Fresh from his great morning near Hull and rotten afternoon in it, Pete Sixsmith went to Eppleton to experience a football match of the 11 v 11 variety …
The last game of 2013 at Eppleton saw the Under 21s miss the chance to go to the top of the 22-strong Premier Under 21 League last night when they lost 2-1 to a big, well organised West Bromwich Albion team in front of a hardy 300+ souls.
Three of the Under 21 stalwarts have gone out on loan this week.
Liam Marrs has departed for Boston United and Adam Mitchell for Harrogate Town (both in Conference North) while Connor Wickham started his second loan spell at Hillsborough with a well taken goal in their first win of the season on Saturday.
A friend saw Mitchell play on Saturday and said that he did well but was a tad over eager, not a bad fault.
So, last night, in the company of the usual Hetton Irregulars (minus one – he was watching his son referee the Middlesbrough v Liverpool Under 21 game at Hartlepool) and Gus Poyet, we were able to see four of the new arrivals and the return of two players who had suffered career-threatening injuries.
Watmore, Ba, Moberg Karlsson and Mavrias were the new boys, while the returnees were Louis Laing and John Egan.
The rest were familiar faces, the only one I knew little about was Egan’s partner in the middle of the back four, Tom McNamee, who was a member of the Newcastle Falcons Development Squad.
It was a decent game, with the Baggies going home with the spoils, despite us having most of the play and missing some good chances. Sounds familiar? (“Most of the play”? That didn’t ring much of a bell – ed)
They took the lead when we failed to defend a cross (sound familiar?) and the ball was headed back across for the nippy Mani O’Sullivan to drive it home.
The equaliser came when Duncan Watmore, who was well-marked throughout, was brought down in the box by a tackle straight from the Craig Gardener Book of How to Give Away a Needless Penalty and Liam Agnew showed the other Gardner-like qualities when he slammed the spot kick home.
After that, Albion rarely threatened and we went close several times. The two returnees did well, although Laing tired towards the end, while Egan was relatively composed.
Of the younger signings, Watmore played with his usual verve but Albion had done their homework on him and he was often crowded out. Moberg Karlsson had a poor game and apparently was flashed by a speed camera on his way home so not a great day for him, Mavrias was okay and looks a decent footballer and Ba was the pick of the bunch. He is deceptively strong, tackles well and can pass the ball accurately – but, like many of our players, he is reluctant to shoot, preferring a second touch rather than slapping one in quickly.
The second goal came from a defensive slip up (sounds familiar?) and O’Sullivan took his shot early and drove it in inside the near post. Well taken goal, but avoidable – that definitely sounds familiar.
Much of the talk was about Cattermole’s red card and whether it was justified. After numerous looks at it (Marriner had one) and, perhaps being influenced by Poyet’s statements, some thought him unfortunate. Others agreed with me that it was a ridiculous thing to do with half time approaching and a new goalkeeper in situ. My desire to empathise with our former skipper is minimal.
And now, a few adverts.
Lance Hardy, author of the excellent Stokoe, Sunderland and ‘73 (available from all good bookshops and some bad ones) is doing three talk ins with Dennis Tueart. The first one is on the November 13 at The Red Hackle, Perth Avenue, Jarrow NE32 4HT followed the day after (the 14th for those numerically challenged) at Chester-le-Street Cricket Club, Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3PF. There is one on the 16th at the National Football Museum in Manchester as well. Lance is a great lad and a real red and white so if you can get there, do so. I should be at Ropery Lane. And if you cannot make any of them, you can buy the book for £11.69, postage free in the UK< from the Salut! Sunderland Amazon link at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0752883402/salusund-21
The Northern League is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this season and they have produced a book cum brochure called Northern Conquests. Mike Amos, the League Chairman, has written most of it, but I have contributed as well. It is outstanding value at £3.99 and can be obtained from any of the 45 member clubs or by post from Brian Mulligan, 41, Mitford Close, Sedgefield TS21 2JE. Add £2.00 for postage.
Finally, a friend and work colleague, Craig Elliot, has started to produce some framed prints. They can be seen on www.facebook.com/morethanwords.prints. They celebrate the 2-1 and 3-0 wins, but not the double disgrace at Hull. He will do bespoke requests as well. The Christmas catalogue is coming next week. There are reports of Christmas decorations already up and flashing.
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