Jake: 'I make that one goal for every 1,596 fans present'

Jake: ‘I make that one goal for every 1,596 fans present’

The defeat of Exeter City, with a quirky scoreline, had Salut! Sunderland delving into murky territory. The introduction to Sixer’s Sevens wondered whether Pete Sixsmith ‘enjoyed a nine-goal thriller, in a sadomasochistic sort of way’ and his e-mail this morning talked of the ‘pain and pleasure’ of the occasion. Let Sixer, aka Mr Whiplash, explain …


It’s been a long time since Sunderland scored six goals in a home game. A cursory look at the stats shows a 7-0 crushing of Oxford United in 1998 and a glorious 6-0 romp over Mick McCarthy’s Millwall in December 1995, with Craig Russell grabbing four of them [happy memories: M Salut saw them both]. There are few better feelings than ramming the goals in, whoever the opposition are.

So you would expect this to be an upbeat piece of reporting and observation in which Jermain Defoe’s hat trick vies with the continued progress of Duncan Watmore as the pinnacle of the plethora of positives that emerged from last night’s game.

And they are: Defoe took his goals as well as he would expect his version of the Admirable Crichton to squeeze his toothpaste, choose his suits and feed his cat. Watmore has a real buzz about him and although he sometimes runs around like a particularly giddy Labrador puppy, he has the makings of a very good player, hence his call up to the national Under 21 squad yesterday.

There were other positives to take from this. Yann M’Vila again looked a comfortable player who could be very influential for us as the season rolls/drags on. Jack Rodwell took his two goals well and there was a neat cameo performance from young American Lyndon Gooch which reinforced much of the positive views that the Hetton Irregulars have about him.

But the verdicts on the game will be more about the three goals that were conceded than the six that were scored. This is what will probably be dominating Dick’s thoughts as he prepares for the trip to Villa Park on Saturday. He will be wondering how experienced international footballers can defend as if they were playing for the Brandon and Byshottles B team in the Browney Valley Sunday League Reserve Division.

The three goals that were given away were frightening. Rodwell and Defoe had put us into a comfortable two goal lead and the Grecians were looking at a defeat as grim as the one they suffered at Roker Park in 1989.

They pulled one back when Coates was caught flat-footed and allowed Oyeleke to score and then John O’Shea failed to get off the ground to stop Wheeler having an easy header to level the score. There was much shaking of heads in the East Stand but it looked like normal service was resumed when Defoe picked up a Cattermole pass and restored the lead.

It wasn’t. Wheeler won yet another header against O’Shea and Tom McCready rifled it in. The muttering grew as the players trooped off at half time. Much of it revolved around the fact that three of our first choice back four had managed to concede three goals to a League 2 side that had left out their most potent forward in Tom Nichols. In three-and-a-half games, we had conceded 11 goals and we had not played any of the top sides in the Premier League. Worrying? Oh yes, Bishop, I should say so!!!

Fletcher came on for Graham (too slow by half – he is not a Premier League player) and departed within 10 minutes after taking a blow in the face. I can’t imagine any of the Leeds or Hull KR players I shall be watching on Saturday going off for such a thing, but that is the nature of modern day football.

To describe Fletcher as robust would be akin to describing Katie Hopkins as the voice of calm and reasoned liberalism. But his departure and that of the disappointing Adam Matthews a few minutes later, allowed us to see two potential graduates from the highly rated Under 21s.

Duncan Watmore is seen by some as the new Billy Hughes. He has pace and the ability to run at defenders but without that lovely guile and balance that the Scot could thrill us with. But nowadays, the pace is important and in a squad that is bereft of it, Watmore gives us an option, which is why the wily Dutchman is not playing him from the start.

Gooch is also quick but with a much lower centre of gravity. He reads a game well and was nurtured by Larsson who had dropped in at right back. This was a good call by Dick as most of us expected either Brown or Robson to come on when Matthews limped off.

By this time, Exeter were puffing and blowing and two fresh, young and keen players were prepared to have a real go at them, something which their elders, worn down by four years of constant struggle, seemed reluctant to do.

Rodwell’s header settled things down and then Watmore beat the keeper in a race for the ball to tie up the result. Defoe’s third from a Larsson cross was the proverbial icing on the cake as Jermain became the first player to score a hat-trick since Darren Bent against Bolton Wanderers five years ago.

So we march on, although the next round is quite a difficult one. I suggest that we play the following team against City: Stryjek; Robson (J), Roberge, Beadling Robson (T); Mavrias, Agnew, Smith, Gooch; Watmore, Mandron.
They couldn’t possibly defend any worse than last night and we might discover a couple of potential stars – maybe.

Jake: 'gorging on goals'

Jake: ‘gorging on goals’

Tags: , , , ,

Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

3 Responses to “Sixer’s 6-3 Soapbox: pain and pleasure in beating Exeter. Bring on Manchester City” Subscribe

  1. Stuart Weir August 26, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Fully agree with Pete. Worrying about how easy Exeter scored all of their three goals with ease and credit has to be given to Exeter due to their build up play. However, we should be able to stop Exeter City. Just summed up the first half. We must though, take the positives. Defoe looked very sharp, irrespective of who the oppo were, he was lethal. Never seen that Defoe at the SOL until now. Watmore and Gooch we promising, especially Watmore. What more (pardon the pun) does Duncan have to do to get in before the ineffective Fletcher and Graham. Time to give him a run of starts, in my opinion.

  2. Neil August 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    Ok, but last year another American would have graced this tie. As popular a bloke as he was, Jozy would not have bagged a hat-trick. Similar thoughts about the keeper. The Don couldn’t compete with the BFG. Lens coming on nicely. Sorry to be less downbeat than some. Sorry for the double negative. I’ll boldly go and get me coat

  3. Johnm August 26, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Read a comment yesterday about the pace of a Prem game increasing by 20% in the last 5 years. Maybe that is why we are struggling.
    Positives – two players in England U21 squad and Defoe top of goalscorer chart

Leave a Reply

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Team: Middlesbrough FC

Pete Sixsmith

John McCormick writes: I’d really have to think hard about whether or not I’ve seen us play ‘Boro at Roker. […]

Sunderland’s decline under Short ‘more Accrington Stanley than Leeds’


Monsieur Salut says: when I said Salut! Sunderland had perhaps been too kind to Ellis Short in the past, I […]

Beyond belief: the football club owner who has never spoken to his manager

Jake: 'you don't talk to the likes of us, Ellis, so how can we be blamed if we get somethign wrong?

Welcome to the strange world of Ellis Short, reluctant and reclusive football boss. In the past, Salut! Sunderland may have […]

A Daughter Speaks: how Wigan and Rochdale restored the FA Cup’s shine

Footy loving Nathalie is second from the left

Amid all Sunderland’s more pressing problems, it seems almost incidental to reflect on how old you now have to be […]

Post-Bolton thoughts: as Brian Clough said…

McCormick's Craic(featured image) full size 640 x 138

By now you’ll have read Pete Sixsmith’s report from Bolton. I can’t find fault with it and there’s no point in […]

SAFC vs Middlesbrough Guess the Score: Boro licking their lips

Click on the image above, post your scoreline prediction and - whoever you support - you may win a prize

Without needing to try too hard, we can place Sunderland vs Middlesbrough and a handful of other games between now […]