Turnbull and Jerry Cooper to a local club. When the player in question was eventually roused from his hangover the next morning, he dropped out, claiming that in his state of physical health he would “be lucky to hit a medicine ball never mind a golf ball”.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Heslop, Kinnell, Todd, Parke, Hughes, Suggett. O’Hare, Martin, Gauden, Mulhall – Sub – Baxter
Chicago Mustangs 2 v 2 Vancouver Royal Canadians
Comiskey Park, Chicago, Illinois – Attendance 3,602 – 1 July 1967
Before this game there was disappointment from Roker Park as it was revealed that Bill Shankly then manager of Liverpool had made a late and impressive £100,000 bid to lure Tony Hateley from under the noses of Sunderland, who had offered £80,000 for his services.
Meanwhile back in North America Vancouver played out a 2 v 2 draw with Chicago (Cagliari from Italy) at Comiskey Park.
It was Vancouver’s 6th successive game without a win and to compound the misery Cecil Irwin was sent off after 75 minutes following an altercation with Chicago’s Miguel Longo.
Roberto Boninsegna, Chicago’s centre forward scored a brace. The first came after 25 minutes, a smart header from 12 yards out. The second 10 minutes from half time was a 12 yard shot.
Three minutes later George Kinnell, signed in October 1966 from Oldham Athletic, made it 2 v 1 with his first goal for the club. Jimmy Shoulder, from Esh Winning and making his debut, equalised in the second half with a superb 22 yard strike that whistled past the goalkeeper.
Sunderland made the trek back to Vancouver to play their final 2 matches of the league season and were looking to restore some pride.
It was being reported in the Canadian media that John Parke had been put on the transfer list for £15,000 and had expressed an interest in playing in Vancouver for the 1968 season.
Vancouver Managing Director Herb Capozzi expressed disappointment with the attendances for home games which were made less lucrative with the announcement that 15% of the gate receipts were being donated to the Vancouver Sun (newspaper) sponsored Junior Stadium Fund. It looked like a $90,000 loss for Vancouver President Ted Eakins. As the budgeted 12,000 gates hadn’t materialised.
Although the club hadn’t done itself justice on the tour Manager Ian McColl went on record as saying that it was giving several of the younger members of the squad, notably Forster, Suggett, Hughes, Heslop and Shoulder valuable experience.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Irwin (sent off 75 min), Shoulder, Heslop, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Gauden, Mulhall
Vancouver Royal Canadians 1 v 1 New York Skyliners
Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia – Attendance 6,533 – 5 July 1967
George “Kinks” Kinnell came off the bench in the second half and as a makeshift centre forward he scored the goal that rescued a point for Sunderland.
It was Vancouver’s 4th straight draw and the 7th game without a victory. A picture in the local Vancouver newspaper suggests that Sunderland played in all red for this game, the only time they did on the tour.
Manager Ian McColl continued to experiment with both his defence and attack in an effort to break the winless streak and decided to give Kinnell a rest from the starting line-up. Left winger George Mulhall was switched to the right side and Scottish international half back Jim Baxter was used as an inside left. The latter gave a dazzling exhibition of footwork and passing. The team overall gave one of its best performances of the league season but it came in fits and starts. A main failing appeared to be a tendency to over pass.
New York (Cerro of Uruguay) showed flashes of brilliance in the early stages of the game but once they took the lead they resorted to a more traditional defensive display and were hard to break down. Benedicto “Canaveira” Ribeiro was at the heart of the South /American attacking moves whilst Juan Masnik and Julio Dalmao worked hard in defence.
It was Ribeiro who scored the only goal of the first half after 10 minutes. The stocky inside forward took a Sergio Silva pass, stepped smartly between Todd and Shoulder before depositing the ball in the far corner of the net with a low shot.
Mulhall had 2 great chances to equalise before the half but was repelled on both occasions by a resolute New York defence. Alan Gauden re-injured his shoulder 15 minutes into the second half and that brought on Kinnell. The bustling half back soon made his presence felt and proceeded to give the Cerro defence a rough time.
Mulhall came within a whisker of equalising 11 minutes from time, hitting the under side of the bar with a hard drive from 8 yards out. However just 4 minutes later there was no mistake as Kinnell moved in to slam Neil Martin’s rebound into an open net.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Todd, Shoulder, Heslop, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Gauden (Kinnell), Mulhall, Hughes
Vancouver Royal Canadians 3 v 1 Cleveland Stokers
Empire Stadium, Vancouver, British Columbia – Attendance 6,012 – 8 July 1967
For the first time since arriving in North America 7 weeks ago Sunderland looked like an English top flight side.
Led by Scottish International half back Jim Baxter, the Vancouver side overpowered Cleveland Stokers. It was the final match for both clubs in the league and even after all the trials and tribulations it was sobering to think that one more victory in the league campaign would have given Vancouver runners up spot in the divisional table.
It was Vancouver’s first win since June 11 and Cleveland’s third loss in its last 5 starts.
Baxter who had borne the brunt of some jeers by the home crowd following what they considered to be some indifferent performances made amends with a brilliant exhibition of ball control and pin point passing. He capped off a fine performance by scoring 2 goals and setting up a third.
Montgomery in the home goal, for once, got admirable support from his defence.
Sunderland were on top from the outset and Baxter scored his first after 25 minutes, a brilliant left footer from 25 yards. 13 minutes later he made it 2 v 0, scoring off the legs of Stoke’s half back Eric Skeels.
Just before half time Alan Bloor got one back for the visitors with a rising shot from a Bill Bentley pass.
Needing at least a draw to assure them first place in the Eastern Division Cleveland opened up in the second half and Welsh International John Mahoney scored after 62 minutes. However referee Dan Kulai disallowed the goal, claiming that he had blown for an earlier infringement by a Vancouver player.
Vancouver marched down the field and Colin Suggett beat Cleveland goalkeeper Gordon Banks with a low drive from a Baxter pass to make it 3 v 1.
Vancouver Royal Canadians: Montgomery, Todd, Shoulder, Heslop, Kinnell, Baxter, Suggett, O’Hare, Martin, Gauden, Mulhall
Final League Tables
|New York Skyliners||12||2||6||4||15||17||-2||10|
|Los Angeles Wolves||12||5||5||2||21||14||7||15|
|Golden Gate Gales||12||5||3||4||25||19||6||13|
|Vancouver Royal Canadians||12||3||5||4||20||28||-8||11|