Pete Sixsmith is beginning to see some Sunderland wins. Sadly, they are not so far in the Championship. Maybe that will change on Saturday when proper football returns after the tedious international break. The Under 23s overcame a strong challenge from Hertha Berlin and a returning Paddy McNair caught Sixer’s eye, as did Duncan Watmore and a young keeper he thinks we may hear a lot more of …
Last night saw a welcome return of the Premier League International Cup as we hosted Hertha Berlin at the Stadium of Light for our opening game.
Monsieur Salut writes: in fact there were many more cheers for a decent 70-minute outing for Duncan. The crowd watching the Sunderland Under 23s against West Ham appreciated his running, his passion and the mere fact that he’s back. If Pete Sixsmith offers two cheers not three, it is because he also noticed a familiar Watmore failing: what to do at the end of one of his bursts of speed that leave opponents trailing behind. But it will be good to have his flair and his commitment back in the side.
I wrote recently about the death of a friend and former colleague Charlie Whebell, a West Ham supporter of the old school. He’d have enjoyed watching his young ‘uns remind everyone of the importance of taking chances (and been impressed by the willingness of the subs to chat to spectators) …
Before heading off to Yorkshire for Rugby League, Pete Sixsmith decided to share his happy experience of attending a home match involving Sunderland. Really! On a day when wins for Hull and Swansea brought the inevitable closer still, he saw a victory over Arsenal …
What a pleasure to see a home win, giving us every chance of staying in the top league next season. What a pleasure to beat one of the “Gang of Four” who have made the top four their own for a number of years. And what a pleasure to see a home grown player grab a late winner and see the team off to a rousing ovation from the home support, leaving the Gooners fans crestfallen. It was the kind of day that makes one proud to be a Sunderland supporter.
If only it could have been the first team and not the Under 23s
It hadn’t started well. A simple enquiry about why a function on my smart phone wasn’t working led to the 12-year-old in the EE shop selling me a new phone and all the palaver that goes with switching data, apps and functions over. It looks nice and makes some interesting noises but did I really need it?
Probably not, but it will keep a South Korean worker in a job for a while.
Hetton basked in some spring sunshine although there was a nip in the air. There was a solid turn out of The Irregulars, supplemented by Neil Scott, whose company is always enjoyable, and the aforementioned Gooners, Mike Amos and Senior Son Adam, having a day out from North Yorkshire and Darlington respectively.
We turned a strong side out, with Donald Love, George Honeyman and Lyndon Gooch all having had some first team experience this year. Honeyman and Gooch were busy while Love looked an accomplished player and was withdrawn at half time, suggesting that he may be in the 17 for the Battle of the Pygmies at the Riverside on Wednesday night.
Of the others, Elliot Embleton impressed, George Brady and Thomas Beadling tracked and tackled effectively and Max Stryjek looked like a possible second goalkeeper for next season. Joel Asoro was disappointing and needs to improve his touch for next season if he is to fulfil his early promise.
Arsenal scored first when their strong No.9 Donyell Malen took advantage of the slow turning Brady to fire across Stryjek and into the net. Celebrations from the visitors who had stayed the previous night at the Raddison in Durham but had failed to visit the Victoria, Dun Cow or Elm Tree, being tucked up in bed by coach Steve Gatting (brother of Champion Lunch Eater Mike) before Graham Norton had started.
It was Gooch who levelled with a mis-hit shot that went under the (very) late dive of keeper Hugo Keto and then it was game on. Like their elders and betters, Arsenal stroked the ball around but never really threatened. Their best moment came when Ashley Maitland-Niles was tackled and rolled around as if he were a cheese descending a hill in Cheltenham. Not surprisingly, he was up and about a couple of minutes later. Equally unsurprisingly he got no sympathy from the crowd.
The winner came late but it was a well taken one. Luke Molyneux had come on for Gooch and offered some physicality up front. He has progressed this year and has also bulked up. At this level, we have a small team compared with Arsenal and a tiny team compared with Manchester United and Everton, so someone who can use his strength like the Newton Aycliffe born Molyneux is more than useful.
He latched on to a long clearance/raking pass from Ethan Robson, was helped by Keto who came, stopped and then retreated but he also outstripped the centre half to get into the box and plant a good shot into the net. Much joy on the terraces and that was equalled when Stryjek made a fine save to prevent an equaliser.
Much of the conversation was about who may make it into the Championship team for next season. Stryjek, Gooch and Love look good enough. Asoro and Maja need another year at this level, Molyneux as well. There was an element of gloom amongst the Irregulars but season cards had been renewed, although probably more out of habit than conviction.
From there it was a short drive down to Spennymoor to watch three<
Hetton regulars in Jamie Chandler, Adam Mitchell and David Dowson turn out for Spennymoor in their final league game against Leicestershire’s second highest ranked side, Barwell. Chandler scored a fine goal to seal a 2-0 win for the Moors while the other two appeared from the bench.
The Brewery Field has at least one more game this season as Nantwich Town are visitors on Tuesday night in the Play Off semi-final and should Moors win that one, they will play either Stourbridge or Workington for a place in National League (North).
And the phone seems to be working well. Happy days.
What better way to get over the serial disappointment of following Sunderland’s first team than to take a look at the young ‘uns bursting with ambition and talent? That was Pete Sixsmith‘s theory. At least he saw Jan Kirchhoff’s return from injury (not that Man Utd seemed to care too much whether they inflicted another one on him) …
It was hoped that Monday’s Under 23 game with Manchester United might wash away the blues after the miserable weekend that we had just experienced. Our lads had just qualified for the latter stages of two cup competitions, we were in a decent place in the league and they were near the bottom, we had the promise of a return for Jan Kirchhoff and Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman were both scheduled to turn out.
Pete Sixsmith was among the tens of thousands who gave a miss to Sunderland vs Burnley. Oh what they missed. Sixer’s comeuppance came when the match he chose instead ended with a heavy defeat in the FA Vase for Shildon. the first team M Salut and almost certainly he saw in their County Durham boyhoods. Next day, he dutifully attended Sunderland Under 23s against Everton and still could get a win … there’s just a passing, sorrowful reference to the plight of SAFC Ladies; read more at this Sunderland Echo link
Pete Sixsmith is likely to be quiet for the next few days – see his explanation below – but, a glutton for punishment after his West Ham awayday, was keen to take in one more match first. The lure of Sunderland Under 23s overcame the disincentive of the weather. Time well spent? Let Sixer enlighten you …
Keeping goal is sometimes a thanked task but, as often, a thankless task. Humans err and this applies to goalkeepers at all levels, as Monsieur Salut and Pete Sixsmith can confirm from personal experience, albeit long ago. Sixer now describes how what happened to us down the rec (Shildon’s splendid recreation ground) or on the playing fields of King James I Grammar and Woodhouse Close Sec Mod can also happen to a Portuguese pro …