The news from down the A19 was that Sunderland won comfortably, 3-1 with goals from Gyan, Colback and Larsson.
Better still, Pete Sixsmith reports from the game, we took it seriously and the match produced “some good pointers”. Ian Porter, at Blackcats, was also encouraged by what he saw (see footnote*).
Pete will have more to say later. But it is also worth recording that the rumour mill has been turning since this afternoon with suggestions that Steed Malbranque is about to sign for the French Ligue 1 side St Etienne.
M Salut’s gut response is that his skillful ball play will be sorely missed. We have not been so rich in natural footballing gifts in recent times to make that a trivial quality, and Steed possessed it in spades. That said, it may well be right for us and for him that he moves on. We need goals from midfield and he will never provide them, at least not for us. We also have a number of options in that area of the field.
But perhaps others will disagree. Over to you … and if he does go, we’ll have more to say about that, too.
* This was Ian Porter’s summing-up from Hartlepool: “It was a decent run out played at a decent pace for the most. Without doubt, MOM was Sess. Must be a good bet for scoring first goal next season. He was a constant threat, regularly turning players in the box. Many decent performances and goals from Gyan, Colback and Larson after going a goal down. Brown played well, in the flesh he’s a huge imposing figure. Rico was decent, Bardo seemed less effective on the right than he was on the left last season. Ferdinand, was probably our worst player. Showing the same indecision and risk taking in & around the box again. Cattermole did fine for me, I think I have more patience with him than most. Colback was sound as usual, keeping possession, passing accurately and hard running. This lad can go far if he gets the chances. Larsson was wide left, did OK, but regularly drifted right leaving no one on the left. Gyan was Ok, but did have a sky shot from 6 yards before Larsson put the ball away! Elmo, it’s hard to be positive when I don’t rate him, but he was probably no worse than anyone else.
This was more about playing 90 mins, but after about an hour we were totally dominant for long periods. All in all, I was satisfied with the performance considering it was pre-season, and I’m not sure how much you can ever read into pre-season results.”