|Lichties licked by Black Cats (from the Courier)|
Arbroath defend a corner during Saturday's meeting with a Sunderland XI.
WHILE THEIR big-name stars enjoyed their pre-season preparations in the Algarve, Sunderland FC's reserves and first-team fringe players found themselves taking on Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday.
Despite eventually losing 3-1, the Lichties gave a good account of themselves.
A first-half strike by rising star Martyn Waghorn, whose glancing header from a Jordan Henderson cross eluded Darren Hill, did nothing to dampen Arbroath enthusiasm.
The Lichties could have levelled things just before half-time when a thundering Bryan Scott effort was well held by Northern Ireland youth internationalist keeper Trevor Carson.
Scott brought his side back into the game on 63 minutes when he latched on to a loose ball 30 yards from goal and curled a left-foot shot past Carson.
Waghorn got his second on 70 minutes—earning a yellow card for kicking the ball out of the park in celebration—when he lured substitute keeper Scott Morrison off his line and slotted the ball past him.
Jordan Cook completed Sunderland's tally five minutes later when, after Morrison did well to parry yet another Waghorn effort, he could do nothing to prevent the easiest of close-range tap-ins.
Arbroath manager John McGlashan said, "That was a very worthwhile exercise and, although the differences between our full-time English Premiership visitors and our part-time Scottish Second Division squad were there for all to see, I think we acquitted ourselves very well.
"Compared to the sort of teams we are used to going up against and will be facing during the coming season, the contrasts were really quite dramatic.
"Sunderland have the sort of financial backing and salaries that teams like Arbroath can only dream of but, in saying that, for lengthy spells of the game we held our own very well.
"Everyone who was on the park, whether they were on from the start or came off the bench, worked their socks off and they have every reason to be proud of their performances.
"Looking at the quality of the young players Sunderland brought up here I wouldn't be at all surprised if in just a couple of seasons time a few of these lads are household names on the national and international scene and we can look back and say we played them at Gayfield.
"I'm glad we managed to get this game set up because, at our level, it's a good feeling for players to be able to test themselves against some of the best young talent in the country and who will be normally be plying their trade at the Stadium of Light.
"As a test of our fitness and readiness for the challenges ahead it was very valuable and, even in the closing stages when my lads started to tire and make a few mistakes, you could see there was still the commitment to fight for every ball and the determination not to concede a fourth goal."
That fighting spirit will be just what McGlashan will be looking for in the weeks and months ahead.
lÿA youthful Gayfield side were no match for junior neighbours Carnoustie Panmure at Laing Park yesterday, going down 5-0.
A second half hat-trick by substitute Jim Collier was the feature of the hosts' comfortable win.
First half, however, gave no indication of just how comfortable it would be for Ian Flaherty's troops.
Even although Kevin Steele slotted home Aaron Conway's pass after six minutes, the visitors impressed most in the early stages but a three-goal salvo in the first eight minutes of the second half left the young Red Lichties reeling.
Collier headed home a long searching cross from Daryn Smith three minutes after the re-start and just two minutes later, Collier latched onto a through ball, steering it under the advancing keeper.
Trialist Scott Hunter headed the fourth from a corner by Sean Mushin.
And with six minutes left, Collier completed his hat-trick, heading home a Gary McLaughlin cross.