The Anchors came crashing down to earth last night against a very good Sunderland U23 side. The task was enormous from the off but 2 inexplicable mistakes inside the first 8 minutes gave the young Black Cats a level of comfort they never looked like relinquishing.
Michael Dunwell made a few changes with Saturdays huge FA Vase game in mind, Coleman came in for Owens, Cossavella replaced Craggs and Dale Mulligan got a run to test his injury out with Adam Nicholson on the bench.
The first goal came after just 3 minutes when Chris ALLAN won a tackle he didn’t deserve to and latched onto the loose ball and with no apparent danger as he moved sideways across the pitch he pinged a left foot shot into Liam Jordans top left hand corner from 25 yards before he’d even moved for a top quality goal. Just 5 minutes later it was 2-0 a clumsy pass gave possession back to Sunderland and they worked the ball wide and just as it looked like the danger had cleared another defensive error saw the ball come back across the 6 yard box for Dan WRIGHT to finish easily. That knocked the air out of Stockton and gave the young Sunderland side the base to do what they do best, pass the ball around and retain possession frustrating the Anchors. Disappointingly just as it looked like Stockton were settling into the game a quick break and pass inside the full back saw Robson sprint into the Anchors box and after his cross rebounded off the striker and against the post Sonny BEST managed to scramble it home at the 3rd attempt for a messy goal as far as the Anchors were concerned. Jordan HICKEY latched onto a short pass and touched it past the last defender before showing great pace to reach the ball before the onrushing Jordan and roll it into the empty net on the stroke of half time to make it uncomfortable reading at 0-4
Second half saw a big improvement in the Stockton side but the game had gone by then and the Black Cats youngsters were trying to conserve energy and see the match out so there was a lot of cat and mouse stuff going on. Joe Carter and Chris Stockton were introduced and their pace helped Stockton penetrate a little better and Alan COSSAVELLA grabbed a goal back on 82 minutes as he found himself, on a rare occasion, ghosting into the opposition box and although it seemed the ball wouldn’t fall for him and it would be cleared he adjusted his body and slotted home from close range. The Anchors did have a couple more efforts which Sunderland’s keeper Woud had to deal with but he was rarely troubled all night. Very difficult to select a man of the match for the Anchors I’ve plumped for Alan Cossavella who did nothing wrong and finished his chance like a proper striker.
Manager Michael Dunwell will have learnt nothing from this game aside from don’t make mistakes around the box when playing against teams that play football for a living. On the plus side he managed to get 3 or 4 players some much needed miles in their legs in preparation for Saturday’s massive 4th Round FA Vase Tie against West Auckland.
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