CLASSIC CUP FINALS: Sunderland pulled off one of the great shocks when they beat Leeds United 1-0 in 1973.
Sunderland 1-0 Leeds United
The FA Cup Final
05 May 1973
Leeds were superlatively efficient, matured in the conflicts of the First Division and European competition. A team with ten international players, they came to Wembley as Cup holders, for their third Final in four years.
Sunderland came from the Second Division, and when their new manager Bob Stokoe took over during the season, they were third from bottom.
No Second Division side had won the Cup for more than 40 years. None of the 'expert' observers, and few even of the romantics - outside Sunderland - gave them anything but the faintest hope of winning. Yet, at Wembley, feeling triumphed over reason and Sunderland won by a single goal.
The turf was wet and the game started in heavy rain. Surprisingly, early on, it was the Leeds passes that went astray. Sunderland, with Horswill and Porterfield already prominent in midfield, were quick in tackling and interception. Bremner, the Leeds captain, was hurried out of his stride, often uncharacteristically beaten in the tackle.
Yet, as the game developed, Leeds were better organised in attack, prompted by the accurate passes of Giles. Little was made of the opportunities he offered.
The formidable striking power of Jones, Clarke and Lorimer was frustrated by the quickness and determination of a Sunderland defence dominated by the authoritative Watson.
It was believed in advance that the skilful Gray would cut Sunderland's right flank to pieces. The forecasts were wrong. Kerr, the Sunderland skipper, dropped back and Gray was eclipsed to such an extent that late in the game he was replaced by Yorath.
For all that, Leeds had their chances, and might have been ahead before Sunderland scored. Clarke, most dangerous of opportunists, was 10 yards out with a clear sight of goal.
In the second it took him to shift the ball to his right foot, Watson was in with his tackle and the danger was averted.
Sunderland's attacks were sharp and sudden. Hughes and Halom chased everything and found each other with instinctive understanding. Behind them, Horswill drove himself relentlessly, trying shots at every opportunity.
The Leeds defence dealt with these assaults capably. Madeley was in superb form and Hunter showed his characteristic mixture of hardness and constructive thinking. Sunderland, however, did not behave like underdogs, and on the half-hour they scored.
Harvey, in the Leeds goal, pushed a long shot from Kerr over the bar. Hughes went over to take the corner and with Halom and Watson in the box in order to worry the defenders, the ball flew out to Porterfield.
With admirable composure he killed the ball on his left thigh and swung to hit it powerfully home with his right foot.
Leeds, as is their nature, fought back with a determined assault just before half-time and with increasingly desperate power through the second half.
The turning point of the match was in the 70th minute, when it seemed Leeds would at last be rewarded.
A Reaney centre from the right was met by Cherry with a diving header across goal. Montgomery, the Sunderland goalkeeper and an instinctive player of phenomenal reflexes, flew to reach it with his left hand and palmed it away - straight into the path of Peter Lorimer, who possessed one of the most powerful and accurate shots in the game.
Lorimer hit it with full force into what appeared to be the empty goalmouth - but, miraculously, Montgomery twisted, changed direction and diverted the ball on to the underside of the bar. It bounced to safety.
The save has been talked of ever since, as has - in Leeds at least - the incident when Bremner, rounding Watson, fell dramatically in the penalty area. The referee, Mr Burns, ignored his appeal.
There were anxious moments for Sunderland as Montgomery made further saves from Bremner, Yorath and Cherry. Then Clarke was again robbed when he might have scored.
Sunderland held out. More than that, their counter-attacking spirit remained alive. In the last minute only a supreme effort from Harvey in the Leeds goal deflected a Halom shot bound for the angle of bar and post.
1973 FA Cup Final - Details
Sunderland: Montgomery; Malone, Guthrie; Horswill, Watson, Pitt; Kerr (c), Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart
Sub not used: Young
Goal: Porterfield 30
Leeds United: Harvey; Reaney, Cherry; Bremner, Madeley, Hunter; Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray (Yorath, 75)
Referee: Mr K Burns