On this day in 2000, Peter Reid named a much-changed side for Sunderland’s trip down south to take on Luton Town in the League Cup - and they emerged victorious, winning by two goals to one (5-1 on aggregate).
After a fairly indifferent start to the season which had seen us collect just two wins from the opening seven league games, Reid gave his regulars the night off and his fringe players the chance to prove their worth.
The Sunderland gaffer made TEN changes to his team - giving debuts to Ben Clark and Brendan McGill (who came on as a sub at half time) - but the side he picked was strong, and perhaps showed just how much depth we had in our squad at the time.
The only survivor from the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at the weekend was Darren Williams, and even then he only played the first half.
Luton: Ovendale, Fraser, Boyce, McLaren, Watts, Taylor, Spring, Locke, George, Thomson, Kandol. Subs: Holmes, Brennan, Ayres, Breitenfelder, Abbey.
Sunderland: Macho, McCartney, Clark, Roy, Williams, P. Butler, Rae, Thirlwell, Oster, Reddy, Dichio. Subs: Marriott, McGill, Fredgaard, T. Butler, Nunez.
Referee: R Harris (Oxford).
It was expected to be a fairly routine run out for the Lads, especially given we had taken a 3-0 lead from the first leg into the game against our relegation-threatened Second Division opponents, and we certainly didn’t disappoint on the night.
Goals from young striker Michael Reddy and Paul Butler in the opening 45 minutes put the tie to bed, before a consolation from Luton striker Tresor Kandol denied Jurgen Macho a clean sheet in the dying seconds of the game.
“What became of the young players who featured that night?”, I hear you ask.
George McCartney solidified himself as a first-teamer, left for pennies to join West Ham, and then was bought back bizarrely two years later for an absolute fortune by Roy Keane. He hasn’t kicked a ball since 2014, retiring at the age of 33... does anyone know where he is?
Ben Clark was England U19 captain but never really got a fair crack of the whip at Sunderland, playing mostly for the ressies, and left to join Hartlepool in 2014. He spent six years there before ending up at Gateshead, where he spent another six years, eventually retiring from playing in 2016 after a short spell with South Shields. He’s now the academy coach at Gateshead having had a brief spell as manager under dodgy owners in 2019.
Michael Reddy, like Ben Clark, struggled to break into the first team and spent most of his time on Sunderland’s books out on loan with lower league clubs. He eventually left us in 2004 and ended up at Grimsby Town, spending three years with them where he scored a canny amount of goals. Unfortunately his career was ended early by injury, and he retired aged just 27.
Brendan McGill never played again for Sunderland outside of that 45 minutes at Luton. He left the club in 2001 to join Carlisle on loan, signing permanently with them in the following summer, and remaining with the Cumbrians until 2006. He then went on to play for Gretna in Scotland, Bohemians in the League of Ireland, non-league with Barrow and then back to Ireland to finish up his career after spells with Drogheda and Shelbourne, retiring from the game in 2012.