Sunderland Reserves kept dignity intact tonight in a match against a small town in Yorkshire’s second string at the Archibalds Stadium in Durham.
Massimo Maccarone was getting his first competitive action tonight since damaging ankle ligaments in the Smogs’ pre-season friendly against Hull, but he opened the scoring for the opposition only four minutes into the match. The Italian picked up a cross from winger Michael Ricketts who had beaten his marker – then all Maccarone had to do was tap home from six yards.
Sean Thornton was named in tonight’s reserve side for Sunderland, having missed out on taking part in yesterday’s confidence-boosting performance and win against Ipswich because of suspension. But his presence proved decisive when, in the first minute of first half injury time, he passed to youngster Grant Leadbitter whose resulting shot left the Boro keeper helpless.
In the second half, Sunderland refused to concede and made the Teessiders work hard.
Tommy Smith and Ben Clark were also in tonight’s squad, as was Danish defender Casper Andersen who is with Sunderland for a trial period. Mick McCarthy was at the Archibalds Stadium to see how the Dane got on, but he lasted only 14 minutes before being replaced by Patrick Collins.