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As Leeds United look ahead to their FA Cup tie against Sutton United this weekend it’s pretty easy to do the head to head results on this fixture. Played one, won one. Likewise that game was in the fourth round of the FA Cup, Leeds came away six nil victors on that occasion. That was back on 24th January 1970 though and the great Peter Lormier (2) and Allan Clarke (4) provided the goals.
The draw for the Fourth Round of the 1970 FA Cup handed United a trip to Gander Green Lane, home of Isthmian League side Sutton United. United were overwhelming favourites to swamp the minnows, but the ever-cautious Don Revie was taking nothing for granted and organized a practice match on East End Park WMC’s Skelton Road ground as part of the build up to the tie. The Leeds Manager expressed his reservations for the safety of his players because of the closeness of the crowd to the playing area.
Plans to put in an extra six hundred seats on the touch-lines were reduced to four hundred after discussions with the Leeds camp who finally declared themselves satisfied with Sutton’s ability to stage the match. There had been talk of switching the game to Leeds, but Sutton pressed ahead with their plans to stage the game and managed to squeeze 14,000 fans into their tiny arena.
Sutton, the first Amateur club to reach the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in seventeen years, included in their ranks teachers, a GPO Engineer, a Billingsgate fish salesman, a jig borer and a panel-beater. Those who expected to see one of the greatest giant-killing acts in the history of the competition were disappointed as Leeds turned on the style with Allan Clarke leading the way with four of the goals.
He netted the opener after fourteen minutes by turning in a Norman Hunter cross, and tapped in the third from Peter Lorimer’s pass just four minutes after Lorimer’s twenty-five-yard power shot had slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Dave Roffey. The match won, the game was a stroll for United in the second half with Clarke showing razor sharp reactions to complete his hat-trick, knocking the ball home after his initial header came back off a post. Clarke and Mick Jones let a Norman Hunter cross run through their legs for Peter Lorimer to bundle in the fifth, and Clarke completed his great day when Lorimer’s pass released him on a run from the halfway line to slot the ball coolly past Roffey thirteen minutes from the end.
The brave Sutton, while thoroughly outclassed had their moments with Larry Pritchard hitting the bar and John Faulkner having a goal disallowed. Leeds were in total control and had four other efforts disallowed, but the way young John Faulkner kept Mick Jones off the score-sheet impressed Revie, who soon returned to Sutton to sign the tall defender. Sutton’s Dario Gradi, an England amateur international, later became manager at Crewe Alexandra, where he developed the likes of David Platt and Rob Jones into England Internationals.
For match reports on more of Leeds United's Greatest Games check out OzWhites Leeds United F.C. History.
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