Sixer’s Oxford Sevens: all that way for nothing after two Premier League scalps

NB: our technical problems have not been completely fixed. Readers cannot post comments. We are working on this.

In the meantime, you can always have your say on anything that appears here, or for that matter any SAFC topics which do not, at Salut! Sunderland’s Facebook group. Click on any of the preceding four words. If you are told that you need to join the group, you can do so easily. Approval is very quick.
John McCormick writes: Pete Sixsmith isn’t travelling beyond The Wash, or the M62, or something like that. So tonight’s seven word summary arrives courtesy of me until someone who was there forwards their opinion, and while we’re on the subject of forwards what do you think of our penalty takers?

Our illustrator Jake offered this answer to John’s question in the form of an alternative seven-word verdict: ‘Penalty. Grigg blazes over. Is anyone surprised?’ </strong >

Read moreSixer’s Oxford Sevens: all that way for nothing after two Premier League scalps

Sixer’s Sheffield United Soapbox: Blades cut down as Max Power switches on

Sixer by Jake

John McCormick writes: asPete Sixsmith notes, I’m making a long awaited trip up to the NorthEast this weekend where, instead of my customary seat behind the north end goal, I’ll be joining him in the East Stand. After the Bolton debacle I was wondering about the trip and how the team would fare.  Last night’s result –  on away turf and against a Premier League side  – has nicely set up my visit and the anticipation that goes with it.

As has this report, another gem from Pete:

Read moreSixer’s Sheffield United Soapbox: Blades cut down as Max Power switches on

Sixer’s Sevens from Sheffield United: tremendous display sees off more Premier League opposition

Stop Press: and it’s another away game in the next round: hardly a glamour tie but at Oxford United, once again testing our (present) owners’ loyalties

Monsieur Salut writes: bravo Max Power, bravo the Lads.

It’s one of the traditions of Salut! Sunderland that Pete Sixsmith supplies a seven-word instant verdict – hence Sixer’s Sevens – after each SAFC game. If he doesn’t attend the match himself, someone else steps in. Tonight, he was indeed present (I have happy memories of meeting up with Pete before Bramall Lane on Boxing Day 2017; it was happy until 3pm since the Blades hammered us 3-0 and we were probably lucky to get nil).

Tonight started better and stayed better. Having barely seen the ball, we went ahead early with a wonder strike from Max Power (‘a beauty’, said Pete’s text message) after nine minutes. At half time, he was applauding an ‘inspired’ first 45 minutes. The Lads saw out the game in reasonable comfort and might have scored again; the super-critical Gary Bennett spoke of how well Sunderland had for once managed a lead.

And see how Sixer summed up the game with two versions of his seven allotted words (to be followed by his customary full analysis tomorrow) …

Jake: ‘Gan canny lads, at this rate we might end up at Wembley again’

Read moreSixer’s Sevens from Sheffield United: tremendous display sees off more Premier League opposition

Sheffield Utd vs Sunderland: cup fever or fear of cup runs?

Jake: ‘guess the score – just for fun’

Monsieur Salut writes: most of us like a good cup run. We may not turn up in big numbers any more for games in the early rounds but interest builds as each obstacle is cleared. As Wembley looms and interest turns to excitement, we even start to care about winning something as mundane as the Checkatrade Trophy.

So to Bramall Lane and the Football League Cup third round tie at Sheffield United.

We naturally consider ours to be a bigger club than theirs and historically that is hardly a controversial belief. But as things stand, they are a Premier League side – on merit – and we are striving for promotion from two divisions lower.

How will it go?

Read moreSheffield Utd vs Sunderland: cup fever or fear of cup runs?

Sixer’s Burnley Soapbox: Hart’s chocolate hands help but all-round quality sees Sunderland through

Ole: Jake shares Sixer’s joy

Pete Sixsmith cannot believe his luck. Another trip to Lancashire and another Sunderland win, this one the most impressive of all results this season as it was against Premier League opposition. Sixer thoroughly enjoyed his evening at Turf Moor and you probably won’t find a better account of a splendid win ..


Another midweek, another trip across the Pennines to the red rose county and another enjoyable trip back after seeing off yet another of the Lancashire town clubs who have formed the backbone of English football since 1888.

After seeing off Accrington Stanley and Rochdale in the previous two weeks, it was Premier League (or “Premier League you’re having a laugh” as the old song goes) Burnley, who fell to the swashbuckling swords of Jack Ross and his merry band of buccaneering players.


On a day when the news of Bury’s demise and Bolton’s eventual salvation were superseded by the most outrageous piece of political chicanery since Richard III (allegedly) bumped off his two nephews, our win showed that there is life in Step Three, that we have players who can play and that, when the gods smile on you, as they did here by convincing Sean Dyche that he should select Joe Hart instead of an elderly wheezing arthritic with milk bottle bottom glasses and a walking frame, then nothing is impossible.

Both sides made changes from Saturday. We gave Jack Baldwin his first start of the season, released Lee Burge, Conor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan, Dylan McGeouch, Elliot Embleton and Will Grigg from bench warming duties and mixed the new bench up with resting first teamers and four promising youngsters.

The Clarets switched keepers, brought in the likes of Phil Bardsley and Ben Gibson at the back, Aaron Lennon in midfield and Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra up front. They took this game as seriously as we did. This is a competition that Burnley have a faint chance of winning. We don’t.

We settled well and knocked it about. Nice to watch – for about five minutes.

Then Jay Rodriguez, Burnley born and bred, returning home after spells at Southampton and West Bromwich Albion, started to weave his magic. He is a player I have admired for a number of years. Big, strong, a decent goal scorer, his career has been a frustration due to injuries which have prevented him from realising his full potential. This was his first start in his second spell at Turf Moor and he showed in the opening half hour that he still has it. Clever runs, subtle flicks and strength on the ball caused Baldwin and Flanagan no end of trouble and when he opened the scoring in the 11th minute, tucking in a firm shot from an incisive Aaron Lennon pass, the mood behind the goal was “let’s make sure this isn’t a humiliation”.

It might have been over when Lennon hit the left-hand post and Vydra’s follow up hit the right, but we had a chance to equalise immediately, the tireless and heroic Luke O’Nien shanking his attempt wide.

However, we did level in the 35 th minute when Danny Drinkwater sliced Denver Hume’s low cross to a lurking Will Grigg who thumped it into the net to claim his first goal of the season. He had a good all-round game, working hard, pestering Long and Gibson and looking like a decent centre forward.

Long may it continue.

Half time came with a nascent feeling of optimism. If we could hang on, hit them on the break towards the end, we might just win this one we thought.

Enter Joe Hart.

His once stellar career is now coming to an end. He is no longer first choice at Burnley and his collection of England caps will not be added to. I first saw him as a 17-year-old playing for Shrewsbury Town in a game at Wrexham (those two don’t like each other….) and was not surprised at his rise through the ranks at Manchester City into the national team. Over the last few years, he has gone from being a proud leader of the pack of lions to the moth-eaten one that small boys called Albert Ramsbottom poke in the ear with sticks in zoos. His demise continued here.

We worked a short corner. O’Nien to McGeouch to Gooch and the no longer quite so young American attacked the considerable space that the nice Burnley defenders had left and unleashed a shot. Hart, showing exactly what the phrase “chocolate hands” means, parried it upwards and Tom Flanagan, alone and unmarked, headed it in to give us the lead.

Three minutes later, we did it again from a short corner. Gooch, much improved on his Saturday showing, played it to O’Nien who laid it off to George Dobson. His firm, low shot beat Hart as the Burnley defence stood back and admired the gall of a Division One side playing short corners against a Premier League side. How dare they? I imagine Sean Dyche’s croaky voice was even croakier when he dissected this one after the final whistle.

At 3-1 up, there was always that nagging doubt that they would get back into it. They were nowhere near doing so. Burge made a couple of decent saves, they sent on Wood, who achieved little and they resorted to the kind of tactics that can best be described as “alehouse football” not really befitting for a team in the top 20 of the nation’s footballing hierarchy.

Take nothing away from us though.

This was a fine performance with the finest individual one coming from Dylan McGeouch, who showed what an excellent footballer he is by prompting, organising, tackling and hardly ever giving the ball away. He has found it hard to keep his place in the team but everyone I spoke to was well impressed with him last night and he showed that when given a bit of time and space, something as rare in Division One as hen’s teeth, he will dictate games.

The other 12 players all did well and I particularly enjoyed Charlie Wyke’s cameo where he terrorised his old Middlesbrough colleague Ben Gibson, into getting rid of the ball as quickly as he could. Nice to see us having the confidence to do that.

The draw takes us to South Yorkshire and Bramall Lane and a reunion for Messrs Donald, Methven and (maybe) Maguire with their old manager, the excellent Chris Wilder. It’s a decent trip and the 1,500 who made it into deepest, darkest Lancashire should be at least doubled as we head for the south of England’s finest county – always assuming that the full police state has not arrived and freedom of movement has not been curtailed.

Ha’way the Lads as Ben Stokes says.

Highlights via

If there is any copyright claim, not answered by “fair use” on the images, used in this report please let us know and we will remove and or acknowledge as requested.

Sixer’s Sevens: Grigg’s off the mark and Burnley are turfed out of the cup

Pete Sixsmith gets to a lot of Sunderland games home and away – though he’s introduced a ban on matches south of Lincoln this season – and whizzed across the Pennines to show solidarity with Bury and Bolton and watch the Lads at Turf Moor. Only the Carabao Cup. But up against Premier League opposition again.

In his instant seven-word verdict – a full account of the game will follow – Pete didn’t say that we have three more scorers this season, or that Will Grigg got the first. Instead, he just happened to express a little bit of pleasure at yet another win across the Pennines, then an even more pleasing summary of a game that went our way and set up another test against Premier League opposition, away to Sheffield Utd in the next round:

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Grigg’s off the mark and Burnley are turfed out of the cup

Burnley vs Sunderland: how important to them is winning on Wednesday?

Burnley fans who recall straying here in the past may also remember we would preview each game between our clubs with comprehensive question-and-answer interviews with one of their fellow supporters.

That has changed, not because we are now two divisions lower than the last time we met but because we have introduced a simplified version of Who are You? this season.

Instead off hunting down Alastair Campbell, as we did once at this link, or another Burnley fan and firing off questions at him (or her), we now – as with all other games – post a shorter list of questions here and invite responses in the Comments below.

Answer as many or as few as you wish. Sometimes the new way (and indeed WAY) works, mostly – it’s early in the season but on the evidence so far – it doesn’t but we’d welcome responses from as many Burnley fans as possible …

Read moreBurnley vs Sunderland: how important to them is winning on Wednesday?

Burnley vs Sunderland: a useful test against Premier League opposition

Sunderland’s record against Burnley was at best patchy even when we were also in the Premier League. Now two divisions separate us and we travel to Turf Moor for a Carabao Cup tie.

There are different ways of looking at the game. Chris Maguire’s fine hat-trick in the 3-1 win against AFC Wimbledon will have done team confidence a power of good as did the notching up of four wins in a row. A fifth would be welcome, especially in this test against a much smaller club that has a rather bigger team just now.

But losing – narrowly by preference if it has to happen – would not be the end of the world in a season where promotion is the priority over all other matters.

Tell us how it will go.

Read moreBurnley vs Sunderland: a useful test against Premier League opposition

Sixer’s Sevens: Burnley beckons after comfortable win at Accrington Stanley

Jake: ‘Sixer (or his sub) does it in seven words, no more, no less – unless he miscounts’

Malcolm Dawson writes….circumstances meant I couldn’t get to Accrington this evening, which is a shame because despite the rain and the abandoned game on my last visit, this together with Rochdale, is one of the venues I was really looking forward to revisiting this year. And presumably the Stanley Chairman is still miffed with Stewart Donald as I couldn’t even pay to watch a live stream via safsee. So it was Barnes and Benno for me, accompanied by the Lancashire burr of a couple of ladies sitting immediately in front of the commentary position. 

Benno was certainly feeling more upbeat at halftime than he has been recently, and so was Pete Sixsmith, whose half time 7 read “comfortable first half with an improved performance.” Only one goal to show at the break, but at least it was in our favour this time.

One goal of course, is often never enough and as Pete’s second text said “one all after stupid penalty given away” brought a much more familiar scoreline. Aiden McGeady however obviously hadn’t read the script and put us back in front to no surprise for one of the two ladies who confessed to the listening audience “that’s why I said ‘s***’ when he came on” while Pete’s update read “wonderful goal by McGeady“. With time running out and me wondering if we might have to endure a penalty shoot out, Charlie Wyke stuck in a third and that was that. 

Pete will be dusting down his soapbox and filing his match report tomorrow but for now make do with his full time summary in just seven words.

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Burnley beckons after comfortable win at Accrington Stanley

Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland: victory would boost confidence for the Pompey test

Jake: ‘Pkmoey’s the bigger game, but a win here would be nice’

The invitation to supporters of our Carabao Cup opponents, Accrington Stanley, to answer a few questions from Salut! Sunderland has received more or less the response we might have expected.

Not one of the hardy souls who follow “the club that wouldn’t die” has taken us up on the offer.

The questions are repeated below in case there is more enthusiasm with the game being that much closer. There isn’t much to update; Stanley’s first home game of the season was suspended because of the continuing crisis at the intended opponents, Bury, so they remain pointless.

Another invitation – to supporters of Sunderland and Ipswich to predict the outcome of Saturday’s game at Portman Road fared better.

The absence of a prize did not deter readers and the posting attracted a healthy 18 responses, though not all were entries. David Miller correctly forecast 1-1 and is probably cursing Salut! Sunderland for making it a prizeless edition.

Let’s have another go, once again for fun. Do we care too much about a league cup game? Well, clearly not as much we care about Saturday’s tough league match at home to Portsmouth, who beat us twice last season as we played each other five times (including the Checkatrade final and the play-off semis). But for those of us who want Sunderland to win every game, a strong and successful performance at the tiny Wham stadium would be welcome – and do no harm to confidence after our less than resounding start to the season.

Read moreAccrington Stanley vs Sunderland: victory would boost confidence for the Pompey test