Pete Sixsmith, in the company of Salut! Sunderland’s deputy editor Malcom Dawson, had an enjoyable afternoon despite the rain, watching the first goals of SAFC’s pre-season programme in a 5-1 dismantling of Darlington, or rather the form Darlo now take after all the woes of recent seasons. That meant, for example, a trip to Bishop, not Darlington itself. Let Pete explain …
So, after 10 weeks without watching a Sunderland side, it was back into action at Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland watching two Sunderland teams take on Darlington 1883.
The result was a comfortable 5-1 win with Gus Poyet turning out two different teams – one in each half, which made for some continuity rather than the constant substitutions that tends to happen in these games.
It was a pre-season game for us and a fund raiser for The Quakers to aid their efforts to return to their home town – not at Reynolds Folly but sharing with Darlington RFC at Blackwell Meadows. They should have added a five- figure sum to their collection plate as a healthy crowd turned out despite the weather.
It rained very heavily during the first half in a ground where cover was not available for the majority of the crowd and none of the Sunderland fans. But that’s part and parcel of the English summer and there was general stoicism as rain trickled down backs, made it difficult to see through spectacles and dampened many a hair style – not mine, I hasten to add.
* Gus Poyet on the new boys: ‘Pantilimon was very cool and calm, Jones was full of energy in that full-back position and Gomez popped up with a top quality goal.’ https://safc.blog/2014/07/pure-poyetry-darlington-1-sunderland-5-a-good-but-soggy-workout/
When the cloud was so low that Shawbrow Hill was barely visible, Mr Horan told the young couple stood next to us that this usually foreshadowed some great tragedy. The young lady looked at her male escort and said: “That means I won’t be going out with you anymore.” To his immense good fortune, the clouds lifted in time to save the putative relationship.
For the opening 45 minutes, we lined up thus; Mannone; Watmore, O’Shea, Roberge, Jones; Honeyman, Larsson, Cabral, Ba, Clayton; Fletcher.
All looked comfortable on the ball and there were murmurs of approval directed towards Max Clayton, currently on trial from Crewe Alexandra. The move put together between him and Duncan Watmore for Steven Fletcher’s second goal may just have earned him a contract.
Two up at half time, the entire team changed and we lined up Pantilimon (who is huge!!); Ferguson, Brown, Diakite, Mavrias; Giaccherini, Cattermole, Gomez, N’Diaye, Moberg Karlsson; Wickham.
Further well taken goals from Giaccherini and Wickham and a right left combination from Gomez saw us home comfortably despite an aberration from Wes Brown which allowed namesake Gary to pull one back for the Quakers.
A good start for Gus and his merry men and with Johnson, Bridcutt and Altidore to figure and (let’s hope) Borini to come in, the squad should step up its match fitness at Carlisle and Hartlepool before they head off to Portugal.
The period of silence for John Alder and Liam Sweeney was kept impeccably.
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