OK, it was only a reserve game, but it’s always nice to rub their noses in the dirt, and it’s even better when a Sun’lan’ lad rattles in an eight minute hat trick. Our man at the Stadium of Light was Pete Sixsmith, taking in his second reserve game of the day. He was wearing his new anorak.
A cold night at the unsponsored, unsullied Stadium of Light, but the cockles of the heart were warmed by Ryan Noble’s hat trick to see off a previously unbeaten Mags second string. Premier Reserve League it may be, but after our recent dismal run against the representatives of The Great Satan, it’s good to put them in their place.
He scored them in eight minutes as well. The first one was a strong shot which Jak Alnwick, brother of wannabe porn star Ben, should have saved. For the second, he picked up a rebound from the keeper who had failed to hold a strong Jordan Cook shot, but the third was an absolute cracker.
The impressive James McClean played in Michael Liddle with a very clever back heel and his through ball set Noble loose in the box and he crashed it past Alnwick to earn a standing ovation.
He knows how to celebrate as well. After his opener, he took off to the area where the Mags were standing with his arms outstretched and jumped around in front of them. Oh to see him do that at St James, sorry, The Sports Direct Arena in March!!
He will get all the headlines tomorrow in The Reserve League Express, but there were other valuable contributions from a strong Sunderland side.
David Meyler ran and ran and ran. He looked supremely fit and must be a candidate for Larsson’s place on Saturday. One tremendous lung burster in the second half would have been a goal had Noble’s pass been better weighted.
It’s very easy to imagine him as a Gaelic footballer. They are like sharks, cruising around all the time and they never stop. Having witnessed a couple of games at Croke Park in the days when Sunderland and Ireland were synonymous, I honestly believe that the levels of fitness for this game are even greater than those of top level Rugby League players. Meyler plays his football in the same way. Great to see him back.
Another Irishman, James McClean did well, particularly in the first half, when he ran at his full back and put in some dangerous crosses. The more I see of him, the more I like him and he must be close to a first team game, possibly in this season’s FA Cup tie.
Louis Laing played at full back so that Matt Kilgallon (remember him) could be scouted by a gaggle of Championship clubs. Both did well as did Kilgallon’s partner, John Egan. He was on the bench at Old Trafford and is another one who will be looking for a first team start before the end of the season.
To be fair to Newcastle (difficult I know, but it has to be done), they turned out a much younger and far less experienced side than ours, with most of their players having gained first team experience at Gateshead (Alnwick, Tavernier and the wonderfully named Norwegian, Joan Edmunddson). They contributed to an entertaining game and they had one or two players who looked as if they could make a career in lower league football – preferably with Newcastle.
They brought a number of raucous fans with them, some of who managed to get themselves ejected – at a Reserve game. They were singing a song about a tailor and a wall – possibly some old Tyneside Music Hall ditty written by Ridley Geordie or some such character. However, there were no painted bed sheets. Shame.
Earlier in the day, I had revelled in my status as a retiree, by taking in an equally competitive Reserve game between Hartlepool United and Hull City. City had a Frazier Campbell look-alike playing called Cameron Stewart, who scored a very good goal and then fell down a lot.
Pools equalized in the second half and former Sunderland player Nathan Luscombe almost grabbed a winner just before the end.
So, a good day out and a win over the old enemy. Let’s see if the first team can produce a repeat performance next time round.