Aston Villa 1 v 4 Sunderland AFC, Villa Park, Birmingham, 29 August 1955
Scorers – Aston Villa – Lockhart (73) ; SAFC – Bingham ?, 52), Purdon (74) and Shackleton (88)
Attendance – 26,385
Aston Villa: Jones, Lynn, Alldis, Baxter, Martin, Moss(A), Lockhart, Gibson, Pace, Fallan, McPartland
Sunderland: Fraser, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Bingham, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Shackleton
Shackleton back-with a vengence! Included in the Sunderland side for the first time this season, and at outside left, Shackleton treated the Villa Park crowd to a dazzling display and was outstanding in a great Sunderland victory. He not only made two goals but Shackleton apart, Sunderland were well worth their double over Villa for they were a sounder more finished side all round. The home defence came through well enough considering what they were up against but their forwards had a thin time against a hard tackling sure footed Sunderland defence. The game was only seconds old when it burst into furious life with Villas long striding wing half Amos Moss crashing through to hit the post. Then it was McPartland only inches high.
From their speed and verve Villa were obviously desperate to wipe out the memory of their hiding at Roker. But it was only a passing phase for their speed and fury died within a few minutes. Fraser still had to deal with two more sharp chances from Gibson and from Fallon but the writing was on the wall when Shackleton got his first look at the ball. Through he went to put the ball to Chisholm and Jones desperately put it found the post.
As Sunderland stepped up the tempo, Villa wilted and it was every man into defence. The Sunderland attackers had a crushing strength about then particularly when Shackleton was in action. And it was he who finally cracked the home defence. He swept over a centre, Purdon headed on and Bingham rammed the ball through a narrow gap into the net. The powerful Sunderland attack swept into the fray time and again, Fleming hit the bar and Bingham shot wide.
Purdon ran on to a dream pass from the left but Jones managed to fling himself at his feet to save. Villa were trying but there was no purpose about their efforts, for their attack with centre forward Dixon absent, had its teeth drawn before the start. A goal down at half time Villa were by no means beaten. But it was not long before Sunderland were two up.
In the 52nd min Shackleton back heeled to Chisholm who swung the ball over to the far post. It hit a Villa defender on the way and rebounded to Bingham who headed it home. But the Villa came back with a tremendous blitz with 3 rasping Gibson shots that had Fraser troubled. The visitors defence in which Hedley and McDonald had been covering superbly, suddenly looked hesitant. In the 73rd min Villa were on the way to recovery when a Lockhart free kick from 20 yards out hit the underside of the bar. Fraser got his hands to the ball but it dropped into the back of the net.
A minute later Bingham raced away down the right and crossed a ball that Jones missed and Purdon scored. Then 2 mins from the end Shackleton got a superb goal. Going through just inside the Villa half he held off a frantic tackle and lobbed the ball over the advancing Jones, a fitting end to a great show.