Pete Sixsmith is all heart. All but Sent to Coventry yesterday when Sky Blues fans – angered by his long memory, short beard and unkind thoughts – formed queues longer than ever seen outside the away end for SAFC v City games to have a go, he manfully accepted his punishment: a cold night out with the Reserves. And was rewarded with a goal feast …
Well, let’s try and get through this one without upsetting anybody.
I eventually got down to Heritage Park last night after defending my honour and my beard against militant Coventryistas, who are right to have a go at me for being bitter and twisted but wrong to accuse me of wanting to see the end of Coventry City as a football club.
The chill air of a cold Durham night cleared my head and I stood and watched a very impressive performance by a very young Sunderland. No Craig Gordon or Fraizer Campbell, just Brett Elliott and Adam Mitchell, players who had not appeared on my radar until last night.
For the record we won 6-0 against a Bishop Auckland side who are meandering through their first full season at a new ground. Heritage Park is an impressive stadium, built next to a new Sainsbury’s super store. Bishop Auckland now has all four major supermarkets plus the two major discounters, truly a shoppers’ paradise.
There was a healthy crowd in excess of 700, including a good smattering of Sunderland fans and, though a cold night, it was a most enjoyable one. A hat trick from Adam Mitchell backed up by goals from Craig Lynch, Roarie Deacon and Jaden Hall sent most people home suitably impressed.
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Mitchell is a local lad and has made a handful of appearances for the reserves. He took all three goals very well, none better than his first one which he steered past the impressive Auckland goalkeeper Peter Jeffries. The other two were thumping shots from the edge of the box, as were those from Lynch, Deacon and Hall.
The good thing was that all these young men play decent football and work hard for each other. The philosophy that comes from Ged McNamee and Kevin Ball at the Academy is passed on through Keith Bertschin and Stephen Clemence at Reserve level. Many of us were delighted that these two did not leave the club following the recent managerial change.
Craig Lynch looked a very competent player as he led the line and he has already been on the bench this season for the first team. He is a big, strong lad who looks as if he may well make the grade and his career could be a very good one.
Roarie Deacon also impressed as did regular reserves Liam Bagnall, Adam Marrs and Michael Liddle, but the player whose performance struck me the most was a young midfielder called Brett Elliott. I knew nothing about him, but this former Wallsend Boys Club player has clearly been taking lessons from David Meyler, as he never stopped running for 90 minutes. He is one to watch in the remaining Reserve games of the season, starting at Eppleton on Tuesday when Bolton Wanderers are the visitors.
Not much happening in the transfer market, although the Mirror is saying Birmingham City have asked to take homesick Craig Gardner back to St Andrew’s on loan. I would hope that Gardner is an ambitious player who wants to make a success of his career; a move back to the Championship would not help him and would not help his current employers.
A good win for the Blues last night, but I fear it could hasten the demise (which my Chambers defines as “transferring; death esp of a sovereign; to send down to a successor”) of Mick McCarthy. Wolves looked awful. Mick has failed to take notice of Sixsmith’s Five Year Rule – time to move on after five in charge. (Sir Alex and M Wenger seem similarly unaware of your rule, Pete – ed)
Looking forward to Saturday – could be a good game.