Keeping goal is sometimes a thanked task but, as often, a thankless task. Humans err and this applies to goalkeepers at all levels, as Monsieur Salut and Pete Sixsmith can confirm from personal experience, albeit long ago. Sixer now describes how what happened to us down the rec (Shildon’s splendid recreation ground) or on the playing fields of King James I Grammar and Woodhouse Close Sec Mod can also happen to a Portuguese pro …
The life of a goalkeeper is full of ups and downs. One minute you are a hero, saving penalties, thwarting great forwards and catching everything that comes to you and the next you are a complete mug, getting nowhere near a series of penalties (Lionel Perez anyone), letting sitters in through your legs and dropping crosses when under no pressure whatsoever as Costel Pantilimon did at West Brom last season.
And so it was that Michael Domingues, once of Boavista, Oporto’s second club, came to be regarded as one of the latter when he made his inaugural appearance at the Stadium of Light in a humdrum game against Derby County’s Under 23 side.
The game was a typical Under 23 encounter for 45 minutes. Lots of endeavour, some skill but little real purpose. Lynden Gooch played as did Joel Asoro, both candidates for a place on the bench at The Taxpayers Expense Stadium on Saturday. The rest were the regular Under 23s, players who have been at this level for the last three years without ever really looking as if they would make that break though.
Max Stryjek is the regular Under 23 keeper but sat this one out so that Mika could experience the splendour of the Stadium with its newly restored red, white, yellow and black seats at the front of the East Stand. Mine is a new one. It looks great. Thanks, Ellis.
The crowd was about 400 and we dozed the first half away. There were a couple of chances – Ethan Robson hit the bar, Josh Robson pushed forward and Thomas Robson ran the left wing well. The more I see of this team, the more it reminds me of the town of Rock Ridge in Blazing Saddles, where every citizen is named Johnson.
Rees Greenwood Robson was the biggest disappointment of the evening, turning in a performance that indicated that an alternative career path may be taken sooner rather than later. His control was poor and his unwillingness to shoot mystifying.
He committed an awful foul on a Derby player that should have been a red card and was fortunate to get away with a yellow.
Lynden Gooch Robson and George Honeyman Robson were equally disappointing, both seeing plenty of the ball but spending far too much time twisting and turning rather than pushing forward. It meant that Joel Asoro Robson was left looking for scraps a la Jermain Defoe. Jermain will have taught him well.
And so we come to Mika Robson. He had nothing to do in the first half bar admire the new seats but when called on in the second half, he dropped two clangers, one the size of the Iron Chicken, the other of Soup Dragon proportions.
The first came when he inexplicably punched a cross into the ground instead of either a) catching it b) punching it away c) allowing a defender to head it. The Derby players, unused to being in the box were taken by surprise and it took them three goes before it was eventually shanked over the line.
The crowd sympathised with poor Mika and normal service was resumed when Daniel Wright Robson turned home a Gooch cross and a home win (whatever a home win may be) looked likely.
Or at least it did for a minute, as our errant Portuguese keeper produced another error, this time dropping the ball at the feet of Kellan Gordon to restore the Rams lead. As Lady Bracknell almost said, “one goalkeeping error may be a misfortune, two is more like carelessness”.
Thomas Beadling Robson spared Mika’s blushes by ramming home a penalty and the game ended all square at 2-2 as we trooped back to the car and caught the news that Manchester City’s keeper had experienced an even worse evening than poor old Mika.
Donald Love Robson was the standout player for me. He moves well, tackles firmly and might just make a contribution at first team level as the season progresses. Let’s hope that Jordan Pickford remains injury free for the next few weeks.