Malcolm Dawson writes….the pre-match talk yesterday as Pete Sixsmith and I made our way to the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground was just who was Lynden Gooch’s dad? As we listened to TMS and bemoaned the fact that England was sliding inexorably to defeat, we decided that it couldn’t have been the moustachioed former Essex and England batsman. “Never mind what it says on Wikipedia we would have heard about it” we agreed.
We also agreed that following on from a decent Premier League debut Gooch would not figure for the Under 23s in the revamped competition that raises the upper age limit from that of previous seasons. Would there be run outs for Gomez, Bridcutt and Mavrias in an attempt to up their fitness levels while the club tries to off load them? Well no as it turned out and unless they are moved on soon the club could easily find itself with a Valentin Roberge situation times three, on its hands.
It was a decent enough game with two soft goals which left both defences with a little egg on their respective faces. Too much perhaps because as the French would say “one egg is un oeuf.” I’ll get me coat and leave Pete to bring you up to speed.
Redfaced apologies for callling @lyndengooch46 the son of Graham at ESPN FC. Honest mistake. I gave LG 8/10 as our top man. Me? 0/10!
— Colin Randall (@salutsunderland) August 14, 2016
Hahaha no worries mate https://t.co/6M3kurmQBY
— Lynden Gooch (@lyndengooch46) August 14, 2016
CHELSEA UNDER 23’s (H) 14/08/16
The Under 23 League is a new venture by the Premier League to try to make football away from the rarefied atmosphere of the first team a touch more competitive. After all clubs shell out oodles of money developing young players and then either have to send them out on loan or play them in the gentrified atmosphere of what was Under 21 football. Now that the loan system has changed and short term loans are no longer allowed, all clubs face having loads of bored youngsters sitting round with hardly anything to do – an experience that any parent fully understands as the long summer holiday drags on.
As well as raising the age limit to 23, they have also stated that there can be up to three over age outfield players in the team plus an over age goalkeeper, making it similar to the old Reserve Leagues that used to run. I have few fond memories of the North Regional League although the Central League was decent and the Football Combination in the South of the country was very highly regarded.
Our opening game was against Chelsea, a club who are always promoting promising youngsters to the first team. It was played at Eppleton CW with a kick off time of 12.05 – the proximity to a few pints down the club/Sunday lunch ritual keeping the attendance down.
The Sunderland side contained no hard boiled professionals just the youngsters who failed to make it onto the bench at Eastlands – Jordan Pickford being the exception. Those hoping for a glimpse of Bridcutt or Gomez were to be disappointed as we lined up with a mixture of some who had gone to France and Austria and some who hadn’t. Those who had, would have had plenty to crow about as they compared the training ground at Evian with the far more prosaic surroundings of Hetton-le-Hole. A mere cock stride from the town centre, the kind of town that few if any Chelsea players had ever experienced, it is a tidy roost for our Under 23’s and Ladies’ teams, being well appointed and boasting a good pitch.
The football was decent as well with us dominating the first half and The young Pensioners being marginally stronger in the second. Joel Asoro caught the eye and drew comparisons with Jermain Defoe in that he was relatively small but with the kind of strength that Defoe has in abundance. He almost poached a couple of goals in the first half, beating his way through the Chelsea defence before going slightly off the boil as the game drew to a close. (Enough egg yolks – sorry, jokes. Ed)
He took his chance when the Chelsea keeper Nathan Baxter, miskicked the ball and the young Swede pounced on it to thump the ball into the net. He looks a good player in the making – let’s hope he is more of a Jordan Henderson than a Ryan Noble (currently playing for Easington CW).
Chelsea levelled when Dan Wright’s pass back to Jordan Pickford wasn’t and the ball trickled over the line as the goalie scrambled back towards his net. Pickford’s positioning wasn’t great but the pass was too close to the goal and there was little that could be done.
After a promising opening half we faded and Chelsea improved. They almost pinched it at the end only to be foiled by a fine Pickford save but a draw was probably a fair result.
Of our contingent, Brady and Ledger looked solid at the back and Liam Agnew, who I thought had left the club, drove us on in midfield. Greenwood was disappointing and nearly talked himself into a red card as he sat on the bench after his withdrawal and criticised the referee.
Not an eggsiting game but one that leaves you feeling all white.