For Sunderland AFC a wait in excess of 50 years, since first entering the most famous domestic knockout trophy in the footballing world, was about to end.
As the players rose at half past ten from their retreat in Bushey near Watford little did they know what awaited them. It was Sunderland’s first FA Cup Final since 1913, then of course played at The Crystal Palace, and it would be a momentous one for local Boy Horatio Stratton Carter. Born in Hendon, Sunderland, Raich Carter prophetically stated before the final “I think we are set for the Cup this time”.
Sunderland’s trainer Andy Reid had refused to change what he considered to be the clubs lucky shirts, which had been worn right from the first round, even though the club was presented with a new set for the Wembley showpiece. He ensured that the coat of arms was transferred onto the old jerseys.
The dangerman as far as Sunderland was concerned was Frank O’Donnell. He had scored in every round of the FA Cup so far, a total of ten goals. The ground conditions were perfect and as usual in a cup final it took a while for initial nerves to be settled. Passes went astray and some over zealous tackling by Preston brought admonishment from the referee Mr Rudd.
Sunderland looked to have taken the lead when Gurney scored following good work by Duns. However he was judged offside. In fact Gurney would fall foul of Preston’s offside trap repeatedly during the first half. After 38 minutes Preston scored.
The goal was created through fine interchange between the O’Donnell brothers. The move ending with lethal marksman Frank placing a low drive wide of Mapson’s right hand with the Sunderland defence out of position. Within a minute Preston almost doubled their advantage as Hugh O’Donnell connected with a lovely free kick cross and headed goalwards. Mapson just managed to palm the ball round the post.
At half time the talk in the Sunderland dressing room was of how to stop Frank O’Donnell. Carter however would have none of it and told his players to concentrate on their own game. Within 6 minutes of the restart the tactic would bear fruit as Gurney back headed a Burbanks corner into the net.
The ground erupted.
The game really started to take shape as both sides gave no quarter in the quest for a second goal.
Sunderland slowly but surely began to get the upper hand and it was just reward for their endeavours when after 71 minutes they took the lead. The goal was scored by Carter but it was made by his best man Gurney, who beat a Preston defender and sent over a centre, which the Sunderland captain latched onto, sending the ball skimming along the ground past Burns. Carter was mobbed by his team mates.
Six minutes later and Burbanks scored a third for Sunderland, following the now customary high quality interchange play with Gallacher. The outside left cracked home a beauty.
Sunderland had won the FA Cup!
At the end of the match the Sunderland players commiserated with their Preston counterparts. Their distress was palpable in people such as Bill Shankly who had given his all. The Sunderland supporters in the stadium, including the 2 local MP’s Stephen Furness and Samuel Storey, were overcome with joy.
As Raich Carter made his way up the 39 steps to collect the trophy he recalled the broad smile of King Farouk. Her Majesty the Queen commented, on presenting Carter with the Cup, “that is a nice wedding present”.
Preston North End: Burns, Beattie, Gallimore, Milne, Tremelling, Shankly, O’Donnell H, Fagan, O’Donnell F, Beresford, Dougal
Sunderland: Mapson, Gorman, Hall, Thomson, Johnston, McNab, Duns, Carter, Gurney, Gallacher, Burbanks