ON Saturday, September 4, 1978, Shildon Town found themselves 7-0 down at half-time against Bishop Auckland at Kingsway in a Northern League fixture.

Two years later Sunderland found themselves 1-2 down to Stockport County in the Second Leg of a Second Round Football League Cup tie at Roker Park.

The 'Two Blues' went on to win the Northern League game against Shildon 8-2, while First Division Sunderland became the first team from the top table of English football to lose to a Fourth Division team in the Football League Cup over two legs when the final score in the second leg of the League Cup 2nd Round tie at Roker Park read Sunderland 1 Stockport County 2.

Their is a link because Tommy Sword was responsible for the demolition of Shildon, with five goals in the first half – and he was also the man wearing the number 5 shirt for Stockport County, whose penalty killed Sunderland off in the League Cup tie.

Tommy was a free-scoring centre forward with Northern League Bishop Auckland, 1978-79, and hit 50 goals for the Kingsway club. He continued his goal-scoring ways wearing the number 9 shirt on debut for Stockport with a brace against Hartlepool in a 2-1 win.

The transition from wearing the number 9 shirt at Stockport County to wearing the number 5 shirt came completely by accident under the management of Jim McGuigan.

Tommy recalls: "I was one of two substitutes for a game against Newport County as our centre half was sent off in the first half. At half-time manager McGuigan made some tactical changes which involved me going to centre half, and after that I just stayed there. I also became the club's penalty taker, again by chance. At the start of one season we missed about four or five penalties from the six to seven spot kicks that we were awarded. he manager asked for a volunteer to take the spot kicks and I put my hand up."

Tommy did remarkably well from the spot because in his nine years at Stockport County he converted 25 penalties which greatly contributed to his 51 league goals.

He looked back at the meeting with Sunderland in Round 2 of the Football League Cup. "We drew 1-1 with Sunderland at Stockport and it was 1-1 when I scored with my penalty at Roker Park which enabled us to go through 2-1 on aggregate. I remember marking John Hawley that night and to be honest it was only in the final ten minutes, when Sunderland were chasing the game, that they put us under any kind of pressure," he recalled.

Tommy had been on Nottingham Forests' books but was released at 17 and was with Northern League Whitley Bay before joining Bishop Auckland. A recurring injury curtailed his professional career in his early thirties so he decided to go into the pub trade, and he now has a booming business with his pal Phil Rowland at The Rising Sun public house, on the Coast Road, in Wallsend.

"We get a lot of Newcastle supporters calling in on a match day, while it is a meeting place for former footballers, amateur or professional. Tony Cassidy, who played at North Shields, pops in, as does Mick Tait, who played at Hartlepool, while we often see former Bishop Auckland players Kenny Cramman and Paul Baker. Both Kenny and Paul played for Hartlepool."

Finally he recalled his one full season at Kingsway, Bishop Auckland, 1978-79.

"We had a good young side, Ken O'Donnell and Micky Gooding played, but we threw the league title away in the last few games, losing a couple of games which we should have won. Billy Ayre was a great lad and I played a few games for Halifax Town when he was the manager there, I also played with Alan Shoulder at Hartlepool, and can recall some bruising encounters with Terry Turnbull and Tony Butterfield when I played against Crook."

n Many thanks to Marcus Heap, Bobby Hull, Jay-Ellen Dixon and our Mick for their help with this article.