Sunderland RCA hosting Sunderland U23s is one of the few pre-season friendlies I remember from last season. It was the first time that RCA had attracted Sunderland’s under-23 side for a pre-season friendly. There was quite a few there and it was an entertaining pre-season game. Although it was another entertaining game tonight, the crowd wasn’t quite as big as it was last season. Sunderland U23s played a few trialists tonight. Two goalkeepers played, getting 45 minutes each under their belts. There was also a couple of outfield trialists. Of the trialists, I think I eventually managed to identify the second half goalkeeper as Max Johnstone. I’m sure I’ve seen him play against Sunderland U23s before and he’s recently been released from Manchester United. And, I think one of the other trialists was Mason Fawns. Don’t take it as a certainty, but I think it was them. I’ve no idea who the rest of the trialists were.
Kimpioka bags hat-trick as Sunderland U23s beat Sunderland RCA
Benji Kimpioka collected a first half hat-trick as Sunderland U23s claimed a 4-2 win at Sunderland RCA on Thursday night.
The Sweden under-18 international bagged a hat-trick in just five minutes late in the first half, and Jack Diamond added Sunderland’s fourth in the second half.
Reece McEwan reduced the deficit in the 88th minute, and a last minute Nathan O’Neill strike collected a second for RCA.
Kimpioka was involved from the off, and he registered the first shot in the seventh minute. Having received the ball from the Trialist in central midfield, Kimpioka tried his luck from 20 yards, but his scuffed effort was an easy take for Scott Pocklington.
Good work from Luke Page gave O’Neill a chance at the other end two minutes later, but Sunderland’s Trialist goalkeeper saved.
RCA were the brighter side in the opening exchanges as the professional youngsters failed to carve out any further chances.
O’Neill and Page both had further shots for Sunderland RCA, but neither could beat the ‘keeper.
Quick free-flowing football found Mark Davison for the hosts just before the half hour mark. The former Washington man connected sweetly with his strike, but it darted wide.
As Sunderland U23s started creating more, Alex Storey headed a corner over.
The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute. An inswinging corner for the Black Cats took an awful bobble to find Kimpioka at the back post. He took one touch before rifling the ball into the net from eight yards.
Two minutes later, Kimpioka added his second. An original effort crashed back off the crossbar, but Kimpioka was quickest to react to prod home the rebound.
The pick of his goals saw Kimpioka complete his hat-trick in the 43rd minute. Collecting possession 25 yards from goal, he took aim and found the top corner giving Pocklington no chance.
Exactly one minute into the second half, RCA almost pulled one back. Michael Charlton was played in and his effort had the ‘keeper beaten. Thankfully for the professionals, his effort bounced back off the post.
Just before the hour mark, Sunderland U23s added a fourth. Fine work from the Trialist centre forward saw him weave a way through before pulling the ball back to the near front post. Diamond latched onto it and poked home from a matter of two yards.
A quiet period then followed with RCA struggling to break down a very organised U23 back four.
Lee Connelly and Connor Shields both tested the RCA ‘keeper as time wore on, while a Stephen Callen effort was blocked at the other end.
With just shy of three minutes to play, RCA reduced the deficit. O’Neill pounced onto a defensive error to feed McEwan and his simple finish gave the home fans something to celebrate.
There was still time for RCA to added a second. With basically the last kick of the game, O’Neill tucked home a penalty. It was awarded for presumed pushing in the penalty area, but the majority of the crowd were puzzled as to how it had been awarded. O’Neill sent Sunderland’s ‘keeper the wrong way to round off a good work out for both sides.
Full-time: Sunderland RCA 2-4 Sunderland U23s
Next up for me is Hebburn Town Reserves vs Easington Colliery on Saturday.
Sunderland RCA: Pocklington, Clayton Davis, McNab, Hodgson, Swansbury (c), Elliott, Charlton, Page, Davison, O’Neill, Callen
Subs: Preston, Richardson, Finch, Limbo, Armstrong, Jonny Davis, McGuinness, Koskova, Robinson, McEwan
Sunderland U23s: Trialist (Trialist, 46′), Hunter, Kokolo, Bale (Connolly, 66)’, Taylor, Storey (Young, 64′), Diamond (Connelly, 60′), Trialist, Trialist, Hackett, Kimpioka (Shields, 64′)
Unused subs: Bainbridge, Brotherton
Admission: £4 adults, £2 concessions
Attendance: About 200
Referee: Mark Ryan
Hot dog: £1.50
Can of Coke: £1