Soapbox: a mountain to climb

Pete Sixsmith prepares for tombola duties at Ferryhill market today with a look back to last night’s disappointing youth team game – and forward to what Everton’s European setback may mean for our prospects on Sunday

A good turnout by fans at the Stadium of Light last night for the FA Youth Cup semi final first leg against Manchester City. This was a real opportunity for mums and dads to bring their offspring along to sample the delights of a Balti Pie and a Bobby Kerr-burger. And boy were those snack bars busy.

It was also an opportunity for Rebecca to scream and squeal down my left ear for 90 minutes.

As it happens, I am rather partial to females involving themselves with my ears (see Dr. Alex Comfort, p56) but a 10-year-old with an amazingly high-pitched voice who parrots her father at every opportunity is a bit too much.

The height of Dad’s humour was to suggest to the referee that he should have gone to Specsavers. This had the aforementioned Rebecca in fits of hysterical 10-year-old laughter. Unfortunately, my ear drums were its main recipient.

My good friend, the eternally patient and polite Willie Fyfie, was seated directly in front of her and while I got the earache, he got the feet in the back as she wriggled and giggled like the old lady who swallowed a spider to catch the fly.

Eventually he asked her to sit still and stop kicking him, eliciting a response from dad to the effect that she had been doing it all night and that she should stop now. Why not tell her at 7.10pm instead of half-past eight? I blame the teachers.

Difficult to blame the teachers for a disappointing defeat. The Academy staff have done a great job with these lads, but there was the feeling that this was a game too far.

Man City were bigger, and they were extremely well organised. They had players from all points east of Manchester, while most of ours came from all points east of Pallion.

The two goals they got were avoidable: the first a fortunate deflection, the second an unmarked header, But if we had got one back (and the ever industrious Waghorn missed a couple of good chances), we could have gone to Eastlands with a chance. As it is, City should run out comfortable winners and it will be interesting to see how many of their team go on to play at a higher level.

And in the meantime, as far as our fans are concerned, news of two Fiorentina goals qualifies for a mixed reception:

Either Everton might be so hacked off after a defeat to La Viola that they sulk their way through Sunday’s game in order to save their strength for the second leg.
Or They get such a rollicking from the excellent David Moyes that they come out and play like they did in October. We shall see.

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