Sunderland 5 Carlisle United 3: We are now seven days in the one-month countdown to the Lower-League “Armageddon” to borrow time used by Carlisle co-owner John Nixon. In other news, the EFL Trophy set aside by the Premier League for youth development continues.
Covit-19 may have affected many things, but this split form survives. Like a cockroach in a hurricane, the “B Team” test continues when other organisms cannot.
This is the environment for all these devices now as it has been since 2016. Carlisle lost a lively, high-scoring game here in Sunderland, encouraging John Mellish to come back late, which was not enough, and no doubt everyone considered it an effective exercise.
The real quiz is what it means for Aston Villa’s under-21s – United’s next Northern Group A opponents – and other “type one” academy teams to participate.
Pressured by money, the lower leagues opened their doors, and the trophy is still one thing in our old game, now significantly owned by the powerful. They seem to be more powerful now, controlling their challenges rather than weighing in on edge clubs.
A) If the fans are not allowed to return soon, or b) Some money will fight, Pronto – or, if not paid towards both, are the only powerful people who are guaranteed to see tomorrow.
It is true that the crisis currently facing small clubs requires broader solutions. It is nonsense to think that these can come from the same source.
The arrival of the redesigned (and now-sponsored) trophy at this time may have been particularly bitter for a section of supporters who at first did not want to do so, now see their clubs suspended over a valley, with a high-profile and government stance on each side.
In the meantime, we are asked to look at the current prize money and participation fees for this contest as “similarity”, which is less likely than buying a valuable one and withdrawing it now.
These thoughts inevitably came to mind as United and Sunderland set up each other in the vast, empty stadium of light last night. Carlisle boss Chris Beach made seven changes, including full introductions to Taylor Charters, Jack Armor, Magnus Norman and new signing Connor Mali.
Sunderland, with Charlie Wyck’s familiar, included eight changes, but made an early impact on Carlisle. Ethan Walker’s speed and alertness were crucial to the sixth – minute penalty when the young debtor broke the ball to the right of the box and got a section ahead of Remy Mathews who sent him to fly.
Luis Alessandra slapped Mathews on the last spot-kick, which sparked a more exciting period from the Cumbrians, who saw Walker in the center of another opening, showing Preston eager to catch his men before scoring for the Charters, from the left side of the post.
Armor, another Prestonian, got off to a solid start on the defensive left as Jack Diamond tried to add some sparkle to that side for Sunderland. Max Power was shot, but Joe Riley needed the hosts’ Chris Maguire to lift a Max Hunt title from the corner, and Carlisle spied for a second.
At this point Sunderland seemed a little cold and uncertain, but as they passed they gradually became smoother, which brought another opportunity for Power to narrow down. It was just before United Walker experienced the double misfortune of a shoulder injury – Luke O’Neill was injured after the challenge and was replaced by Mellish – then a equalizer and a Maguire free-kick sent a major deviation from the last Norman honor.
Despite this luck the home side’s progress was now clear, and 11 minutes later they were so good for Carlisle that Power and Maguire combined with a touch from the left, making the final, decisive run past Denver Hume Norman.
United started the second half on their toes, a cross that reached the relay in the six-yard box, before sending Peach teenage winger Louis Bell for the debut, replacing the Charters. A few minutes later, Carlisle’s deficit increased when Maguire flew a long ball past the defense and sent it past Norman.
Carlisle’s place in the trophy looked like it had now been lost, and the lack of real chances prevented Peach’s side from going back for a while. When Sunderland came back, Maguire missed his hat-trick with a header in the area, before Bell Camley tried to get United back on the left foot in the front foot, but the determined Alessandra sent a long ranger wide.
A thin fourth, the base Norman conceded when he put a macaw shot into Wyck’s path, which seemed to put the lid on 20 minutes to go, but Mellish forced his second goal four days into the last relay corner.
Then, after home manager Bill Parkinson switched from a former Blues No. 9 to another, Danny Graham delivered the clean end of the night, while Melish met Alessandra’s brilliant help with a high shot.
Carlisle finished the game on the front foot, and over the past four days Mellish has certainly emphasized the qualities that United have felt he deserves for a new contract this week. Even if the Diamond is smashed in fifth place in a Sunderland, there is no way in the end – this applies to all kinds of clubs unless the game at some height finds what remains in its soul.