Tyne/Wear derby countdown: Sunderland's best wins over Newcastle United in the 1950s
Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2
October 15, 1949
Determined Sunderland claimed a deserved point despite being down to 10 men for half the match.
George Robledo fired Newcastle in front from Tommy Walker’s cross in the 27th minute, and things looked bleak for the visitors when left-half Arthur Wright suffered an injury and was a passenger until the break (no substitutions were allowed in those days), after which he did not return to the fray.
Sunderland showed great character to haul themselves level just before the interval when Tommy Wright headed home Tommy Reynolds’ free-kick.
But Newcastle regained the lead a minute into the second period, making an instant impact with their man advantage, as Bobby Mitchell beat Jack Stelling for speed and found Walker, whose fierce, first-time shot flew past Johnny Mapson.
Sunderland’s spirited response brought a second equaliser on the hour mark.
Ivor Broadis caused mayhem down the right and cut the ball back into the middle for Dickie Davis, who cheekily backfield the ball past the despairing dive of keeper John Garbutt.
Argus wrote in the Echo: “It was a gallant display against the odds – and odds are heavy when you lose a wing-half like Arthur Wright for the whole of the second half and as a passenger for the last quarter of an hour of the first.”
NEWCASTLE: Garbutt, Cowell, McMichael, Harvey, Brennan, Crowe, Walker, Thompson, Robledo, Houghton, Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Mapson, Stelling, Hudgell, Watson, Walsh, A Wright, T Wright, Broadis, Davis, Kirtley, Reynolds.
Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2
March 23, 1951
Sunderland were just six minutes away from their first win at St James’s Park since April 1933 when Tyneside legend Jackie Milburn pounced to deny them both points.
Joe Harvey’s fourth-minute opener had Newcastle in early control, but Tommy Wright levelled in the 19th minute, capitalising on a poor ball from Bobby Corbett, taking a dozen steps and firing home, with keeper Jack Fairbrother only able to help the ball into the net with his head!
Trevor Ford put Sunderland deservedly ahed 17 minutes into the second half, nodding home a perfectly-placed cross from Harry Kirtley, who had cleverly beaten Trimdon-born Bobby Cowell on the wing.
Milburn had the last word, though, curling a long-range strike beyond the helpless Johnny Mapson.
Argus commented in the Echo: The temptation to ‘stonewall’ with a 2-1 lead was no doubt very strong, but I still think it was wrong.
“Attack is always the best defence and I think the Sunderland defence had enough on its plate without issuing an open invitation to United.”
NEWCASTLE: Fairbrother, Cowell, Corbett, Harvey, Brennan, Crowe, Walker, Taylor, Milburn, Robledo, Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Mapson, Hedley, Hudgell, Watson, Hall, A Wright, T Wright, Kirtley, Ford, Shackleton, Reynolds.
Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2
September 10, 1952
Sunderland came from behind to snatch a 2-2 draw – one of an amazing four in a row in the derby at St James’s Park.
Willie Watson capped an impressive display in the unusual position of inside-left by putting Sunderland ahead on the stroke of half-time, taking down an inswinging Len Shackleton corner and driving home.
But Newcastle were level after 49 minutes, with visiting full-back Jack Stelling only able to deflect a Reg Davies out of the reach of keeper Harry Threadgold and into his own net.
Sunderland fell behind on 73 minutes when Davies scored after a neat one-two with Jackie Milburn, but the Wearsiders kept fighting and equalised in the 81st minute. Tommy Wright won possession in midfield and raced goalwards, pursued by Charlie Crowe, who eventually gave up and saw the Scot run free to hammer home a spectacular 25-yarder.
Argus reported: “Inspired by Bill Watson, who gave one of the finest displays of inside-forward technique I have seen since the war, Sunderland took a point in the Tyne-Wear derby memorable for its pace and punch rather than pattern.”
NEWCASTLE: Robinson, Batty, McMichael, Casey, Brennan, Crowe, Walker, Davies, Milburn, Robledo, Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Threadgold, Stelling, Hedley, Aitken, Hall, A Wright, T Wright, Shackleton, Ford, Watson, Toseland.
Newcastle 1 Sunderland 2
February 26, 1955
Sunderland finally bagged their win on Tyneside in 22 years when Charlie “Cannonball” Fleming struck twice.
A typically tight first half ended with Sunderland’s breakthrough on 44 minutes. Winger Sam Kemp headed Billy Wright’s deep centre back into the middle and Fleming chested the ball down before turning and shooting home.
Newcastle, though, turned round fired up and equalised a minute into the second half, Jackie Milburn scoring with a powerful right-footer from 20 yards which flew out of Willie Fraser’s reach.
But Sunderland completed their first double over the Magpies since 1923/24 right on full-time, when former East Fife star Fleming headed home a driven Jack Hedley free-kick beyond the despairing dive of keeper Ronnie Simpson.
Argus hailed the Sunderland defence for a solid display, saying: The two slips by Ray Daniel which might have cost first-half goals were the only concessions by the Welsh international and, indeed, by the defence as a whole.
“United had a good 60% of the play and arrived often enough in front of the Sunderland goal only to be checked by the systematic covering which makes the Roker defence a good deal more effective than it actually looks.”
NEWCASTLE: Simpson, Cowell, Batty, Scoular, Stokoe, Casey, Milburn, Broadis, Keeble, Hannah, Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Fraser, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Kemp, Fleming, Purdon, Chisholm, Elliott.
Newcastle 0 Sunderland 2
March 3, 1956
Sunderland ousted the holders to reach the FA Cup semi-finals on a memorable day.
It was not the greatest of games, entertainment wise, but Newcastle could not complain about the result as the visitors were comfortably the better side in the match which ended the Black and Whites’ cup glory days of the 50s.
Sunderland centre-forward Bill Holden, without a goal since his consolation strike in a 3-1 Christmas defeat at Newcastle in the league, timed his return to goalscoring form to perfection to hand the Rokermen a Hillsborough semi-final date with Birmingham City.
After the early nerves wore off, Sunderland had a couple of chances to go ahead before they finally did so. Len Shackleton’s delightful pass played in Charlie Fleming, but keeper Ronnie Simpson stood up well when his fellow Scot looked to turn the ball home. Then Simpson turned over a fierce Shackleton drive.
But Sunderland made the breakthrough four minutes before the break. Out on the left, Shackleton sent over a right-footed cross and Holden went up just in front of Simpson and guided the ball over the keeper’s head and into the net, with Billy Bingham following up to make sure – although it had already crossed the line.
Sunderland refused to sit on their lead and continued to play expansive football in the hunt for a killer second goal. One brilliant move by Fleming and Bingham set up Holden, but he shot wastefully over the bar.
Ray Daniel was forced to head a Jackie Milburn drive wide of the post as Newcastle rallied, with keeper Willie Fraser beaten.
But Holden made amends for his miss by killing off the Magpies six minutes from time. Fleming’s long pass down the wing looked safely covered by Willie Paterson, but he dawdled and Holden reached it at the same time.
He quickly shrugged off the centre-half and moved goalwards. Simpson rushed out, but Holden extravagantly dribbled around him and pushed the ball wide of right-back Ron Batty, who had taken up position on the line in a vain attempt to keep Newcastle’s dream alive.
NEWCASTLE: Simpson, Batty, McMichael, Stokoe, Paterson, Scoular, Milburn, Davies, Keeble, Curry, Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Fraser, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Daniel, Aitken, Bingham, Fleming, Holden, Elliott, Shackleton.
Newcastle 2 Sunderland 2
February 1, 1958
Sunderland staged a remarable recovery to rescue a point after being two goals down at the interval in a relegation four-pointer.
But they were lucky to do so – as they produced as unconvincing a performance as the rest of their campaign, which was to end with an ignominious first ever relegation out of the top flight.
Fourth-bottom Newcastle, one place above their visitors, were the better side and survived a bright Sunderland start to go ahead on 23 minutes.
Just 25 yards, Stan Anderson crazily tried to beat Reg Davies but instead lost out to the home inside-left. Davies ran in on goal but caught Sunderland out with a neat pass to Alex Tait, whose first-time effort was knocked up by keeper Willie Fraser, only to bounce into the net.
It was 2-0 on 35 minutes, with Newcastle now totally dominant. Charlie Hurley was drawn out to the flank by Tait, who floored the youngster with a shoulder charge before moving inside to cross for Bill Curry, who was waiting unmarked at the back post to nod past a helpless Fraser.
Sunderland struggled to find any rhythm, but they fortuitously got back into the game with 23 minutes left.
Joe Cooper handled in preventing Alan O’Neill reaching a cross from Joe McDonald and Billy Elliott converted the resulting penalty, though he was lucky as his almost-straight shot was just wide of the diving Stewart Mitchell’s foot.
Unbelievably, despite their poor play, Sunderland ensured a share of the spoils thanks to a second goal four minutes later.
Billy Bingham and Anderson combined to set Jack Hedley away down the right. He moved inside to cross with his left foot and O’Neill guided a well-judged header beyond Mitchell to grab a much-needed point.
NEWCASTLE: S Mitchell, McKinney, McMichael, Cooper, Paterson, Franks, Tait, Eastham, Curry, Davies, R Mitchell.
SUNDERLAND: Fraser, Hedley, McDonald, Anderson, Hurley, Elliott, Bingham, Fogarty, Revie, O’Neill, Grainger.