Maybe Pete Sixsmith cannot get enough of the Stadium of Light after all, Not content with getting on for 200 minutes without a goal vs QPR and WBA, he was back there for the visit of Man Utd. But this was a youth game and not too many others braved the cold …
A cold night at the Stadium last night as 300 hardy souls turned out to watch an Under 21 clash with Manchester United. Our Academy has been under the spotlight recently, what with the lack of players it has produced since Henderson and Colback – here was an opportunity to see if there were any possibilities amongst the 2014-15 crop.
George Honeyman is one that might kick on with Sunderland. He came on for 10 minutes at Bradford so that he could get a feel of the failure that stalks our beloved club. Last night he buzzed around and looked like a slightly less rotund version of Andy Reid.
Honeyman can tackle, pass and shoot, all three of which put him ahead of some of our midfielders and, should we be safe by the end of April (stop giggling at the back there!!) he may well get a couple of more appearances with the first team.
He partnered Mikael Mandron, who has returned from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town. Chances in Shropshire were few and far between so back he came and he did well enough. He scored the equaliser, had a few tussles with Tyler Blackett and worked hard throughout. He is another one who may get a chance should the best case scenario turn up.
American Lyndon Gooch was more of a Claudio Reyna than a Jozy Altidore and he ran well on the wing and Duncan Watmore made a welcome return from injury but both are a fair way from the pinnacle and a first team place. But they may well train on.
They played the same style as their elders and (sometimes) betters in that the ball was passed around so much that it retired hurt a couple of times. It can be frustrating watching this style, but if you don’t give the ball away, you don’t concede.
Unfortunately, we gave it away in our own half, allowing United to break and score through Andreas Pereira after a bit of a cock up on the defending front allowed the ball to bounce.
Mandron levelled 10 minutes later and that was the end of the scoring, if not the action. United had included two first team players in James Wilson and the aforementioned Blackett but both departed either side of half time, Wilson with a knock and Blackett with a red card to his name after he pushed Martin Smith over in our penalty box while waiting for a free kick to be taken. Would that Mike Jones had displayed such courage on Saturday as Yacob did his impersonation of Les Kellett.
Keep an eye out for United skipper and left back, Tom Thorpe. In true Old Trafford tradition, he moaned and complained to the referee throughout the evening. I predict a bright future for young Tom.
A similar score line on Saturday would be welcome.
* Now guess the score in that other Man U vs SAFC encounter. No winners last weekend so it’s a rollover: https://safc.blog/2015/02/manchester-united-vs-sunderland-guess-the-score-theatre-of-dreams-or-nightmares/
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