Pete Sixsmith is beginning to feel spoilt. A couple of nights after seeing the Lads waltz to victory at the home of football’s current laughing stock, he was at the Stadium of Light for a visit from the Newcastle Development Squad to play ours. The winning habit was not broken …
There have been three Wear-Tyne derbies over the last two weeks, a series in which Sunderland have come out winners by 2-1 (a nice, familiar score line).
First of all, their Under 19s beat ours in the FA Youth Cup, 4-1 at The Sports Direct (I always call it that; tradition demands it), with a young man called Quinn claiming a hat trick. That made it 1-0 to the Magpies.
Then came the big one on Saturday. Do we need to be reminded of this one? Yes we do.
Borini (pen) 19, Johnson 23, Colback 80. Names and times that will go down in Red and White folklore and will be passed on to open-mouthed children by ageing grandparents as they enter their dotage. Score now 1-1.
Last night (Monday) saw the third instalment of the Wear-Tyne series when the two clubs’ Development Squad met at the Stadium of Light. Both teams needed the points for different reasons; we needed to consolidate second place, our visitors needed to try and scramble into the top half and claim a top division place for next season when the league splits into two.
This morning we sit in second place behind Fulham and the Black and Whites are 20th with only Reading and Blackburn Rovers below them as we won 2-0 thanks to a much improved second half performance.
Kevin Ball’s team was made up of 16 players with not a single first team appearance between them. The older players (Mandron, Knott, Watmore, Karlsson) are out on loan and Craig Lynch and Adam Marrs have been released.
This left Bally with a core of 18-year-olds plus Jordan Pickford and Louis Laing who have sat on the bench for the first team.
Check out the whole of the Thrashing Newcastle at the 03 series series at … https://safc.blog/category/thrashing-newcastle-at-the-03/
Newcastle had two of their 17-man squad from Saturday’s humiliation playing. Paul Dummet, who was fortunate not to see a red card at the Sports Direct, skippered them and Massadio Haidara, the young French player who was on the receiving end of that infamous Connor McManaman tackle at Wigan last season, lined up at full back. They also had Jak Alnwick, brother of current Leyton Orient shot stopper Ben (remember him – brilliant at West Ham when we won the Championship in 2006 before going on to a film career)) was between the posts.
The first half was not great and attention wandered as the Hetton Irregulars talk focused on the events of the last couple of weeks and the current state of the club. Happiness was the overwhelming emotion, laced with some trepidation as the upcoming fixtures were deemed as being a tad tricky.
Referee Alan Miller turned down a decent penalty shout when Jordan Laidler appeared to be brought down by Remie Streete and Pickford made a couple of decent saves, but to describe the first 45 as soporific would be charitable.
Whatever Bally said at half time worked and we came out and played the game at a much greater tempo. We were rewarded when Streete did foul Laidler in the box and Miller gave a spot kick. To those of us in the posh, padded seats it looked outside the box, but who are we to argue with a match official?
Laidler picked himself up, dusted the ball down and slammed it past Alnwick to put us one up. There then followed a succession of substitutions as both sets of young players succumbed to cramp, tiredness and generally being knackered. Laing began to run the midfield, Scott Harrison controlled the defence and Laidler was busy, causing Streete and his fellow defenders all kinds of problems. He played in energetic sub Martin Smith for a second with the last kick of the game.
I was impressed with Harrison and Laidler and young American striker Lyndon Gooch looked good when he came on for the last 20 minutes. Once the tempo had been raised, we looked a decent side and ran out deserved winners.
The general mood in the ground was a jolly one, with some of the younger members of the crowd taunting the smaller than usual band of Newcastle fans clustered in the South Stand. Joe Kinnear was not sighted.
Assistant Referee Helen Conley, a graduate of Ferryhill Comprehensive School, had a splendid game on the line and looked every inch a potential Premier League official. Not only a good ref, she could tell you much about Roosevelt’s New Deal and the relevance of the songs of Woody Guthrie.
As Meatloaf warbled in 1977, “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad”. The Big Fella knew what he was talking about.
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