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Two days ago, I watched Burnley and Sunderland take a point apiece from a 1-1 draw in the U18 Premier League fixture at Gawthorpe.

Gawthorpe – I did wonder whether I’d ever go there again. I was at an under-18 game just a few weeks before the pandemic hit two years ago and this was to be the first time I’d be seeing a game there since.

Reports of games at Gawthorpe usually include some reference to the weather. I’ve been frozen and drenched too often there for it not to be but one was played under cloudless skies, as the redness on the top of head shows, although it wasn’t the warmest of afternoons because of the blustery winds.

I’m not sure which of the players on duty I’d seen play before but there were definitely some first timers for me that included goalkeeper Charlie Casper and defender Nathan James, but it was Tremaine Eastmond, a player I’d seen before who opened the scoring in only the fourth minute.

We’d won our previous three games so this was a good start as we looked for a fourth and it was a good goal as Will Crouch got down the right to cross for Eastmond (pictured) who finished well, latching on to the ball at the near post and place a shot past the keeper into the far corner.

Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to us taking control of the game, in fact there was little else to enthuse about in the first half with our best effort a similar shot from Eastmond that went just wide of goal while at the other end, Casper made one outstanding save to keep us in front.

The second half started in exactly the same way as the first with an almost identical goal scored in the same fourth minute. Unfortunately, it was Sunderland who scored it through Tom Watson to level things.

We didn’t ever really look like regaining the lead but there weren’t too many concerns at the other end either as the game became scrappy in the difficult conditions. The game did see bring on forward Joe Smyth-Ferguson late in the game. Joe hasn’t been seen for months so I can only presume he’s another player who has been out with an unreported injury.

A point in the end, a fourth game without defeat and it really did feel good to be stood there on the touchline again, not too cold and very definitely not wet through.

The teams were;

Burnley: Charlie Casper, Keelan Williams, Jack Leckie, Nathan James, Dane McCullough, Sean Etaluku, Will Couch, Will Hugill, Ruairi Behan (Trevon Bryan 75), Tremaine Eastmond, George Walters (Joe Smyth-Ferguson 84). Subs not used: Jon Vilar Robinson, Tosin Olopade.

Sunderland: Adam Richardson, Louie Salkeld, Oliver Bainbridge, Henry Fieldson, Ben Williams, Sonny Singh, Marshall Burke, Harrison Jones, Ethan Moore, Tom Watson, Caleb Parkinson. Subs not used: Dan Cameron, Will Cain, Will Dowling, Jake Waters, Benjamin Creamer.

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