While others watched England, Pete Sixsmith – at least until late in the international friendly – was at Hetton, where his willingness to brave chilly weather was rewarded by a welcome return from injury by Fraizer Campbell …
It was cold enough at Hetton/Eppleton last night for soup. After last week’s balmy 18C, we were back to the kind of single figures associated with the average marks awarded to a Sunderland defender after a game against Stoke City.
However, those of us who braved the early Spring chill, were warmed up by a goal form Frazier Campbell and a really enjoyable and entertaining game between two young sides, chock full of players making their way in the game.
Frazier Campbell looked fit and healthy as he ran around for 45 minutes and I would think that he is a certainty for the bench on Sunday. He opened the scoring after 2 minutes, latching onto a long clearance and heading the ball over a hesitant West Brom goalkeeper.
After that, he made some excellent runs, fell over once or twice and had a couple of sly pushes at the young defenders lined up against him. The whole style of play in the first 45 was aimed at giving him a decent run out and to that extent, it was a success. It was good to see him back – he has been missed.
The Baggies leveled after 20 minutes, when goalkeeper Ben Wilson pulled down Romaine Sawyer inside the box and Saide Berahino tucked away the resultant penalty kick.
After Canpbell’s withdrawal, we started to play the neat and tidy passing game that has developed this season. Keith Bertschin has them playing some really good stuff and for 25 minutes, skipper Jack Colback was on fire. He ran the game, opening up the West Brom defence on several occasions with his perceptive through balls. He may not make it as a Premier League player, but a good career beckons for this young man in the Championship.
Unfortunately, there was nobody able to take advantage of his excellent prompting and a combination of good goalkeeping from Ryan Allsop and some poor finishing meant that 1-1 was the final score.
Some players to watch out for; Blair Adams had another good game at left back, Louis Laing looked a very competent centre back and Craig Lynch performed well on the right . For the Throstles, full back Cameron Gayle was outstanding, while centre forward Sawyers was a worthy opponent for Laing.
I got home in time for the last twenty minutes of the England v Sunderland game. Gyan’s goal was an absolute gem and shows what a very good player we have. We need to enjoy him while he is with us; we are surely a stepping stone for far greater things.