Snow in South West Durham ruled out Pete Sixsmith‘s first choice of football on Tuesday evening, just up Busty Bank and along the road from him at Shildon’s own threatre of dreams, Dean Street, but didn’t stop him making his way up to Sunderland for the Under 21s or whatever number you choose at home in the cup to Notts County …
Two games and two wins.
After the triumph against all the odds in Dorset, the Under 23s, or 21s or whatever they are restored pride to the club by battling back to beat our old friends and rivals from Nottingham in a pulsating thriller of a game at the Stadium of Light last night.
Well, maybe not a pulsating game. We won it in the last six minutes having gone behind to a goal from former Newcastle player Adam Campbell. This was a result of our central defenders failing to clear a corner, defending that would have been seen as risible in the Brandon and Byshottles Sunday League Division Three.
This was after Vito Mannone had bailed them out when he made a splendid save from Campbell. That we failed to defend the corner even adequately was a disappointment.
And so, for 35 minutes, the dream of Wembley was disappearing. Then, substitute Dan Molyneux dashed past his full back and pulled the ball back for fellow substitute Josh Madja to slip the ball past County keeper Scott Loach, quickly followed by a similar cross from Seb Larsson that was turned into his own net by Haydn Hollis.
It meant that we went through in second place as Rochdale won at Hartlepool and we then awaited the draw for the open round.
We could have been away to any of the Northern Group winners apart from Rochdale. It could have been Bradford or Carlisle or Doncaster, all pleasant trips out and places that we don’t play at very often.
But it is not to be. We have a game at Wolves, a long way from home on a December midweek and
one that your correspondent may just miss out on.
And what about the EFL Trophy (which Pete admirably resists calling Checkatrade – Ed)?
Many of the Division One and Two clubs are not pleased with this format. From the point of view of the Under 21s it does give some of them experience against older, more experienced players.
For Michael Ledger and George Brady, they had to face Alan Smith for most of the 90 minutes and a beast of a centre forward called Jonathon Forte for the last 10. They won’t come up against men like that at PL 2 level.
It was a very cold night, reflected in a crowd of just 633 (according to the club site), including 40 loyal and ultimately disappointed Pies supporters. Had it not been for a heavy fall of snow in South West Durham, I would not have been there, having elected to attend Shildon’s Northern League clash with North Shields. The snow put an end to that.
One more bright spot was the new seats in the East Stand standing out against the weathered pink ones in other parts of the ground. Mine is one of these bright, shiny ones. All I need now is some decent football to watch from it.
Our team: Mannone, J Robson (Molyneux, 77), T Robson, Brady, Ledger, Love, Larsson, Denayer, Honeyman, Greenwood, Asoro (Maja, 57)
Substitutes: Talbot, Wright, Casey, Pybus, Poame
Theirs: Loach, Laing, Duffy, Hollis, Dickinson, Tootle, Hewitt, Burke, Campbell, Smith (Oliver, 77), Snijders
Substitutes: Collin, Forte, Aborah, O’Connor, Richards, Milsom