KEITH Bertschin applauded Sunderland Reserves for passing the physical test after overcoming a vastly more experienced Hartlepool United outfit last night.
Nathan Luscombe and Ryan Noble were the only members of Sunderland’s starting XI at Eppleton CW last night to have tasted first-team football – both restricted to a solitary FA Cup outing for the Black Cats.
But Bertschin’s side took their tally to 14 goals in three games by thrashing a Pools side which had vastly more first-team appearances under their collective belts.
The reserve team boss said: “The previous games we’ve played have been against youngish teams, although they are not that much younger than our own.
“I thought that was going to be the test last night – facing a more physical presence against players who know tricks from their experience.
“But they answered all the questions which were fired of them and came through with flying colours.”
Bertschin praised Sunderland’s first-half display which saw them score four times within the opening 34 minutes and terrorise Pools’ back line with their pace and movement.
He singled out first-year professional Craig Lynch for praise, with the right-winger twice going close to completing his hat-trick in the dying stages of the Totesport Cup victory.
“The first half particularly, they really played well,” said Bertschin.
“When the ball went into people’s feet, it stuck and then there was movement beyond their back four.
“It was quite hard work for them (Hartlepool) when they were running back towards their own goal.
“Hats off to all of them. There wasn’t a player under-par at all.
“They took their chances at the right time and really the game was over by half-time.
“I thought Craig Lynch was terrific. He really protected the ball well, manipulated it and got a couple of goals.”