In an ideal world, bright SAFC publicity people would have told Pete Sixsmith: “Get yourself along to the Reserves; someone’s due a hammering.” Instead, the 7-0 demolition of Scunthorpe was out of bounds to Salut! Sunderland and practically everyone else. So Pete joined Steve Bruce and others at an FA Youth Cup game – and saw us beaten…
Away from the brouhaha surrounding the continued employment of Steve Bruce and the sadness surrounding the tragic demise of Gary Speed, there has been some football played.
In the afternoon, the reserves demolished Scunthorpe United 7-0 at the Academy (but we’re not allowed in to watch) with Ryan Noble getting a hat trick in four minutes. Pity he couldn’t have done that against Fulham. He must be in line for a place on Sunday and if on the bench, and will with any luck be given longer than last time on the field.
Last night at a cold and draughty Eppleton, our beleaguered manager watched the Under 18s take on their Nottingham Forest counterparts in the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup.
Like the Carling Cup and, presumably, the FA Cup, our interest ended at this, the first hurdle, as Forest ran out deserved 2-1 winners.
It was an entertaining game settled by two strikes from a very impressive Forest centre forward called Patrick Bamford. His first, to level after George Honeyman had put us ahead, was a rasping shot, his second a very impressive header. No careless penalties or schoolboy defending here!
Honeyman had taken his goal well after some impressive approach work from Mikael Mandron, a tall and bulky French striker and winger Glen Lane. But we looked uncomfortable against the probing of Jack Blake and Wilfred Gnahore and never got to grips with Bamford.
His movement off the ball was excellent and Jordan Lavender and Thomas McNamee, our two central defenders, struggled against him all night. He has a touch of cockiness about him as well; his goal celebrations at the corner flag were clearly designed for future TV coverage.
Bally was disappointed with some of his players and his voice could be heard ringing out as he told them to help each other out and get tighter. Bruce, guarded by Nigel Spink, watched from the main stand and was, as far as I could tell, left alone by those stood or sat nearby.
He now has the three most important days of his professional life as he prepares a team for the game at Molineux. The midfield must be more positive, the attack more concentrated. Whether he wants to throw a youngster like Noble in to what could be a real snarl of a match, is a difficult decision. He is handsomely paid for doing that – though his recent decisions have not been good.
We shall see …