Tottenham Hotspur 0 v 1 Sunderland AFC – FA Cup Sixth Round – 5 March 1938

Tottenham Hotspur 0 v 1 Sunderland AFC – FA Cup Sixth Round – 5 March 1938

1938 Spurs v SAFC - Hooper Punches Clear

Spurs goalkeeper Hooper punches clear with Sunderland’s Gallacher in close attendance

On 5 March 1938 Sunderland AFC entered the field of play at White Hart Lane, North London in a match played out in front of a ground record breaking 75,038. Similar to events on Wearside when SAFC recorded their record crowd at Roker Park against Derby County, the home team succumbed to a 0 v 1 defeat with a goal scored by Sunderland legend Raich Carter ten minutes from time. The Black Cats moved into the semi finals where they would fall to Huddersfield Town 1 v 3.

Tottenham Hotspur: Hooper, Ward, Whatley, Buckingham, Rowe, Grice, Sargent, Hall, Morrison, Gibbons, Lyman

Sunderland: Mapson, Gorman, Hall, Thomson, Johnston, Hastings, Duns, Carter, Gurney, Gallacher, Burbanks

Sunderland keep going. Since January 1st they have played 11 times without defeat and are now in a comfortable position in the table and after this game into the semi-final of the cup. They have defied precedent and tradition insofar as being cupholders they are again in the last 4 of the competition. The oft expressed view that Sunderland are sweeping through to Wembley has been rather threadbare. Minimum margin every time it is true but its enough. To quote Carter “Why waste goals?” It was he who got the only goal of this game, the crowning achievement of a team effort which however it be approached, really deserved its success. Not that there was a great deal in it.

Sunderland were no more than a goal the better team but they were undoubtedly the better side over the 90 minute tussle. Just what would have happened if the referee had allowed Tottenham a second half goal, disallowed at the only stage they were looking a better team than Sunderland, is purely a matter of conjecture. Could and would Sunderland have risen to the occasion?  Maybe but still the wearsiders seemed to have a bit in hand in skill as well as stamina. They showed the greater craft, more power of endurance and equal determination.

In a 90 minute battle in which speed and vigour made heavy demands on the players who finished the stronger? Sunderland! Who showed a wider variety of attacking methods? Sunderland! They had no obvious principal strategy but were clever enough to vary the tactics to suit the situation. Tottenham played upon Gormans admitted weakness, his left side and when they discovered the weakness was more apparent than real they had no alternative plan of campaign. Gorman and the man immediately in front of him Thomson started shakily but Johnston was able to cover effectively enough to frustrate the home tactics until Thomson and Gorman had struck their best form.

Johnston was Sunderlands sheet anchor during troublesome passages. Never has he played better and Mapson too was magnificent. Tottenham were inferior at wing half. Buckingham and Grice defended well enough but lacked the constructive sense and aggression of Thomson and Hastings. The Roker wing halves ball control was superb, the fundamental idea was always to convert defence into attack and the prime motion was aggression not orthodox stopping. The crowd was 75,000 and the receipts £5857, both ground records. Just before kick off police and ambulance men had to work furiously to ease the crush on one part of the terracing.

There were hundreds of people who were hauled, bundled, rolled, pushed or carried over the railings and soon after the start play was held up while the touchline was cleared of spectators. When corners were being taken police had to make a passage for the kicker and twice after the interval Burbanks crashed into human barriers.

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