When there’s proper football to be had in the flesh, Pete Sixsmith isn’t likely to stay in to watch Man Utd vs Arsenal on the box, with United fans incensed at Michael Oliver’s application of relatively simple laws of the game. He took himself off to Hetton to see Sunderland’s Under 21s in winning action. The opposition, West Ham, are also the first team’s opponents for the next away game. Could it be an occasion for trying out one or two of the brighter sparks among the young ‘uns, if only because the seniors have repeatedly let us down? Maybe not, but who knows what a hungry Mandron or Watmore might do …
Maybe Pete Sixsmith cannot get enough of the Stadium of Light after all, Not content with getting on for 200 minutes without a goal vs QPR and WBA, he was back there for the visit of Man Utd. But this was a youth game and not too many others braved the cold …
A cold night at the Stadium last night as 300 hardy souls turned out to watch an Under 21 clash with Manchester United. Our Academy has been under the spotlight recently, what with the lack of players it has produced since Henderson and Colback – here was an opportunity to see if there were any possibilities amongst the 2014-15 crop.
George Honeyman is one that might kick on with Sunderland. He came on for 10 minutes at Bradford so that he could get a feel of the failure that stalks our beloved club. Last night he buzzed around and looked like a slightly less rotund version of Andy Reid.
Honeyman can tackle, pass and shoot, all three of which put him ahead of some of our midfielders and, should we be safe by the end of April (stop giggling at the back there!!) he may well get a couple of more appearances with the first team.
He partnered Mikael Mandron, who has returned from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town. Chances in Shropshire were few and far between so back he came and he did well enough. He scored the equaliser, had a few tussles with Tyler Blackett and worked hard throughout. He is another one who may get a chance should the best case scenario turn up.
American Lyndon Gooch was more of a Claudio Reyna than a Jozy Altidore and he ran well on the wing and Duncan Watmore made a welcome return from injury but both are a fair way from the pinnacle and a first team place. But they may well train on.
They played the same style as their elders and (sometimes) betters in that the ball was passed around so much that it retired hurt a couple of times. It can be frustrating watching this style, but if you don’t give the ball away, you don’t concede.
Unfortunately, we gave it away in our own half, allowing United to break and score through Andreas Pereira after a bit of a cock up on the defending front allowed the ball to bounce.
Mandron levelled 10 minutes later and that was the end of the scoring, if not the action. United had included two first team players in James Wilson and the aforementioned Blackett but both departed either side of half time, Wilson with a knock and Blackett with a red card to his name after he pushed Martin Smith over in our penalty box while waiting for a free kick to be taken. Would that Mike Jones had displayed such courage on Saturday as Yacob did his impersonation of Les Kellett.
Keep an eye out for United skipper and left back, Tom Thorpe. In true Old Trafford tradition, he moaned and complained to the referee throughout the evening. I predict a bright future for young Tom.
A similar score line on Saturday would be welcome.
* Now guess the score in that other Man U vs SAFC encounter. No winners last weekend so it’s a rollover: https://safc.blog/2015/02/manchester-united-vs-sunderland-guess-the-score-theatre-of-dreams-or-nightmares/
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Unlike our 13-year-old pundit Keir Bradwell, Pete Sixsmith is not a contender for Young Blogger in the Football Blogging Awards. While he awaits a suitable category for long-in-the-tooth stalwarts, he’ll settle for votes for the site. But Sixer’s passion for the game at all levels takes him to the occasional Under 21 game. This is what he saw when SAFC’s youth took on Spurs last night …
Fresh from his great morning near Hull and rotten afternoon in it, Pete Sixsmith went to Eppleton to experience a football match of the 11 v 11 variety …
The last game of 2013 at Eppleton saw the Under 21s miss the chance to go to the top of the 22-strong Premier Under 21 League last night when they lost 2-1 to a big, well organised West Bromwich Albion team in front of a hardy 300+ souls.
Three of the Under 21 stalwarts have gone out on loan this week.
Liam Marrs has departed for Boston United and Adam Mitchell for Harrogate Town (both in Conference North) while Connor Wickham started his second loan spell at Hillsborough with a well taken goal in their first win of the season on Saturday.
A friend saw Mitchell play on Saturday and said that he did well but was a tad over eager, not a bad fault.
So, last night, in the company of the usual Hetton Irregulars (minus one – he was watching his son referee the Middlesbrough v Liverpool Under 21 game at Hartlepool) and Gus Poyet, we were able to see four of the new arrivals and the return of two players who had suffered career-threatening injuries.
Watmore, Ba, Moberg Karlsson and Mavrias were the new boys, while the returnees were Louis Laing and John Egan.
The rest were familiar faces, the only one I knew little about was Egan’s partner in the middle of the back four, Tom McNamee, who was a member of the Newcastle Falcons Development Squad.
It was a decent game, with the Baggies going home with the spoils, despite us having most of the play and missing some good chances. Sounds familiar? (“Most of the play”? That didn’t ring much of a bell – ed)
They took the lead when we failed to defend a cross (sound familiar?) and the ball was headed back across for the nippy Mani O’Sullivan to drive it home.
The equaliser came when Duncan Watmore, who was well-marked throughout, was brought down in the box by a tackle straight from the Craig Gardener Book of How to Give Away a Needless Penalty and Liam Agnew showed the other Gardner-like qualities when he slammed the spot kick home.
After that, Albion rarely threatened and we went close several times. The two returnees did well, although Laing tired towards the end, while Egan was relatively composed.
Of the younger signings, Watmore played with his usual verve but Albion had done their homework on him and he was often crowded out. Moberg Karlsson had a poor game and apparently was flashed by a speed camera on his way home so not a great day for him, Mavrias was okay and looks a decent footballer and Ba was the pick of the bunch. He is deceptively strong, tackles well and can pass the ball accurately – but, like many of our players, he is reluctant to shoot, preferring a second touch rather than slapping one in quickly.
The second goal came from a defensive slip up (sounds familiar?) and O’Sullivan took his shot early and drove it in inside the near post. Well taken goal, but avoidable – that definitely sounds familiar.
Much of the talk was about Cattermole’s red card and whether it was justified. After numerous looks at it (Marriner had one) and, perhaps being influenced by Poyet’s statements, some thought him unfortunate. Others agreed with me that it was a ridiculous thing to do with half time approaching and a new goalkeeper in situ. My desire to empathise with our former skipper is minimal.
And now, a few adverts.
Lance Hardy, author of the excellent Stokoe, Sunderland and ‘73 (available from all good bookshops and some bad ones) is doing three talk ins with Dennis Tueart. The first one is on the November 13 at The Red Hackle, Perth Avenue, Jarrow NE32 4HT followed the day after (the 14th for those numerically challenged) at Chester-le-Street Cricket Club, Ropery Lane, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3PF. There is one on the 16th at the National Football Museum in Manchester as well. Lance is a great lad and a real red and white so if you can get there, do so. I should be at Ropery Lane. And if you cannot make any of them, you can buy the book for £11.69, postage free in the UK< from the Salut! Sunderland Amazon link at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0752883402/salusund-21
The Northern League is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this season and they have produced a book cum brochure called Northern Conquests. Mike Amos, the League Chairman, has written most of it, but I have contributed as well. It is outstanding value at £3.99 and can be obtained from any of the 45 member clubs or by post from Brian Mulligan, 41, Mitford Close, Sedgefield TS21 2JE. Add £2.00 for postage.
Finally, a friend and work colleague, Craig Elliot, has started to produce some framed prints. They can be seen on www.facebook.com/morethanwords.prints. They celebrate the 2-1 and 3-0 wins, but not the double disgrace at Hull. He will do bespoke requests as well. The Christmas catalogue is coming next week. There are reports of Christmas decorations already up and flashing.
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