Monsieur Salut has already – a little gloomily – speculated that next Saturday’s game at home to Norwich may be the season’s first relegation six-pointer. He also had a conversation with a French acquaintance who remembered almost every detail of Yann M’Vila’s fall from French international grace.
Leicester left Pete Sixsmith in downbeat mood, too, but not enough to put him off scuttling back from the Midlands to catch a Sunderland Under 21s match – against Norwich. He saw a win but also an embarrassing start to M’Vila’s SAFC career …
It was a pleasant afternoon at Hetton.
Some of the irregulars were there and there were irregular irregulars, drawn out by the sunshine, the novelty of a Sunday afternoon game and the chance to glimpse our new signing Yann M’Vila. And see him we did, although he didn’t turn in a full 90 minutes – of which more later.
It was quite a strong side, with Will Buckley, Valentin Roberge and Chavris Mavrias playing, presumably hoping to attract attention from clubs in Leeds, France, Greece and all points east. The rest were the usual Under 21s – Stryjek (a legend in Boston, Lincs. after his heroics there last season), two Robsons, Tommy and Josh, Agnew skippering the side, Beadling after his first team experiences in North America and South Yorkshire, Mandron and Gooch, a Franco/Scottish/ USA link up between two players who seem to be good buddies.
Norwich pitched up with a very young side and four substitutes and with a hamper from Delia and a book of words from Stephen Fry to while away the endless journey across the A17 and the A47, although they may have gone on the A11 to Cambridge and then used the A14 to link up with the A1 at Peterborough. And maybe I should get out more.
It wasn’t a bad first half. M’Vila looked a bit rusty but seemed to settle in well. Mavrias continues to look a very decent player and Roberge is an excellent professional. Unlike some, he does not mess about at this level and “always gives of his best” as a generation of teachers wrote on the reports of those decent, hard working kids who were destined to collect a sheaf of Bs and Cs at O level.
The game ambled along with the Delias having the best chances and then it exploded. Mandron hit the first after good approach play by our US and Greek players and then a delightful through ball by M’Vila set up Gooch for the second. A third came a minute later after a cultured chip by Mavrias hit the bar and Mandron nodded it in. Three goals in seven minutes appeared to have killed the game off.
Norwich, reinforced by Delia’s Home Made Ginger Bread came out full of fire for the second period and began to put in some distinctly unDelia like tackles. Mavrias was caught on the ankle and then there was a bit of argy bargy between Beadling and the City centre forward Jamar Loza.
Beadling is a big lad and can look after himself and the scuffle was meaningless. But in jumped M’Vila to look after his new chum and in the ensuing contretemps with Loza, he moved his head in an aggressive manner towards the City player. The referee quite rightly interpreted this as violent conduct and issued a red card. He also rightly issued Master Loza with a yellow and told Roberge to be quiet and get on with it.
M’Vila trooped off to applause from many in the crowd, something which I find difficult to understand. A player has been correctly dismissed and he gets a clap – what is the world coming to. In the good old days, a player would be given the silent treatment if the ref’s finger pointed to the dressing room.
City pulled one back late on but never really looked like levelling and the Under 21s’ season opened with a win.
A shame the first team could not do the same. It is not known as I write whether M’Vila will be able to turn out against the Big Canaries next Saturday.