Sunderland U23s completed their pre-season with a convincing 4-0 win over Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park last night.
I spotted Pete Sixsmith in the crowd, but not until after I had nodded a hello to his doppelganger sat in the row in front of me, then wondered why he had not acknowledged my greeting. Perhaps it was the massive sunglasses that fooled me into thinking it was Pete, though to be fair he was the spit of the admittedly pre Slimming World Sixer.
The boys in red and white also did a fair impersonation of the first team, moving the ball around pretty well before misdirecting what should have been a simple pass directly into touch on a couple of occasions.
Those on the fringes of the first XI did themselves no harm in front of a watching Jack Ross, sat just to my left.
Williams Kokolo had a good game at left back, where we are a bit short of numbers since Bryan Oviedo’s move to Denmark. Jack Bainbridge looked solid at centre back from where he captained the side. I was a bit surprised that he did not feature in the manager’s thinking a bit more than he did last season, as he is a player I think will push on and what he lacks in Glenn Looven’s experience, he makes up for with pace and youthfulness. Jack Diamond also had a decent enough game on the left wing whilst Bali Mumba was busy and composed in midfield.
Playing in the number 9 role was Harrison Myring, on trial following his release from Leicester City. He scored twice and impressed Pete who in an e-mail this morning suggested the headline ADMIRING MYRING. He perhaps should have done better with an early effort that he tamely side footed straight at the keeper but finished with a brace, a well placed shot into the far corner and a powerful downward header from a cross in from the right.
The goals all came in the first half. Myring’s first came after a lovely piece of build up play with plenty of off the ball movement and first time passing down the left, the ball eventually making its way to the trialist who slotted home with aplomb. The second was a long range curler from Jack Diamond which left the Bishop’s keeper, who had a decent 45 minutes, glued to his line as he watched the ball into the top corner. I shall resist the temptation to say the it was a gem from Diamond who was a cut above all night.
Jake Hackett got the third from the edge of the box, firing home confidently, before Myring completed the rout with a good header, which he did well to get on top of and head down beyond the keeper’s reach.
The second half saw a raft of substitutions and gave us a look at the Algerian keeper Ahmed Abdelkader who for whatever reason replaced the Bishop’s keeper between the sticks. He made a couple of decent saves, although the first time he was called into action he flapped at a high ball, under pressure right on the edge of the penalty box. Things were fairly quiet for him after that but he dealt well enough with everything else that came his way.
Bishop kick off their league campaign at Penrith on Saturday and as the game wore on looked to give their whole squad a run out. Some of them must have only been allowed to stay up late because it was the school holidays whilst the old soldier Daryl Hall, who I saw turn out at Wembley with West Auckland, managed the whole of the second half.
This was an enjoyable game on a mild evening with a flock of lapwings giving a fine aerial display over Sainsbury’s and what I thought might have been some whimbrel calling as they flew overhead. No doubt Sobs who was there suffering split loyalties, will put me right if he reads this. I expect there will be some match highlights on the club website later when you can check how accurately my aging memory really is.
A similar performance by the first team tomorrow will go down nicely.
Ha’way the Lads.