It was a line-up that included bright young hopes for the future and men who need to get away, for the sake of their careers and also Sunderland’s player staffing levels.
And they did something the senior team has not managed for nine years: win away at Arsenal. Arsenal Reserves 1 Sunderland Reserves 2.
Come to think of it, that 3-2 victory in 2002, in what was then called the Worthington Cup, was not only a rare triumph under Howard Wilkinson but also one achieved with a mixture of youth and dog-eared experience.
This was the line-up at Highbury when those of us present witnessed a fabulous comeback from 2-0 down at halftime:
Macho, Williams, Varga, Thome, Thirlwell, McCartney, Rossiter, Proctor, Schwarz, Kyle, Stewart. Subs: Piper, Clark, Byrne, Dickman, Turns.
Of the subs, I remember Matthew Piper’s great cross for Marcus Stewart’s winner. Others will have better memories of who else came on – I thought Ben Clark did but cannot be sure and have not made the obvious checks.
But fast forward to today and we have the admirable 2-1 win on the Reserves’ pre-season London trip.
Roarie Deacon and Jordan Cook were our scorers and safc.com had this to say: “Former Gunners youngster Deacon, who joined Sunderland on a free transfer during the summer, fired his side into the lead with a second-half stunner. Jordan Cook doubled the advantage in spectacular fashion soon afterwards.”
Arsenal managed to get one back – safc.com gives neither the Gunners’ team nor the identity of their scorer – but our defence held out. As well it might with Nyron Nosworthy and Matt Kilgallon in the back four. Neither, however, has a chance of featuring in Steve Bruce’s first-team plans and we must hope both fix up good deals taking them elsewhere, with our best wishes, in the near future.
This was the line-up:
King, Bagnall, Nosworthy, Kilgallon, Liddle, Mitchell, Elliott, Reed, Deacon, Cook, Laidler.
Subs (all used): Oliver, Marrs, Gorrin, Armstrong.
And any Gooner straying into Salut! Sunderland‘s pages is welcome to add a bit about the kind of side Arsenal put out.