Soapbox at the Reserves: Lynch Party as Sunderland beat Bolton

Matchwinner: that's Craig Lynch wearing No 38

If the definition of the true fan is one who attends not only just about very first team game but also gets along to see the Reserves (when SAFC allow such things), Pete Sixsmith is as true as they come. And he caught another win …

After last week’s
Wednesday excursion to Bishop Auckland, the reserves returned to their home at Hetton for a Premier Reserve League battle with Bolton Wanderers.

Last week saw a young, inexperienced side turn out and hammer the Bishops for six; tonight we had six players with first team experience, including three internationals, one of whom arrived at the Stadium of Light as the country’s most expensive goalkeeper.

Craig Gordon and Fraizer Campbell continued their rehab, while Michael Turner, David Meyler, Ahmed Elmohamady and Ji Dong-wan all warmed up for a possible game against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

The game ended up 1-0, with Craig Lynch (who was on the bench at Wigan and hasn’t been dispatched to the Football League) – that is Rach, aka “Vagueonthehow”‘s Flickr photo you see above – scoring the goal in the first half after Campbell’s shot was blocked.

For a cold Tuesday night, both sides produced good football, with some strong tackles going in, most of them either on or by Adam Reed. He and Meyler ran the midfield in the first half with their strong running and competitive attitudes and we really should have been more than one up. Ji, Campbell and Elmo all missed acceptable opportunities to turn the Trotters over.

There was a good crowd as well, given out as over 700. Most were dedicated fans keen to see if our two long term injured looked okay, plus the usual smattering of the Gilded Youth, who were more wrapped up than I have seen them in the past. Parents do take some responsibility for their offspring.

Big little prospect: Liam Marrs

The game meandered on in the second half and that is when the younger players begin to catch your attention. Liam Marrs, a young full back from Cramlington, always impresses me and once again he had a very good game. Pity he is so small.

The reserve team profiles on the club web site include those of Marcos Angeleri and George McCartney. Angeleri is the forgotten man and nothing has been heard of him for months. Is he injured? Is he back in Argentina? Does he exist? We do know that someone of that name has appeared in a red and white striped shirt, but it must have been an imposter as the profile says that Angeleri was a high profile international player. Not the one I saw.

The next Reserves game is a week on Thursday at Wigan with an afternoon kick off. They play at the Robin Park ground, located next to the DW Stadium. It’s a proper ground and there is a North West Counties team, Wigan Robin Park, who play there. It needs ticking off. Keep your eye out for a report.

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Nobler times: Reserves hammer Manchester United and the wind doth blow

SAFCNoble is No 31 in ‘Vagueonthehow”s image

Martin O’Neill was there, and so was Pete Sixsmith was there, as the happy text messages confirmed, as Ryan Noble hit four more goals for the Reserves the heartening 6-3 win over the once-mighty Reds of Manchester United. So a great new hope for Sunderland’s future maintained his prolific record; the wonder is that the newly fallible United didn’t leave the Eppleton Colliery ground with him tucked in their pockets. …

Manchester United did some preparatory work for Thursday night football and the Europa League as the Red Devils roadshow came to a windy and chilly Eppleton CW last night. TV gantries, a huge double decker bus and a technical team that would have almost filled the stand, never mind the dugouts, all bore witness to the presence of the self-styled “world’s greatest club”.

Read moreNobler times: Reserves hammer Manchester United and the wind doth blow

So we can score goals: Reserves hit 7 past Scunthorpe

The last time I saw Sunderland get seven was against Oxford United under Peter Reid in 1998. Two apiece for Bridges, Dichio and Rae and one from Mickey Gray.

Well, the Reserves did it again today, whacking seven past Scunthorpe, as in the Oxford game without reply.

Read moreSo we can score goals: Reserves hit 7 past Scunthorpe

Beating Arsenal away: rare enough to shout about

ooh to be a goonerImage: KetuGajjar

It was a line-up that included bright young hopes for the future and men who need to get away, for the sake of their careers and also Sunderland’s player staffing levels.

And they did something the senior team has not managed for nine years: win away at Arsenal. Arsenal Reserves 1 Sunderland Reserves 2.

Read moreBeating Arsenal away: rare enough to shout about

SuperKev menace looms as Soapbox sees Sunderland win at last

Now we know it: Kevin Phillips will be starting on Saturday* intent on heaping more woe on Steve Bruce and Sunderland supporters: “You look at the teams we have got left at home – Sunderland, Wolves and Fulham – and it’s no disrespect to those teams but they are games we feel we can win.” Pete Sixsmith, though, has broken our collective duck: he’s actually witnessed a win, and over money-coming-out-of-our-ears Manchester City at that. You know what’s coming next …

A Sunderland win at last! I was hoping to use that header after Saturday’s trip to St. Andrews, but the Reserves beat me to it with a well deserved 2-0 win over Manchester City at Eppleton/Hetton last night.

Goals from Craig Lynch in the first half and Ryan Noble after the break, sealed the points in the last game of the regular season and possibly the last game to be played under the current reserve set up.

Read moreSuperKev menace looms as Soapbox sees Sunderland win at last

Soapbox: on Kenwyne, Ryan and a chilly night at Hetton


Hard as nails. That’s Salut! Sunderland’s star writer Pete Sixsmith. Viewed from afar, the North East looked as if cut off from the rest of the world by snow drifts. That must have been a picture of Tow Law. But it was cold enough as Pete saw Sunderland Reserves take on Wigan. Hadn’t we seen as much of Wigan as we’d want for a while? …

Tuesday night and outside it’s cold and the wind is blowing. Inside, the heating is on, the gas fire warms the room, there’s a welcoming bottle of Macallan open and a good book on the coffee table. So, what do you do but dig out the thermals and woolly socks, put on a warm coat and head for a reserve game at Hetton?

Read moreSoapbox: on Kenwyne, Ryan and a chilly night at Hetton

Soapbox: blue moon over Hetton shines on future stars


Midweek. Sunderland (proper) haven’t a game for a week and a half, but Pete Sixsmith found banter, nosh and an entertaining game as the Reserves took on Man City at Hetton. The Blues won, but didn’t do all of the shining …

A damp Tuesday meant the local games on offer were perused very carefully for grounds with plenty of cover to shelter from the pouring rain.

However, by 5pm, the evening was dry, the temperature chilly but not unpleasant and the Sixsmith limo pointed in the direction of Eppleton CW and the Barclays Premier Reserve League clash: Sunderland versus Manchester City.

Read moreSoapbox: blue moon over Hetton shines on future stars