My pre-season schedule isn’t going to be as busy as it has been in previous years. It’ll probably work out at about three games a week watching as many different teams as possible. I’ll definitely be at games on Friday and Saturday this week as Easington are playing on both days and I may get to a game on Wednesday too. I’ll see how things go but if I do go to a game, it’ll probably be either Dunston UTS vs Hartlepool United or Coxhoe Athletic vs Brandon United. I definitely won’t be at a game tomorrow as we have a meeting at Easington and there isn’t a great lot of choice on Thursday. This game tonight was the first for both sides in pre-season. A few of last season’s under-23 squad at Sunderland have been playing in the first team friendlies this pre-season and so I knew there would be a few either new players or the under-18s in the squad. It was quite a strong squad to be fair. The likes of Tommy Robson and Luke Molyneux played for Sunderland in their friendly at Bury last week and the team as a whole looked reasonably strong. Sunderland RCA’s squad was much alike last season with a new or addition or two in the form of Dylan Elliott.
Sunderland RCA kick off pre-season with victory over Sunderland Under-23s
Sunderland RCA came from behind to defeat a professional Sunderland Under-23 outfit at Meadow Park on Monday night.
Sunderland’s team included the likes of Tommy Robson and Luke Molyneux who both played in the first team’s friendly at Bury last week with under-23 regulars Josh Robson, Dan Wright and Denver Hume also in the starting XI.
New Zealand international Sam Brotherton took a spot on the bench.
Wright headed the Black Cats into a deserved 33rd minute lead but two goals within three minutes just after the break from Colin Larkin and Nathan O’Neill.
Sunderland’s youngsters couldn’t find a response and RCA claimed an impressive win in their first pre-season outing.
Sunderland started brightly and created a chance within the opening 10 minutes when Tommy Robson’s cross picked out Ben Mbunga-Kimpioka but the Sweden Under-17 international could only head wide.
Jack Diamond almost fired the young Black Cats into the lead in the 18th minute. A quick move resulted with the ball being at the feet of Diamond and his powerful drive deflected off an RCA man to loop and hit the post.
With Sunderland RCA’s first real chance, Tommy Robson fouled Stephen Callen when through on goal. Being a pre-season friendly, Robson wasn’t punished but had it been competitive, Sunderland could have been reduced to 10 men. Ross McNab took responsibility of the resulting free-kick but could only force a comfortable save from Michael Woud.
RCA were lucky not to concede an own goal just after the half hour mark when a dangerous corner was pushed narrowly wide by a defender.
Sunderland’s breakthrough did come only a minute later when a pinpoint cross picked out Wright in the penalty area and his header from six yards gave Neal Bussey no chance.
Callen could have pulled the Northern League outfit level only two minutes later when a corner dropped the way of forward but his effort bounced narrowly wide.
Sunderland RCA came out for the second half in determined fashion and were 2-1 up within the opening four minutes. Firstly, Larkin finished well after promising build up play and a fine strike from O’Neill fired the Ryhope outfit into the lead in the 49th minute.
Both sides made numerous substitutions as the game wore on and Sunderland plugged away in search of an equaliser.
Molyneux had a further chance, as did Jean-Yves Poame. Jake Hackett had a couple of slight glimpses at the RCA goal but couldn’t punish the hosts and his deflected effort late on looped over the crossbar.
Sunderland kept attacking but RCA defended well and claimed an impressive win in their first pre-season outing.
Full-time: Sunderland RCA 2-1 Sunderland U23s
Next up for me is potentially a game on Wednesday.
Sunderland RCA: Bussey, Noble, McNab, Hodgson, Swansbury (c), Davis, Charlton, Larkin, Callen, Elliott, Cassidy
Subs: O’Neill, Peccolo, Armstrong, McGuinness, Carmichael, Wilson, Watson
Sunderland U23s: Woud, Josh Robson, Tommy Robson, Wright, Taylor, Storey, Mbunga-Kimpioka, Allen, Molyneux, Diamond, Hume
Subs: Poame, Trialist, Bale, Hackett, Krusnell, Brotherton, Mensah
Admission: £5 adults, £3 concessions
Attendance: About 300
Hot dog: £1.50
Referee: Mark Ryan