Looking back at: Lincoln v Sunderland 1970

Wednesday 9th September 1970

Lincoln City 2 Sunderland 1 (League Cup Round Two)

Prior to the current season, Lincoln City have played Sunderland a total of six times at Sincil Bank with three of these games resulting in wins for the Imps. The last of these was in 2019/20, when City won 2-0 thanks to Tyler Walker’s double, and the one before that just over 49 years ago when the north-east side were visitors in the then sponsor-free Football League Cup.

Following boardroom changes during the close season manager Ron Gray had been dismissed following City’s league placing of 8th for the second season in a row. His replacement was Bert Loxley who now combined the jobs of trainer and manager and although there had been a possibility that the 25-year-old Graham Taylor, already with coaching qualifications, could have been appointed as his assistant Loxley preferred that the full back concentrate on a playing role.

The new boss had made few changes to the playing squad during the summer with just two new players were signed, one of them to become a Sincil Bank legend. 25-year-old former lorry driver Percy Freeman had joined on a free transfer from West Bromwich Albion. Although Newark-born he had played for a variety of local clubs in the West Midlands area before joining the First Division outfit, making just three appearances for them. The other newcomer was 27-year-old Derek Trevis, something of a utility player who had cost £6,000 from Third Division side Walsall and who had previously made around 200 appearances for Colchester United.

Freeman had made an immediate hit with the supporters with four goals in the six games of the season so far, and his partnership up front with Trevis had seen a goal apiece from them in the 2-1 League Cup First Round victory against Grimsby Town at Sincil Bank. This had set up the visit from a Sunderland side newly relegated from the First Division.

The visitors had finished the previous season in 21st position to end a six-season stay in the top flight which had seen them usually in and around the lower half of the division. Experienced manager Alan Brown had overseen Sunderland’s promotion to the First Division in 1964 before leaving to join Sheffield Wednesday He had led the Owls to a losing Cup Final appearance in 1966 before re-joining Sunderland two years later but had been unable to prevent their relegation in his second season.

Both teams had made moderate starts to their league seasons and were placed mid-table in their respective divisions.

The teams were:


  1. John Kennedy
  2. Graham Taylor
  3. George Peden
  4. Phil Hubbard
  5. Ray Harford
  6. Jim Grummett
  7. Gordon Hughes
  8. Derek Trevis
  9. Percy Freeman
  10. Bill Taylor
  11. Dave Smith
  12. Rod Fletcher

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  1. Jim Montgomery
  2. Cec Irwin
  3. Martin Harvey
  4. Mick McGiven
  5. Richie Pitt
  6. Gordon Harris
  7. Bobby Park
  8. Bobby Kerr
  9. Joe Baker
  10. Ian Porterfield
  11. Billy Hughes
  12. Dennis Tueart (for Baker)

Lincoln’s goalkeeper and most of the back four had been together for most of the last three seasons, the exception being right back Graham Taylor who had been signed from Grimsby Town for a fee of £4,000 in the summer of 1968. In goal, 31-year-old Northern Irishman John Kennedy had joined from Celtic in the summer of 1967 at the same time as former Exeter City centre half Ray Harford. Also in the centre of defence was the popular Jim Grummett, son of a former City player of the same name. He was City’s longest serving player at the age of 25, having made his debut in 1964 and was one of very few players remaining from before Ron Gray’s time as manager. Supporters had been recently been disconcerted by the news that he wished to leave the club although not having formally asked for a transfer, and in fact former Luton Town captain Terry Branston had been signed just this week in order to be his replacement in the side.

In midfield was the local-born Phil Hubbard, along with Grummett one of the few other players to have survived Ron Gray’s rebuilding of the side. A player who could fill several roles with equal effectiveness it appeared that he had now found his best position as a goalscoring midfielder and he would go on to finish as top scorer for the season. Alongside Hubbard was the cultured Bill Taylor, now 31, who had joined in the summer of 1969 from Nottingham Forest where had spent several years as a fringe first team player. Like Ray Harford and his namesake Graham, Bill Taylor was to go on to a notable career in coaching before it was cut short by his early death.

On the right wing was veteran Gordon Hughes, now aged 34 who had been one of City’s most effective players since joining from Derby County in 1968 after much experience in the top two divisions for the Rams and Newcastle United. City legend Dave Smith was on the left wing, now starting his third season with City after joining from Middlesbrough’s reserve side.

Up front, another City legend-to-be, Percy Freeman formed a partnership with Derek Trevis that had consigned last season’s leading scorer to the subs’ bench. Rod Fletcher, like goalkeeper Kennedy, a part-time professional and a schoolteacher, was another player to be brought to the club by Ron Gray in the summer of 1967.


  1. I was there age 13. Wings Coaches from Sleaford got me there with Bill Stacey taking my 30 p on the coach x

  2. South Park terrrace, so good view of our goals; a great night, I think my first ever evening game. The season started off so promisingly, with Big Perce an immediate folk hero (goal demolitions helped) and Trevis looking useful, but petered out badly to end in re-election, confimed by the likes of 4-5 home defeat to York (Wardy’s debut?) and a 4-4 draw v Aldershot last game of the season from 4-2 up, indicates where the problems were.

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