2011-12

Club news

The First Team

The lads line up before the 2 - 2 draw with Consett FC on Saturday, 28 January 2012

ack row, left to right: Mark Davison, Brandon Steckles-Young (Assistant), Steve Jones, Kevin Dixon, Adam McGuinness, Neal Atkinson, Gary Shields, Andy Jennings, Ritchie Paxton, James Oates, Liam Dunn

Front row, left to right: Glen McCartney (Assistant Manager), Glen Robson, Joe Walton, Carl Beasley (Captain), Tom Berj, David Wells, Brian Close

Results

Competition Date Home Team     Away Team
Pre-season friendly 16 July 2011 Team Northumbria FC 2 5 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 23 July 2011 North Shields FC 0 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 26 July 2011 Crook Town FC 0 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 30 July 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 3 2 Stockton Town FC
Pre-season friendly 02 August 2011 Sunderland West End 1 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Allan Thompson Memorial Cup 03 August 2011 Ryhope CW FC 4 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 06 August 2011 Durham City FC 3 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 13 August 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 2 2 Shildon AFC
Northern League 1 17 August 2011 Consett FC 3 4 Sunderland RCA FC
FA Cup 19 August 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 7 0 Birtley Town FC
Northern League 1 24 August 2011 Billingham Synthonia FC 0 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 27 August 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 5 1 Ashington FC
Northern League 1 29 August 2011 South Shields FC 2 3 Sunderland RCA FC
FA Cup 03 September 2011 Spennymoor Town FC 1 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 06 September 2011 Billingham Town FC 2 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 10 September 2011 Newcastle Benfield FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 13 September 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 3 2 Bishop Auckland FC
Northern League 1 17 September 2011 Bishop Auckland FC 0 0 Sunderland RCA FC
FA Vase 24 September 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 5 3 Bishop Auckland FC
Northern League 1 28 September 2011 Stokesley Sports Club FC 1 6 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 01 October 2011 Penrith FC 0 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 04 October 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 2 2 Marske United FC
Northern League 1 08 October 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 2 3 West Auckland Town FC
Northern League 1 15 October 2011 Whitley Bay FC 2 3 Sunderland RCA FC
FA Vase 22 October 2011 Bedlington Terriers FC 4 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 25 October 2011 Dunston UTS FC 2 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 29 October 2011 Tow Law Town AFC 2 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Durham County Challenge Cup 01 November 2011 Durham City FC 3 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 05 November 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 1 4 Spennymoor Town FC
League Cup 08 November 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 4 3 Bishop Auckland FC
Northern League 1 12 November 2011 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 0 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 26 November 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 4 1 Norton + Stockton Ancients FC
Northern League 1 29 November 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 7 0 Guisborough Town FC
Northern League 1 03 December 2011 Newton Aycliffe FC 0 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 07 December 2011 Bedlington Terriers FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 10 December 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 2 0 Billingham Synthonia FC
Northern League 1 16 December 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 2 2 Billingham Town FC
Northern League 1 26 December 2011 Sunderland RCA FC 1 2 South Shields FC
Northern League 1 02 January 2012 Shildon AFC 2 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Durham County Challenge Cup 10 January 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 0 2 Spennymoor Town FC
Northern League 1 21 January 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 1 1 Penrith FC
Northern League 1 28 January 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 2 2 Consett FC
Northern League 1 18 February 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 3 0 Tow Law Town AFC
Northern League 1 21 February 2012 Marske United FC 0 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 28 February 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 2 1 Stokesley Sports Club FC
Northern League 1 03 March 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 0 0 Newton Aycliffe FC
Northern League 1 10 March 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 4 3 Whitley Bay FC
League Cup 13 March 2012 Dunston UTS FC 0 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 17 March 2012 Guisborough Town FC 0 7 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 20 March 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 3 1 Newcastle Benfield FC
Northern League 1 24 March 2012 Norton + Stockton Ancients FC 0 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 27 March 2012 Ashington FC 0 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 31 March 2012 Spennymoor Town FC 2 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 04 April 2012 West Auckland Town FC 2 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 07 April 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 2 3 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC
Northern League 1 14 April 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 3 1 Bedlington Terriers FC
League Cup 16 April 2012 Spennymoor Town FC 4 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 1 03 May 2012 Sunderland RCA FC 2 1 Dunston UTS FC

Northern League Division 1 Table

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Spennymoor Town (C) 42 30 7 5 86 31 55 97
2 West Auckland Town 42 29 8 5 117 58 59 95
3 Dunston UTS 42 27 9 6 85 34 51 90
4 Sunderland RCA 42 27 7 8 106 54 52 88
5 Ashington 42 23 8 11 91 58 33 77
6 Whitley Bay 42 23 7 12 90 54 36 76
7 Bedlington Terriers 42 20 10 12 97 49 48 70
6 Bishop Auckland 42 20 9 13 87 69 18 69
9 Newton Aycliffe 42 18 11 13 70 52 18 65
10 Shildon 42 18 5 19 83 63 20 59
11 Billingham Synthonia 42 18 5 19 74 77 -3 59
12 Newcastle Benfield 42 16 7 19 73 65 8 55
13 South Shields 46 15 6 21 81 92 -11 51
14 Norton + Stockton Ancients 42 14 8 20 54 60 -6 50
15 Consett 42 13 11 18 71 78 -7 50
16 Guisborough Town 42 13 11 18 67 97 -30 50
17 Billingham Town 42 15 4 23 72 95 -23 49
18 Marske United 42 11 11 20 61 89 -28 44
19 Penrith 42 11 7 24 59 97 -38 40
20 Jarrow Roofing BCA (R) 42 12 4 26 65 114 -49 40
21 Tow Law Town (R) 42 9 1 32 44 102 -58 28
22 Stokesley SC (R) 42 0 4 38 31 176 -145 4

Reports

August

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Shildon AFC 2

Saturday, 13 August 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

The opening day of the new season saw RCA paired against Shildon and for those who witnessed last season's matches between the two clubs an action packed and competitive game was envisaged.

Both teams have been reformed over the close season although there were still a lot of familiar faces on view.

The game itself was action packed with RCA reduced to nine men after Beasley was dismissed for a mis-timed challenge after eight minutes and Barton followed him to the changing room after 38 minutes following a clash with a Shildon defender. However the remaining RCA men performed heroically and were only denied all three points when Shildon equalised in bizzarre circumstances in the 92nd minute.

This match report will not be able to do justice to a truly pulsating football match, but here goes.

In the first attack of the game a long ball from Beasley was expertly controlled on the chest by Barton, but his effort on the volley went sailing over the bar. RCA took heart from this and Finch had to be at his best to take a cross from Walton, with both Davison and Barton in close attendance.

Shildon’s first attack saw Scott skip past Halliday before firing in a shot which went wide of Hoggeth’s goal and a minute later Hoggeth produced a good save despite being kicked in the face by Gredziak.

In the eighth minute, Watson intercepted a pass from Jones and sprinted clear of the defender, Beasley spotting the danger raced across to put in a poorly timed challenge which resulted in the RCA captain receiving his marching orders. The resulting freekick saw a header from Hunter easily saved by Hoggeth. RCA hastily re-shuffled their remaining three defenders moving Jones into a central role in a 3-4-2 formation.

Shildon took control of the midfield, but RCA were still dangerous up front with the Shildon defenders unable to cope with the presence of Davison and Barton.

In the 19th minute Scott once again got free of his marker and played a one-two with Watson before firing straight at Hoggeth. His long clearance found Walton on the right and he cut inside before unleashing a shot which was bound for the top corner only to strike Hunter and rebound for a throw in.

The game was flowing from end to end. Despite the man advantage Shildon could not produce a clear cut opportunity in front of goal and were being frustrated by a very organised RCA defence.

Richmond and Johnson combined in the 35th minute to produce an effort on goal, but the looping shot cleared the bar for a goal kick.

The game took a dramatic twist in the 38th minute when a high ball down the wing was competed for by Barton who looked to win the ball, however the referee, Mr McCallum, adjudged that he had used his elbow to gain an advantage and dismissed the RCA player. With only seven minutes remaining in the half RCA reorganised again, but maintained a threat up front with Davison.

In the 43 minute a cross field ball from Maddison found Davison on the left, with only one defender to beat, he instead chose to cross the ball to the far post where Walton was on hand to steer a wonderful header past the bemused Finch.

1 - 0 at half time and still 45 minutes to go.

RCA brought on defender John Butler at half time for the attacker Davies in a clear indication that they were prepared to defend their slender lead.

Shildon started the second half in controlled fashion, looking to pry open the nine men of RCA, but they looked to have got their tactics wrong as time and again RCA were able to clear their lines and seemed to be able to find frontman Davison with ease.

It is a testament to the superb defending that it wasn’t until the 63 minute that Shildon had a worthwhile effort on goal when a thunderbolt of a shot from Hunter looked to be heading for the roof of the net only for Hoggeth to finger tip it over the bar.

From the resulting corner Hoggeth could only punch the ball under pressure and it fell to Gredziak who’s first shot was blocked by Maddison, the ball came back to him and Hoggeth saved with his legs and his third shot was cleared of the line by Butler to the relief of the RCA players and supporters.

Shildon continued to pile on the pressure, but in doing so were leaving themselves open to quick counter attacks, one of which saw Walton feed the ball through to Davison, but he fired wide.

Shildon moved Hunter into a more attacking role and he was unlucky once again with a shot which flashed wide of the upright. A shock looked on the cards in the 81st minute when RCA took a 2-0 lead, Davison won a throw in on the right and this was thrown to Walton who found space to get in a cross which Owens did well to head home despite the close attention of three Shildon defenders.

Whether RCA relaxed a little or Shildon’s luck changed is debatable, but they got a goal back within two minutes when Paxton was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range.

Shildon poured forward looking for the equaliser, but the resilient RCA defence were standing firm under a bombardment. Maddison was on hand to clear one effort from Byrne and a minute later was able to put in a brilliant tackle to deny the same player a shot on target.

In the second minute of injury time a long ball was sent into the box and looked to have been dealt with by the RCA defence, however the header struck the back of Hughes and bounced over the line for a goal to Shildon to make the score 2-2.

This was a game which had spectators, players and officials on the edge of their seats and the passion shown was admirable.

On Wednesday, RCA move on to another potential blockbuster at Consett.

As always we will look forward to meeting Shildon later in the season at their ground, four epic matches in two seasons bodes well for the next meeting between the two sides.

Consett FC 3 Sunderland RCA FC 4

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

RCA won a scintillating match against a strong Consett team. Neil Hixon made one forced change to the team that drew with Shildon on Saturday, bringing in Lee Owens for Gavin Barton.

RCA twice came from behind in the first half, but managed to go in at the break even at 2-2. The second half saw RCA dominant in the opening 30 minutes taking a 4-2 lead before conceding a penalty late in the game, but were able to hold on in a desperate end to the game.

The result looked far from clear cut when Blandford made it 1-0 after just eight minutes, rifling home from 20 yards. Then Walton had two good chances to increase the lead, firing one effort just inches wide and having another deflected out for a corner.

RCA made Consett pay by equalising on 32 minutes. Centre-forward Mark Davison, leading the line in superb fashion all night, found the space to set up Jones to finish past Peter Jameson from an acute angle.

Two minutes before half-time Mackay restored the Steelmen's lead when he capitalised on a mistake by visiting keeper Gary Hoggeth, who came 20 yards out of his box to clear a long ball, only to hit it against Mackay, who hooked it round two defenders for a fine opportunist goal, after Carl Beasley just failed in a last ditch attempt to clear the ball.

RCA went in level at half-time when a long throw from McGuinness was flicked on at the near post, and Lee Owens stole in unmarked to prod home from a couple of yards.

In the 53rd minute RCA took the lead for the first time when a long ball from McGuinness caught the Consett defence out and Scorer's header back pass was fumbled by the keeper with Owens was on hand to fire home.

RCA increased their lead 10 minutes later when a freekick from Walton found Davies in acres of space at the far post and he made no mistake from 10 yards.

Consett pulled one back with six minutes left when Bell was brought down in the box and Mackay tucked away the resulting penalty. This set up an amazing five minutes of play in which Consett threw everything at RCA and only some great defending and one brilliant save from Hoggeth kept the score at 3 – 4.

This was a great result and performance from the whole RCA team in what will probably be our last league visit to Belle Vue Park.

Sunderland RCA FC 7 Birtley Town FC 0


The Sunderland RCA and Birtley Town team captains and match officials line up before the start of the first FA Cup tie of the 2011-12 season.

Friday, 19 August 2011

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

The following match report is courtesy of Andy Hudson of Gannin’ Away who managed to rattle off the fastest FA Cup match report ever likely to be seen this season.

Neil Hixon made several changes to the starting line up in a effort to keep things fresh and also to rest players who were possibly feeling a little jaded after two hard league matches.

The 2011/12 FA Cup got underway amidst controversy in the north-east tonight as Northern League Division 1 side Sunderland RCA swept aside Birtley Town of the Northern League Division 2 to claim their place in the Preliminary Round. The scoreline of 7-0 was a deserved result on a mild evening at Meadow Park, 97 days after Carlos Tevez had hoisted the famous trophy aloft for Manchester City on a sunny afternoon at Wembley, and came after RCA had been defeated at this stage in each of the previous four seasons.

Yet Birtley will surely feel aggrieved as all of their pre-match planning to contain the hosts went out of the window after only 90 seconds of this encounter. When Andy Jennings found himself just in an offside position chasing down a long through-ball he must have had a feeling his luck was in as the assistant referee failed to flag. When Birtley’s goalkeeper, Philip Holgate, went up to gather the bouncing ball, Jennings then fouled him and was left alone to stroke the ball into the empty net. With all other players turning away, expecting the foul to be given, the referee allowed the goal to stand, despite the protests of Birtley’s management team of Scott Oliver and Barrie Fleming.

With Birtley rocked, RCA took full advantage to dominate possession – and oh how they did so. As the visitors struggled to find a third consecutive pass, the hosts stroked the ball around patiently looking for an opening and testament to the instructions delivered to them before the opening whistle by manager Neil Hixon.

The second goal arrived midway through the first half when a delightful left wing free-kick was swung in from the right foot of Lee Owens. Jennings and his strike partner, Gavin Barton, were first to react amongst a static Birtley defence, and it was Barton’s head that met the ball first to steer it back across goal to score.

Within two minutes it was game over. Holgate just beat Owens to a through-ball but his clearance only found Barton out on the RCA right. One of the deadliest forwards in the Northern League is not the man you would want to be leaving with any chance, and he took the opportunity to grab his second by lobbing the ‘keeper and the backtracking defence with a first-time effort from 30 yards out.

Birtley settled more as the half progressed and Kevin Dixon became more of a danger. However, despite three good efforts where he held off the home defence, he was just unable to find the goal when cutting in on his left.

RCA started the second half with another early goal. When a right wing cross was allowed to drop into Birtley’s box, it was the substitute Gary Shields who reacted first to stab home goal number four.

With Brian Close, formerly of Middlesbrough, Chesterfield and Darlington and making his competitive debut tonight, pulling all of the strings in the midfield, RCA advanced forward at will. They soon added a fifth goal when defender Leon Carling stepped forward and met another right wing cross at full-length to beat the ‘keeper. Jennings then grabbed his second of the night and RCA’s sixth when he was left all alone in the middle to stroke home.

Birtley had a rare attack when James Allsopp was allowed to carry the ball forward on the right, but when he unleashed a left footed shot it rebounded away off the post.

RCA went straight back on the attack and Barton completed a tremendous hat-trick, the first of the FA Cup this season, in style. Receiving the ball out on the left, he was allowed time to pick his spot and he curled a right footed shot into the far top corner to end the scoring at 7-0.

Another FA Cup year is over for Birtley Town but for RCA there’s an away FA Cup game on Saturday 3rd September against either Spennymoor Town or Esh Winning.

Sunderland RCA manager, Neil Hixon:

We were quite fortunate to get the first goal so early in the game and that set us up for a quite easy and comfortable win. After watching Birtley during the week, I knew that even after rotating the squad tonight we would be more than capable of beating them. For our first goal tonight, you see them given. A lot of the time the referee gives it in favour of the goalkeeper, but on this occasion we’ve got the good result on that side of things. Some of the goals tonight were exceptional. Barton and Jennings were fantastic. Barton gets goals; he’s in the right position most of the time and he gets good goals. I was very happy with the way we kept possession tonight. The midfield players were excellent; they kept the ball and kept us playing basically. We’ve got a tough next round against either Spennymoor or Esh Winning but I fancy us to be competitive against anybody this season.

Birtley Town manager, Scott Oliver:

You tell your lads to get to that twenty minute mark without conceding; you set yourself up for the game ahead; and then after that [the opening goal], well, everyone inside the ground could see that it was a foul. Our goalkeeper had the ball in his hands and it has happened too quick in the game for the referee. He’s looking for his linesman to help him out, the lineman doesn’t help him out, and he just takes the easy option. They were expected to win the game of course, but he goes and gives him the goal. We couldn’t have had a worse start and then we go and concede again. The RCA movement was frightening for twenty minutes, and we found ourselves 3-0 down; we couldn’t handle it. The game settled down after that and it was a little bit easier to get to grips with them. We changed our system for the second half but at the end of the day, whenever they were in or around our box their finishing was frightening. It sounds daft as we’ve let seven in, but our ‘keeper hasn’t had many saves that he has been able to make. We’ve lost a lot of players from last season, we’ve had a bad week [losing both of the opening league games] and tonight was always going to be difficult, but the lads kept on going tonight.

FA Cup hat-trick hero, Gavin Barton:

That was a great team performance; everyone chipped in and played their part. It was my job to score the goals and I’ve scored then goals; it was the lads at the back’s job to defend and they defended really well; the lads in the midfield pulled all the strings and it was a good effort. I had a free header at the back post for my first goal, I wasn’t marked, and I headed it back across the goal. The second one came from Lee Owens chasing the ‘keeper down brilliantly and it’s fell to me to hit into an empty net. The third one I saw the ‘keeper off his line and I curled it in. It could be Spennymoor or Esh in the next round but bring them on. We’re hoping to do well throughout the entire season and I think we’ve got an excellent squad.

Billingham Synthonia FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Sunderland RCA travelled down the A19 to play unbeaten and free scoring Billingham Synthonia in this Division 1 match. Synners defending a 100% record took to the field full of confidence.

RCA's management team once again made a number of changes to the team who won on Friday night.

Synners showed from the outset why they have started so well this season their pace and movement was excellent. However, RCA countered this with some brilliant defending and great attacking options, if not for some poor finishing in front of goal they could have been out of sight before half time, but that is football.

The game opened with Synners looking calm in possession, particularly at the back, but with RCA marking well and breaking up any movement forward with Close and Cuthbertson making good interceptions and trying to set the RCA wide men free at every opportunity.

After a dozen minutes of sparring Synners conceded a free kick on the edge of their box, with many spectators thinking the offence might have been the other way, but in any event definitely in the box. Not to worry, the free kick, driven in by Mark Davison, brought a good save from the keeper, but Gavin Barton was sharpest to react and slotted the rebound home. In the next few minutes RCA could have had the game sewn up, as a couple of glorious chances to extend the lead were spurned.

The rest of the half saw the Synners faithful in the decent crowd becoming increasingly frustrated as the pattern of the game continued with the home side looking good in possession, but RCA looking far more dangerous with the ball. Through Mark Davison holding the ball up well and Gavin Barton playing off him, three chances were made and let go.

After the break Synners enjoyed their best spell for 15 minutes, pushing forward aggressively and getting a series of balls into the box. RCA centre backs Carl Beasley and Ian Maddison dealt with most of them, with Hoggy catching and punching on occasion.

RCA conceded a few corners, but rarely looked extended and it was past the hour before Hoggy made his only save of real note, beating out a good effort from the edge of the box.

The longer the half went on the more RCA came back as an attacking force. Again, several excellent chances were spurned. In fact, it was only that it stayed a one goal lead that kept Billingham competitive.

As the final quarter came round we looked very comfortable, breaking well and holding the ball in the corners to see out a good win that was a good deal more impressive than the scoreline suggests: a very decent performance against a more than decent Synners side.

Sunderland RCA FC 5 Ashington FC 1


Gavin Barton heads home his third goal and RCA's fourth in the 5 - 1 home win against Ashington FC.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

Match report courtesy of the Sunday Sun reporter Malcolm Pratt.

RCA continued their impressive start to the season with a comprehensive win at Meadow Park against Ashington FC. Gavin Barton was on hand to score his second hat trick of the season and his opening goal was an absolutely supurb piece of individual skill.

Neil Hixon was again forced to make changes with Lee Owens replacing the injured Harrison Davies and Leon Carling coming in for Ian Maddison who was at a family wedding.

Sunderland RCA manager Neil Hixon hailed his side’s ‘fantastic’ start to the season after the five-goal rout of Ashington at Meadow Park. Following heavy rain during the morning, the sun shone on the Wearsiders once they had reined in the Colliers’ early ambitions.

Hixon was delighted with the performance of his side as they kept in touch with the Northern League Division One’s early pacesetters. He said: “We were a bit sluggish at the start and conceded an early goal but thereafter, there was only one team going to win.

“We’ve won three of our four games and it was a great result drawing with Shildon who we led by two goals even though we finished with just nine players. And it shouldn’t be forgotten that we put seven goals past Birtley Town in the FA Cup.

“It’s early days yet, but we are more than confident of competing with the top teams,” added Hixon who steered the Wearsiders into a mid-table finish last time – their first in the top flight for more than two decades.

It was Gary Middleton’s Ashington side who struck first, however, as Chris Scott delivered a lovely through ball for Gareth Bainbridge to chip goalkeeper Gary Hoggeth. But any ambitions the Northumbrians harboured of causing an upset ended within a minute. Joe Walton raced through their defence and chipped keeper Karl Dryden for a sixth-minute equaliser. RCA were in dominant mood from then on and yje only surprise was that it took until the the 43rd minute to take the lead for the first time, but two goals in five minutes either side of the interval just about ended the game as a contest.

Steven Jones delivered a crossfield pass and dangerous striker Gavin Barton produced an exquisite chip with the inside of his left foot, deftly placing the ball over Dryden’s head from 15 yards.

Despite being pegged back for much of the game, Ashington had a glorious chance to equalise in the 46th minute but Stephen Young’s penalty was saved by Hoggeth.

The visitors paid the ultimate penalty when two minutes later Barton’s fierce shot rebounded from the underside of the crossbar into the net.

The predator completed his hat-trick midway through the second period with a comfortable header from six yards following a well-taken free-kick by Lee Owens.

Just before the end, the Wearsiders went nap as Dryden was beaten for a fifth time by Mark Davison’s spot-kick after a foul in the area.

Hixon added: “I thought Ashington competed pretty well in the first half but they wilted during the second.

“We go to South Shields tomorrow in good spirits but I’ll certainly remind the lads there are no easy pickings in this league.

“The Mariners haven’t taken a point yet and will be desperate to get off the mark, but the way we are playing I’m confident we can make a real go of it this season.”

South Shields FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 3

Monday, 29 August 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Sunderland RCA have gone top of the STL Northern League after today's hard fought match at South Shields.

It was another entertaining Bank Holiday match between these two sides. It is always difficult to go to Filtrona Park and come away with anything and for 80 minutes of this game it looked likely that it would end in a draw. However a superb free kick by Mark Davison in the 82nd minute clinched it for RCA, gave Davison his hat trick and put us top of the league.

RCA were forced to make two changes for this Bank Holiday match. Halliday was brought in for the injured Cuthbertson and Butler returned after injury to replace the suspended Owens. On the bench Manager Hixon included Marc Ellison after his short spell at Whitby Town

RCA created the first chance of the game when a cross into the box was volleyed goalwards by Walton from close range, but the effort was saved by the feet of Cunningham. A minute later and Butler limped out of the game with what looked like a recurrence of his hamstring injury. Ellison replaced him on the left of midfield.

South Shields almost took the lead when a long ball was flicked on by Alex Benjamin to Barclay but he was unable to get control of the ball.

Moments later Shields did take the lead when a ball into the box was headed home by The Mariners number 9 Alex Benjamin to make it 1-0. Benjamin almost doubled the lead on 22 minutes when a cross from the right by Smith was flicked by Barclay and headed goalwards by Benjamin, but his attempt went over the bar.

RCA equalised on 24 minutes when Davison took full advantage of a mixup in the Shields defence to knick in and grab his first goal of the afternoon.

Shields came back at RCA and a strong run from Barrie Smith, who ran with the ball from his right back position before unleashing a 25 yard strike, but the shot was well saved by Hoggeth.

It was South Shields who were to retake the lead on 35 minutes when a good through ball from Barclay found Burnell, who held off two RCA defenders before firing past Hoggeth to make it 2-1.

The game flowed from end-to-end and on 34 minutes, an excellent delivery from Jones was met by Davison, but he headed over from 10 yards out

A minute later and a corner from Walton was hooked over by Barton and as RCA piled on the pressure another cross from Walton was met by Barton who steered his header onto the bar.

Sunderland RCA were to get their equaliser just before half time, when a free kick taken by Jones on the right was met by the head of Davison, who was head an shoulders above the defence to power the ball past Cunningham for his second goal of the game.

RCA looked the more likely to grab the spoils as they ran rampant in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, twice coming close and only some good keeping by Cunningham kept the score at 2-2.

Walton clean through on goal tried to chip the ball aover Cunningham, but the Mariners keeper pulled off a great save.

Shields had a penalty appeal turned down by the referee when Burnell passed the ball to McAvoy in the box, and he appeared to be brought down as he shot for goal.

It was RCA again pressurising the Shields defence five minutes later; this time Gavin Barton turned Duncan O'Brien on the edge of the box and fired in a curling shot that was again saved well by Cunningham.

RCA eventually got the winner and Davison claimed his hat-trick in the 82nd minutes with a perfectly struck free kick from 20 yards which gave Cunningham no chance.

Overall this was an entertaining match which RCA probably just deserved to win; it is however a mystery how South Shields have not picked up any points.

September

Spennymoor Town FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 0

03 September 2011

FA Cup Preliminary Round

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

This was great match to watch and a credit to the STL Northern League. Had it been a boxing match then RCA would have won comfortably on points. However, Spennymoor go through to the next round courtesy of a thunderbolt of a shot from 25 yards out by Jamie Harwood. This was the one and only effort on target by Spennymoor in the 90 minutes.

RCA were thwarted in their efforts by some superb saves from Spennymoor keeper Craig Turns: two one on ones against Jennings and Shields and a penalty save from Davison.

RCA were again forced to make changes to the team with the suspensions of Barton, Owens and Beasley taking effect from today. Maddison returned to the heart of the defence, and Jennings, Davies and Ellison all started. Moors also made a number of changes with Chris Mason, Keith Graydon, Anthony Peacock and John Alexander all recalled for this match.

RCA statrted brightly kicking up the slope in the first half and only a brilliant save from Turns kept a ferocious Davies shot out diving at full stretch to push the ball around the post.

Moors were unable to get their passing game into full swing and this in the main was down to great determination in the heart of RCA's midfield.

Alexander did get past the defence after 25 minutes, but his shot was cleared by Jones.

Within a minute a long ball into the Moors box saw Davison rise to power a header inches over the bar with Turns beaten, then a surging run from Harwood ended with a great cross but no one was in the box and the ball went harmlessly wide.

The game was really flowing from end to end and was a great spectacle for the neutrals in the crowd.

As Moors improved their passing they looked to be pressing RCA back and it was during this spell of pressure that the winning goal was scored in the 33rd minute as Harwood's thunderbolt of a shot from the edge of the box went through a crowded goalmouth and into the back of the net, giving Hoggeth no chance.

RCA responded by taking the game to Moors. Jennings went close withh a snap shot which went wide and then Davison was unlucky when a tremendous shot was blocked by Peacock.

RCA were then awarded a penalty when a Davies ball into the box was adjudged to have hit the arm of Laws and the referee awarded a penalty. Unfortunately for RCA Turns was in scintillating form a made a great save from Davison. Before that Moors had a penalty appeal turned down when the referee missed a handball in the area.

In the second half RCA enjoyed long periods of possession but they didn't trouble Turns again until Jennings struck a superb shot from 25 yards that beat Turns, but crashed off the post and rebounded to safety. RCA were showing why they are on top of the league at the moment with some absolutely fabulous football and Moors to their credit were showing the determination that is their trademark.

RCA continued to dominate possession but were restricted in their efforts on goal. They were also susceptible to the quick counter attacking game from Moors.

RCA must have thought they had equalised when Davison fired goalwards and the ball hit Dodds and in the goalmouth scramble that followed Dodds was again on hand to clear the ball with Turns beaten.

Moors did create chances themselves when Laws had a half volley shot cleared off the line, then a great run by Johnston set up Ruddy who in turn laid the ball off to Peacock but his deft chip over Hoggeth landed the wrong side of the post.

The best chance of the second half fell to RCA's sub Shields, who beat the offside trap and looked
certain to score as he moved into the box but his shot was superbly saved by the feet of Turns.

RCA were left to rue the missed oppotrtunities in this match, but as one spectator stated as he left the ground "just look how far RCA have come in the last two years, and no superstars".

We have now set our own benchmark with displays like this and it is up to everyone associated with the club to help maintain this progress.

Billingham Town FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 4

Tuesday, 06 September 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

A windswept Bedfored Terrace welcomed table toppers Sunderland RCA FC for this STL Northern League Division 1 match against Billingham Town FC, who have not had the best of starts to the season and suffered a crushing defeat on Saturday.

RCA brought in new signing Bryan Stewart for the injured Joe Walton and reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation with Gary Shields occupying the opposite wing. Unfortunately for the spectators the wind was to play a pivotal role in the night's proceedings and in some ways spoilt a decent game of football.

RCA took advantage of the wind in the first half and were the first on the attack when a header from Jennings found strike partner Davison, however a well timed challenge by Cossavella broke up the attack.

In the sixth minute a cross from Stewart found Jennings inside the area, but his tame effart was easily saved by Briggs who then threw the ball out to Arthur who skipped past two defenders before firing straight at Hoggeth. This was to be the pattern of play attack and counter attack with the wind playing a major part.

RCA were finding it difficult to play with the gusting high wind and constantly over played the final pass. This gave confidence to Billingham who started to play some good passing football, keeping the ball under the wind. A testament to the way that the wind was effecting the play of RCA was that their first shot on target was in the 28th minute when McGuinness fired in a shot from 35 yards that had Briggs scrambling across his goal to punch round the post. A succession of corners followed and everyone was met by a Billingham defender.

Arthur created yet another chance in the 35 minute when his cross was brought down by Owens; with Hoggeth out of position he squared the ball to Roberts, but his effort flashed well wide of the post.

The game was tranformed in the last two minutes of the half when a ball from Close found Shields on the right and the winger cut the ball back to Davison who fired the ball into the roof of the net. Right on the stroke of half time the dangerous Arthur had a shot deflected for a corner and from it, Roberts rose to head home. The referee blew the whistle to end the half before play could resume.

RCA came out for the second half looking to improve and almost immediately were under pressure as Butterworth slipped the ball through to Owens and his shot flashed across the face of goal narrowly missing the post. A minute later and a shot from Arthur hit the inside of the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of Hoggeth. RCA rallied and a through ball from Cuthbertson found Jennings in acres of space, but before he coulf shoot Cossavella had put in an outstanding tackle and the chance disappeared.

As RCA came to terms with the wind they started to create problems for the Billingham defence. Davison was very unlucky with a header that hit the bar, but the goal that had been threatening came when a cross from Stewart was met by the head of Jennings and the ball looped over the helpless Briggs to settle in the net.

Once again the lead was short lived as from the kick off Hackett found Arthur with a lovely ball that caught the RCA defence flat footed and he progressed into the area before unleashing a terrific shot which gave Hoggeth no chance. From this point on RCA started to dominate and in a 10 minute spell should have put another couple of chances away, Jennings was guilty of rounding the keeper, but firing wide on two seperate occassions.

RCA were in total control of the midfield with Close and Cuthbertson playing outstandingly. Both players seemed to be all over the pitch, breaking up moves and passing to perfection.

RCA finally retook the lead after another spell of pressure when Davison was unceremoniously dumped to the ground inside the box when in the act of shooting. Debutant Stewart stepped up and cooly slotted the penalty home.

As the game wore on it was apparent the Billingham players were starting to tire and it was no surprise when Jennings completed the scoring with a goal after Davison had hit the bar.

In the final minutes RCA continued to create chances and Jennings was guilty of missing a great opportunity to complete his hat trick when instead of shooting he over hit a pass to Davison and the ball went out of play for a goal kick.

The second half display from RCA was head and shoulders above the first half and proved that they are top of the table on merit. Billingham Town kept battling away and on this performance can expect to start winning matches again soon.

Newcastle Benfield FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 2

10 September 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA maintained their impressive start to the season with a great win over a very well organised Newcastle Benfield team who only succumbed in the second minute of injury time to a brilliantly headed goal by Mark Davison.

With only one recognised winger in the squad Neil Hixon once again made changes to the team who won so convincingly onTuesday at Billingham Town, by bringing in Marc Ellison for Gary Shields on the right wing.

The match started with Benfield attacking from the off and pressing forward at every opportunity; they were also closing the RCA players down and making it difficult for them to play the flowing football that had seen them move clear at the top of the league.

It wasn't until the tenth minute that Benfield created the first real chance of the match when a cross from Dodsworth was punched away by Hoggeth only as far as Hirst who clipped the ball to the back post for Chilton who completely mis-kicked the ball wide. RCA responded with a chance of their own when Jennings outpaced the Benfield defence and crossed to the far post where Ellison hit the ball first time, but his effort flashed past the far post.

Benfield then had a spell of good football that saw them create a numer of half chances. A reverse ball by Dodsworth found Hirst, but he fired over. Then Dodworth himself fired high over the bar after some excellent interplay with Chilton and finally a great run by Turnbull saw him fire in a cross shot which was saved by Hoggeth at the feet of Hirst.

The impetus then swung RCA's way as they started to get to grips with Benfield's midfield, a through ball from Ellison found Davison on the edge of the box and his turn and shot was deflected for a corner. Jennings was causing all sorts of problems as RCA started to aim long balls into the box for the front men with Stewart and Ellison ready to pounce on any loose balls.

RCA took the lead in the 27th minute when Davison headed on a cross from Jones. The Benfield defence did not deal with it and allowed Jennings to knock the ball wide before clipping it into an empty net.

The game seemed to step up a gear as RCA went looking for another goal and Benfield tried in vain for an equaliser. RCA withstood all that Benfield could muster and restricted them to long hopefull shots. It was RCA who had a good chance in the closing minutes of the half when Jennings was given the ball by Stewart inside the area, but as he fired towards an empty net Leighton somehow managed to block the ball.

The pattern continued in the second half and RCA should have gone 2 - 0 up when a free kick from McGuinness was headed back across goal by Carling, but Jennings blasted the ball over the bar from five yards out.

Benfield equalised in the 56th minute against the run of play when Anthony was first to react at the near post and he steered his header past the helpless RCA defence. The game was now being played at a frenetic pace as both teams tried to win this match.

A trademark long throw by McGuinness was headed on by Jennings and Stewart at the back post headed it back across the face of goal where Jennings could only head the ball wide from less than five yards. Benfield responded with a counter attack which set up Dodsworth, but his shot flashed across the box and luckily for RCA there was no one on hand to get a touch on it.

The climax to the game was bulding as RCA pressed forward and only some stirling defensive work from Benfield kept them at bay. In the 83rd minute a freekick was awarded just outside the area, but Davison fired wide. Grainger was able to pluck a couple of efforts from Stewart and Ellison out of the air and the game seemed to be heading towards a draw.

In the 88th minute Jones made a great burst into the box and fired in a shot which Grainger saved with his feet, the ball rebounded to Jones who proceeded to lash the ball into the top corner only to see the hand of Grainger miraculously turn the ball round the post. From the corner Grainger punched clear and sent Chilton on a run up the other end of the pitch, but Carling was aware of the danger and dealt with the threat.

As the game entered injury time RCA were awarded a free kick 35 yards out. The ball was floated towards the far post where Davison rose higher than everyone else and headed the ball past Grainger.

Another entertaining match in which every player stood up and was counted and proved equal to the task. Long may it continue.

Sunderland RCA FC 3 Bishop Auckland FC 2

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Sunderland RCA maintained their unbeaten league record with a hard earned win against Bishop Auckland FC and in the process destroyed Bishop's unbeaten away record. This was the first of three encounters with Bishops in the next 11 days and if this game was anything to go by then get along to Heritage Park on Saturday for Part II, The Sequel!

The match was never going to be a classic with a blustery wind blowing straight down the pitch causing all sorts of problems for both defences.

For the first time this season RCA's starting 11 remained unchanged from the team that won at Benfield on Saturday. However, Carl Beasley returned to the squad after serving his suspension for a red card received on the first day of tha season.

RCA took advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half and were immediately on the attack with a Davison effort going narrowly wide.

Bishops were finding it difficult to clear the ball past the half way line as RCA put them under severe pressure. A goalkick by Bishop landed invitingly for close and his snap shot from 35 yards went narrowly over the bar.

With the wind at their backs it was all one way traffic and a turn a shot by Davison took a wicked deflection wide for a corner. The goalmouth scramble that followed the corner should have produced a goal, but instead Bishop pulled off a superb save from a Jennings shot. A minute later and Bishops had their first real foray into RCA territory when Wells was sent clear on the right and his cross into the box evaded everyone to land at the feet of Bell on the corner of the 18 yard box, but his effort was scrambled away for a corner.

Jones and Ellison then combined down the right to produce the best chance so far, but Ellison's shot went just the wrong side of the post with Bishops beaten.

The game started to settle down as Bishop's defence got to grips with the attacking force of RCA, but was to explode into life again in the 19th minute when Bishops were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box; up stepped Johnson to blast the freekick goalwards, the ball took a wicked deflection of McGuinness, wrong footed Hoggeth and ended up in the back of the RCA net.

RCA were level within a minute when they were awarded a free kick 35 yards out. McGuinness floated the ball towards Jennings who headed it across the face of the goal and Maddison flung himself at the ball to head home from inside the six yard area.

Unfortunately the wind was not getting any better and time and again balls were being overplayed by RCA and played short by Bishop's players. However both teams could not be faulted for giving 100% effort especially the Bishop's defence with Brown outstanding.

As the first half came to a close RCA were continuing to try a penetrate Bishop's stubborn defence but it looked likely that they wouldn't succeed until in the 44th minute a freekick from Ellison was curled into the box and Maddison was on hand at the back post to power in a flying header.

It was role reversal for the second half as the wind persisted and Bishops tried to take full advantage of it. Bishops, like RCA in the first half committed men forward in search of the equaliser and were very unlucky when Strong had a long range effort saved by Hoggeth.

Almost immediately Richardson had a shot charged down by Maddison and the rebound was fired in by Wells, but was deflected for a corner.

Wells took the inswinging corner and the ball struck the base of the near post before hitting the back of Ellison's legs and ended up in the net: 2 - 2 after 58 minutes and game on.

It looked at this point as though the tide had turned and the game was there for Bishops. However RCA had once again not read the script and Stewart produced a great bit of trickery at the other end as he weaved his way past three defenders and into the area before calmly placing the ball into the net off the far post - 60 minutes gone and advantage to RCA.

Bishops threw everything at RCA in the next five minutes with Johnson, Strong and Bell all unable to test Hoggeth. However in the 70th minute hoggeth had to be at his very best to pull off a one-handed save from Johnson.

A number of unusual mistakes by first Hoggeth and then Carling resulted in Carling bringing down Strong on the edge of the box. Up stepped Johnson, but this time his effort flew harmlessly over the bar.

Stewart was released by Davison at the other end and when the ball was played back to Davison he fired in a low shot which went into the side netting.

As the game progressed RCA seemed to have weathered the storm in more ways than one and Bishops started to rely on long hopefull balls which were dealt with by the RCA defence at the heart of which was Maddison, who was having one of the best games seen at Meadow Park by a defender, in a lot of years.

In the final minutes Bishops attacked relentlessly, but were unable to breach the resolute RCA defence and were almost caught by quick counter attacks by Davison and Stewart.

Both teams performed really well in difficult conditions. See you again on Saturday.

Bishop Auckland FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 0

Saturday, 17 September 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

How this match remained goalless is beyond comprehension with both teams guilty of missing chances and both goal keepers bringing off outstanding saves.

RCA will, I have no doubt, feel that they should have won this match comfortably, but they remain unbeaten in the league and still sit proudly at the top of the Northern League Division 1.

Bishops have Simon Bishop to thank for some magnificent reflex saves and also Mr Wake the linesman who adjudged Jennings' goal to be offside even though the ball was headed back to him - a very strange decision.

Roll on next weekend and part three of this thrilling installment.

RCA were forced to make one change bringing in John Butler at left back to replace the unavailable Adam McGuinness. There was also the welcome return, albeit on the bench, of Joe Walton. The game kicked off on an unrecognisable pitch to that which was played on last year and it is a credit to the groud staff that they have been able to produce such a surface from the beach condition of last season.

Within minutes of the kick off a familiar pattern of play was established with RCA pressing forward at every opportunity and Bishops counter attacking with some effect. Once again Davison and Jennings were causing problems with their superiority in the air and when a cross came in from Stewart the header from Davison looped just over the bar. This was the signal for the game to pick up a bit of momentum and Johnson tested Hoggeth with a header at the other end, but the keeoer was more than capable of dealing with it.

Jennings looked odds on to score when free at the far post but his header from Ellison's cross was well saved by Bishop who then set up an attack by releasing Bell on the right; his cross fell to Wells but his shot was blocked. The next ten minutes saw the game develop into a contest between RCA forwards and Simon Bishop, Bishop's so called stand in Keeper.

A cross from Stewart was met by Cuthbertson who headed powerfully towards goal only for Bishop to somehow save low to his right, then a cross from Stewart found Davison free inside the area and his header was tipped over the bar by Bishop. Next up was Ellison who beat two players before slipping the ball to Jones; his low cross into the box was met by Stewart but the shot went tamely into Bishop's arms.

In a rare foray into RCA territory Johnson was set up by Walklate, but he shaot narrowly wide when in a good position. Back came RCA Jones and Ellison once again combined on the right but Jones' final shot went well wide.

In the 35th minute Bishops had their one and only real chance when a cross from Bell was completely missed by everyone and fell at the feet of Wells, but from 10 yards out and an open goal he shot wide. The RCA response was immediate with Stewart beating the Bishop's offside trap and racing clear before chipping in a cross which was met by Jennings, but he headed straight at Bishop.

The final minutes of the half were dominated by RCA's midfield, but there was no end product.

The second half was a continuation of the first, with Hoggeth in the RCA goal a virtual spectator and the crowd actually cheering every time the ball was rolled back to him.

In a mesmerising spell of play RCA made 18 passes before the ball fell to Jennings who somehow blasted the ball wide when a simple side foot would have sufficed. Minutes later and a move involving Close, Ellison and Davison once again saw Jennings in front of goal, but this time Bishop was on hand to make a great save.

In the 61st minute a cross from Stewart was met by Jones whose tremendous header was excellently saved by Bishop. A minute later and he was on hand again to save a Jennings header. Two minutes later and Ellison and Jones set up Davison, but once again Bishop pulled off a superb save. The dejection in the RCA forward's faces was evident now as they produced wave upon wave of attacks and each one was being blocked by Bishop.

RCA should have gone in front on 68 minutes when a freekick from Ellison was met by Davison who headed the ball across the box to Jennings who scored from five yards out. However the assistant referee adjudged that someone was in an offside position.

Hoggeth was called upon only once in the second half, but he did have to be at his best to get down to stop a fantastic turn and shot from substitute Waite.

RCA started to build up the pressure an the introduction of Walton almost had an immediate effect as the winger was sent clear, he moved into the box and unleashed a tremendous drive that Bishop could only parry away and as the ball came back to Walton it looked like an easy tap in but some how Lawson managed to do enough to put Walton off and the ball went wide. More RCA attacks came to nothing as they went in search of the goal that had eluded them all afternoon and Bishop stood firm in the home goal.

On another day this could quite easily have finished 6 - 2, but it was not to be and no one can take away the brilliant performance of Simon Bishop. On the plus side RCA are still creating chances and defensively they are looking a good unit.

Sunderland RCA FC 5 Bishop Auckland FC 3

Saturday, 24 September 2011

FA Vase

Report Courtesy of Steve Brown - Sunday Sun Reporter

SOME have been that lucky these past 13 days, during which RCA – they’ll always be Ryhope to most – have met Bishops in three consecutive games; some have seen them all, and even the 0-0 was canny. And after the Northern League leaders won the first and drew the second, yesterday they retained bragging rights when matters turned to the Vase.

So while secretary Robert Jones might bemoan missing the trip he fancied to Northallerton, his consolation is a place in the next round, at Bedlington instead.

And while there may be few straws to clutch at for Auckland’s Amateur Cup kings this morning, any neutral must have left Meadow Park happy.

For as third instalments go, this was more Toy Story than the Godfather. In the shadow of the cemetery, there was life in this game from the off.

Inside 44 seconds Joseph Walton ought to have put the home side in front, but trickled a close-range angled effort at Simon Bishop. He soon made amends, however.

After Bryan Stewart nodded a point-blank header over the bar, Walton - 10 minutes in – latched onto a half-cleared ball by Chris Lawson off his own cross to crash a half-volley into the roof of the net from just inside the box.

Two minutes later, RCA doubled their lead – Mark Davison flicking a header from Adam McGuinness’s long throw past Bishop – and a cricket score looked plausible, the road to Wembley clear.

Bishops meant otherwise though, and on the half-hour James Oates – according to the liner – felled Andrew Johnson in the box and the visiting striker dispatched his resulting penalty in off the post.

Game on, one supposed.

But on 37 minutes Walton’s pass allowed Davison to rifle in a left-foot half-volley, and for the hosts all looked well once more.

That was reckoning without the manner in which Bishops burst out of their cassocks, however.

Darren Richardson shot, then headed, at Gary Hoggeth, and Johnson curled a 25-yard free-kick just wide before seeing another deflected over.

Yet just when they looked like closing the deficit, it widened. On 76 minutes Brian Close sent Stewart clear down the right and his squared centre was driven home by Davison. Hat-trick No 1.

Again, you presumed, done, dusted.

A minute later though, a long ball from deep saw Johnson chest past an advanced Hoggeth and guide the ball into an empty net from the edge of the box.

And two minutes later, Johnson was grounded – by the otherwise impeccable Carl Beasley this time – in the area, and made it 4-3 with the ensuing penalty. Hat-trick No 2, and he almost completed the mother of all comebacks on 86 minutes, Hoggeth palming his long-range effort onto the bar. It was not to be, of course. And deep into added time Davison went one better – with his fourth and RCA’s fifth – tapping in from Andrew Jennings’ cross.

Harsh on Johnson, fair on Ryhope.

Stokesley Sports Club FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 6

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

RCA's team had a familiar look about it for tonight's visit to Stokesley Sports club. Ian Maddison was recalled to central defence and new signing Kieran Edwards was given his debut when Scott Richards informed management that he would not be in time for the kick off due to work committments.

The night had a peculiar feel to it, a lovely warm evening more in keeping with mid July not the dying embers of September.

RCA started like a house on fire and should have been in front in the opening minute when Walton raced clear and his first time cross was met by Stewart whose shot rebounded of the underside of the bar into the path of Davison, but the RCA striker lifted his shot over the bar.

On cue the floodlights went out and the match was held up for 10 minutes while running repairs were carried out. The game resumed when all but one of the lights were operational.

RCA were almost caught in the fourth minute when a slick move on the right saw Upton cross for Porritt who seemed to have acres of space; he took to long lining up his shot and Jones was able to deflect the ball for a corner.

Stewart cutting in from the left fired straight at Hutchinson and the ball fell to Walton who squared the ball to Davison who turned a fired in a shot which went narrowly over the bar.

Stokesley mounted another attack through Upton and when the ball fell to Murphy he struck a tremendous drive which brought a terrific save from Hoggeth who turned the ball round the post. The resulting corner was well met by Murphy, but his downward header was easily saved by Hoggeth.
RCA started to exert real pressure on the Stokesley defence who were finding it difficult to cope with the slick passing game.

In the 15th minute Walton once again set up Stewart, but he fired straight at Hutchinson. This was to be a dress rehersal for the goal that seemed inevitable. a crossfield ball picked out Walton who crossed to Stewart and this time he made no mistake hammering the ball low into the bottom corner.
It was one way traffic now with Hoggeth a virtual spectator. However the resilience of the Stokesley back four meant that they were still in the game.

McGuinness almost made it 2-0 when a surging run ended with a thunderbolt of a shot from 35 yards which was magnificently saved by Hutchinson and his quick reflexes denied Davison as he pounced on the rebound.

A minute later and a long throw from McGuinness was flicked on by Stewart to Walton who fired over from 10 yards.

The pressure intensified as half time approached and when Jones forced a corner it was the signal for RCA to commit men forward, from the corner Maddison rose head and shoulders higher than anyone else to power in header which Hutchinson could only watch nestle in the back of the net.

RCA were not finished and in the 43 minute (seems to be a pattern developing around this time) they went 3-0 up when a forward run by Jones saw his well struck shot saved by Hutchinson but Davison was on hand to tap in from five yards.

RCA introduced Jennings in place of Davison and Stokesley brought on substitute keeper Hubbard for Hutchinson.

RCA seemed too relaxed as the second half got underway and Stokesley sensed it. Porritt, who had moved to outside left seemed to be getting a lot of the ball and was causing RCA problems. In the 48th minute Porrit cut inside, laid the ball to Holbrook who's shot went narrowly wide. RCA responded with a clearance to Stewart who crossed into the area and the unmarked Walton from inside the six yard box somehow managed to miss the target.

Stokesley were making a game of the second half and when the ball fell to Upton his first time effort went narrowly wide.

RCA brought on Richards for the influential Close.

Within a minute a pass from Richards found Stewart on the left and his cross was headed over the bar by Edwards who looked to pull up sharply clutching his thigh and he was replaced by Carling.

A pass of sublime quality from Ellison, split the Stokesley defence and fell inch perfect to Walton and he made no mistake this time slotting the ball past Hubbard.

RCA's makeshift midfield were loosing their grip on the game and Stokesley, for the first time on the night were actually on top. During this period Hoggeth was called upon to make a great save from Murphy and when the ball fell to Melvin he looked certain to score as he fired the ball at an empty net but Maddison was on hand to head away and the ball rebounded off a Stokesley player for a goal kick.
Porritt then cut inside again and unleashed a shot which went wide and a minute later it was his pass to Melvin who created room for himself before firing in a low grasscutter which beat Hoggeth and settled in the bottom corner.

From cruise control to panic stations in the space of 5 minutes RCA did not look like a top of the table team and only the some good defensive work by the industrious Ellison made sure that Stokesley did not add to their tally. Ellison once again found Walton on the left and his cross was met by Stewart who steered it into the net. Panic over, midfield re-organised Ellison supurb, business as usual.
Jennings finished off the scoring in the dying seconds of the game converting a cross from Richards.
Not one of the best games in the world to watch and certainly we have seen better performances than that witnessed in the second half.

The journey home had a feeling of deja-vu as we went on a little jaunt through the wilds of Middlesborough, lost our way a little, but were very soon back on the right track and heading home, happy with another three points and a healthy goal difference.

October

Penrith FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Saturday, 1 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

RCA travelled across the Pennines to Penrith and returned with all three points, thus maintaining their unbeaten record and remaining top of the league. The game turned out to be a hard fought affair with not a great deal of entertaining football, but a lot of honest endeavour from both teams.

The winning goal, coming in the 58th minute, was a superbly executed header by Davison.

Although RCA started brightly they found it difficult to break down Penrith’s well organised defence and as the game settled down after 10 minutes it was Penrith who started to make in-roads into the heart of RCA defence.

A succession of corners by Penrith produced no end result but when a cross from Ainsworth was punched clear by Hoggeth the ball fell to Allison but his shot went well wide. Within a minute they had created their second chance of the game when a through ball from Bowman found Davidson inside the area but he mishit his shot over the bar.

RCA created their first real attempt on goal after 17 minutes when a high ball into the box by Ellison was flicked on by Davison to Stewart who chested the ball back into the path of Davison but his shot went wide of the target. With both defences on top the game became very scappy and there was little pattern to the game. The home team looked to be very strong in both defence and midfield but lacked the finesse up front. However it was RCA who finished the first half the strongest, A free-kick taken by Stewart caused the first real panic in the Penrith defence as they scrambled to clear, the ball fell to McGuinness on the edge of the box and he fired his first time effort over the bar. Ainsworth then produced a little bit of magic, cleverly beating a succession of RCA defenders with a great dribbling run before forcing a finger tip save from Hoggeth.

Suddenly the game had woken up and a through ball from Richards found Stewart in acres of space and his cross was met by Davison but he could not keep the ball down and his header went over the bar. A minute later and Ellison, who was starting to get to grips in midfield, sent a beautiful ball into the path of Stewart, he advanced into the area before unleashing a terrific shot which in turn produced a stunning reaction save from Holland. The resulting corner was met by the head of Maddison but Holland was again on hand to save and bring the first half to a close.

RCA upped the tempo at the start of the second half and within 2 minutes had forced a corner. Stewart took it short to McGuinness and his cross was picked up at the back post by Beasley whose clever chip beat Holland but drifted just over the bar. A minute later and Stewart ran onto a cross field ball from Jones and his powerful shot looked destined for the bottom corner until Holland somehow managed to get a hand on it and turn it away for a corner.

The moment of pure skill arrived in the 51st minute when McGuinness worked the ball to Stewart on the right, he passed the ball inside to Richards who curled the ball into the area where Davison rose to delicately steer the ball just inside the post and out of the reach of Holland. RCA were rampant now and a long throw from McGuinness found Richards who laid the ball into the path of Ellison but he struck his shot wide. McGuinness then went on a surging run which ended in a thunderbolt of a shot from 35 yards which Holland did well to keep hold off.

Penrith were reeling from this onslaught, but with Ainsworth and Coleman on the pitch they were dangerous on the break and this was shown to good effect in the 68 minute when Coleman headed into the path of Ainsworth and hit well struck shot from 25 yards out was brilliantly saved by Hoggeth.
A minute later and the two combined again, this time to set up Gray but he fired well wide of the target. To the relief of the RCA defence Coleman was replaced by Gill.

Holland was again brought into action when Walton burst into the area and drilled the ball straight at the Penrith keeper.

A lovely piece of skill by Ellison saw him tip-toe past a number of tackles on the edge of the area before finding space inside the area but his shot flew high over the bar. Holland, after such a good display, almost became the hero at the other end when his long clearance, following a RCA corner, found Davidson in space inside the RCA final third and only some desperate defending by Ellison and Jones prevented him from getting into a goal scoring position.

This type of defending is what is setting RCA apart from other teams at the moment, there are no lost causes.

A surging run by Stewart on the right wing saw him cut inside before shooting but his effort was blocked by Gray.

Both teams looked to have given their all as the game entered the last five minutes and no further chances were created.

Another hard fought win by RCA and a good display by Penrith who made it difficult for the lads all afternoon. As Mr Hixon said, “sometimes you have to grind out results and win ugly and that’s what we have done today”.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Marske United FC 2

Tuesday, 04 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

The old cliche that there are no easy games in the Northern league has been well demonstrated in RCA's last two games. Marske came with a game plan, tore it up after five minutes and proceeded to give us a lesson in attacking football. Bruised, Battered and Bewildered at half time and lucky to be only 1-0 down things couldn't get any worse? They did as Marske went 2-0 up. With 20 minutes to go super substitutions made, throw caution to the wind and see what happens. RCA score two could have scored more in final throw of the dice but are really lucky tonight to come away with a draw. Marske will bemoan the fact that, but for some magnificent goalkeeping by Hoggeth, they should have won this match comfortably in the first half.

RCA once again started a game slowly only this time they were punished as Marske took the game to them.

Within three minutes Marske had taken the lead when a cross from Bradley to the far post found Brunskill who headed back across goal for Wheatley who made no mistake from five yards out. A shocked Meadow Park then witnessed a display of excellent passing and gritty determination from the Marske players which had the RCA team chasing shadows. It wasn’t until the 17 minute that RCA put together a cohesive attack when Davison won the ball on the right and crossed into the box but Ellison in a great position 10 yards out fired the ball high over the bar.

Marske immediately went up the other end and Brunskill, receiving the ball with his back to goal, turned quickly and got in a tremendous shot which Hoggeth did well to keep hold off. Hoggeth was called upon two minutes later as a Marske corner was cleared by Oates it fell to Wilson 20 yards out and his rasping shot was brilliantly saved by Hoggeth but the ball fell into the path of Gell who fired his shot at an empty goal from 5 yards out but Hoggeth somehow managed to get both hands on the ball and turn it away for a corner. Unbelievable double save.

From the resulting corner kick Ormorod got in a powerful header but once again Hoggeth was equal to the task.

It had been almost constant pressure from Marske up until this point so it was a relief to see the ball at the other end and Stewart forcing a corner which was taken by Walton to the far post where Beasley's header looked all over a goal but Willey managed to produce a wonderful save and Roberts cleared.
Brunskill had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 when he picked the ball up inside the area but fired wide of the target.

RCA were starting to create a little more as the game wore on and Stewart was unlucky with a 25 yard shot which had the keeper beat but thundered just past the post.

Few chances were made in the closing 5 minutes of the half as the game got bogged down in midfield and mistakes by both teams in the final third made it relatively easy for the respective defences.

Marske started the second half as they had started the first and should have been 2-0 up within three minutes of the restart when a cross from Burton found Mcgill in space but he directed his header wide of the upright. However, it was not to be and RCA responded straight away and a great run from Walton saw him clear in the Marske area, he squared the ball to Davison who curled in a shot which went narrowly wide.

The game was opening up now and in Marske’s next attack the ball was rolled to Raw but his shot was turned round the corner by Hoggeth. The resulting corner from Bradley saw Hoggeth punch clear but the ball was returned into the box by Brunskill, in the ensueing goalmouth scramble McGill kept his head and cool as you like despatched the ball into the net.

2-0 down and seemingly no way back for RCA.

Queue substitutions, Owens and Jennings on for Oates and Cuthbertson, formation change to 3-3-4 or 3-2-5? Not really sure but never mind it seemed to do the trick as within a minute Walton’s cross to the far post was headed into the side netting by Owens.

In the 70 minute a cross from Stewart found Walton inside the 6 yard box but his volley was well saved by Willey. Marske were not to be denied and forced four corners in succession each one dealt with by the RCA defence.

The quick thinking of Hoggeth, throwing the ball to Ellison on the halfway line, split the Marske defence and Ellison was able to pass the ball to Stewart inside the area but he shot into the side netting.
Marske were awarded a freekick 40 yards out and Raw chipped in a perfect ball for Brunskill who volleyed goalward but once again Hoggeth was on hand to save, the ball fell for McGill but his shot was cleared off the line by Jones.

RCA were throwing caution to the wind and when they were awarded a free kick 35 yards out everyone but Hoggeth and Close went forward. Ellison crossed to the far post where Maddison rose to head across the face of goal and Stewart with the deftest of touches guided the ball past Willey.
From the restart RCA regained possession and the ball was played out to the right where Jennings beat a defender before setting up Stewart but the wingers shot was tipped over the bar by Willey.
The game had moved full circle in the space of 5 minutes and Marske were finding it difficult to come to terms with the new look attack of RCA and it was no surprise when Owen slipped past a tackle before passing to Davison inside the area and the RCA leading goalscorer drifted past two defenders before slotting the ball home 2-2 and game on.

Marske responded with a golden opportunity when Raw sent Brunskill clear but Hoggeth was brilliant again and pulled off yet another save to deny the visitors. Both teams had claims for penalties turned down as they went in search for the winner on both occasions it looked as if there was no intent on the part of the defender. The match finished all square which did not really reflect the performance of Marske who would feel that they should have won comfortably. However I am sure that they would have settled for a draw before the game, as for RCA the reason that they remain unbeaten in league is their desire and passion to keep this run going and also the team spirit which has been evident from the start of the season. No prima donnas just a bunch of honest, hardworking players.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 West Auckland Town FC 3

Saturday, 8 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

The thirteenth league game of the season proved to be unlucky for RCA as they lost their unbeaten record to West Auckland Town in this dramatic STL Northern League match. RCA reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with Jennings coming in to replace Ellison and fit again McGuinness in for Oates.

West Auckland started the game with a bang scoring after two minutes when Francis fired them ahead after the RCA defence could only clear the ball to the edge of the 18 yard area. RCA hit back, and in the 10 minute a cross from Stewart found Jennings, but he fired wide of the target. A minute later Richards picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and went on a run beating two defenders before laying the ball in to Jenning who turned sharply but once again shot wide.

As the game progressed RCA started to get their passing game going and Walton and Jones combined to set up Stewart whose powerful shot was excellently saved by Barlow, West Auckland's impressive young keeper.

At the other end RCA defence had to be on their mettle as West counter attacked at speed and in the 25th minute Hindmarsh burst past Jones to send in a dangerous cross which was met at the far edge of the box by Banks but his shot went well wide.

On the half hour Stewart cut inside his defender before sending in a tantilising cross which was well met by Davison but his header went narrowly over the bar. In a repeat of this move two minutes later Davison's header hit the base of the post and went wide.

The pressure was building on the West defence and the best move of the half started with Walton passing the ball to Davison who back heeled it to Stewart who then laid it off to the advancing Walton who tried to place the ball in the bottom corner, but only succeeded in putting it inches wide of the upright.

The goal that had been threatening came in the 37 minute when Stewart once again threaded the ball to Jennings in space inside the area and this time the forward took full advantage to smash the ball home.

West, who had shown only glimpses as an attacking force after scoring in two minutes suddenly woke up and equalised within six minutes when they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box. Brown stepped up and fired the ball low into the bottom corner to stun the home team.

A minute later and it could have been even worse as Hindmarsh beat the offside trap and only some stirling work by Maddison and Mcguinness stopped him from scoring and the ball was forced away for a corner. From the resulting corner kick Hall rose to power in a downward header which was brilliantly saved by Hoggeth.

Two minutes into the second half and young Daniel Hindmarsh had to be carried off the field in agony following an innocuous challenge, reports suggest that it could be ruptured ankle ligaments. The game was delayed for five minutes while he was attended to and an ambulance was called. Everyone at RCA trusts that he has a speedy recovery.

RCA went looking for the equaliser and a great cross from Walton flashed across the face of goal with three RCA forwards all unble to apply a finishing touch.

West extended their lead, against the run of play, on the hour mark when sub Moffat headed into the path of Brown who drilled a superb low effort into the bottom corner. If RCA were shocked at going 2-1 they were devastated at being 3-1 down and a mountain to climb. In the 68 minute RCA were denied what looked like a clear penalty as Hall tripped Jennings inside the box but the referee waved away the protests. However, in the 72nd minute RCA were awarded a penalty when sub Owens was brought down by Hall, Owens picked the ball up and slotted it past Barlow.

RCA took control of the game and should have equalised when Davison set Stewart up but the winger fired into the side netting, then a lovely through ball by Ellison found its way to Owens but his shot was well saved by Barlow.

Moffat had a great chnace to put the game to bed when Brown crossed into the box and Moffat controlled the ball but fired straight at Hoggeth.

In the dying minutes RCA had two great chances to equalise the first when a shot from Davison was deflected for a corner and the scond in the last minute when Ellison sliced the ball wide from a couple of yards out.

RCA will feel that they deserved more out of the performance and on another day they would probably have won comfortably, but take nothing away from West who stuck at it for 90+ minutes and the scenes of jubilation that greeted the final whistle from the West team showed how much the win meant to them.

RCA will take away a lot of possitives from this game, they continue to create chances, their passing and movement is still good and they are moving the ball to the forwards a lot quicker.

Whitley Bay FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 3

Saturday, 15 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1


Man of the match, Marc Ellison carries the ball forward to mount another SRCA attack.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

Sunderland RCA stayed at the top of the league after staging a tremendous comeback against Whitley Bay at Hillheads. Undeservedly 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go they secured the win with a scintillating display of attacking play that had the 600+ crowd mesmerised. Goals by Lee Owens (2) and Bryan Stewart in a 10 minute period rescued all three points. The overall team performance was breathtaking.

The question on everyones lips was how RCA would respond to their first league defeat at the hands of West Auckland last week. The response by the players was emphatic in this superb display.

The manager made two changes to the side beaten last week, bringing in Ellison and Owens for Richards and Jennings.

RCA almost had a dream start as Stewart dribbled past two defenders before crossing into the box where Davison forced a save from Hayes. The resulting corner, taken by Stewart, found Davison free at the back post, but he could only direct his header over the bar. With RCA making the best start to a match for a number of weeks, Whitley Bay were forced to defend very deep and in the eighth minute Stewart cut in from the left wing before unleashing a terrific drive which brought yet another save from the young keeper.

Whitley Bay were finding it extremely difficult to get the ball out of their half as RCA continued with their relentless forward play. Stewart was having a field day on the left wing and when he dribbled past three players and squared the ball into the path of Close it should have been 1-0, but Close mishit his shot wide of the goal.

A through ball by Ellison found Davison inside the area and he turned and fired goalwards, but once again Hayes was there to make an important save. It was 15 minutes before Whitley Bay contributed in an attacking sense when Reid crossed into the box looking for Chow but Hoggeth was alert to the danger and collected easily. A minute later and that man Stewart once again crossed into the area and Owens headed just over the bar from 8yards out. RCA were building up the pressure and when Ellison won the ball in midfield he clipped in a delightful cross which Davison met with a great header by Hayes pulled off a truely amazing save turning the ball round the post.

Whitley Bay, relatively quiet up until the 23 minute suddenly burst into life and it was Kerr who orchestrated from midfield as he first fired in a shot which Hoggath did well to turn for a corner, which Maddison was forced to head behind for a second corner. When the ball came into the area Bell rose highest and his downward header was deflected goalwards by Kerr, but Jones cleared off the line.
The momentum looked to have swung Whitley Bay's way as they won yet another corner and this time Hoggeth elected to punch clear, the ball fell to Kerr who's shot was blocked by Ellison and the ball ran loose to Chow who also had his shot charged down by Maddison.

In the 33rd minute Whitley Bay took the lead when Reid fed the ball to Kerr and the Bay striker hit a screamer of a shot from 35 yards out which hit the bar and rebounded into the path of Scroggins who made no mistake firing into an empty net from eight yards. RCA, although stunned by this goal, mounted another assault on the Whitley Bay goal, but were unable to really penetrate a well organised defence, Owens was unlucky with a good run but his final shot lacked any power and was comfortably saved by Hayes.

The closest RCA came in the final five minutes of the half was when Stewart cleverly turned the full back before cutting the ball back for McGuinness but his curling effort was always going just wide of the far post.

Whitley Bay came out of the dressing room on fire and only a superb save by Hoggeth from Robson kept the score at 1-0. Within a minute Williams, on a rare excursion forward, fired in a shot which went wide of the upright.

In the 50th minute Bell fired over from 20 yards out and a minute later a long clearance from Hayes saw Bell challenge for the ball with Hoggeth and the Bay forward won the duel to nick the ball past the keeper before squaring the ball to Scroggins for a simple tap in from two yards. Game over one would have thought, but RCA showed their character and reacted in the only way that they know how, by attacking.

Ellison sent Stewart away down the left wing and his low cross was mis-judged by Hayes who could only parry the ball into the path of Owens who made no mistake from 10 yards out. Game back on. RCA threw caution to the wind and Cuthbertson forced a corner which Stewart crossed towards the far post and, with no apparent danger, a Whitley Bay player punched the ball away. Up strode Owens to tuck away the penalty.

A minute later and the comeback was complete when man of the match Ellison once again made a slide rule pass to Davison inside the area. Davison looked to be fouled by Timmons, but the ball broke to Stewart who capped a great display by firing in from eight yards.

RCA looked back in control and started to pass the ball about trying to dishearten the Bay players, but to their credit they never gave up chasing and Scoggins and Bell both had chances to equalise, but their respective effort went wide of the target. In the closing minutes Jennings had a chance to kill the game off but he fired narrowly over the bar.

The game finished as it had started with RCA on the attack. Overall a very good performance and a well deserved three points.

Bedlington Terriers FC 4 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Saturday, 22 October 2011

FA Vase 1st Round Proper


The Bedlington keeper punches clear as RCA try to come back from 2 - 1 down.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA were away to Bedlington Terriers FC in FA Vase in what was billed by many to be the tie of the round in the North East.

The management team were forced into a number of changes as Ian Maddison failed a late fitness test, Carl Beasley’s wife was in labour, leading scorer Mark Davison was on holiday and the shock news that Marc Ellison wanted to move to Shildon meant he had ruled himself out of the game. John Butler, Andrew Cuthbertson and Andrew Jennings were brought in as replacements with Steven Jones moving inro a central defensive role.

After last week's excellent display against Whitley Bay more of the same was expected.

From the first whistle Bedlington went on the attack and forced a corner in the first minute. The ball was whipped into the area and Flynn sent a powerful header over the bar. Hoggeth was called upon a minute later when Shandran cut the ball back to Bowey on the edge of the box and his low shot was saved at the foot of the post. Bedlington danger man Shandran was on hand again this time having a go himself, but the ball flew wide of the far post.

As the game settled down RCA started to make inroads into the Bedlington defence and a flick from Jennings found Owens, but his effort was scrambled away. Jennings then did well to retrieve the ball near the goal line, but his cross was easily cut out by Novak.

Both teams were playing some good football at this point, but it was Bedlington who looked to be posing the greatest danger when going forward.

It was Graham who gave Bedlington the lead in the 20th minute when a ball over the RCA defence found Graham one-on-one with the keeper and he produced an inch perfect chip over Hoggeth and into the empty net.

RCA’s problems were doubled a minute later as Graham headed the ball into the path of Hubbard who fired home a first time volley from the edge of the box. The Terriers at this stage looked in great form and RCA were being blown away by the attacking play of their opponents. They almost went further ahead when a cross from Elliott found that man Graham again on the edge of the box, but this time his first time effort came back off the Bar and was cleared.

RCA came back towards the end of the half and Walton got in a good cross which found Owens at the far post, but the RCA striker needed to long on the ball and was closed down by Elliott.

At half time Bedlington were certainly worth the two goal lead and RCA never looked like a table topping team.

The second half started with Bedlington straight on the attack and it only took five minutes of the second half for them to extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty when Jennings was alleged to have caught Novak - very dubious as the defender went over very easily. Shandran stepped up to score his 20th goal of the season, sending Hoggeth the wrong way in the process.

This looked to rejuvenate RCA and they, for the first time in the match, got going as an attacking force and it was Jennings who scored when he deflected a Walton shot into the bottom corner.

RCA, possibly thinking of the comeback last, started to put pressure on the Bedlington goal. Walton crossed into the box and found Stewart at the far post, but his effort was well saved by the Keeper. Within a minute Owens got the better of Flynn for the first time in the match and his effort went narrowly wide, a second goal at this stage of the game would have put a different complection on the game.

As the half wore on RCA were the more dominant and only a finger tip save by Morton denied Richards his firct goal of the season.

With time running out RCA threw caution to the wind and went all out attack leaving only two defenders to look after the three man attack of the Terriers and they paid the ultimate price when they were caught well into injury time as a ball across the edge of the box found English in space, and with only the keeper to beat he produced a clinical finish.

Bedlington deserved to go through on this performance and good luck to them in the next round.

Dunston UTS FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

Sunderland RCA relinquished their status at the top of the league, falling into third spot behind West Auckland Town and Dunston UTS, who leap frogged into second spot courtesy of a dismal first 45 minutes by RCA.

The return to the team of Beasley, Maddison and Davison did little to stop the flow of excellent football produced by Dunston, who found themselves 1-0 up inside the first minute and continued to batter RCA for the remainder of the half.

A different RCA team emerged from the dressing rooms for the second half and could well have salvaged a point. However it was not to be and but for some brilliant keeping by Gary Hoggeth the scoreline could have been much worse.

Dunston started this top of the table clash at a terrific pace and forced the first corner within 30 seconds of the whistle when Maddison blocked a shot from Dixon. The corner was whipped in by McAndrew and was met by the unmarked Young who flicked his header through a crowd of players and into the net. It could have been much worse four minutes later when McAndrew skipped past two defenders before crossing into the area where Dixon rose to power in a header which rattled the crossbar.

RCA composed themselves a little as they tried to get to grips with the pace of the game and when Owens slipped the ball to Davison, his shot rebounded to Cuthbertson whose first time effort was blocked by Robson.

The waves of pressure from Dunston started again in the 20 minute when a slide rule pass from Craggs found Bulford on the right and he cut the ball back into the path of Shaw who curled his shot wide of the upright. Two minutes later and McAndrew crossed the ball to Dixon but, under pressure from Beasley he fired over the bar. Things did get worse in the 26th minute when RCA lost the ball in midfield and after a succession of ricochets the ball fell to the lively McAndrew who ran to the by line before crossing the ball into the box for Craggs to head home from six yards. Dunston were well on top and went looking for the goal that would kill off the game, but the more they attacked the more gaps they were leaving in their defence and on the half hour McGuinness tried to exploit this with a lovely cross into the area, after a quick break away, but Davison's header went wide with Clark beaten. RCA's best chance so far came when Jennings crossed to the far post and the ball was headed back into the danger zone by Owens but Walton was unable to connect with the ball and Dunston scrambled the ball clear. Back came Dunston through that man McAndrew again, his cross found Craggs who’s header looked destined for the top corner but Hoggeth somehow managed to tip the ball over the bar.

As the half entered its last five minutes, RCA, for the first time, started to exert some real pressure on the Dunston defence. Walton burst through two defenders and fired in a low shot which Clarke did well to push round the post for a corner. Owens floated the ball into the box and for the first time Jennings got to the ball first, but his downward header was scrambled off the line by Galbraith for another corner. The third corner was whipped in and headed away by Robson but only as far as Maddison who blasted his shot wide.

The start of the second half was almost a replica of the first, except that Bulford fired wide and there was no early goal to Dunston. Whatever was said to the RCA players at half time worked as they started to get their passing game together and when Cuthbertson found Walton with an exquisite pass the RCA winger cut inside before unleashing a shot which went narrowly wide. Then came the moment that gave RCA hope, a pass from Jennings found Owens inside the box and as he tried to turn the defender he was fouled and a penalty was awarded; cool as you like Owens picked himself up and fired high into the net to throw RCA a lifeline.

How the game changed as Dunston became nervous at the back and RCA powered forward, a slick interchange between Close and McGuinness saw the latter fire in a trade mark left foot shot which went narrowly wide. Within a minute a cross from McGuiness was punched clear by Clark with Davison only inches away. The ball fell to Robson who in turn found Bulford in the centre of the park and he threaded the ball through to McAndrew who beat Hoggeth, but saw his shot cleared off the line by McGuinness.

Clarke was again called upon in the 70th minute when a flick from Jennings found Shields who pulled the ball back into the path of Davison but although the ball took a deflection Clark was able to turn it round the post. The corner was cleared by Swailes, but fell to Cuthbertson who found Owens on the left wing, he crossed into the six yard box for Davison but Swailes was again on hand to block the shot and the defence cleared the ball.

As the game entered the final five minutes RCA pushed forward and Dunston counter attacked to great effect. A cross from Shields was met by Owens, but he could only steer the ball into the arms of Clark. His huge clearance found McAndrew who squared the ball for Bulfard three yards out, but miraculously Hoggeth saved; the ball rebounded to Dixon who looked certain to score, but Hoggeth was able to gather the ball and set up another RCA attack.

This game once again demonstrated the team spirit at RCA. However, we have to stop giving teams two goal leads before we start to play.

Tow Law Town FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Saturday, 29 October 2011

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA captain Carl Beasley ensures that the Tow Law winger turns back towards his own goal

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA once again showed their inability to start well and lost control of the game in the first half, although it took two superb saves from Robinson in the "Lawyers" goal to keep the score at 2-1. In the second half RCA could not breakdown a very resolute Tow Law defence and for all their possession and control they could not find the target to equalise.

The Lawyers stated their intent within two minutes of the start with a well worked passing move which saw Jamieson feed the ball into the path of Davison and his well struck shot from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by Hoggeth. RCA responded with Stewart picking up the ball from a throw in cut inside the defender before unleashing a terrific drive which was brilliantly saved by Robinson in the Lawyers' goal. Two minutes later, Jake Henderson looked to fall awkwardly on the slippery surface and was escorted off the pitch with what looked like a dislocated shoulder. While down to 10 men the Lawyers struck when a cross to the far post found Jameison who headed the ball back across the face of goal and Dixon was on hand to volley home from close range.

Not content with this the Lawyers started to play some really good football and RCA had to dig deep to stay with them.

Slightly against the run of play RCA got an equaliser when Shields picked up the ball mid way in the Lawyers' half, carried the ball 20 yards before passing to Owens whose shot was well saved by Robinson, but the rebound fell kindly for Stewart and he tapped in from three yards. The game went into a bit of a lull as both teams battled to gain the initative but neither seemed to have the ability to get a stranglehold on the game.

The Lawyers eventually took the lead with the simplest of goals, a cross into the box from Robson was headed home unchallenged by Luke Thompson. A minute later and it could have been worse for RCA as Halliday picked up a loose ball and fired the ball inches wide. At the other end Davison struck a beautiful free kick inches over the bar with the keeper beaten. Then came the turning point in the game, as the match entered the final minute of the first half, a brilliant run by Shields into the box ended with him passing the ball to Owens, his shot was heading for the top corner, but Robinson somehow managed to tip the ball onto the bar, the ball rebounded to Shields who chipped the ball onto Davison's head and the forward looked in disbelief as Robinson managed to palm his header over the bar. An unbelievable double save which gave the Lawyers a big boost just before half time.

RCA began the second half as they finished the first and laid siege on the Lawyers' goal. A Beasley freekick was met by Davison, but once again Robinson saved only to see the ball go straight to Owens two yards out, but the RCA forward mishit his attempted shot wide.

The Lawyers were forced to defend in numbers as RCA mounted attack after attack. Stewart was unlucky with a shot which went over the bar then a brilliant cross field ball found Shields on the left and he cleverly slipped the ball to Stewart but he could only direct his shot straight at Robinson. Cuthbertson got in on the action with a curling shot which went narrowly wide and Oates was unlucky with a header which was saved by Robinson.

In the 65th minute Hoggeth was called upon to save from Robson as the Lawyers broke away for the first time in the second half.
Jennings, on for Owens, showed some silky skills as he danced past three defenders to get into a shooting position but then blasted the ball high over the bar. The same player then received a wonderful ball from Shields inside the area, he turned but once again fired over the bar.
The Lawyers were now defending desperately as RCA piled more and more players forward in an attempt to get the equaliser, the pressure was relentless but the final product always seemed to be missing and when they did break through the superb Robinson was on hand to make the saves and calm everyone down.

The final five minutes where hectic and frustrating for RCA as they pushed forward and chance after chance went begging, Stewart, Walton and Jennings all had half chances and on another day they would have converted at least one of them. Unfortunately it was not to be. Nobody could deny the commitment and the endeavour that was on display, especially in the second half, but there was also a determination and grittiness from Tow Law Town which in the end gave them the three points

November

Durham City FC 3 Sunderland RCA FC 4 (AET)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Durham Challenge Cup 1st Round Proper

What a transformation from Saturday's game, three defeats in a row and then a performance like this against a Durham City team flying high in the Evostick League who have just recorded six wins out of six. This proves that on good fast surfaces we can compete at any level, we need to take that mentality onto the not so good pitches.

There were a few forced changes with James Oates reverting to his more familiar role at centre back to replace team captain Carl Beasley, Brian Close took up the place relinquished by Oates in midfield and the most significant change was the introduction in goal of Kyle Donaldson for his first start this season replacing Gary Hoggeth who has been diagnosed with a double hernia an will be having an operation shortly.

A baptism of fire as Donaldson was called into action twice in the opening exchanges, conceding an involuntary corner at the post when he found an Amur Purewal shot too hot to handle before finger tipping to safety a Gary Brown low drive. In between, Mark Davison for the visitors cleared the bar with a shot from the edge of the box.

Stephen Thompson curled a well-struck free-kick round the defensive wall wide of the post in a game of few clear-cut chances thus far.

However, the visitors finished the first half in the ascendancy: Ian Maddison produced an excellent double reflex save from James Winter, who then caught an Andrew Jennings shot under his crossbar; but he stretched in vain to get a hand to James Oates’ header from a Stewart corner and the ball flew into the net. 1-0 to RCA and on the run of play well deserved.

City had only to wait two minutes after the break to get back on level terms when Maddison was alledged to have handled the ball in the box and Thompson equalized with a low drive into the bottom corner.

Chances then fell at both ends, Brown giving Donaldson a comfortable save with a half volley and sub Scott Richards blasting wide after a goalmouth scramble, but City were unfortunate on 55 minutes when Billy Greulich-Smith struck the crossbar at the back post with a crisp shot after receiving a fine Dan Madden right-wing cross.

The miss proved costly two minutes later when the City defence allowed Bryan Stewart an unchallenged run of some forty yards before he tucked the ball inside the post.

In the next moves Brown sent a free-header wide and cleared the bar with a distant pile driver.

RCA went 3-1 up when a long ball from Maddison was missed by Stephenson and fell to Stewart who kept his nerve to bury the ball into the bottom corner giving Winter no chance.

RCA could have increased their lead when Stewart once again broke away and with the goal at his mercy he took one too many touches and the final shot went wide.

City immediately went up the other end and pulled a goal back when Brown scored after Donaldson had spilled an earlier shot by Elliot Cutts.

City were forcing RCA back as they strove for a late equaliser, Shaw was only just off target with a fierce drive and Thompson had Donaldson at full stretch with a shot narrowly wide of the post before Amar Purewal headed home Thompson’s right-wing cross to square the match in the last minute.

Apart from Winter punching clear an Adam McGuinness free-kick it was a largely uneventful first quarter of an hour of extra time in which both sides maintained the level of attacking football but as tiredness set in so the accuracy and finishing diminished.

The second period of extra time saw Thompson’s left-foot drive go the wrong side of the post early in the second half, but then RCA's experience started to show as the started to dominate.

Stewart, Richards and Jones all had efforts on goal before sub Gary Shields put RCA through to the next round with a low left-foot drive into the bottom corner which gave Winter no chance. Then the celebrations began.

The crowd got their money’s worth with a committed performance by both teams tonight. Roll on the weekend only Spenntmoor at home.

On balance RCA were worthy winners of this match and were a million times better than the team that turned out against Tow Law Town. Once again we have set our benchmark and we know we are capable of these performances if we can add the secret ingredient, consistence to our game we will be near the top at the end of the season.

Great all round display.

Sunderland RCA FC 1 Spennymoor Town FC 4

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Northern League Division 1

This was a tough defeat against a very strong Spennymoor Town team on Saturday. The game saw the return of RCA old boys Gavin Barton and Keith Graydon, but RCA skipper Carl Beasley missed out on the chance to lead the side out against his old club, as his recurring ankle injury confined him to the bench.

Spennnymoor looked to be strong all over the field and also on the bench, which proved the case later in the game. Hicker went for a 4-3-3 formation with Scott Richards joining Brian Close and Andrew Cuthbertson in midfield while Lee Owens and Bryan Stewart worked the flanks up front in support of Andy Jennings, who came in to the side as Mark Davison pulled out in the warm up feeling ill.

The first half was a fairly even affair, RCA pushed hard down the slope, although we had one big let off at the back when Gavin Cogdon screwed wide with the goal at his mercy. Bryan Stewart had a couple of half chances, and there was a little bit of a penalty appeal when Lee Owens went down, but it was Spennymoor who broke the deadlock on 22 minutes when Gavin Barton notched well. Cue for more effort from RCA with little product and it was 1-0 to Spenny at the break.

The second half started in the same fashion with a fairly even tempo to the game, although man of the match Keith Graydon was showing his trademark long passing wide to good effect for Spennymoor and looking increasingly dangerous. The dam burst in the 62nd minute when Cogdon ran through for Spenny's second, and in quick order goals from substitutes Adam Johnston and Craig Ruddy had Spenny cruising with 20 minutes to go.

RCA to their credit kept going, but it was very much a consolation when Lee Owens scored from the spot after Brian Close was brought down by the keeper. The referee was within the spirit of the game for ignoring the keeper's foul on Close, a clear sending off offence under the current laws; sensible, but it won't have done him any favours with the assessor I bet! A very well deserved win for Spennymoor, and apologies that the regular report writer and the photographer were both missing, one getting married and the other at the opera; it's a very strange world.

Sunderland RCA FC 4 Bishop Auckland FC 3

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Northern League Cup

It was a late night for the diehard faithful who turned out for this Northern League Cup encounter with this year's regular rivals from Bishop Auckland, as a late equaliser from Bishops Steven Turnbull took the game into extra time, much to your reporter's disgust. Neal Atkinson made his debut for RCA in goal to allow Hoggy to rest his hernia, and Joe Walton came into the side in an unfamiliar central midfield position, with Carl Beasley returning at the back to replace the transfer listed Ian Maddison.

It didn't look like a late night was in prospect in the first twelve minutes of the game as close range efforts from James Oates and Brian Close, both from left wing corners, gave RCA an early cushion. Bishops fought back well and had their chances through the first half, but alongside a disallowed goal for Sparky Davison there were other good opportunities that were spurned by RCA, principally as the final ball failed to meet its target after good moves by the midfield and wingers. So 2-0 to RCA at the break.

The second half looked as if it was going to follow the same pattern, until the ever dangerous Andrew Johnson brought Bishops back into things with an excellent finish as he drove into the box, although young Atkinson will have been disappointed to see it go under his dive. That was on 70 minutes so there was time for Bishops to find a way back, and they gradually pressed more and more, and with three minutes on the clock Turnbull struck a tremendous drive from outside the box, that Neal got a hand to but couldn't stop. So extra time it was.

The game was fairly even although RCA probably had the best of the chances, and then in the 103rd and 104th minutes a second goal from Brian Close with a close range header and a superb lob from Andy Jennings surely tied things up for RCA, who led 4-2 going into the last session of the match. But Johnson notched again, and the awful idea of penalties was going through everyone's head. However RCA held on for a deserved win, sealed with the ref's final whistle at a two minutes short of 10.00 pm.

Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 3

12 November 2011

Northern League Division 1


RCA left back Ian Davidson wins the ball to begin an attack

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA got back to winning ways at Boldon Colliery on Saturday, halting a run of three league defeats, which had been punctuated with two cup wins, and also kept a clean sheet for the first time since the 1 – 0 win at Penrith on 1 October, though had Roofing's finishing been accurate this would surely not have been the case. The three points maintain our league position as teams around us also collected maximum returns – it's tough at the top.

The team saw another début. Richard Paxton, who has moved from Shildon in a straight swap for Ian Maddison, started alongside James Oates in the centre of defence, with new boys Neal Atkinson, Ian Davidson and Alex Benjamin at goal keeper, left back and centre forward positions respectively. Steve Jones was our familiar right back, with a midfield four of Brian Close, Joe Walton, Andy Cuthbertson and Adam McGuinness, with Mark Davison the other centre forward. In the second half, Lee Owens came on for Ian Davidson, who had to come off because of a knee injury, with Adam McGuinness slotting into the left back slot, and Andy Jennings came on for Joe Walton, with Alex Benjamin moving right. Scott Richards, Carl Beasley and Kyle Donaldson made up the bench.

Jarrow Roofing started the match like a whirlwind, causing some panic in the RCA defence, but their shooting was not on target and RCA cleared their lines. On first blush it seemed like we would be in for a tough afternoon, but route one with an excellent kick down field from keeper Neal Atkinson, was well controlled by Mark Davison who turned and fired past the Roofing keeper. This early blow for the home side was quickly followed when another kick out from Atkinson broke to Adam McGuinness, unmarked in the left of the area, to slot home.

The quick brace must have shocked Roofing, but their spirit was far from broken and they kept plugging away in what was, although entertaining, a largely scrappy game. That said of the new players, Richard Paxton looks to be a solid presence in defence, Ian Davidson is clearly a good acquisition and Alex Benjamin certainly looks the part up front, with good running and control. Neal Atkinson looks to be a strong keeper who will command his area.

Although Roofing did not give up, any prospect of turning the match around was put to bed when Alex Benjamin beat offside to collect a through ball with only the keeper to beat. It was a classy finish with the ball neatly chipped over the keeper. A nice one to get off the mark with for RCA and more will certainly follow.

So, the team got us what we needed – a win and three points. There is more work to be done to get back the cohesion of the early season displays, but Neil and his team now have two weeks to work on that before we return to league action against Norton + Stockton Ancients at home on Saturday 26 November, followed by Guisborough Town, also at home on Tuesday and Newton Aycliffe away on the next Saturday. Just a bit to prepare for then! By that time the usual standard of match reporting will have returned.

A quick update on keeper Gary Hoggeth. Gary's GP now thinks that his hernia problem is not the cause of his discomfort and an operation is not needed. He is being treated for the cause of the pain. Good news - and a headache for Neil.

Sunderland RCA FC 4 Norton & Stockton Ancients FC 1

Saturday, 26 November 2011

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA midfielder Andrew Cuthbertson wins the ball to mount another RCA attack.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

A second half four goal blitz, including an Alex Benjamin hat-trick, gave RCA a well deserved victory against an organised and determined Norton & Stockton Ancients team. In a wind effected game RCA coped better with the conditons, defending well in the first half against the wind and utilising the wind to great effect in the second half.

The win maintains RCA's fifth place in Divison 1 and the second half performance gave the home supporters something to cheer about.

It seems to be normal now at Meadow Park for their to be a gale force wind howling straight down the pitch and in today's match against Norton and Stockton Ancients it was no different.

With a number of players unavailable for various reasons the Management team were forced to name three goalkeepers in the squad, I have no doubt that "Hoggy" would have played as an outfield player if required.

RCA started the game defending against both the wind and the slope and were soon under pressure when a long ball from Gott found Alexander, but his shot was blocked by Beasley. RCA were trying to play football and get their passing game together. Davison was unlucky not to get a foot on a wonderful cross from Walton, but the ball was cleared by Mowbray.

Norton and Stockton took the lead on nine minutes after a catalogue of errors in the RCA defence. First, McGuinness uncharacteristically gave the ball away to Magowan and the Norton striker's shot was superbly saved by Atkinson. Then a minute later a hopeful ball into the box looked to be easily dealt with by Oates, but his poor header fell straight to Magowan and this time, from 20 yards out he curled a shot out of reach of Atkinson and into the corner of the net. RCA tried to respond and Benjamin went close when he beat the offside trap only to see his cross shot go over the bar.

In the 20th minute Benjamin should have equalised when he ran onto a through ball from Walton and although his shot beat McDonald it also went wide of the target. The Ancients struck back with a shot from Mulligan which was deflected for a corner and from the kick Atkinson needed to be at his best to punch clear under pressure from Mowbray and Harbron.

As the half wore on Close and Cuthbertson started to get to grips with the midfield and a lovely ball from Cuthbertson fornd Walton on the right; his cross into the box was met by Davison, but his header went over the bar.

On the half hour mark the Ancients had a great chance to go 2-0 up when Furness made a 40 yard run which culminated in a great shot that was parried away by Atkinson. The ball ran free to Magowan who fired into a crowded area and the hand of Atkinson appeared from nowhere to turn the ball away from goal and Harbron following up blasted the ball over the bar.

As the half came to an end RCA were awarded a free kick on the angle of the area. Walton passed the ball to Davison who turned and laid the ball into the path of Benjamin, but he stabbed the ball wide of the goal with the goalkeeper stranded.

The second half was almost all one way traffic as RCA bombarded the Norton goal from the kick off. A Davison freekick in the 47th minute went narrowly over the bar. Five minutes later RCA won a corner which was taken by Owens, the cross saw Benjamin rise, unapposed at the near post, and head home from six yards out.

RCA went looking for more goals and a Cuthbertson effort from 30 yards was well saved by McDonald. The whole team were responding and Norton were struggling to cope with the pace and speed of passing especially from Close and Cuthbertson.

The only surprise was that the crowd had to wait until the 64th minute to see RCA take the lead, a ball into the area by Jones found Davison who returned the ball to Jones and he made no mistake from 12 yards out giving the keeper no chance.

It was RCA all the way with Norton being restricted to breakaways which looked to be easily dealt with by the RCA defence.

In the 75th minute the game was effectively over when a lovely passing move involving Cuthbertson, Walton, Davison and Jones saw the latter make a cross field pass of some 40 yards to pick out Benjamin who cut inside his marker before unleashing a tremendous drive which rocketed into the bottom corner of the net.

Two minutes later and Benjamin completed his hat trick when another cross from Jones found him unmarked inside the six yard box and he stabbed the ball home. His reward for a great afternoon's work was to be instantly replaced by Jennings.

RCA had opportunities to extend their lead but some good defending and goalkeeping kept the score at 4-1. Norton really only had one chance in the second half when Alexader raced clear of the rCA Defence but Atkinson was alert to the danger and came out of his area to kick the ball clear.

All in all a great result and a very good second half.

Sunderland RCA FC 7 Guisborough Town FC 0

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

There were defensive problems for RCA ahead of tonight's match; with Beasley undergoing a chest operation and Paxton unavailable due to family commitments it was left to the management team to call on Wayne Henderson to fill the breach.

The match kicked off 10 minutes late due to a number of Guisborough players being stuck on the A19, one of them being the first choice goalkeeper Jack Norton, to add to their problems Gary Wood took ill during the pre match warm up and had to be replaced by Nathan Steel. Norton arrived as the teams were taking to the pitch so outfield player Stephen Dowling started the game in goal. Dowling made two contributions in the first minute, coming out to collect smartly with Davison in close attendance and kicking the ball into touch so that he could be substituted by the first choice keeper Norton.

In the second minute RCA forced a corner which was taken by McGuinness and his in swinging corner was met by Benjamin whose glancing header went beyond the reach of Norton to put RCA 1-0 up and Norton’s first touch of the ball was to pick it out of the net. Five minutes later and a through ball from Close found Benjamin free of his marker and bearing down on goal, and only some excellent covering by Lee Bytheway prevented him from getting his shot in. Within a minute Benjamin popped up on the other wing, but this time he was adjudged to be offside.?

Guisborough looked to have weathered the early pressure and were starting to utilise the wind and the slope to their advantage. A strong run by Luke Bytheway was only stopped by a strong challenge by Oates, but the ball ran free to L’Anson, fortunately his effort was well wide of the target.?
A good move between Onions and Henry saw the former fire straight at Atkinson in the RCA goal.?Then came the move of the match so far when RCA Forced another corner. Tt was taken by Owens, who passed to Cuthbertson on the edge of the box, he returned the ball to Owens who dribbled past two defenders before sliding the ball to Davison who deftly flicked the ball into the path of Oates, but he could only steer his shot wide of the post, if only the chance had fallen to a forward then it could have been 2-0.?

Within a few minutes Owens was at it again skipping past a defender before curling a wonderful ball into the area. Lee Bytheway was alert to the danger and cleared for a corner under pressure from both Davison and Benjamin. From the corner Johnson headed clear and Onions picking the ball up in his own half, turned and delivered a pinpoint accurate pass into the path of Henry who with only the keeper to beat fired wide of the target.?
The game was flowing from end to end and the outcome of the game, it was felt, would depend on who scored the next goal.?

A Davison freekick was well saved by Norton who set up Guisborough’s next attack with a long throw out to Onions who set off down the line with McGuinness in pursuit. As Onions cut back into the box McGuinness appeared to catch Onions before the ball, but the penalty appeal was waved away by the Referee. As so often happens on these occasions RCA went up the other end and Owens' cross into the box struck the inside of the back post and in attempting to clear the rebound Luke Bytheway sliced the ball into his own goal.?

Guisborough seemed to raise their game at this point and started to pressurise the RCA defence. It took some good defending from Jones to come across and thwart a decisive move by Onions and a last ditch tackle from Henderson prevented L’Anson from getting his shot on target.?As the half came to it conclusion Guisborough were awarded two freekicks in quick succession in dangerous positions. The first was blocked by the RCA wall, but the second, taken by Luke Bytheway, beat the wall but was well saved by Atkinson.?

At half time nobody could have forecast the total domination by RCA in the first 20 minutes of the second half as they overwhelmed the Guisborough defence.?

In the 50th minute RCA were awarded a free kick near the corner flag. Owens floated the ball to the back post where Oates met the ball and headed it back across goal to McGuinness who fired over from 12 yards out.

?A minute later and RCA were awarded another free kick. Up stepped Davison and fired in an unstoppable shot which took a slight deflection off the wall before hitting the top corner of the goal leaving Norton rooted to the spot. Four minutes later and it was 4-0 as Cuthbertson carved open the Guisborough defence with a lovely ball to Benjamin and the RCA forward clipped the ball over the advancing Norton.

?In the 60th minute Benjamin completed his second hat trick in succession when Owens slipped the ball past the full back before delivering an inch perfect cross onto the head of Benjamin who just does not miss from that range. As is normal Benjamin was immediately substituted, job done. On came Jennings to replace him and his first contribution to the game was to chip a delicate cross to the far post for Davison, his powerful downward header was brilliantly saved by Norton, but Davison followed up and stabbed the ball past the keeper. The rout was completed two minutes later when Cuthbertson beat the offside trap before setting up Davison for his hat trick.?

Guisborough’s defence was in turmoil and RCA were in devastating mood and really should have had more goals as the rain came pouring down to even more dampen the spirits of a very demoralised Guisborough team.

?Both sides had chances late in the game but the damage had been done in that blistering 20 minute period just after half time.
?RCA climb to the dizzy heights of third in the league and must surely be looking at another season in the first division.

Click here for the SportsByte Sunderland report on the match.

December

Newton Aycliffe FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 2

Saturday, 3 December 2011

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA right back Adam McGuinness clears the ball in the first half of Saturday's game against Newton Aycliffe.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA went back to the top of the first divison with a heart fought victory against a very good Newton Aycliffe team. Few teams will come away from Newton Aycliffe Sports club with three points this season.

It took two terrific first half strikes by Davison and Benjamin to secure the win and break the hearts of the home team who had enough chances to at least have secured a draw.

RCA made one change to the squad who won convincingly in mid week, Paxton replacing Henderson in central defence.

Newton Aycliffe started well forcing RCA to defend in numbers, however it was not until the eighth minute that the home side really threatened, when a defensive mistake gifted the ball to Gardner, who squared the ball to Jardine, but the Aycliffe striker fired wide of an empty net. RCA looked to have weathered the storm and were making in roads into a very shaky Aycliffe defence.

Gardner had his first sight on goal in the 18th minute as he whacked a 25-yard half-volley goal wards, but Atkinson saved comfortably.

In the 20th minute a cross from Walton was headed over by Benjamin, as RCA started to take control of the game. Two minutes later and the lively Benjamin turned inside the defender to fire in a shot which Pocklington got a foot to and conceded a corner. Walton took the corner and Davison running across the face of goal was able to flick the ball into the net, the ball taking a slight deflection off Campbell.

RCA went further ahead when a long ball found Benjamin on the edge of the box, he controlled the ball superbly before turning his marker and then drilling an unstoppable low drive past the despairing dive of Pocklington and into the far corner or the net.

For all their endeavour Aycliffe could not find a way to breach the RCA defence and did not look like scoring. RCA, at 2-0 up, looked reasonably comfortable.

Aycliffe started the second period on fire as they went at RCA and within a minute Campbell forced a great save from Atkinson and following up in the goalmouth scramble he could only force the ball over the bar with Oates and Close closing him down. RCA were once again having to defend deep and in numbers as Aycliffe asserted some pressure and Atkinson was called upon again to make a finger tip save from Gibson after some good work by Jardine. From the resulting corner Craddock rose highest in the area to meet Broom’s corner, only to see his effort cannon back off the face of the crossbar and Oates managed to clear to safety.

This was to be their last real effort on goal as RCA got to grips with the midfield and started to attack at will. Benjamin latched onto a through ball from Cuthbertson, rounded the keeper, but fired into the side netting. Shortly afterwards RCA were forced to make a change as Davison was substituted, hobbling off after a late challenge left the RCA forward with a badly swollen ankle.

Cuthbertson once again showed his vision as he found Owens with a sublime pass with the outside of his foot. Owens' cross into the box was narrowly headed over by Benjamin and minutes later the ball fell to Cuthbertson who, from 35 yards out, struck the ball goalward and it took two attempts for Pocklington to get the ball under control.

As the game petered out Broom, who had been very effective on the right, beat McGuinness before cutting the ball back for Jardine, but once again he fired over the bar.

RCA must be pleased to come away from Aycliffe with a clean sheet. We have also found a midfield partnership that works brilliantly and complements a great strike combination. Long may it continue.

Bedlington Terriers FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 2

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

On a bitterly cold night, Sunderland RCA showed the battling determination and team-work that has been the hallmark of their season thus far. They continue to astound even their most ardent admirers with their unbelievable away form. Unlike the two Manchester teams, who crashed out of European competitions last night, RCA showed that they have players who can respond when the going gets tough.

What a revelation Andrew Jennings was, brought in to replace the injured Mark Davison, his presence up front contributed greatly to the success of the team. Once again when the chips were down up steps Brian Close, leading by example and typifying RCA's belief in themselves this year.

For 25 minutes of this game RCA were under extreme pressure from Bedlington as the home team looked to repeat the 4-1 drubbing dished out earlier in the season. Stewart, wide on the right, was causing problems and maybe should have done better when, after five minutes, he cut inside McGuinness before tamely shooting well wide of the target. A similar move two minutes later saw Stewart pass the ball this time into the area to Shandran who was closed down quickly by Oates and the striker fired over the bar.

The home supporters didn’t have long to wait for their prolific striker to get on the score sheet, a sublime through ball from Carr evaded the RCA defence and Shandran ghosted in behind Oates to steer the ball past Atkinson.

In the 23rd minute, dangerman Shandran picked up the ball on the edge of the box, turned and crossed into the area; it took some excellent defending by Jones to turn the ball over his own crossbar when under pressure from Baptist. Eventually, RCA responded and in the 25th minute a cross into the box by Walton found Jennings who turned and fired in a low shot which was saved by Pickering. Within a minute Pickering was called into action again when Benjamin found room on the left and his on target shot was parried away by the keeper and Flynn tidied up.

The tide was turning as Close and Cuthbertson got hold of the midfield. A superb move in the 30th minute should have resulted in a goal as Walton, Cuthbertson, Close and Owens combined to get the ball into the area where Jennings was unlucky to see his shot narrowly miss the target with the keeper beaten. Back came Beddlington, Stewart clipped the ball into the path of Shandran who laid the ball off for Bowey, his shot was somehow saved by a combination of Atkinson and Oates and the ball fell kindly into the arms of the RCA keeper.

RCA scored from the subsequent clearance as Atkinson launched a long ball upfield. Owens was able to get a neat header into the path of Benjamin and the RCA striker made no mistake from eight yards out. Five minutes later and RCA could have made it 2-1 when an Owens freekick went inches over the bar.

If the first 25 minutes belonged to Bedlington then RCA commanded most of the remaining 20 minutes and the game was evenly balanced.

RCA continued their comeback with a great second half display that had Bedlington reeling from the 50th minute when Jennings controlled the ball and set up Benjamin, but his effort was well saved by Pickering. Three minutes later and Benjamin set up Close, but his effort went wide.

On the hour mark there was a brilliant piece of improvisation as Bengamin brought the ball down with his left foot then clipped it forward towards Walton on the edge of the box. The RCA winger managed to play a one two with the shin of the Bedlington defender before blasting the ball past Pickering.

With a number of substitutions made Bedlington started to get back into the game. A free kick by Stewart was headed over by Carr and a Shandran header was saved at the second attempt by Atkinson. Shandran, who was still causing some problems, had a shot deflected for a corner by McGuinness and then RCA went down the other end and had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away.

In the last minute of the game Bedlington almost secured a draw when a cross into the box found Elliott, but he skewed his shot wide.

RCA deserved all three points for a brilliant second half performance.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Billingham Synthonia FC 0

Saturday, 10 December 2011

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA forward Andy Jennings opens the scoring in the first half of the match.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

RCA entertained Billingham Synthonia at Meadow Park this afternoon and were looking to maintain their push for a top six place. The management team were again forced to change a winning team by bringing in youngster Liam Dunn to replace Steven Jones at right back. After their mid-week success at Bedlington, RCA were sitting on top the the pile and everyone in the league will be looking to shoot them down; Synners were no exeption and anyone who thought this was going to be an easy game were to be sadly mistaken.

As early as the second minute, RCA had a chance when Cuthbertson played the ball foeward to Benjamin and his shot was well saved by Synners’ keeper Moody, who got a hand to the ball and then reacted to smother it under pressure from Jennings. Synners found their feet and a cross into the box by Gardner was saved at the feet of Dalton, who was spoken to by the referee for his follow through, the ex-RCA man was then booked a few minutes later for an innocuous challenge.

RCA opened the scoring in the 10th minute when a ball to the edge of the area from Walton saw Jennings beat Moody to the ball and the RCA striker was on hand, as the ball bounced free, to stroke it home into an empty net.

Synners’ regrouped and almost immediately a right wing cross from Earl caused problems in the RCA defence. Oates headed clear, but the ball fell to McWilliams who crossed into the area, but Dalton could only head wide of the target.

A good move between Close and Cuthbertson saw the ball played to Jennings and his shot was acrobatically saved by Moody and although the rebound was heading goalwards he was able to recover and complete the save. Synners’ tried to up their game and a move between McWilliams, Earl and Blyth resulted in the striker firing in a low drive which was destined for the bottom corner until Atkinson, scrambling across his goal line, managed to get a hand on the ball and turn it round the post for a corner. From the corner the ball fell to Gardner, but his shot which deflected wide by Cuthbertson who was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Shields. RCA were forced to rearrange their midfield and it seemed to have the desired effect as Walton in the centre of midfield found Jennings on the left wing his first time ball to Benjamin was supurb and then Benjamin passed to Owens who was bearing down on goal from the right wing but the usually reliable winger fired wide.

On the half hour mark, RCA once again broke down the left and this time a well delivered ball to the left side of the area was headed into the path of Owens who again found himself in space and had time to pick his spot as he fired into the corner of the net.

RCA were looking to extend their lead as half time approached and Alex Benjamin had a couple of chances, firstly firing over in the 36th minute and then forcing a wonderful reaction save from Moody before lobbing the rebound onto the roof of the net. Synners responded well with McWilliams picking out Earl inside the area but again Atkinson saved at the strikers feet.

RCA could not believe that they did not score a third goal when McGuinness drifted a corner to far post. Jennings headed the ball back across the face of goal, the ball struck Benjamin on the back of the leg and the Synners defence were able to clear. The half finished with a Gardner cross from the right to Earl, but he was unable to get a good connection on the header which went over the bar.

The second period opened in explosive fashion as Walton threaded a ball through to Benjamin, who controlled it and appeared to have taken it round the keeper, however Moody somehow managed to get a fingertip to it and Horseman was able to clear. Within a minute a cross from Shields was headed clear by Wray with Jennings in close attendance.

Synners came back at RCA and in the minutes as lovely pass from Dalton found Blyth inside the area, but McGuinness was able to clear the danger. Then a defensive mistake let in Blyth again and this time the striker hit the side netting with a snap shot from 10 yards out.

RCA were building up pressure on the Synners defence, a succession of corners needed to be well defended as RCA threw bodies into the box looking for the goal that would secure the game, but the Synners defence stood firm, with both Wray and Hillerby outstanding.

Synners came forward searching for a goal, but when they got past the defenders they came up against Atkinson who was in top form. Gardner had one effort charged down. Benjamin had another effort in the 70th minute when he latched onto a defensive clearance before trying to chip Moody, but his effort went agonisingly wide of the upright.

Synners’ threatened again in the 80th minute, but again Atkinson was left untroubled as Liddle sent Earl through, but his shot was easily saved by the keeper. Then a Dkiouak ball in from the right saw the ball cleared with Earl bearing down on goal.

RCA, who had utilised the height of Jennings to great effect all afternoon, once again employed this method and the big striker forced a corner. McGuinness fired in the near post cross and Close got a head to the ball but it cannoned off Horsman for another corner, this time Jennings rose well to head down, but the ball lacked power and Wray was able to clear up field.

The last chance of the game came to RCA when Jennings, receiving the ball with his back to goal, turned and fired in a shot which was deflected wide for a corner. The corner was partially cleared to Jennings on the edge of the box, but he fired well wide of the goal.

A very entertaining and competitive match, played in the right spirit and RCA earned another three points with their philosophy of hard work and team work reaping dividends.

The opposition's view: click here for the match report on the Billingham Synthonia web site.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Billingham Town FC 2

Friday, 16 December 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

A superbly struck Stephen Flockett own goal in the 93rd minute gave RCA a share of the points on this dreadful night.

The experiment of playing on a Friday night was somewhat scuppered due to the weather conditions and it was only the dedication of a few hardy members of the management team and supporters that made the pitch playable. The 63 supporters who did brave the weather were rewarded with an exciting game which had everyone on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

With Andrew Cuthbertson injured and Alex Benjamin somewhat surprisingly transferred to Jarrow Roofing, RCA brought in recently signed Mark McLeod and Mark Davison returned after injury to spearhead the attack.

RCA entertained Billingham Town who are languishing third off bottom in the league, but whose recent performances have given renewed hope to the faithful. A late inspection by referee Paul Brown deemed the pitch playable and the match was on.

RCA took advantage of the slope in the first half and were immediately on the attack with Owens going past the full back to deliver a cross into the box but both Jennings and Davison were unable to connect and the ball went for a goal kick. A minute later and this time it was Jennings supplying the cross and Crossman was forced to head over the bar for a corner The same player cleared the corner kick to Onions who ran unchallenged before crossing into the area but Atkinson was alert to the danger and plucked the ball out of the air with ease.

A freekick on the edge of the box was taken by Davison, but he fired straight at Briggs in the Billingham goal.

RCA almost opened the scoring in the 19th minute when a cross into the box by Owens found Davison who controlled the ball well before turning and shooting into the side netting. RCA were awarded a freekick a minute later in an identical spot from the one which Davison took earlier this one was taken by Owens who fired over.

Control of the game was firmly in RCA's hand at this point as they forced a succession of corners, the first taken by McGuinness saw Crossman defending well to head away for another corner. Again McGuinness crossed into the box and this time it took a fingertip save to force another corner. This one was taken from the other wing by Walton, but his cross into the box was cleared by Butterworth and the resulting shot from Owens went well wide.

RCA finally took the lead in the 27th minute when danger man Owens fired a low drive into the box and Jennings with the deftest of touches beat the Briggs at the near post. Two minutes later and the same combination produced a great save from Briggs. It was all RCA as they went looking for goal number two and Jennings forced another save from Briggs on the half hour.

Billingham Town having weathered the storm, or maybe come to terms with the pitch, started to assert some pressure on the RCA defence who had hitherto had very little to do. O’Brien went on a run before crossing to the far post where Onions rose above the RCA defence but headed over the bar. Two minutes later and Onions became provider as he slipped the ball into the path of Butterworth and his effort from 12 yards had Atkinson scrambling to save.

In the 40th minute Billingham were level, a freekick was floated into the six yard box by Cronesberry, Atkinson chose to punch and the ball fell to Owens whose shot was blocked by Oates, the ball fell for Onions 18 yards out and he hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the goal. In the last five minutes of the half Billingham took control and were unlucky when a Cronesberry freekick went narrowly wide.

Both teams looked eager to get the second half started as they both appeared after 10 minutes in the dressing room or maybe it was just that it was a bitterly cold night and they wanted the match started to try and warm up.

RCA had the first real chance of the second half as Walton raced clear from a Close pass, one on one with Briggs, Walton fired on target but the Billingham keeper managed to get a foot to the ball and steer it wide for a corner. Owens took the corner and found Davison at the back post but his header was cleared up field to Martin who held the ball up before bringing in Onions, but Paxton was alert to the danger and cleared the ball.

On the hour mark Billingham town took the lead when a cross into the box was initially cleared by Oates, who collided with Martin, with both men down inside the six yard box, the ball fell to Owens who fired the ball back into the box and it looked to come off one of the players lying on the floor before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.

Billingham looked to close the game down and kept it very tight at the back and for all their endeavour RCA could not breach the resolute Billingham defence.

In the 85th minute substitute Flockett had a great chance to put the game out of reach as he fired in a shot from the edge of the box which struck the crossbar and went over.

RCA must have thought that they had equalised in the 88th minute when Jones crossed to the far post, both Jennings and Davison went up, who ever made contact saw the ball hit the inside of the post before travelling along the goal line and Gamble cleared.
The final twist in the tail came in the third minute of injury time. Owens went to go past O’Brien inside the area, the full back made a great tackle and the ball spun to Flockett who was facing the wrong way and the Billingham substitute mishit his clearance straight into the bottom corner of his own goal.

RCA rode their luck at time tonight and in the end were rewarded for their endeavours with a draw. Billingham can take heart from this performance and kick on from here; they are a good team who maybe need a little bit of luck.

Sunderland RCA FC 1 South Shields FC 2

Monday, 26 December 2011

STL Northern League Division 1

RCA continue to struggle at home with another below par performance in very windy conditions. It has to be said that South Shields adapted to the conditions better than RCA and in the end probably deserved to win although the story could have been a lot different if the referee hadn't turned down a cast iron penalty call a minute before South Shields opened the scoring. (Where was Howard Webb when we needed him?)

RCA were forced to make a number of changes to the team, Jones was replaced at right back by Oates, Beasley came in to central defence and Cuthbertson returned after injury in the heart of midfield.

In the opening five minutes of the game RCA were unlucky not to be 2 - 0 up as Walton cut inside before unleashing a shot which went narrowly wide. A minute later Jennings slipped the ball to Walton inside the area, but Cunningham in the Shields goal was aware to the danger smothering the ball at the winger's feet.

Shields started to dominate possession and a through ball from Fitzpatrick found the lively Morrin on the edge of the box; his on target shot was excellently saved by Atkinson. Two minutes later Shields were awarded a freekick some 20 yards out. Wightman lined up the shot, but curled his shot well wide. Wightman was at the centre of Shields next attack utilising his long throw to cause panic in the RCA defence who could only clear the ball back to the striker, but he fired wide.

In the 19th minute Close combined with Cuthbertson to get the ball wide to Owens who cut inside only to be brought down by Fraser, it looked inside the area, but despite the RCA protests the referee awarded a freekick outside the box. The freekick was fired into the wall by Davison and eventually into the arms of Cunningham. Cunningham quickly sent the ball to Smith who found Morrin with an inch perfect pass and the Shields winger crossed into the box for Wightman to finish off the move sliding the ball past the despairing dive of Atkinson.

Shields continued to take the game to RCA and Colvin was unlucky with a cross shot which flashed past the far post. RCA, tried to develop their play keeping the ball but it was difficult in the windy conditions and more often than not attacks were being broken up in midfield. Both Owens and Walton had great crosses into the box but Davison and Jennings were unable to connect and the Shields defenders cleared up.

In the 36th minute RCA should have equalised when Walton found Oates inside the area his cross was fired goalwards by Davison bringing a superb reflex save from Cunningham. The ball fell to Oates inside the six yard box, the RCA defender, instead of shooting, decided to pass the ball to Jennings who mishit his shot and the ball was cleared off the line.

Shields finished the half on top as RCA defended valiantly to keep the score to 1 - 0 at half time. Morrin and Wightman both had chances to increase the scoring but Atkinson did well to push the ball for corners on both occasions.

RCA took the game to Shields at the start of the second half and it took some outstanding defending to keep them at bay. As first Walton set up Cuthbertson 15 yards out, but the midfielders shot went wide. RCA forced a number of corners. McGuinness found Jennings with the first, but he headed over. Then a long corner to the far post was headed into the side netting by Oates.

The longer the half went without an RCA equaliser the more frustrated they became and Shields were always likely to make things difficult on the break.
In the 64th minute Shields went further ahead when they were they were awarded a freekick on the halfway line, the ball was floated to the far post and Fraser slotted home from close range. RCA once again picked themselves up and tried to get back into the game putting Shields defence under constant pressure but they were unable to breach the resolute defending of Scope and Fraser. RCA substitute, Shields almost scored with his first touch of the ball but his shot took a wicked deflection and went for a corner.

In the 87th minute Cuthbertson gave RCA a lifeline when he fired in from 20 yards after a goalmouth scramble. For all their huff and puff RCA did not create another clear cut chance and it was at the other end that Barclay missed a great chance to make it 3 - 1, but he fired wide.

Shields new management team of King, Picton and Di-Lella seem to have worked a bit of magic with the Seasiders and they have them defending very well. RCA will go back to the drawing board and look forward to the next match.

January

Shildon FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 3

Monday, 2 January 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

RCA started the New Year with a brilliant 3 - 2 win against a Shildon team who boasted three ex-RCA players.

The management team welcomed back Steven Jones at right back and introduced recent signing Tom Berj into a three man midfield. With the emphasis on attack they started with a 4-3-3 formation which looked to catch Shildon off guard. RCA went 2-0 up in the first half only to be pegged back early in the second half before showing their character, making it 3-2 before having to hold on late in the game as Shildon poured forward looking for the equaliser.

A chat with the groundsman before today’s match revealed that if the match had been scheduled for 24 hours earlier it would have been off as the pitch was under water, a great testament to the ground staff at Shildon who managed to get this match on. Although the pitch was very heavy in places the two teams served up an entertaining and in the end a very exciting match. The early stages of the first half were fast and furious with neither team able to settle on the ball and play the sort of football that they are capable of.

Shildon carved out the first opportunity when Price receiving the ball from Richmond, evaded the tackle of McGuinness, before unleashing a shot which Atkinson did well to turned round the post. The response from RCA was immediate. Jones found Owens with a 50 yard cross field pass, Owens played a one-two with Davison, before curling a shot well wide of the upright. A minute later and Cuthbertson played in Walton, but his first time effort was blocked by Watson. RCA were in control of the game at this point and it was only a matter of time before they made their supremacy pay dividends. When the goal came it was so simple: a throw in near the corner flag was given to Owens, he skipped past two tackles on the by line before slipping the ball to Davison who tapped in from two yards out.

RCA should have increased their lead five minutes later when a corner was headed down by Davison and Keegan’s clearance landed at the feet of Oates who fired over the bar from 10 yards out and the Shildon defence nowhere to be seen.

Shildon were restricted to long balls out of defence in the hope of catching the RCA defence out. In the slippery conditions this was not difficult and a slip by Paxton almost let in Johnson, but Oates and Close tidied up and set RCA up for another attack.

RCA were awarded a freekick about 25 yards out. Owens, Walton and Close stood over the ball while the referee took a long time explaining to Watson the reason for the freekick. Owens clipped the freekick in to the near post and debutant Berj met the ball perfectly to head home, 2 - 0 up and in cruise control. In the dying minutes of the half RCA had the ball in the net again but the referee adjudged that Paxton had impeded the keeper before heading home.

The second half saw a resurgence from Shildon as they powered forward in the opening five minutes and RCA had to defend in numbers to keep them at bay. A good move between Price and Johnson ended when Johnson’s shot was blocked and the ball fell into Atkinson’s arms. RCA were guilty of switching off in the 60th minute when Shildon were awarded a corner. Price ran 30 yards to receive the ball some 25 yards out before unleashing a screamer of a shot which flew into the top corner of the net. Shildon were now rampant and RCA looked to be wilting under the pressure. It was only a matter of time before the pressure told, a low cross into the box by Price looked to have been defended by Paxton but the ball fell to McCabe who beat the first defender before shooting low and Oates, sliding back to block was adjudged to have handled the ball. Up stepped Price to send Atkinson the wrong way and the game was back to all square.

RCA showed the resilience at this point as they took the game to Shildon and two minutes after the penalty shock Berj was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post to safety. However, RCA regained the lead in the 68th minute when another long ball out of defence found Owens totally unmarked on the left wing. He carried the ball for 20 yards before curling a delectable shot out of the reach of Finch and into the far corner of the net. Shildon looked shocked by this and RCA should have capitalised on their hesitancy when Cuthbertson picked up the ball and floated a beautiful ball into the path of Davison, but Keegan was able to get a block on the ball.

From the 80th minute onward Shildon threw everything at RCA with Keegan moving into a forward role and placing extra pressure on the RCA defence. However RCA once again showed great teamwork and were able to hang on to the end. Shildon did have a shout for a penalty which was waved away by the referee, but really for all their huff and puff they never really created a clear cut chance and Atkinson in the RCA goal was always available to punch or catch the ball to avert any danger that threatened.

RCA, due to other matches being cancelled, have now moved three points clear at the top of the league.

Sunderland RCA FC 0 Spennymoor Town FC 2

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Durham Challenge Cup 2nd Round

Over 200 attended this match and witnessed a hard fought contest in which RCA matched the reigning League champions Spennymoor for over an hour before succumbing in the 72 minute to a beautiful own goal by Mark Davison and 2 minutes later Ex RCA player Keith "Rasher" Graydon rubbed salt in the wounds with a brilliantly executed freekick which, stand in keeper Craig Shields, couldn't reach as it floated into the net off the far post.

RCA did have chances in the first half and should have got one back late in the game when Owens shot was cleared off the line. Overall Spennymoor looked the more composed team and deserved to be in the next round of the draw.

RCA were forced to make three changes to the side that beat Shildon eight days ago with Craig Shields and Carl Beasley coming in for Cup tied Neal Atkinson and Richard Paxton. Gary Shields replaced the injured Joseph Walton. Moors made one change to the team that defeated Stokesley Sports Club at the weekend with Robert Dean replacing first choice keeper Craig Turns.

Both sides went at each other in the opening 10 minutes with most of the play in the midfield and very little in the final third. RCA forced the first save of the game when Owens burst into the box and fired low, Dean managed to turn the ball round the post for a corner. The keeper was then forced to concede another corner when the in-swinging kick looked likely to dip under the bar. Spennymoor were quick to capitalize on a poor back pass when Shields' clearance fell to Cogdon. but the lively strikers shot was blocked by Beasley. Dean kept Spennymoor in the game with a number of saves, one after an Owens, 1-2 with Davison left the RCA Winger in on goal but Dean was equal to the shot.
Lewis Dodds fired wide for Spennymoor when RCA were unable to clear a corner.

Sonny Andrews had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 25th minute when his powerful header flashed wide of the post with keeper Shields beaten. The rest of the half saw the defences of both teams pretty well on top and the only other real opportunity fell to Capper who fired over the bar.

The second half saw Spennymoor up the tempo as they went looking for the win and RCA, whilst defending well, were not creating anything in attack.

Shields was forced into action to smother a dangerous cross from Andrews.

There was little between the two teams and both managers looked to the bench for inspiration. Jason Ainsley found it with the introduction of former RCA player Graydon; from the moment he came on he seemed to find space in midfield. However it was a misunderstanding that lead to the first goal. A poor back pass by James Oates to Shields saw the ball roll past the advancing keeper to Andrews and Oates only just got back to clear the ball for a corner. Unfortunately the resulting corner taken by Ruddy was met by Davison and the ball flashed into his own goal past the despairing dive of Shields.

Within two minutes RCA were 2 – 0 down when Spennymoor were awarded a freekick and RCA's thorn in the side Graydon curled a delightful set piece beyond Shields and into the top corner.

RCA had chances to get back at Spennymoor, the best came late in the game when Owens broke away to round Dean, but his shot was cleared off the line by Stephen Foster. In the final minutes of the game Shields brought off a truly great save from Johnston.

In the end, it has to be said that this was a very professional performance by both teams and it shows just how far RCA have come to be able to compete at a consistently high level. On tonight’s performances both teams will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

Sunderland RCA FC 1 Penrith FC 1

Saturday, 21 January 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Penalty? Tom Berj goes down inside the Penrith area, but this and other appeals went unanswered.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match.

Sky Tyne and Wear video and comment

The dismal home form continues with yet another draw against a below average Penrith team who battled hard but only really created the one chance with which they scored. For all our possession we were unable to produce the quality in the final third of the pitch. Ifs and buts will not win games, if the penalty appeal had been successful would we have scored the equaliser? Never mind we are as high in the league as any other RCA team in history and teams are coming to Meadow Park to defend, we need to find a way of breaking teams down, the same way that Spennymoor do.

RCA started with the same team that had played so well against Spennymoor Town. They started the game promisingly and should have taken the lead after two minutes when Owens whipped in a corner which was only cleared as far as Oates eight yards out, but he snapped at the shot and it flew over the bar. A minute later and Owens slipped past the full back before crossing onto the head of Davison, but the striker could only steer the ball wide of the post.

The windy conditions were making it difficult for both teams to control the ball and the game degenerated into a mid field battle which nobody seemed to be winning. Penrith with the advantage of the slope and the wind were unlucky not to score when Coleman cut in from the right. His shot was blocked by Jones and the ball spun to Wood who thundered in a shot which went narrowly wide.

In the 21st minute a lovely move between Walton and Berj saw the latter through on goal, but his effort went well wide of the target. The Penrith team seemed to take heart from this and Gill in particular started to look dangerous everytime he got the ball. His direct approach gave the RCA defence a lot of problems and it was no suprise when, in the 28th minute he skipped past two defenders before squaring the ball to Jackson who slid the ball past the despairing dive of Atkinson. With their tails up Penrith almost went 2-0 up when Coleman picked up the ball on the right wing and held off two defenders before firing in a cross shot which went narrowly wide.

The game was starting to liven up, Owens was giving Clasper a hard time on the left wing and when he went past him and pulled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area Davison was on hand to curl in a lovely shot which went just over the bar. At the other end a free kick by Ainsworth was fired over the bar.

Late in the first half RCA had a penalty appeal turned down when Walton's attemped cross was charged down by Davidson.

A dramatic start to the second half saw another penalty appeal turned down when a near post corner was clearly handled by Wood before he conceded another corner.

Ironically RCA scored as a result of this corner, but in rather unusual fashion. Penrith scrambled the corner away and the ball was lofted upfield where the only player was Atkinson the RCA keeper, who blasted the ball back into the Penrith half, the ball fell kindly for Beasley who slid the ball past the advancing Holland.

The game had turned and Penrith were encamped in their own half for long periods with only the occassional counter attack.

As the second half progressed so RCA players started to get frustrated, playing long balls into the wrong areas of the pitch or straight at the Penrith defenders. Chances were mainly restricted to long range efforts which were easily dealt with by the Penrith defenders.

Cuthbertson must have thought he had scored when he reacted first to a poor clearance to volley a shot low towards the bottom corner of the net but Wood was able to get a foot to it and clear. RCA forced a number of corners, but to be fair to Penrith they defended most of them with ease, acouple of goalmouth scrambles ensued but the luck was with them and the ball fell kindly for Holland. The final chance of the half fell to Davison, but he put his header high over the bar.

Penrith played well in the first half and probably on the balance of play deserved to be in the lead at half time. They also defended well in the second half. However RCA had so much possession and created so many chances throughout the match that they should really have put this one to bed early in the second half.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Consett FC 2

Saturday, 28 January 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Andy Jennings bursts through on goal during the first half of the match.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match

Sky Tyne and Wear video and comment

The management team were forced to make wholesale changes for today's match with Mark Davison sustaining a recurrence of an ankle injury in training on Wednesday, Andrew Cuthbertson unavailable, family commitments and Lee Owens working away. In came Jennings, Robson and Wells to replace these and Richard Paxton returned to the centre of defence to replace James Oates.

After 20 minutes of the game no one could have predicted the score as RCA were in total control of the game. Then the wheels came off and they let Consett get back into the game and in the end both teams had great chances to grab a win.

Both teams settled into this game quickly and it was Consett, with the advantage of the slope, who had the first shot on target. A free kick was awarded for a foul on Mackay and former RCA favourite Harrison Davies stepped up to curl a low shot straight into the arms of Atkinson.

RCA then forced Consett to defend with a series of attacks, Walton gaining a corner on the right which Wells took and his far post cross was headed over by Beasley who was free at the back post.

Then Jones took advantage of the hesitancy in the Consett defence as he picked the ball up on the halfway line and proceeded unchallenged into the opposition’s penalty area before shooting over the bar.

It was all RCA and when Jennings chested a cross from Walton into the path of Wells it looked like RCA would take the lead, but Jameson came to the rescue making a fine save.

However, the home supporters did not have long to wait for the opening goal. A cross field ball found Jennings on the left and he glided past the last defender before squaring the ball to Walton who had a simple tap in from 10 yards out.

Consett responded with a number of attacks which came to nothing; the closest was a good move involving Lund and Mackay saw them set up Molloy but his effort was well off target.

During this move Walton, who was back helping his defence out, picked up a bad injury which meant he could take no further part in the match and he was replaced by Gary Shields.

RCA continued to cause problems for the Consett defence and it was no surprise that they went 2-0 up. Berj won the ball in midfield and Close picked up the loose ball before passing to Jennings. The RCA striker cut inside the defender and into the box before he was unceremoniously up ended. Robson stepped up to take the penalty and although Jameson got a hand to it he could not prevent it from going in.

Within a minute Consett could have been back in the game when Mackay shot wide.

Slightly against the run of play Consett got a lifeline when Burrell ran 20 yards unchallenged and as the defence opened up he fired in a low shot the gave Atkinson no chance. 2-1 and game back on.

The game flowed from end to end. A through ball from close found Jennings and his first time shot was well saved by Jameson, at the other end some good work by Slocombe provided Davies with great opportunities to cross the ball into dangerous areas but the winger failed to deliver.

Utilising the slope, Consett were applying more pressure to the RCA backline. In a rare counter attack by RCA Jones found Jennings who crossed to Wells, but the RCA winger lacked power in his shot and it was easily saved by Jameson.

In the 40th minute Mackay could be forgiven for believing he had equalised when he unleashed a ferocious shot which was heading for the bottom corner, but Atkinson in the RCA goal somehow managed to get a hand to it and push the ball for a corner.

Consett did equalise two minutes later with a great goal from Lund. Receiving the ball in the centre circle Lund skipped through several challenges before finding himself inside the box and he coolly slipped the ball past Atkinson.

Déjà vu, 2-2 at half time at Consett earlier in the season.

RCA started the second period eager to get back to the form of the first 25 minutes and only the brilliance of Jameson prevented them from going 3-2 up as Berj was set up by Robson and his shot was tipped onto the post before being cleared by Scorer.

Consett’s first attack of the second half saw Davies cross the ball into the box but Lund mishit the shot and it went tamely wide.

RCA responded again and once again it was Jameson who saved from a fierce shot from Close.

Consett were starting to make inroads into the heart of the RCA defence and it was only some sterling work by Paxton and Beasley that kept Mackay and co at bay. RCA were forced to defend deep and didn’t seem to have any outlet.

Against the run of play RCA had the best chances of the second half as first Shields raced onto a long ball out of defence and beat the last man, but his shot was parried by Jameson, the rebound fell to Berj who blasted the ball goal wards, but Jameson managed to get a hand to it and the ball went for a corner.

Five minutes later and Shields was sent clear again; this time he elected to lob the keeper, but his effort was easily saved by Jameson.

Consett, in search of a late winner, had efforts by Mackay and Davies which were easily saved by Atkinson and the only real chance fell late in the game to Davies who cut in from the left wing to fire in a shot which went narrowly wide.

A draw was probably a good result for us on the balance of play. However on good chances created we could arguably have won this game. Injuries are becoming a problem with such a small squad.

February

Sunderland RCA FC 3 Tow Law Town 0

Saturday, 18 February 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Super Joe! Joe Walton breaks for the Tow Law byline to make the cross for Gary Shields to open the scoring for RCA. Joe's pace and power also laid on the second and third goals.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match

Click here the SportsByte report on the match

Sky Tyne and Wear video of match goals

Sunderland RCA moved up to second in the League exacting revenge for the defeat they suffered at the Ironworks Road ground earlier in the season. In the end this was a comfortable victory against a team who are second off bottom in the league.

RCA welcomed two new faces to the squad with the full debut of Craig James at left back and the introduction of Robert Briggs on the bench. The pre match warm up looked to have been changed and the partnership of Shields and Davison up front really paid dividends as the oldest player on the books Gary Shields produced a man of the match performance.

After the enforced lay off due to the bad weather lately it was great to be back in action. The wind which has accompanied all but one of our home fixtures also returned making conditions difficult to play attractive football.

RCA made wholesale changes for this match, new signing James slotting in at left back, Paxton and Oates re-united to form the central defensive partnership, McGuinness was pushed forward into the left wing position and Shields was brought in to partner Davison up front.

The game started slowly, with no tempo to the game. Both teams seemed to be taking time to adjust to the bitterly cold wind. RCA created the first chance on five minutes when a cross from Walton found Davison who slipped the ball to Shields, but his shot cleared the crossbar.

As the match progressed it seemed that the RCA midfield was being stifled by the hard tackling Lawyers midfield. McGuinness created a chance for Davison in the tenth minute but the striker headed straight at Gordon.

A spark of life was injected into the game when Oates won the ball in midfield and played it to Close. He combined with Cuthbertson before sending a lovely pass to Walton who beat the full back before curling in a great cross which both Davison and Shields were inches from touching into the net.

Tow Law took inspiration from this to create their first effort on goal when Robson won the ball and played in Nixon who turned and fired in a low shot which Atkinson did well to turn round the post for a corner. Herbert took the corner and Luke Thompson, powering in at the back post sent his header over the bar.

Once again the game got bogged down in the midfield with little in the way of chances for either team and neither keeper being troubled.

RCA took the lead in the 34th minute when a brilliant piece of play saw Walton turn two defenders before crossing into the box for Shields to slam home from five yards out.

As the half progressed RCA became more dominant and the Lawyers were reduced to the odd counter attack with Nixon the main threat. RCA should have doubled their lead just before half time when Jones and Walton combined, but the final effort from Jones was easily saved by Gordon.

RCA were forced to make a substitution at half time when the injured Cuthbertson made way for new signing Briggs. The second half started with a bang as Walton raced onto a beautiful through ball from Paxton before crossing for Close to slot home in almost a carbon copy of the first goal.

It was almost one way traffic for the next 20 minutes as RCA mounted wave upon wave of attacks on the Lawyers goal. Davison headed over and Walton, bursting through fired over and Shields forced a save from Gordon. Briggs settled into the midfield slot and produced a lovely through ball to Close, the RCA captain was tripped and a freekick was awarded. Davison took charge and fired in a thunderbolt of a shot which flew inches over the bar with Gordon stranded.

The Lawyers only real chance of the half came in the 66th minute when a ball played out of defence was held up by Nixon before he played in Waters, he in turn crossed into the box and Paxton had to be at his best to turn the ball away for a corner with Nixon in close attendance.
From the corner RCA cleared up field to Shields who held the ball up before playing in Jones, his cross was met by Davison, but he could only steer his header wide of the target.

Within a minute Shield had the opportunity to sew the game up, a high ball from Oates seemed to have caught the Lawyers defence napping and Shields nipped in to lob the keeper, the ball struck the inside of the post and rebounded into the grateful arms of Gordon.

Most of the half had been dominated by RCA but Town Law had stuck to their guns and defended well. However it was a mistake in the Lawyers' defence which saw the home team extend their lead and it was once again Walton who supplied a sublime cross into the path of Shields and he made no mistake from close range.

RCA kept control of the game and saw out the final five minutes without much trouble.

This was an all round team performance that broke the hearts of the Tow Law faithful. Marske up next will pose a different threat and as with all games in the STL Northern League there are no easy ones.

Marske United FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 2

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Only one change to the team that won on Saturday with Briggs coming in for the sidelined Cuthbertson who looks likely to be out for some time with a torn groin muscle.

Once again a really strong wind looked likely to cause major problems for the players, I can't remember a season when there has been so many games affected by the wind.

Marske took advantage of the strong wind in the first half and went on the offensive from the start pushing RCA back. A long range effort from McGill set the tempo for the half with Marske pushing forward and RCA defending and using a counter attacking policy.

Marske came close to opening the scoring when a long ball out of defence by Carling bounced kindly for Brunskill, but the striker could only steer his effort wide of the upright.

RCA withstood the early pressure and started to put some good passing moves together, McGuinness cutting in from the left slid the ball to Briggs who in turn passed the ball to Davison, but he shot over from ten yards out.

A promising move between Ormerod and McGill came to nothing as the final ball got swept away on the wind and Atkinson was able to pick up the pieces.
The game was becoming very scappy and chances were few and far between.

RCA’s best chance of the half came when Briggs swept the ball out to Walton whose cross was met by McGuinness at the far post and he laid the ball into the path of Shields who fired in a shot but Willey pulled off a miraculous save to keep the scores level.

Marske once again forced RCA back on the defensive but couldn’t find the finishing touch in the final third.

As the game entered the last five minutes of the half, RCA looked to be taking control of the game and looked quite comfortable.

The second half started explosively with Walton sprinting past the full back before swinging in a cross which looked to strike a Marske defender on the hand before being cleared; the penalty appeal was turned down.

Within five minutes RCA took the lead when again Walton got to the by line, this time his cross found its way to the back post where McGuinness was waiting and had the simplest of tap ins.

RCA were rampant now and wave upon wave of attacks were being repelled by a strong defensive partnership of Carling and Marron.

In the 75th minute RCA were awarded a penalty when Close was brought down in the process of shooting after being put through by Davison. Walton stepped up and sent Willey the wrong way with his spot kick.

Jennings, on for Shieldsm went close to making it 3-0 with a curling shot which went narrowly wide and Berj was guilty of an amazing miss when he was clear of the Marske defence but, possibly thinking he was offside, he hesitated and gave Willey the opportunity to save at his feet.

Marske finished the game on the attack trying to salvage something as RCA tired, but the visiting defence were never really troubled and were well worth the three points.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Stokesley SC FC 1

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Sky Tyne and Wear video of match goals, ambulance and interview with Neil Hixon

Tonight's game was held up for 50 minutes when, in the 76th minute, Robert Briggs, on loan from Gateshead FC, fell awkwardly on his right arm and an ambulance was called. The initial diagnosis is a broken humorous and we understand that he will be undergoing an operation later today (Wednesday) to reset the bone. We all wish him a full and speedy recovery.

The match itself saw Sunderland RCA continue to find it difficult to play at home, for all their superiority in the first half they failed to convert chances into goals until the 40th minute. Then two quick goals from McGuinness and Briggs saw them take a 2-0 lead into the half time break.

It looked like game over but the second half saw Stokesley battling hard and starting to create chances of their own and after the extended break they were awarded penalty which Porritt converted to set up a very nervy final five minutes.

RCA entertained bottom club Stokesley SC knowing that a win would take them back to the top of the STL Northern League Division 1. The manager made one change from the team that beat Marske United last week bringing in Berg for the rested Walton. The match kicked off in unusually calm condition with Stokesley taking advantage of the slope in the first half. However it was RCA who were the more dominant in the opening exchanges and it took a good save from Hutchinson to deny Davison after five minutes when the RCA striker powered in a header from a Jones cross. Within a minute Davison turned provider as he sent a ball into the Stokesley box, Briggs rose highest to head into the path of Berj, but he curled his shot just wide of the upright.

In the tenth minute RCA were awarded a corner which was swung in by McGuinness and Briggs headed narrowly over the bar.

Stokesley withstood the pressure and slowly started to make in road into the RCA defence, a strong run by Dunford in the 13th minute saw him beat two defenders before cutting the ball back for Porritt, but the Stokesley forward hurried his shot and it sail well wide of the target.

A long ball out of defence by Atkinson almost caught the Stokesley defence napping as Shield was first to the ball, he squared it to Davison who cut the ball onto his right foot before firing over the bar.

Berj should have opened the scoring on 22 minutes when he was set up by Close but Hutchinson once again made a terrific save to deny the RCA midfielder.

RCA were pressing for an opening goal and when Shields beat the Hutchinson to a high ball he squared it to Davison who, with the keeper out of position, fired at the empty net only to see Mohan somehow manage to head the ball off the line. It was relentless pressure by RCA and Davison was twice denied by the acrobatic saves of Hutchinson. Stokesley’s only response at this time was a cross shot from their captain Holbrook, which had Atkinson scrambling across his line but the ball went wide. Eventually, the RCA pressure told and it was McGuinness who broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when he picked up the ball 35 yards out, strode into space before unleashing an exquisite left foot drive low into the far corner.

RCA made it 2-0 on the stroke of half time when they were awarded a corner. McGuinness swung the ball into the box and Briggs was well place to head home from 8 yards out. Game over one would have thought.

Stokesley came out for the second half really fired up and took the game to RCA. A positional change at half time saw Bivens moved to a more forward position and he almost reduced the arrears when he headed a Davies cross goalward and it took a tremendous save from Atkinson to keep the score at 2-0. More was to follow from Stokesley, a corner was headed away by Oates but only went as far as Porritt who fired the ball back toward goal and Atkinson was forced to make another save at the foot of the post. RCA needed to step up a gear and this they did; a freekick by James was headed over the bar Paxton and three minutes later the same player rattled the bar with a header from a Briggs corner.

In the 65th minute once again a surging run from Close saw him in space, The RCA captain chose to set Berj up instead of shooting himself and unfortunately Berj, with only the keeper to beat shot wide of the target.

In the 70th minute a lovely pass from Briggs set up Shields, his shot beat the keeper but rebounded off the post to safety.

In the 76th minute, Briggs challenging for a high ball fell awkwardly on his right arm and the game was stopped while the physio assessed the problem. It was obvious almost immediately that there was serious problem and an ambulance was called. The game was delayed for 50 minutes waiting for an ambulance, although a paramedic arrived to administer initial pain relief. When the game restarted, RCA where left with ten men to see out the final 14 minutes.

Whether the injury to one of their players affected them or whether Stokesley took advantage of the extra man is debatable.

Stokesley were awarded penalty with five minutes to go when Davies was brought down in the box and Porritt made no mistake with the spot kick. This set up an interesting last five minutes, but RCA held on for all three points taking them back to the top of the league.

March

Sunderland RCA FC 0 Newton Aycliffe FC 0

Saturday, 3 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA's left winger Adam McGuinness in the first half of the match

Sky Tyne and Wear match footage

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match

Sunderland RCA entertained fifth placed Newton Aycliffe FC in this top of the table clash. Only one change was made for the match with Berj replacing the injured Briggs in the centre of midfield.

In a game were both defences emerged on top once again RCA were guilty of dominating for long periods of the game without the strikers being able to score.

This was expected to be a tight game in much the same vein at the previous encounter this season at Moore Lane. Both teams are enjoying very good seasons with a chance of finishing in the top six.

RCA took the early initiative when a surging run by Walton was stopped at the expense of a corner by Craddock. McGuinness sent an in swinging corner across and it was punched out by Richardson only as far as Davison, but his volley was blocked by John Close.

Within a couple of minutes Walton once again ran at the Aycliffe defence this time he fed the ball to Davison on the right wing, Davison fired the ball across the 6 yards box towards Shields but the RCA number 10 was inches away from connecting to open the scoring.

Having survived that scare Aycliffe fought back with Tarling sending in a great pass to Mellanby he in turn set up the ball for Wilson, but his goalward shot was blocked by the outstretched leg of Brian Close. RCA were awarded a freekick two minutes later which James took, firing in a low shot which took a deflection and was finally cleared off the toe of Davison by Craddock.

The game was starting to liven up now and Aycliffe came close when Tarling set up Wood and he forced a great save from Atkinson. At the other end a McGuinness cross was punched out by Richardson only as far as Davison who was brought down by Gray just outside the area. Davison got up and took the freekick but Richardson was aware of the danger and made an easy save.

As both defences started to get on top chances were in the middle part of the half were almost non existant as each attack was quelled by the respective devences. Paxton and Oates with Brian Close held the Aycliffe attack at bay and the same could be said at the other end where Craddock and Jogn Close were outstanding.

However as the half come to and end there was a dramatic five minute period, McGuinness who had been relatively quiet was givenn the ball by Berj and the RCA winger cut inside the defender before manoeuvering the ball onto his left foot to drive the ball low, unfortunately, Richardson was in supurb form and pulled off a terrific save.

A final flurry from Aycliffe saw Oliver fire wide from a good position and then the moment of the game thus far when Gray sent a speculative ball forward, Wood controlled the ball before slipping it sideways to Wilson who produced a delicately placed shot which looked to be dipping under the crossbar and would have had it not been for the brilliant intervention of Atkinson in the RCA goal as he somehow got a finger tip to the ball to divertit over the bar for a corner.

The second half was much the same as the first with RCA probably having the lion share of possession but the Aycliffe defence looking reasonably comfortable in dealing with the threat in the final third.

Brian Close had a 30 yard effort which went well over the bar and Jones bursting through beat the last defender but his cross went past everyone in the box and was cleared up field.

A left wing run by James saw the RCA defender beat two players before crossing to the far post where Walton looked odds on to break the deadlock but once again an acrobatic save from Richardson kept Aycliffe in the game.

Aycliffe almost snatched a winner when Gray threw the ball to Byrne, his clever through ball caught the RCA defence out and Gray was able to get to the by line before cutting the back to Wood, he sidestepped the tackle of Oates before blasting the ball goalwards, Atkinson made the save at the near post but the ball bounced clear to Owen who pounced on the loose ball but was guilty of firing over with the goal almost at his mercy.

As in the first half the game seemed to come alight in the final five minutes and when RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box it looked in an ideal position for either Davison or James to strike at goal. Both players stood behind the ball. It was James who stepped forward and hit a terrific shot which took a wicked deflection before hitting Richardson on the knee before sailing high over the bar. The first shot was going in, the deflection was going in and how the ball went over the bar from a foot out was unbelievable.

The game ended 0-0 and it has to be said that both keepers get great credit for that scoreline.

Sunderland RCA FC 4 Whitley Bay FC 3

Saturday, 10 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Power play: Whitley Bay captain Paul Robinson takes evasive action as Adam McGuinness puts in a cross.

Sky Tyne and Wear match comment and video highlights

Sports Byte match report

Whitley Bay web site match report

Click here for photos from the match

RCA made one change for the visit of Whitley Bay to Meadow Park. David Wells replaced Gary Shields in a new look forward line.

An exciting game was expected and was well and truly delivered as both teams contributed to an exhilarating spectacle that had both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats right up until the final whistle.

Playing up the slope in the first half RCA had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the second minute when a through ball from Walton found Davison in loads of space inside the 18 yard area; the RCA striker inexplicably decided to square the ball rather than shoot and Ponder was able to clear the ball downfield.

Whitley Bay with the strong breeze at their backs, began to press forward and in the fifth minute Chow had a shot blocked by Paxton and Kerr, following in, fired the rebound over the bar.

Both teams were trying to keep the ball on the ground and were playing some attractive football without any real end result.

Neither keeper was seriously tested until the 18th minute when Robinson won possession before firing in a 30 yard shot that was well saved by Atkinson. This seemed to lift the Bay and two minutes later they took the lead. Robinson won the ball 25 yards out and skipped past two defenders before unleashing a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area into the corner of the net.

RCA responded with a flurry of chances, the first a long range effort from Davison was well saved by Hayes. The Whitley Bay keeper was called upon a minute later to make a double save. As a corner was cleared it fell to Davison whose shot was parried away by Hayes, McGuinness from the edge of the box powered in a left foot shot which struck Hayes on the legs and rebounded to safety.

Whitley came back at RCA and went two goals up on 26 minutes when Pounder won the ball in mid-field before hitting a tremendous 35 yard shot which beat Atkinson before crashing off the underside of the bar and into the net.

The RCA management team made a tactical substitution bringing on former Whitley defender Ian Dixon to replace McGuinness in an effort to match Whitley Bay in midfield. Unfortunately, although this was effective, Dixon was only on the pitch for 12 minutes before damaging knee ligaments and he was forced to leave the field and was replaced by Beasley.

In the final minute of the half RCA almost score when Tom Berj headed over the bar.

Overall 2-0 to Whitley Bay was probably about right. The difference between the teams was the quality of the finishing.

The second half began with Whitley continuing to force the pace, and when Fawcett broke clear up the left wing, he sent a lovely cross into the box which beat everyone and went harmlessly for a goal kick.

Paul Robinson was causing al sorts of problems for the RCA defence and might have added a third goal after 55 minutes, jinxing past two defenders inside the area, but his shot was brilliantly pushed behind by Atkinson.

RCA started to press more as they got to grips with the Bay midfield and in a four minute spell they were back in the game level at 2-2.

Jennings was brought on to replace Wells and add a bit of height to the RCA forward line. Bay tried to counter this move bringing on Smith for the injured McMullen. A minute after these substitutions RCA were awarded a corner and in melee that ensued Oates kept a cool head before firing the ball into the roof of the net.

The scores were level in the 64th minute when Berj won the ball on the edge on the Whitley Bay box before sliding the ball to Davison who struck excellent shot from 20 yards out into the bottom corner of the net.

The game was turning into a full-blooded typical Northern League match. Whitley Bay responded to the equaliser as only they can by going on the attack and Ormston was denied by Jones who deflected the ball high over the bar after the Bay midfielder looked odds on to score.

Whitley Bay regained the lead in the 72nd minute when a corner was only cleared as far as Robinson. The Bay captain played an inch perfect pass to Pounder who, with the outside of his boot slotted home his second goal of the game.

Within a minute RCA were back on the attack with Walton slipping the ball to Close who curled the ball with the outside of his right foot inches over the bar.

Whitley Bay were being forced to defend deep as RCA went in search of another equaliser and were rewarded when Davison rose head and shoulders above the Bay defence to power in a terrific header 3-3 with ten minutes to go.

RCA continued to put Whitley Bay under pressure and they were winning all the 50-50 challenges. RCA had a penalty appeal turned down in the 83rd minute when Close looked to be blocked when challenging for a header. Then two minutes later RCA were awarded a penalty when RCA captain Close went to ground inside the penalty under challenge from Williams. The referee immediately pointed to the spot. The decision did look a little dubious, but in fairness their was contact before Close went down. The player himself did not make a meal of it. The old cliche that sometimes they are given sometimes they are not springs to mind. Maybe the incident a couple of minutes earlier was on the referees mind.

However, when all the commotion had died down Walton stepped up to send Hayes the wrong way from the spot and put RCA ahead for the first time in the game.

As always with Whitley Bay, they never lie down and still had time to almost level the scores when a Kerr free kick from just outside the box failed by inches to find the target.

A game that looked to have been lost at half time was ultimately won with a spirited second half display by the whole RCA team.

Dunston UTS 0 Sunderland RCA FC 1 (AET)

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Brooks Mileson League Cup

Match photographs from Ron Aitchison

RCA made three changes to the team from Saturday, Craig Shields took over in goal, club captain Carl Beasley returned to the heart of the defence and Andrew Jennings started up front in a 3-5-2 formation.

If this had been a boxing match the report would probably have read: First four rounds to Dunston, two rounds shared, next four rounds to RCA, last two rounds shared with RCA delivering the knock out punch in the 117th minute of this entertaining cup match.

Dunston took the initiative from the start of this cup tie forcing RCA on the defensive for long periods in the first half.

On five minutes Shaw received a great pass from Cattanach before cutting inside to unleash a great effort on goal, but Shields was equal to it and pulled off a good save. As Dunston pressed RCA found it difficult to string two passes together, and it was only some magnificent defending by McGuinness, Paxton and Beasley that keep the scoreline at 0-0.

Galbraith whipped in a great free kick after 15 minutes that beat everone including the upright by inches. Within a minute RCA had a lucky escape when Shields was guilty of dropping a Galbraith cross, but Beasley was on hand to clear the danger. Dunston then forced a number of corners all of which were dealt with by either Shields or the RCA defence.

RCA's first real effort came after 30 minutes when Walton, given a free role this evening, swung in a low cross which evaded everyone. Dunston came back at RCA and Catternach must be wondering how he did not get on the score sheet as he headed sucessive corners goalwards, both beating the keeper and both cleared off the line, the first by Wells the second by Jones.

RCA fans had to wait until the 36th minute for their first corner and this was cleared by Robson.

In the 40th minute a cross shot from Shaw caused a moment of concern for Shields as it almost crept in at the near post, but the RCA keeper was able to scramble the ball to safety. As the half came to its conclusion RCA started to become more of an attacking force and Catternach was forced to clear his lines when Walton powered in a great header from a Jennings cross.

RCA kept up the momentum gained in the last ten minutes of the first half pressing Dunston back and it was slightly against the run of play that Chilton, finding himself in space turned and fired bringing a superb reaction save from Shields. The response was immediate as Walton, beat two defenders before delivering a lovely cross onto the head of Berj who forced the first save of the match from Connell. The momentum was growing in RCA and two minutes later a cross from Jennings was headed wide by Davison. RCA were showing why they are top of the league they were attacking at every opportunity. This attacking mode was leaving them a bit stretched at the back and a rare effort from Galbraith went well wide.

In the 67th minute RCA had a great chance to score when Berj and Walton combined to set up Jennings, but the tall striker sent his effort over the bar.

With 70 minutes gone the pendulum swung back towards Dunston. Shaw slipped past McGuinness before delivering and inch perfect cross onto the head of Hume, two yards out, but the Dunston forward somehow managed to head the ball over the bar. Both sides were now attacking in gung-ho fashion. Walton had a shot saved by Connell, at the other end Hume tried to be clever and chip the keeper and Shields made an easy save.

Shields was then forced to make the best save of the night so far when a great ball from Kane sent Chilton clean through on the RCA goal; he steadied himself before thundering a shot at goal, but Shields, diving at full stretch to his right, forced the ball fotr a corner.

RCA should have sealed the tie in the final minutes of normal time when Jennings won a 50/50 challenge with Connell and squared it to Davison 15 yards out, but the RCA striker struck the bar and the ball rebounded to safety. Both Jennings and Connell had to receive treatment following the collision.

EXTRA TIME:

The first half of extra time was poor as both teams cancelled each other out and it looked likely that penalties were going to settle it.
The second half of extra time saw a little bit more adventure as first Dunston's Shaw fired wide then Close had a shot over the bar.

The goal that clinched it in the 117th minute was a goal worthy of winning any match. Berj won the ball in midfield slipped it wide to Walton who played the ball to Davison, he played a lovely reverse pass to the overlapping Jones who burst into the box before unleashing an unstoppable shot low into the far corner of the goal. Dunston still had time to fight back and it took a good save from Shields to prevent Shaw in the final minute.

Next round away to Spennymoor Town FC on Monday 16 April 2012.

Guisborough Town FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 7

Saturday, 17 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA's Joe Walton powers through on goal in the first half of the match

Click here for photos from the match

RCA remained on top of the First Division after this comprehensive 7-0 victory over a recently rejuvenated Guisborough Town side who only a week ago held Spennymoor Town to a 1-1 draw.

RCA brought back Ian Davidson into the starting line up as the only change to the team that won in the League Cup at Dunston. The following report is from Mark Cowan, who it is said, is a better writer than wot I am. This is a really good piece and takes a slightly different point of view on the match. Mark is the author of Far from the Massive Crowds.

I hope you enjoy reading it. Apologies to those people who have already read this on another web site.

They say that it’s not over until the fat lady sings. In which case, she was heard to be belting out a resounding tune after just fifteen minutes of today’s game when the visitors – fast up front and quick out of the blocks – had taken a two goal lead and the game by the scruff of the neck.

When you’re top of the league and feeling the warmth of competing sides’ breath on your neck, every game is a big one. What RCA don’t lack is intent; they are quick to move the ball, quick to break and soon feel the wrath of their management team when sloppy passes go astray or when chances go begging.

The fact that the visitors were four goals up by the interval had much to do with giant forward Andy Jennings. There is a natural presumption when a beanpole striker lines up in attack that every ball must be thumped in an airbourne fashion towards the giant target. Jennings is good in the air – of that there is little doubt. But this ignores the fact that for a big player he is remarkably adept at intricate touches and fleet-footed movements which cause just as many problems. This was not lost on RCA. Having gone two goals up, Jennings effectively sealed the game mid-way through the first half when he raced onto a long ball having lost his marker. Despite being well in advance of the Guisborough defence, there was still an awful lot for Jennings to do. His mind was made up; as the ball arrived in front of him he lashed an unstoppable left-footed drive into the roof of the net from twenty yards to send the visiting bench into raptures.

Seven days ago Guisborough had played a perfect hand against Spennymoor. A couple of early Spennymoor chances had been well defended and as time wore on, the hosts were forced into mistakes. Opportunities then opened up for Guisborough. The 1-1 draw last week, given the quality of the opposition, was a tremendous effort and one of the best team performances I have seen in years. So why was today so different? The composition of Guisborough‘s side was broadly the same and there was certainly no denying that the effort and intent was there. But the two early goals put Guisborough in a very tough predicament. No pattern had been established in play and already they were two goals down. A Guisborough goal was needed to wrestle back some initiative and momentum, but perhaps Chris Hardy’s men were guilty of pushing too hard, too soon. By half-time, a 4-0 scoreline no doubt prompted talk of damage limitation.

The second half was an oddity. Much of the play was conducted in the visitors’ half. In part, this was due to RCA being able to sit on their lead and try to preserve their clean sheet. It was also due to a far more incisive Guisborough display. Yet despite their superior second half possession, there was not the same cut and thrust of RCA’s front men. When the visitors surged into Guisborough’s half they looked as though they could create chances at will.

It is tough when your side loses by such a heavy margin. It is even tougher when it happens twice in ten days. But this year is a learning curve for Chris Hardy’s men. There have been several highs this season and preservation of first division status is and always was the first priority, to then build further in the second season.

Yet even in defeat, Northern League football can conjure some great moments. As the result became a certainty, I found my attention turning to the mercurial brilliance of RCA’s coach, George Herd. Now in his mid-seventies, Herd leapt around on the far touchline with the energy and effervescence of a nuclear fission. His distinctive, Lanarkshire tones could be heard above all other noise. Herd epitomises all that is good about football. Despite having been a Scottish international and playing more than two hundred games for Sunderland as a goal scoring midfielder, Herd’s enthusiasm remains undimmed. I was fascinated to establish his secret. As I strolled past him, I sensed a possible answer as by his feet was a can of energy drink. At one point in the second half, the play fell eerily silent. It became apparent that Herd had stopped barking orders. Instead, the energy drink was being poured down his throat as he rapidly refuelled. As if instantly revived, Herd then fired further instructions at his side. You would think that at 7-0 even his thirst (for success, as well as for the caffeine laden drink) would be quelled. Alas, no. As a pass went astray Herd threw his energy drink to the floor in frustration and leapt in the air, as though a Hornet’s nest had worked its way up his trouser leg.

Herd’s mentality, as well as that of manager Hixon and his assistants, has clearly spread to the whole side. They were incredibly well drilled, but also constantly looking to improve further. They have now thumped 88 league goals this season, more than half of which have been away from home. They are top of the Northern League tree at the time of writing and should anyone else displace them they will deserve to win the league. Jennings’ strike partner Davison bagged a hat-trick to go with Jennings’ brace. They have now beaten Whitley Bay, Dunston and Guisborough in a week. If nothing else, at least we are keeping illustrious company.

By the end of the game, the Fat Lady’s throat must have been pretty sore. George Herd’s must have been sorer. They say that Red Bull gives you wings. I’ll say that RCA are flying.

Sunderland RCA FC 3 Newcastle Benfield FC 1

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Scorers: Sunderland RCA FC: Jennings (15) (66), Close (88) Newcastle Benfield FC: McAvoy (40)

SportsByte report

RCA welcomed Newcastle Benfield to Meadow Park and were forced to make one change to the starting line up with Oates replacing the unwell Berj in midfield.

Benfield, with Perry Briggs in charge, were looking for a better performance than that which saw them beaten 5-2 by Billingham Town at the weekend. He must have been well pleased with this performance as they produced the best opposition that RCA have met this year and must feel aggreived at the final score line.

RCA for their part endured the first half onslaught and had to produce a quality second half display to overcome Benfield on the night, it took an 88th minute goal to finally seal Benfield's fate as up until then it could have gone either way.

The match kicked off on a calm March evening with Benfield taking advantage of the slope in the first half and they took full advantage as they pressed RCA back on the defensive, the RCA back line were forced into long clearance after long clearance in a effort to quell Benfield's attacking flair.

The opening ten minutes were almost entirely played in the RCA half of the pitch, both Bell and McAvoy had long range efforts which went wide before Gray chanced his arm with a shot from 12 yards out which went inches over the bar. With their first real attack of the game RCA scored. A clearance by Beasley was won in the air by Davison and he directed his header on to Jennings who seeing Grainger off his line headed over the stranded keeper into the net.

This should have started an RCA revival, but Benfield didn't see it that way, a strong run down the right by Bell almost produced the equaliser as he slipped the ball to Guerin-Lokonga who looked to beat the defender before powering in a shot which took a defection and ended up in the grateful arms of Atkinson.

Benfield were back two minutes later, they were awarded a freekick 25 yards out which Bell took and forced a fingertip save from Atkinson. At this point the only time that Grainger had touched the ball was to pick it out of the net. Atkinson was by far the busier keeper. Benfield were well on top and their passing and movement was mesmerising at times. Fortunately for RCA they were not really producing anything of note in the final third.

A strong 40 yard run by Paterson went unchallenged and he was allowed to get in a fierce shot which dipped narrowly over the bar.

In the 28th minute of the game came the miss of the season when Gray skipped past his defender before crossing the ball inside the six yard area to Bell who somehow managed to miss the goal from two yards out, sending the ball back across the empty goal for a goal kick.

Collins had a great chance to equalise when he powered a free header over the bar from a Gray corner.

The pressure eventually told in the 40th minute when, after some sustained pressure from Gray and Bell, the ball was slipped through to McAvoy and he made no mistake from six yards out. The goal created an immediate response from RCA. It was as if someone had lifted a weight off their shoulders as they powered their way back into the game. A cross from McGuinees was headed narrowly over by Walton. A minute later and a great cross from Walton was met by Davison who headed down into the path of Jennings, but he put his shot wide.

In the final minute of the half Bell had a half chance aurned away from his marker to fire in a shot which went well wide.

The way the first half ended RCA supporters could br forgiven for believing that the second half would be easy kicking down the slope. Benfield were not in the mood tonight to concede without a fight and this they did to produce one of the best games of football seen at Meadow Park for some considerable time.

RCA started well and Walton had an effort which went wide before a long range effort from Oates was easily saved by Grainger. Back came Benfield, they were awarded a corner which was headed clear by Paxton. Jennings helped it on its way as far as Benfield defender Collins, who fired in a great shot just wide of the upright.

The game was truly coming to life with both teams looking to attack at every opportunity.

A slick move between Close and Davidson took the ball beyond the Benfield defence. Walton latched onto the loose ball and from 35 yards out tried to float the ball over the head of Grainger; this opportunistic effort was inches wide of the upright. A minute later and a quickly taken throw by Davidson caused panic in the Benfield defence as McGuinness's cross was headed down by Oates and Jennings was on hand to flick the ball past the helpless Grainger and into the bottom corner of the net. Benfield responded with a quick flurry of attacks which were repelled by both Paxton and Beasley.

In the 80th minute Benfield were awarded a freekick 30 yards out and Bell drove in a great cross which Antony managed to get a foot to, forcing a save from Atkinson. The resulting corner was headed over by Bell. Two minutes later and RCA had a great chance to put the game to bed. McGuinness picked the ball up on the half way line and carried it ten yards before sending the ball toward the Benfield area. Jennings got on the end of the cross and chested it into the path of Close who blasted the ball goalwards forcing Grainger to make a terrific block before recovering to complete the save at the second attempt with Close bearing down on him.

Straight up the other end from Grainger's kick, the ball was headed on by McAvoy and found Bell in space; the Benfield forward took two touches before curling in a shot which went wide of the upright.

RCA broke the hearts of the Benfield players and supporters in the 88th minute when a freekick by Oates was headed back across the six yard line by Davison and Close was on hand to prod the ball home. A simply worked goal that ended a terrificly entertaining football match. The old cliche of a game of two halves was used again tonight and rightly so, Benfield, undoubtebly had the lion's share of the first half while RCA had the greater share of the second. On balance RCA probably created the better chances in the 90 minutes and just about deserved to win. It could have been a different story if Gray had taken his chance in the first half.

Norton & Stockton Ancients FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 3

Saturday, 24 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Flying high, like his team, RCA's Steve Jones leaps into play in the second half of the match

Click here for photos from the match

Scorers: RCA Davison (16) (81) Walton (45)

RCA remain on top of the STL Northern League Division 1 courtesy of this hard fought win making it 11 unbeaten and although not a vintage performance RCA were well worth the points at the end of the day.

The management made no changes to the starting liine up from the mid week match against Benfield, although Tom Berj was available and took the place of Liam Dunn on the bench.

A Davison brace and a goal on the stroke of half time By Walton were enough to see off "The Ancients" and once again the front two of Davison and Jennings performed magnificently, causing the opposition defence problems all afternoon. Jennings in particular seems to have found the sort of form that made him much sort after a couple of seasons ago.

The match was only thee minutes in when the referee stopped play and requested that Jennings leave the field of play as he was wearing cycling shorts that were a different colour to the team colours. Unfortunately for him the ball didn't go out of play for another five minutes and the referee quite rightly only allowed him back onto the field of play once the ball went out for goalkick. (Being waved back on is only allowed after a player leaves the field of play after treatment for an injury). This was probably the only bit of entertainment in a rather drab first 15 minutes as both teams sounded each other out.

The game then sprung into life when Atkinson fed the ball to Jones who carried it for 20 yards before sending in an inch perfect cross on to the head of Davison and the RCA leading scorer headed home past a stranded Porter in the “Ancients” goal.

Norton battled back and forced a corner when Jones was forced to concede as Alexander ghosted in at the far post. From the corner Alexander rose above the RCA defence to head towards goal, but Close was on hand to clear off the line. RCA stepped up the pressure with Walton and Oates combining on the right, Walton swung in a cross which found Davidson free at the far post but the RCA defender snatched at his shot and it went well wide.

Norton were unlucky not to get back into the game a minute later when a cross into the box from Martin caused panic in the goalmouth and in the scramble that followed Magowan prodded the ball towards goal and this time it was Beasley who cleared off the line.

The last ten minutes of the half were almost constant pressure from RCA as they built up momentum. A fierce drive by Walton 30 yards out went wide of the target, then Jones and Walton created another opening for Davison, but his effort went wide. In the last minute of the half Close found Davison in the box and he in turn played the ball to Jennings, but his shot was well saved by Porter. His clearance was won by Oates deep in RCA territory; he brought the ball down on his chest before playing a exquisite ball through to Walton on the half way line. The RCA winger collected the ball and outpaced the Norton defence before slipping the ball past the helpless Porter.

The second half opened as expected with Norton taking the initiative, Scott played a great ball into Jameson in the opening minutes, but the Norton forward was guilty of rushing his shot and fired over. Then a move involving Scott and Magowan ended with a great tackle from Paxton.

It took ten minutes of the second half for RCA to get to grips with the Norton midfield and then an effort from Walton sailed over the bar followed by a brilliant save from Porter as Davison and Jennings carved open the Norton defence with a breathtaking piece of skill. Davison turned the defender before finding Jennings who had time to chest the ball down before volleying at goal and forcing the save.

Norton’s best spell of the game was to follow, Martin took a freekick 30 yards out and Beasley was forced to head the wickedly curling cross over the bar. From the corner Gott headed over the bar. Within two minutes Scott picked up a loose ball inside the RCA half and ran at the defence before slipping the ball to Alexander who tested Atkinson from 25 yards out.

Norton were looking for a foothold into the game and continued to press forward. Substitute Huggins, returning after a long time out through injury, was instrumental in their next chance when he deftly turned the ball to Furness who returned the ball and he slipped in a telling cross which Alexander headed into the side netting. Five minutes later Huggins and Scott combined with the latter sending in a lovely ball to Magowan who headed back across goal forcing Atkinson into a great save at the second attempt.

RCA looked to have weathered the storm when Oates won the ball in midfield to head into the path of Davison who shot wide from 25 yards. Norton came back again and Scott, who was having an inspirational game, had an effort blocked by Paxton at the expense of a corner.

RCA wrapped up the game with nine minutes remaining when Man of the Match Jennings, controlled the ball on the edge of the Norton box before cleverly wrong footing two defenders by flicking the ball, with the outside of his foot, back into the path of Davison who steered the ball home from eight yards out to make it 3-0.

RCA could have had another as Shields raced clear of the Norton defence and passed the ball into the box for Walton, but Mulligan was able to get a foot to the shot and send it out for a throw in.

In the final minute Jameson forced a good save out of Atkinson.

RCA six points clear at the top, makes for an interesting finale to the season.

Ashington FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 4

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Scorers: SRCA: Jennings (12) (20), Davison (42) Davidson (50)

Ashington once again well beaten by Sunderland RCA - Northumberland's News Post Leader's take on the match.

RCA were able to field the same starting eleven for the third consecutive match and started with the now familiar 3-5-2 formation.

The clinical finishing of the RCA strikers was the main difference in the two teams especially in the first half when they overwhelmed Ashington after a shaky first five minute. Jennings and Davison were almost unplayable for 35 minutes of the first half as they caused chaos in the Ashington defence who also found it difficult to cope with the long throw of McGuinness.

Contrast their performance with the poor showing of Ashington's front two of Walton and Godsmark who were well controlled by a solid RCA defence. Overall this was another great team performance and the reward is to be sitting nine points clear at the top of the league. Who'd have thought it at the beginning of the season.

Ashington, as expected, attacked from the outset and RCA were forced to defend for the first seven minutes of the game. However it was RCA who had the first effort on goal when McGuinness fired wide from 30 yards out. Within a minute English crossed into the box and Beasley had to head away Tait’s first time effort. Ashhington defender Craig Scott had to be at his best to thwart RCA’s next attack as he headed a long Ball from McGuinness back to Drysden with both Joe Walton and Davison in close attendance. In the 10th minute a cross into the box by Godsmark was headed wide by Marc Walton.

RCA took the lead two minutes later when Jennings latched on to a through ball from Oates and unleashed a left foot effort which flashed into the net with Dryden rooted to the spot. Minutes later and it could have been 2-0 when Davidson and Walton combined to set up Davison, but his turn and shot went wide of the post. RCA were in the ascendancy now and a long throw from McGuinness caused mayhem in the Ashington defence as Scott got a head to it and fortunately for him Drysden was able to bring off a terrific save tipping the ball over the bar. Ashington were almost level a minute later as Godsmark intercepted a back pass from Davidson but the Ashington forward hooked his shot wide of the far post.

Jennings once again broke free of his defender in the 23rd minute and it took a great defensive tackle from Buzzeo to stop the striker from making it 2-0.

RCA did not have long to wait for their second; another long throw from McGuinness was headed down by Davison into the path of Jennings who turned and stabbed the ball home through a crowd of players from six yards out. With RCA in rampant mood they were unlucky not to add to their score with Close having two great efforts on goal, at the other end Atkinson made a good save after a clearance from Paxton struck Marc Walton and rebounded goalwards.

Five minutes from half-time, RCA went 3 - 0 up when Davidson crossed in from the left to the far post.

It took only two minutes of the second half for RCA to wrap the game up. A long ball into the area by Jones, following a throw-in on the right, found Davidson in acres of space and the RCA defender was allowed time to hammer home.

Jennings should have completed his hat trick five minutes later, but headed over the bar and Walton was unable to take advantage of a mistake by Lough: although his lob beat Drysden it fell agonisingly over the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

Ashington were reduced to long aimless passes and although they did have a goal disallowed in the 62 minute for offside they were never really an attacking force until the final ten minutes when Godsmark had a shot saved by Atkinson before Marc Walton had his follow up shot also well saved by the RCA keeper.

All in all a thoroughly deserved victory and once again a great team performance.

Spennymoor Town FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 0

Saturday, 31 March 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


RCA's defence got a work out against a well-organised Spennymoor attack.

Scorers: Spennymoor: Graydon, Ryan. SRCA: None

Please click here for photos from the match

The view from Spennymoor Town FC

The manager once again made no changes to the team although the inclusion of new signings, Dale Jardine and Harrison Davies on the bench meant that there was more attacking options in the squad.

Unfortunately for RCA today they met a Spennymoor team who were almost at the top of their game and for all of their endeavour RCA found it difficult to match them.

Two major lapses in concentration lead to the goals, Graydon will always punish you if given amount of space the RCA defence gave him and in Ruddy they had a great outlet on the right and this provided Ryan with the second goal. It could have been different for RCA if Walton's shot hadn't rebounded safely after hitting both posts or Jennings' header from two yards out was better directed.

RCA still remain at the top of the table but their lead is a tenuous one, six points clear, but Spennymoor, West Auckland, and Dunston all have games in hand.

Spennymoor started brightly playing some good football and causing RCA problems with their pace and movement from the off. However for all their possession they were unable to make it count in the final third and it was RCA who created the first real chance of the game when Davidson crossed to the far post and Walton forced a save from Dean with a well placed header. The resulting corner was flicked on by Jennings and Beasley coming in at the back post headed over the bar. Two minutes later RCA were awarded another corner and this time Walton took it and found Jennings. but his header was blocked by Dean and flew over for another corner. Moors withstood this pressure and got back in the game with Johnston’s wicked shot saved by Atkinson. Then Kallum Griffiths got in on action, finding space on the right he crossed perfectly for Cogdon but he volleyed over from ten yards out. Within a minute another Griffiths cross from the right saw Moore with a free header, but he could only direct it straight at the Atkinson. Moors looked to be in control at this point and it took some good defending by the RCA defence to keep them at bay.

Griffiths played a one two with Cogdon and really should have done better than blaze the ball over the bar. A Graydon free kick was a little too far in front of the outstretched head of Moore and he could only direct it wide. RCA bounced back and started to show some attacking moves of their own as half time approached.

A cross into the box from McGuinness was headed into the path of Walton by Davison and his shot from the edge of the box was saved by Dean and Davidson pouncing on the rebound had his effort turned round the post for a corner. Paxton rose highest to the corner from Davidson but his header was easily saved by Dean. The final chance of the first half fell to Graydon but his free kick was saved by Atkinson.

The second half started as the first with Moors piling on the pressure.

Two corners in quick succession saw Leon Ryan force a diving save out of Atkinson from the first, the second was punched clear, but fell to Graydon who was allowed to run into space before unleashing a low shot into the bottom corner of the net. Graydon should have wrapped the game up five minutes later when a mix up in the RCA defence saw Beasley and Paxton collide leaving Graydon with a free shot at goal but he lifted the ball over the bar.

As Moors started to dictate and Graydon started to run the midfield RCA were once again being asked questions and were responding with some good solid defensive work. Beasley was booked for a foul on Ruddy down the right, and Graydon sent in a great free kick which saw Moore once again out jump the RCA defence, but his header went well over the bar.

RCA showed their resilience and started to get back into the game with a couple of good efforts. Walton crossed for Davison and the RCA striker headed over, then a quick break from Walton saw him square the ball for Close, but the Ryan was able to get across to block the shot.

When a dubious corner was awarded RCA almost took advantage and really should have equalized. McGuinness took the kick and drove it to the far post where Walton rose and headed back across goal for Jennings two yards out, but with the goal at his mercy he headed wide. Moors came back and Griffiths released Ruddy and his cross picked out Johnston but his free header went wide.

In the 75th minute Moors went 2-0 up through captain Ryan who met Ruddy’s cross unchallenged at the back post to steer the ball past Atkinson.

Moors continued to attack and RCA continued to try and hit on the break and it was one of these breaks that should have been rewarded with a goal as Walton raced onto a pass from McGuinness, outpaced the Moors defenders before lobbing the ball over Dean, but his shot hit the inside of both posts before coming out to Davison who saw his curling effort deflected past the far post for a corner.

Late on RCA pushed men forward in a effort to get back in the game and it took a good save from Dean to deny Jardine. Then from the corner Davison headed wide.

Richardson then had an effort turned around the post by Atkinson as the match came to an end.

A win against Spennymoor still eludes RCA this season. Today Spennymoor looked like this was their cup final. Defeat today would probably have seen the end of their championship bid however it is now back on track. For RCA they are still in with a shout and whatever happens this has been a great season. How they respond on Wednesday against West Auckland will determine the character of the squad and I am sure that the response will be a positive one.

Darlington 1883 7 Sunderland RCA FC 2

30 March 2013

EBAC Northern League Division 1

Goalscorers: Darlington: Thompson (3), Dowson, Johnson, Purewal, Hedley. SRCA: Clarke, Shaw.

Without a home game since November, Darlington called upon the services of ex-RCA goalkeeping legend Gary Ventress to get the pitch in a playable condition. Gary is now working in Bishop at the College and his groundsmanship/green keeping is second to none. He along with about 20 volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the morning to clear the pitch. Although by 4.55pm most of the RCA supporters would have wished they hadn't. 

It was the same old story for RCA players unavailable or not even bothering to turn up. The ones who have turned up to play are to be commended for playing four games in seven days. Unfortunately, today was probably just one game to many and for the final 20 minutes they were running on empty.

As for Darlington they showed a true professionalism throughout the afternoon and broke the 100 points for the season barrier with this win. 

Darlington started the match in emphatic style as they pinned RCA back with three quick attacks in succession, Dowson missing a great chance in front of goal after being set up by Purewal.

It wasn't long before Darlington took the lead. In the seventh minutes Richards was dispossessed in the centre circle by Gott who sent Dowson clear, Wardle came across to cover and sent Dowson tumbling inside the area, Thompson struck his penalty well sending Foden the wrong way.

A corner to the far post fell to Dowson who backheeled it to Thompson who fired his into the side netting.

RCA took until the 25th minute to get any sort of move together when Owens burst down the right wing and crossed into the box, Clarke was on hand to head inches wide of the upright.

An injury to Monson meant RCA were playing with ten men when Darlington took advantage of the extra man to make it 2-0. Emms supplied a great pass to Harrison on the wing, he found Purewal down the right and his low cross was swept past the full length dive of Foden.

Within two minutes RCA were back in the game a neatly chipped ball forward by Gordon evaded the Darlington defence and found Clarke, as he moved inside the area he was upended Brown. Clarke picked himself up to rocket the penalty past Bell.

RCA were unable to put a great deal of pressure on the Darlington defence even when Purewal left the field for treatment to a head injury which left them a man short. In fact it was Darlington who scored during this period when Thompson picked up the ball on the left, stepped inside two defenders before curling a wonderful shot past Foden into the far corner of the net. 3-1 at half time.

Darlington started where they left off after the break, substitute Johnson was unlucky not to score with a lovely header in the 47 minute but Forden made an excellent save.

RCA then started to get a little reward for their efforts. Shaw linked up with Owens before sending Gordon down the right, his cross was destined for the head of Home-Jackson but Brown managed to head clear. Back came RCA in the 57th minute, after a good save from Foden he cleared the ball up field and Home-Jackson headed the ball on to Shaw who went clear of a static Darlington defence before calmly slotting the ball past the advancing Bell.

This galvanised Darlington and Thompson in particular who is almost unplayable in this mood, in the 64th minute he skipped past Gordon and fired in a shot which was turned behind for a corner. The ball was crossed to the far post from the corner and the clearing header fell to Thompson who fired over the bar, the Assistant Referee awarded another corner. From this corner the ball was not cleared and again fell nicely at the feet of Johnson and the Darlington forward made no mistake this time from six yards out volleying into the roof of the net.

Thompson completed his hat trick in the 78th minute when another corner was taken short to Gott, he returned the ball Emms who crossed into the box, Thompson picked up the ball and turned onto his left foot before unleashing a shot which took a deflection off a RCA Defender on its way into the goal.

RCA were out on the feet now and it looked like Darlington could score every time they attacked.

As the game entered the last few minutes youngster Hedley released Purewal with a superb reverse pass and he finished with some aplomb in front of the the Darlington supporters.

Hedley himself got on the score sheet in the last minute of the game when he chipped in a cross which managed to squeeze past the hand of Foden hit the inside of the post and went in.

Darlington gave a great display in front of their supporters today, at times they looked to be three or four levels above RCA. Their movement and passing, not to mention their finishing was top drawer.

RCA were still in this match for about 70 minutes, they stuck at it and showed a lot of character. However, the amount of games being played by a small number of players was eventually going to tell and so it did. 

The away match at Consett on Monday is off so a rest can be had by all.

Darlington again on Wednesday at home. 

April

West Auckland Town FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 1

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Scorers: SRCA: Close, West Auckland: Johnson, Gibson

RCA made two changes to the team beaten by Spennymoor on Saturday, bringing in Berj for Davidson and a fit again Cuthbertson for Beasley. Oates reverted to a more familiar role at centre back and RCA started with a 4-3-3 formation.

Unfortunately for RCA, as so often this season they have failed to deliver the goals in the important games. Much as Devon Loch raced into the final straight at Aintree, miles in front, only to stumble and fall when no obstacle was put in its way so RCA have failed to produce in their last two matches against good opposition. They had numerous chances to win this match but could not deliver in front of goal.

However let us not detract from the wonderful season that Neil and the team have had. It has been like a breath of fresh air to the STL Northern League and as it stands at the moment we are still sitting proudly on top of the pile and others have to win matches to overtake us. Realistically fourth place is a massive achievement and anything better than that now is a bonus.

RCA started really well against the treble chasing West Auckland and forced them to on the defensive. As early as the second minute a cross from found Close free at the far post, but the RCA captain was unable to get his shot away before the challenge of ex-RCA player Hall. However, in almost a carbon copy of this move RCA took the lead on eight minutes,. Walton waltzed past Preston before sending in a great cross which was flicked on by Jennings to Close at the far post; this time he composed himself before firing past Bell.

It should have been all over bar the shouting three minutes later when a cross from McGuinness found Jennings unmarked in the box. The tall striker placed a perfect downward header towards goal, but it hit the post before rebounding to safety. Within a minute another cross from Walton had the West defence at sixes and sevens and it was only the intervention of keeper Bell that stopped Davison scoring.

It wasn’t until the 18th minute of the game that West had an effort on goal when Nichols chanced his arm from 30 yards and Atkinson did well to hold onto the ball as it swerved viciously in the air. RCA came back and once again it was Jones who skipped past Preston, but Hudson was able to get across to block the shot.

Campbell gave West supporters a rare glimpse of what they are capable of when he got on the end of a cross from Gardner only to see his header go straight into the arms of Atkinson.

RCA had a strong claim for a penalty turned down when Jones’ cross into the box seemed to be controlled inside the area by the arm of Nicholls, but he waved the protests away.

West took advantage of the disruption in the RCA team and Johnson latched on to a poor ball out by Atkinson to return a fiercely curling shot past the stranded keeper and into the top corner of the net.

With minutes to go to half time Walton again crossed to the far post for Close, who seemed to be having a field day on the left. The RCA captain cut inside and looked to be impeded inside the area; the referee awarded a penalty which seemed rather harsh. Walton stepped up to take the spot kick, but instead of his usual well struck kick he tried to place the ball and Bell, at full stretch made a great save.

There was an explosive start to the second half as both teams responded to the “hair dryer” treatment received in the respective dressing rooms.

Walton still seemed able to get crosses in at will and a beautifully weighted pass to Jennings almost led to the striker scoring, but the ball went harmlessly wide.

The game was starting to liven up and the introduction of Rea at half time had something to do with the resurgence in belief of the West team. He superbly controlled the ball before passing into the path of Nicholls, but he struck his shot high over the bar. From the goal kick, Davison headed on for Walton and his pass into the box was met by Close, but from eight yards out he managed to drag his shot wide.

Rae produced a stunning save from Atkinson when Moffatt set him up. Atkinson was then able to find Walton from his kick out and the RCA winger chose to try and beat the defender when the easier option was to feed the ball to Cuthbertson who was free inside the box. To the relief of the West fans, Walton was withdrawn shortly afterwards and within two minutes West had taken the lead. Hudson won the ball and passed it to Nicholls. He slipped it inside to Moffatt who in turn sent the ball into the path of the advancing Gibson who drove the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

RCA tried to respond and Davison was unlucky with a shot from a well worked corner, but his shot flew over the bar.

As the game wore on RCA were almost caught on the rebound as Rae and Moffatt were finding massive gaps in their defence and it was up to Atkinson to make two good saves to keep the game level.

In the 88th minute RCA were reduced to 10 men when ex-West player Berj was rightly dismissed for a second bookable offence.

In the final minute of added time RCA were almost level when Cuthbertson burst past the defensive line of West and only needed a touch to beat Bell, but the West keeper got to the ball first to deny RCA a valuable point.

RCA dominated first half possession and West could not have been aggrieved if they were 3-0 down. A master stroke by West in introducing Rae in the second half gave them the impetus to go on and secure all three points.

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 3

Saturday, 7 April 2012

STL Northern League Division 1


Harra's back: Harrison Davies returns to RCA's left wing after a spell at Consett.

Scorers: SRCA: Paxton (43), Jones (82) Jarrow Roofing: Robinson (23) (57) Hughes (72)

Sky Tyne and Wear video coverage

NLFPP video coverage

Please click here for photos from the match

RCA made a number of changes to the team beaten in mid week by West Auckland Town: Shields replaced Atkinson in goal, Jardine was preferred to Jennings and Davies replaced Berj; a further change was made when RCA Captain Brian Close pulled up in the warm up and had to be replaced by McGuinness.

The problems continued for RCA today, they saved their worst performance of the season for this match and at times it was pitiful to watch as Jarrow took full advantage of some terrible defensive errors. The result comes on the back of two defeats and was the first time all season that they have lost three in a row.

It appears that they have lost belief in themselves and that they don't want to win the league, which now looks like a hopeless cause although they still have the points in the bag.

RCA were on top for the first ten minutes of this match with Walton firing over after five minutes and then sending in a corner which Davison headed narrowly over the bar.

In the tenth minute, a Davies freekick was blocked by Chris Scott. The rebound fell to Walton, but he sliced his effort wide of Carmichael’s goal. The Roofing keeper was injured in this attack and had to receive extensive treatment on an ankle injury before continuing.

In the 15th minute a move between Nelson and Hughes brought the first save of the match from Shields. He threw the ball out to Davidson, but his poor pass was won by McMahon and fell into the path of Robinson and the ex-Newcastle striker fired in a rocket of a shot from 30 yards out which rattled the crossbar. Within a minute the striker hit a great shot from inside the area which Shields did well to smother, from his throw out Davison fed the ball to Davies inside the area and when he cut the ball back he looked odds on to score, but Carmichael was able to block the shot.

Within a minute RCA forced a corner which Davies took and Davison powered a header against the post and the ball was cleared up field and went through to Shields. His clearance was headed back by McMahon to Nelson, who fed the ball wide to Robinson and he deftly chipped the ball into the net off the far post from 18 yards out.

RCA took a while to get over the shock of this and Roofing went looking for a second. Nelson fired wide before Jardine outpaced the Roofing defence but instead of shooting he chose to Square the ball and it went harmlessly out for a throw in.
The next opportunity in a disjointed first half fell to Davison after Davidson had played the ball to Cuthbertson the RCA midfielder playe in Davison but his shot was brilliantly saved by Carmichael who was fast becoming a thorn in the side of RCA’s attack.

Two minutes before half time RCA were level, Walton fired in a corner which was headed across goal by Davison and Paxton was on hand to score RCA’s 100th league goal of the season.

If RCA supporters thought that this would be the start of a revival for the home team they were to be let down. An early second half chance saw Oates and Walton set up Davison, but he shot wide. This was to be the start of a period of dominance by Jarrow as they blew away RCA midfield in wave after wave of quick attacking football and they received their reward in the 57th minute when Chris Scott picked up a loose ball 35 yards out. His cross into the box should have been dealt with by McGuinness, but the RCA defender mistimed the clearance and the looping ball was chested down by Robinson who fired past the helpless Shields.

RCA tried to come back at Jarrow and almost scored when a Davidson throw in was flicked on by Davies to Davison whose spectacular overhead kick had to be well saved by Carmichael to avoid the equaliser.

Back came Roofing through Nelson, his shot was saved by Shields and Hughes following in fired over however, the Roofing winger made no mistake three minutes later when McMahon fed the ball to him. He cut inside two defenders before checking back onto his left foot to send a curling shot inside the post.

With 15 minutes to go RCA made substitutions in a effort to get something from the game and committed men to attack. A cross from Davison found Jennings but the tall striker fired wide from a good position. For the first time in the game RCA were on top and only some stirling work by Hedley and Carson kept RCA at bay. In the 82nd minute RCA were handed a life line when a Davidson throw in was headed on by Jennings and the bouncing ball was headed in at the far post by Jones to make it 3-2. A grand finale was on the cards as RCA threw everything at Jarrow, Jennings had a shot well saved by the brilliant Carmichael and the Davison sent an effort wide,.

A good move between Davison a Walton saw the wingers shot saved by Carmichael and his long ball out of defence found Robinson in acres of space and the Roofing forward almost exploited it to the full; he skipped past Shields before clipping the ball towards goal only to see James deny him his hat trick by clearing off the line.

RCA came back at Jarrow and in the dying minutes had numerous chances to equalise. Jennings fired wide, a Davison effort was deflected wide and from the subsequent corner RCA’s keeper Shields headed into the path of Jennings who headed towards goal only to see the ball fall into the arms of Carmichael.

It was a case of too little too late for RCA. In Jarrow today they found a team who are playing to try and stay in the first Division and RCA were well below par.

Sunderland RCA FC 3 Bedlington Terriers FC 1

Saturday, 14 April 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Scorers: SRCA: Davison (19) (59) James (34), Bedlington: Morton (18)

Click here for match photos from Bedlington Terriers' Michael Boyle.

RCA went back to the top of the first division with this win against a strong Bedlington side.

After three successive defeats the manager made changes to the starting line up with James replacing Beasley in the centre of defence, Close recovered from a thigh strain took over from Davies and Jennings was reunited with strike partner Davison in preference to Jardine.

Any supporters who thought that this would be just another end of season affair between two teams with nothing to play far were in for a pleasant surprise as both teams served up an entertaining if somewhat controversial match.

An all too familiar pattern emerged at the start of this match with RCA once again being denied in the final third by good defending, poor shooting or brilliant saves. So it was in the fifth minute when Walton crossed to the far post for Jennings, but the striker was dispossessed in the six yard box. From the clearance by Harrison the ball was well controlled by Stewart who jinxed to the right then to the left before unleashing a shot which Atkinson did well to save.

A cracking move in the seventh minute should have been rewarded with the opening goal. Jennings won the ball in midfield and gave it to Close who crossed the ball into Davidson who in turn chested the ball into the path of the advancing Walton. His terrific shot was heading for the bottom corner when Pickering stuck out his left hand and gathered in a truly breathtaking save.

Stewart was beginning to be a thorn in the RCA defences side as he and Shandran linked up well to create an opening but Stewart’s final shot was straight at Atkinson. The game was flowing now and a quick break by RCA saw Close feed the ball to Jones who crossed first time into the area where Davison making great strides to get into the box could only steer his header wide. From the goal kick Bedlington set up their next attack when Oates won the header the ball fell to Harrison who was allowed to carry the ball 20 yards before delivering a dangerous cross into the box which was only inches away from the outstretched foot of Shandran.

A minute later and Bedlington took the lead when Blackstone won the ball and fed Stewart on the left wing; the Bedlington striker did well to get in a great cross which beat both Atkinson and McGuinness and fell invitingly for Morton who headed home from three yards out.

RCA were level within a minute when Close dispossessed Convery just inside the Bedlington half and raced forward before passing the ball to Davison who made no mistake from 12 yards, steering the ball past the despairing dive of Pickering.

The impetus this equaliser gave RCA was immediately evident, the belief returned and everyone seemed to lift their game by 10%. A corner in the 22nd minute was taken by Walton and flicked on by Jennings to McGuinness at the far post, but his header went straight into the arms of Pickering. Then came a good move involving almost the whole team. James won the ball and passed to Paxton, he spotted Jones’ forward run and played the ball into his path, the RCA defender squared the ball to Davison who slipped the ball to Walton inside the area, he cut the ball back into the path of Jennings, but his shot went over the bar.

Bedlington seemed unable to cope with RCA at this time and Close was running the midfield. Picking up a loose ball he slipped past two tackles before squaring the ball to Davison whose first time shot was dipping just under the bar until the untimely intervention of Picking who pulled of a tremendous save tipping the ball over.

RCA took the lead from the resulting corner. The cross from Walton was headed on by Jennings and punched clear by Pickering, but only as far as James on the edge of the box; the RCA defender took aim and fired in a sweetly struck shot through a crowd of players into the bottom corner of the net.

With the lead RCA did what infuriates supporters and they dropped off and allowed Bedlington a spell of play which could have lead to a quick reply when Shandran’s shot had to be saved by Atkinson only two minutes after taking the lead. Concentration restored RCA looked to take control of the game with some good passing movements and holding onto the ball, however the front two for Bedlington were still looking dangerous when they got the ball and Paxton McGuinness and James had to be at their best to contain them.

In a final flurry before the end Shandran had another shot saved by Atkinson.

RCA, kicking down the slope in the second half were quickly on the attack and where unlucky not to extend their lead when Davidson crossed into the area for Davison but he could only direct his header over the bar.

In the 52nd minute Bedlington had a great chance of levelling the game when Convery won the ball on the left wing before sending in a well weighted cross for Stewart, inexplicably the Bedlington striker stabbed the ball wide from five yards out. Five minutes later RCA extended their lead with an unusual goal. Walton raced down the right before sending in a lovely cross to Davison who powered in a header which was destined for the net only for it to hit fellow striker Andy Jennings on the back of the head, the ball was scrambled clear, but only as far as Close who burst past four defenders into the box before sending in a low cross which was collected by Davison with his back to goal. The RCA Striker turned quickly and curled the ball into the net.

All over you would think but both teams were having none of it. Both sides made changes and were still committed to attacking at every opportunity. Baptist went close with a snap shot and minute after coming on Jardine had a great chance to put the game to bed, a through ball from Close was flick over the keeper by Jardine and shaved the outside of the post.

The introduction of Berj was causing the Bedlington midfield problems with his tenacious appetite for the game.

In the 81st minute RCA should definitely have sealed the game when they were awarded a penalty when Jones was unceremoniously dragged to the ground by Snowdon. Jennings stepped up to the plate, but blasted the ball high over the bar a la Chris Waddle.

Bedlington were reduced to ten men when captain Bowey was dismissed for deliberately kicking out at Berj. There was little of not in the final six minutes with both teams having given their all in the previous 80 plus.

On the balance of play RCA deserved the points and will now finish the season no lower than fourth in the league a great achievement with the limited resources at our disposal.

Spennymoor Town FC 4 Sunderland RCA FC 0

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Brooks Mileson League Cup

Scorers: Spennymoor: Graydon, Cogdon, Andrews 2

As one RCA player commented after the match "Just to come here and score would do, never mind get a result". The Spennymoor Cup curse continued with this defeat. Although the final result somewhat flattered Spennymoor, in the end the best team overall on the night probably did win.

Preparation for this match was almost catastrophic with Paxton unavailable through work committments, Davidson, Jardine, Davies and Berj all cup-tied and Owens unavailable due to family matters. RCA only had 11 fit player and two of those were goalkeepers. Mark Davison passed a very late fitness test and give credit to the lad he played through the pain barrier for almost three quarters of this game.

The team therefore was changed from Saturday with Cuthbertson coming in for Davidson, Beasley replaced Paxton and Craig Shields the only other fit player on the bench.

The game as expected started briskly with the inevitable onslaught by the nippy forwards of Spennymoor being repelled by some stubborn defensive work by a resilient RCA defence. The opening five minutes was almost entirely spent in the RCA half, but the only opportunity fell to Johnson who curled his effort well wide of the target after some good build up play by Cogdon. It took RCA ten minutes to mount their first serious threat on the Spennymoor goal when Walton received a through ball from Cuthbertson before crossing into the box, but Jones at full stretch could only head straight at Dean. Spennymoor were quick to respond and from the throw out the ball was collected by Ruddy who crossed the half way line before sending in a sublime cross which was met by Moore who headed over.

In the 14th minute, Moors were awarded a contentious freekick when James seemed to hold off Peacock to let the ball run for a goal kick, Graydon took the freekick aiming his shot at the near post and it took some great defending by McGuinness to clear the danger. From the clearance RCA broke quickly and it was the unlikely appearance of Beasley heading the charge inside the Spennymoor half; he seemed to get caught in two minds whether to shot or to pass to Davison and in the end the cross cum shot was saved at the second attempt by Dean with Davison in close attendance.

In the 20th minute a good run by Johnson across field was rewarded when his cut back was deflected for a corner. Spenny brought up the big guns for this and Ruddy sent in a beautiful kick which Ryan met but could only poser his header onto the roof of the net.

After a couple of niggling fouls RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box, Walton and Davison lined up to take. Walton squared the ball to Davison who fired over the bar from 20 yards out.

Another Codgon run ended with the ball running on to Atkinson and his long clearance was headed out of defence by Mason straight to Walton who volleyed over the bar from 35 yards out.

On the half hour Spennymoor seemed to up the ante and when Moore found Cogdon with a great ball the little forward went on a mazy crossfield run past four or five defenders before unleashing a terrible shot which went well wide.

The game changed in dramatic fashion when a long ball from Ryan found Johnson on the edge of the RCA box. Initially Beasley did well to make the Spennymoor forward go towards the corner flag however in doing so he was adjudged to have fouled Johnson. After a long discussion with the referee Beasley was cautioned and up stepped Graydon with a trademark freekick straight into the corner of the net at the near post 1-0 to Spennymoor.

RCA tried to respond and were unlucky with a couple of attempts, Dean was first to react to a through ball from close and got to the ball just in front of the tiring Davison. Then Davison fired in a freekick which took a wicked deflection for a corner. At the other end Foster struck the bar with a superb header from a Ruddy cross.

RCA looked to get back into the game early in the second half with Walton making a number of good runs early on but none coming to anything and the Spennymoor defence held firm.

In the 55th minute a cross from Cogdon was met on the volley by Ruddy, but McGuinness was on hand to clear off the line.

RCA were committing men forward and leaving gaps at the back but it was to be an uncharacteristic defensive mix up which would lead to Spennymoor extending their lead, when Mason’s long clearance fell between Beasley and Atkinson neither looked to take charge and Andrews nipped in to steer the ball into the net. Spennymoor looked well on top at this point and it was only some resolute defending that kept the home side at bay.

In the 75th minute RCA were forced to bring on substitute goalkeeper Craig Shields to replace the struggling Davison up front.

RCA continued to pose a threat when they were going forward, but Dean in the Spennymoor goal had little in the way of saves to make mainly due to the great defence he had in front of him. The final chance for RCA fell to Shields, but he managed to slice his shot wide of the target.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Spennymoor tightened their grip on the tie. Andrews hit the post with a terrific shot.

A rare attack from RCA saw Walton break into the box before firing wide. Then Atkinson was forced to make a great save from Harwood and the ball was cleared up field by James.

In the next attack Cogdon attacked the RCA defence at pace before curling the ball into the top corner from an acute angle a breathtaking goal.

There was still time for the rare sight of Shields taking a free kick from 20 yards out and managing to almost decapitate the corner flag.

Deep into stoppage time Andrews finished off the scoring piece of clinical finishing. From just inside the area he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the corner of

RCA even in adversity still came together to produce another example of the team spirit that has seen them stay at the top of the league for so long.

May

Sunderland RCA FC 2 Dunston UTS FC 1

Thursday, 3 May 2012

STL Northern League Division 1

Sunderland RCA completed a fantastic season of football with a home win against FA Vase finalists Dunston UTS.

With leading goalscorer Mark Davison struggling with a stomach strain the manager brought back the livewire that is Gary Shields to partner Andy Jennings up front.

Dunston, as expected, made a number of changes to their squad, after their chances of winning the title were eradicated on Monday night when they were defeated by Spennymoor who claimed their third title in a row.

After the rain of last week the pitch was looking remarkably well for this rearranged League match with Dunston UTS.

With nothing but pride to play for the two teams set out to entertain a small, but nonetheless knowledgeable crowd.

RCA were first on the attack with a well worked move which saw the ball played from Close to Jones who cut the ball back to Walton who fire his shot over the bar from 25 yards. Five minutes later and a slide rule pass from Close found Jones bearing down on goal but Cattanach was able to get a block tackle in and the ball rebounded to safety.

Dunston eventually found their feet and a McAndrew cross had to be headed over the bar for a corner by James with Preen in close attendance, from the corner Swailes managed to get in a powerful header which was blocked and cleared by McGuinness. Within a minute Cattanach sent Preen clear with a superb 40 yard pass and it was only a brilliant recovery from McGuinness which prevented Preen from shooting home. Once again from the corner Swailes rose highest to head goalwards but his effort was cleared off the line by Paxton.

In the 24th minute Shields picked the ball up 35 yards out and attacked the Dunston defence before cutting the ball back to Davidson inside the area but the RCA winger hit his shot wide from a great position. The game became bogged down in midfield as the two defences got on top and little goalmouth action was evident. It was becoming a typical end of season 'nothing to play for' match. This all changed just before half time when a long ball from McGuinness fell between Jennings and Robson, Jennings was able to hold off the challenge of Robson before volleying the ball into the net giving Clark no chance from 12 yards.

At half time Walton was replaced by Jardine and Shields was dropped back into a midfield role. The second half started with Dunston, kicking down the slope, putting pressure on the RCA defence and it took a good save from Atkinson to deny Craggs. In the 50th minute RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box and Shields curled a lovely shot just wide of the far post. Back came Dunston with Craggs starting to cause problem down the right, he cut inside Mcguinness and then sidestepped the tackle of James before firing wide. Two minutes later and McAndrew on the left was given time to send in a cross which was headed into the side netting by Cattanach. Dunston were starting to get on top and on the hour mark were unlucky not to equalise when Herron set up Goddard, but the Dunston striker was only able to direct his effort straight at Atkinson.

Having weathered a five minute onslaught RCA fought back and Jardine made the Dunston defence work overtime when he pounced on a through ball from Paxton, beat two defenders before checking his run. Dunston were able to get bodies back and the attack was repelled when Jardine's pass to Davidson was intercepted. This run seemed to give RCA confidence and Jennings forced a great one handed save from Clark and the keeper was able to collect the ball at the second attempt with Shields closing in on the ball.

In the 80th minute Dunston equalised with a goal of true simplicity. A poor ball by Davidson was intercepted by Hume; he passed the ball to Brooking who crossed to the far post where Hume was able to head back across the goalmouth to Herron who scored from inside the six yard box.

Dunston almost claimed the winner three minutes later when Davidson was once again guilty of a sloppy pass, this time intercepted by Young who slipped the ball to Bulford and his pass found Craggs, but he shot weakly wide of the post.

As the game entered the final minutes Shields received a pass from Close, was able to create space before sending in a great cross which beat the Dunston defenders and keeper to land perfectly on the head of Jardine and from six yards out the RCA striker was able to head home his first goal for Sunderland RCA in the last minute of the last match of the season.

This was not the best game of the season, but another RCA win sees them finish in fourth place with 88 points and who would have predicted that before the start of the season.

It has been a remarkable season for all concerned at the club - players, management team and committee - and we have been well supported this season with our average gates going up once again. We can only hope to emulate this next season and try and improve our performances in cup competitions. Thank you for your support this season and we look forward to another successful campaign in 2012 - 13.

Squad pen pictures

Neal Atkinson

Signed from Ryhope CW FC, Neal is an experienced keeper with good hands who controls his box well. He is a good shot stopper and his distribution is top class. Now established as first choice keeper.

Tom Berj

Tom is a 22 year-old attacking midfielder from Bensham who takes his fitness seriously, which will please coach George Herd. Speed and tackling are key strengths of his game. Tom made his début against Shildon and marked it with a goal. His previous clubs include Newcastle Benfield, Gateshead, West Auckland and Crook Town.

Robert Briggs

We have signed Robert on a short term loan from Gateshead FC. He is a midfielder with an Eye for a pass and is not bad in the air. He also chips in with his fair share of goals. Robert signed pro forms for Gateshead this year after spending some time in the reserves, was instrumental in their Durham Challenge Cup final win.

John Butler

JB has signed from Shildon and is not known as "The Machine" for nothing. He runs forever and can play in a variety of positions. Equally at home at full back, midfield or on the wing he is a great asset to the squad.

Brian Close

A top quality central midfielder with speed, skill and steel, Brian joined RCA for the 2011-12 season from Stokesley. His league career involved stops at Middlesbrough, Chesterfield and Darlington.

Andy Cuthbertson

Signed from Consett for the 2011-12 season, Andy is a box-to-box, give-and-go central midfielder who wins his fair share of tackles. His Northern League experience also includes Esh Winning, Brandon, where he was a member of the league winning team, and Chester-le-Street.

Harrison Davies

Re-signed after a spell at Consett, Harra is a good winger who can deliver telling crosses and is a good passer of the ball. When his confidence is high he is a great player to watch.

Mark Davison

Centre forward Mark returns to RCA, where in his last season, he was top scorer with 27 goals. His travels took him to Ryton and Chester-le-Street. Excellent in the air, Sparky also has a powerful shot.

Ian Dixon

Ian has been signed from Bishop Auckland FC. He is a central defender who has played at a much higher level. In much the same vein as Carl Beasley he plays with his heart on his sleeve and hates to lose. He has played in the Northern League for a number of years now and is well known as a sturdy hard midfielder/defender.

Kyle Donaldson

Signed from Seaham Red Star for the 2011-12 season, Kyle is a young goal keeper with good hands who controls his box well. Good cover for Gary Hoggeth, Kyle is one for the future.

Liam Dunn

A versatile defender/midfielder who has progressed from Sunderland RCA Under 18 side,'Dunny' has played for the Durham County Youth side and has a real future ahead of him.

Steve Halliday

In his second spell with RCA, Buddy is a quality midfield player. First signed from Seaham Red Star, he played for Chester-le-Street last season. Steve is another with pro experience, has a good range of passing and a massive engine that means he covers every blade of grass.

Wayne Henderson

Wayne moved effortlessly into his 12th season with the club and has proved over the years that he is quality player. He can play in any defensive position and is a good centre forward capable of scoring goals.

Craig James

Signed from Bedlington Terriers FC Craig has a wealth of experience at all levels of football. He is a left sided defender who is equally comfortable in midfield. Captain of Harrogate Town FC last season, he sustained a serious facial injury which has sidelined him until now. Craig is a welcome addition to the squad. Other clubs include Livingston, York City, Darlington, Hibernian and Sunderland.

Dale Jardine

Joining late in the season from Newton Aycliffe, Dale made his debut for RCA as a substitute at April’s match at Spennymoor. Strong and fast, Dales previous clubs also include West Auckland, Bishop Auckland and Tow Law Town.

Andy Jennings

Combining stature and skill, AJ needs no introduction to Northern League followers. Andy rejoined RCA for the 2011-12 season, where he last played in the 2008-09, scoring 23 goals. His travels have seen him leading the line for Horden, Stokesley, Billingham Town and Jarrow Roofing.

Steve Jones

Steve made the right back spot his own in the promotion season and more than proved his worth in the Division One campaign. He is an excellent defender who relishes the challenges of the first division.

Mark McLeod

Mark is a quality young midfielder who was with Darlington. He is a great passer of the ball.

Adam McGuinness

We thought we had lost him! After signing on at the end of last season, Adam has re-signed. Addsy is a left-sided player with trademark storming, driving runs from left back.

James Oates

One of the best defenders in the first division with South Shields and now for RCA, James has the ability to read the game and makes it look so easy. Always looks comfortable on the ball.

Lee Owens

Lee has returned to his home town and to RCA, where in the 07/08 and 08/09 seasons he made a total of 39 appearances, scoring 13 goals. Able to play on the right or left, Lee combines the three key attributes of a winger: pace, skill and awareness.

Richard Paxton

Recently signed from Shildon in a swap for Ian Maddison, Richard is a strong and versatile defender who plays with his heart on his sleeve. He is a solid, old fashioned defender who likes to tackle and wins his fair share of headers.

Liam Sandilands

A young keeper, who was with Hartlepool United last season, Liam is one for the future and is currently gaining experience with Wearside League club Boldon CA.

Craig Shields

Keeper Craig returns to the club from Horden CW. He's registered as a player, but his duties will be mostly on the coaching side rather than on the field.

Gary Shields

Gary returned after a short return to Chester-le-Street at the beginning of last season. A Sunderland East End lad who has a wealth of Northern League experience, he scores his fair share of goals and is a great, committed team player. A bit of a joker off the field, he has been known to upset a few opponents with his banter.

Joe Walton

Signed from neighbours Ryhope Colliery Welfare, Joe is a 20 year old with good pace. He is a right-sided midfielder with technical ability and great potential. Joe was Fans’ and Players’ Player of the Year award winner last season.

David Wells

Technically in his third spell at RCA – the first a loan period from Dunston – David joined for the 2011-12 season from Stokesley, left to join Bishop Auckland and returned to RCA in January. A speedy winger with a good cross, he scores his fair share of goals.

Management Team:

Neil Hixon (Manager)

Neil has been around the Northern League for more years than he cares to remember and has brought all of that experience to Sunderland RCA. The last three seasons have seen a distinct improvement in the fortunes of the club, culminating in promotion and Neil has been central to that transformation. He sets high standards and is ably assisted by his backroom staff, which now also includes Carl Beasley as Assistant Manager.

Carl Beasley - Assistant Manager

A versatile and very experienced Northern League defender, Carl joined RCA as a player from his home town club, Spennymoor, where he was club captain. A spell at Tow Law followed his first seasons at Spennymoor. Carl was winner of the Club Player of the Year Award in his first season with RCA. In April 2012 he was appointed Assistant Manager.

George Herd (Head Coach)

Nothing can be written about George that has not already been said. As a coach he is second to none at this level, possibly at any level. He has the respect of everyone at the club and his enthusiasm is infectious. He is at an age when most people would be looking to put their feet up, but not George. He continues to coach at a high tempo and will not accept second best from anyone. A legend in his playing days at Sunderland, he is now a Super Legend as a coach at Sunderland RCA FC.

Ian Smith (Coach)

Sunderland born Ian has joined us from Redby CA, where he was head coach. He's looking to advance his coaching career with RCA as he studies for his UEFA B coaching qualification.

Jimmy Montgomery (GK Coach)

Joining his mate George Herd on the coaching staff, Jim reinforces RCA’s Sunderland credentials. What needs to be said? RCA now have knowledge and experience from the top of the game supporting our keepers.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes


Back row left to right: Ian Ferguson (Secretary), Sakli Hanifi (Fabio), Paul Knight, Willie Crew, Liam Dunn, Lee Knight, Andy Place, Mick Curtis, Gary Errington (Team Manager)
Front row left to right: Paul Hartley, Callum Charlton, Andy Colledge (Assistant Team Manager), Mick McVay, ‘Marni’ Metcalfe, Jamie Jackson, Chris Stoker, Craig Peel, Stephen Stewart.
Missing from photograph: Connor Cheal, Paul Brooke, Clayton Davis, Jonathan Davis, James Dixon, James Dunn, Philip Hall, Richie Jordan, David Newby, John Turvey and Gary Tyzack.

Photograph taken by Adrian Wilkinson on Sunday, 4 December 2011

Results

Competition Date Home Team     Away Team
Pre-season friendly 31 July 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2 3 SR Dons
Pre-season friendly 07 August 2011 Silksworth Fleece 1 5 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 18 August 2011 Farringdon SC 1 2 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunday League Cup* 21 August 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 0 0 Washington Oasis
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 25 August 2011 Thorney Close Inn 1 8 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 28 August 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 3 3 Steels Athletic FC
Durham County Sunday Cup 04 September 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 6 1 Darlington Slaters Arms FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 11 September 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 1 Myers FC
Durham County Sunday Cup 25 September 2011 Etherley Dog and Gun 3 6 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunday League Cup 02 October 2011 Washington Havelock FC 0 5 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 09 October 2011 Myers FC 5 2 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
FA Sunday Cup 16 October 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2 5 Dawdon CW
Durham County Sunday Cup 23 October 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 2 Sunniside Social FC
Total Sport Challenge Trophy 30 October 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 9 0 Golden Lion
Joe Holborn Memorial Cup 06 November 2011 Myers FC 3 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunday League Cup 13 November 2011 Steels Athletic FC 1 7 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 27 November 2011 Millview SC (Eurocamps) 5 3 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 04 December 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 5 2 Thorney Close Inn
Total Sport Challenge Trophy 11 December 2011 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 8 2 Southwick FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 08 January 2012 Silksworth Paragon FC 0 4 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunday League Cup 22 January 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 0 4 Farringdon SC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 29 January 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2 2 Farringdon SC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 19 February 2012 Hylton Castle TWR FC 4 2 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 26 February 2012 Redhouse CIU FC 1 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 11 March 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 4 0 Millview SC (Eurocamps)
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 25 March 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 6 Hylton Castle TWR FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 29 March 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 4 heattrace.co.uk
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 01 April 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 4 2 Silksworth Paragon FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 08 April 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 5 Redhouse CIU FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 12 April 2012 Steels Athletic FC 2 4 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 15 April 2012 heattrace.co.uk 1 2 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 22 April 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2 5 Humbledon Plains Farm FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 29 April 2012 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 5 2 Grangetown Florists FC
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 13 May 2012 Grangetown Florists FC 2 0 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
Sunderland Sunday Premier League 17 May 2012 Humbledon Plains Farm FC 3 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes
           
* Awarded to Sunderland RCA The Barnes because Washington Oasis were unable to field a side

Reports

Farringdon SC FC 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sunderland Sunday Premier League

RCA The Barnes got their 2011/12 season off to a winning start, defeating Farringdon SC 2 - 1 with a severely depleted squad due to injuries, work commitments and holidays.

With only 14 players available they all played a significant part in the victory over a strong Farringdon outfit. Centre half and captain Phil Hall was moved into midfield and Martin Metcalfe moved up front to accommodate the resources available, with young new keeper Chris Stoker behind a back four of Charlton, Peel, McManus and another youngster Stewart. The midfield four were Tyzack, the returning Liam Dunn, Hall and Hughes with Place and Metcalfe up top.

Farringdon started at a furious pace, putting the RCA defence under considerable pressure while the unfamiliar back line found its feet, with Parkinson and Noble pulling the strings. Slowly though, RCA began to get more organised and started to put together some good football of their own. After 35 minutes Martin Metcalfe found himself on the edge of the box after good work down the right flank and lashed in a left foot drive inside the keeper's left hand post to put RCA 1 - 0 up. They held the lead comfortably to half time.

Farringdon came out in determined mood for the second half and equalised through Noble after 55 minutes following a defensive blunder which allowed him to poke home from close range. After 65 minutes RCA introduced Jonathan Davis (who had arrived late due to training with his Saturday side) and Chris Lawrence who replaced Tyzack and Stewart, which allowed Hall to revert to his normal role as centre half.

This brought more stability and shape to RCA’s side. They began to play more football and pressed for a winner. The resultant pressure eventually paid off when a shot from distance deflected off a defender and fell invitingly to Liam Dunn who calmly despatched it past keeper Jackson to put RCA 2 - 1 up with 20 minutes to go.

Both teams pressed for further goals and both had half chances, but RCA held on to register a 2 - 1 victory to get the season off to a great start. Farringdon to their credit will play worse and win. They contributed to a good match for the many neutral supporters who attended the game.

RCA continue this coming Sunday, 21 August with a League Cup first round match against a new team in the League this year, Washington Oasis, at Meadow Park with a 10:30am ko. Hope to see a few along for what should be an entertaining game.

Thorney Close Inn 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 8

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Sunderland Sunday Premier League

RCA had a comfortable 8 - 1 win over a committed, but struggling, Thorney Close Inn. Thorney started brightly enough but once RCA Barnes found their rhythm they soon went 2 - 0 up with cool finishes from Andy Place.

Thorney kept plugging away though, with Hodgy and Tansey both prominent and it was Tansey who pulled a goal back for Thorney when he pounced on slack defensive work and poked home. However the two goal cushion was soon restored for RCA Barnes when Place crossed for 'Marni' Metcalfe to power home a header, giving a half time score of 3 - 1 to RCA.

The second half saw RCA Barnes gain almost total domination and further goals came from Metcalfe and Place (one each), before Thorney hit the post with a delightful free kick from Hodgson. By that point, RCA Barnes had introduced substitutes Turvey, Teasdale and Winlow. It was Anth Teasdale who further increased RCA's lead to 7 - 1 with two strikes. Andy Place got his fourth and RCA's eighth near the end to give a final scoreline of 8 - 1 to RCA Barnes.

Thorney are going through a rough time at the moment and all at RCA Barnes wish them well for the rest of the season. We hpope they can turn it round in the coming weeks, just as we did last season after losing our first 10 games.

RCA The Barnes 6 Darlington Slaters Arms 1

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Durham County FA Sunday Cup - First Preliminary Round

RCA Barnes eventually saw of the challenge from a spirited Slaters Arms to comfortably progress to the Second Round of the County Sunday Cup.

Slaters started in determined fashion, if somewhat rather overstrong in some early challenges, but didn’t really threaten. By the same token RCA weren't particularly creating many chances either and the first half was turning into a drab affair when Slaters produced a decent cross for centre forward Isam Mohammed to head home at the far post to put them 1 - 0 ahead. That was how the first half finished.

However, after a half time management talk which focussed on trying to keep the ball better and play to feet, RCA took complete control at the start of the second half. The inevitable equaliser arrived after 55 minutes when Callum Charlton rose unchallenged to head home a left wing cross from Paul Brooke. This was followed almost immediately with a similar goal from Paul Brooke, this time from a Chris Lawrence cross. A further goal followed after 65 minutes when Andy Place got on the score sheet with his first. Shortly afterwards Slaters chances were completely gone when Place scored again and they were reduced to 10 men when a substitute swore at the referee and was duly dismissed.

Paul Brooke then scored a fifth with a shot from distance that flew into the bottom right hand corner of the net after 85 minutes. The scoring was completed when Andy Place got his hat-trick in the final minute with an audacious cross cum shot from a tight angle, which hit the far post and crossed the line to give a final scoreline of 6 - 1 to RCA.

Special mention goes to Slaters keeper Paul Holloway who was outstanding, especially in the second half, and kept the scoreline to a respectable level.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 Myers 1

Sunday, 11 September 2011 

Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division

An entertaining game played in difficult conditions, saw both sides gain a point in a definite case of a game of ‘two halves’.

RCA won the toss and decided to face a strong wind kicking up the slope in the first half. For the first 15 to 20 minutes there was little to choose between the sides as they tested each other out. However beyond 20 minutes Myers began to take control with young Johny Evans and Liam McBride being to the fore. The first chance fell to McBride when he burst through the middle, but RCA keeper Stoker advanced quickly and blocked the shot at McBride's feet when perhaps the forward should have done better. After further sustained pressure Myers took the lead when a delightful left wing cross took out the keeper and Steven Thompson rose at the far post, challenged by Jordan, and a ricochet of headers ended up in the net with the last touch coming off Thompson. Myers should then have added to this lead when Thompson broke through the centre and his attempted chip was finger tipped to safety by Stoker. Further chances went begging and RCA were grateful to go in at half time only one goal down.

The second half however was more or less a complete reversal of the first, other than when McBride had an early headed chance, which he should have scored with after 50 minutes. Beyond this RCA began to dominate and create chances, the first of which fell to Paul Brooke who was fed a cut back from Lee McMahon. He saw his shot blocked on the line and from the rebound Andy Place blazed over the bar. Place then found himself with a clear shooting chance from 15 yards, but Myers keeper Rowan produced what was to be the first of many good saves as he tipped the shot onto the post and to safety.

RCA then brought on substitutes Curtis, Tyzack and Crew to replace Lawrence, Brooke and Place. Within minutes Tyzack produced a great cross that Martin Metcalfe should have converted with his head, but put it past the post. RCA eventually equalised in the 75th minute through a Callum Charlton penalty, rather harshly awarded for an innocuous challenge trying to prevent a shot. However this was no more than RCA deserved and perhaps they should have gone on to win when Willie Crew had two great chances to score: the first a one-on-one with the keeper who saved with his feet and then another free header that he failed to connect with. To round it off the Myers keeper then produced a tremendous save from a Metcalfe volley that had winner written all over it.

So 1-1 it was and both sides could feel that that was probably the correct result overall.

Etherley Dog & Gun 3 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 6

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Durham County Sunday Cup 2nd Preliminary Round

RCA The Barnes comfortably won through to the next stage of the County Cup with a scratchy performance, on a dreadful pitch at Toft Hill against a spirited Etherley Dog & Gun, by a 6 - 3 scoreline.

The management continued to utilise their now strong squad with a few changes, but this made little difference as RCA started on the front foot and were 2 - 0 up after only ten minutes, with two well taken efforts from Willie Crew, the second one being a super overhead strike. RCA then got sloppy and gave away a corner which was swung in allowing a free header inside the six yard box to give the Dog & Gun some encouragement at 2 - 1 after 20 minutes. RCA’s keeper Chris Stoker was by now struggling with a twisted ankle, testament to the dreadful playing surface.

RCA were still trying to play a passing game, but were finding it increasingly frustrating on this surface, but nevertheless when Jonny Davis had a long range effort parried by the Dog & Gun keeper, Paul Brooke was on hand to follow up and make the score 3 - 1 in RCA’s favour. However they then got sloppy again right on half time when a short corner was played by Dog & Gun and the resulting cross found an unmarked forward at the far post for a simple headed finish, to give a half time score of 3-2 to RCA.

The second half saw Lee Harrison taking over in goal for the injured Stoker, with Craig Peel slipping in at centre half and Liam Dunn replacing David Newby on the right flank. Within another five minutes Michael Curtis had to replace Phil Hall at centre half, so using up all RCA’s substitution options.

RCA became more direct now, not taking any chances in and around their own box on the unpredictable surface, but still produced a good move down the left flank which resulted in Willie Crew putting over a teasing cross that Paul Brooke nodded past a hesitant Dog & Gun keeper after 65 minutes. This was followed almost immediately with Willie Crew's third goal lobbed over the keeper after a long clearance from Harrison caught out the Dog & Gun defence.

RCA were by now in almost total control and further increased their lead when Crew again got clear on the left & drew the keeper before squaring to Jonny Davis for a simple tap in to make it 6 - 2 after 85 minutes. Dog & Gun kept going though and were rewarded when a quick free kick again caught RCA napping and the cross was headed home after 89 minutes to give a final scoreline of 6 - 3 to RCA Barnes.

Washington Havelock FC 0 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 5

Sunday, 2nd October 2011

Sunday League Cup Second Round

RCA The Barnes moved effortlessly into the third round of the League Cup with a comfortable 5 - 0 victory over a spirited, and better than their results suggest, Washington Havelock at St Roberts School in Washington.

RCA again utilised their strong squad, and should have taken the lead after only two minutes when Paul Brooke went clear, but his effort went wide of the left hand post. However this was just a minor respite for Havelock as after only five minutes. RCA took the lead when Lee Harrison headed back across goal from a free kick and Willie Crew drove home from 12 yards.

RCA continued to dominate and create chances, but Havelock defended stoutly and tried to play their way out of trouble, much to their credit. Chris Lawrence had an effort from just inside the Havelock half crash against the crossbar before a clinical finish from Marni Metcalfe, after good work down the left flank involving Paul Knight and Willie Crew delivered the ball into the six yard box for Marni to side foot home, giving a ht score of 2 - 0 to RCA.

The second half opened with Havelock still sticking to their passing game, but never really creating any chances or troubling the RCA defence. It was evident as time wore on and RCA began to dominate any decent possession that more goals would ensue, and so it transpired with a three goal burst in 10 minutes from the 70th min onwards. Firstly, Willie Crew got his second with a sweet left foot volley, quickly followed by Marni Metcalfe's second when he poked home after John Turvey had hit the post and the scoring was completed when Willie Crew delivered a cross into the six yard box and a Havelock defender sliced into his own net, to give a final scoreline of 5 - 0 to RCA.

Good luck to the Havelock boys, who, if they continue to play their passing game will see their results soon improve.

Myers FC 5 RCA The Barnes 2

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunderland Sunday League - Premier Division

RCA surrendered their unbeaten record when they were well beaten by a Liam McBryde inspired Myers by 5-2, with McBryde scoring all five of Myers goals.

RCA had to go into the game without a recognised centre half due to no shows and injuries and McBryde took full advantage of the time and space he was afforded to help himself to five goals, ably assisted by Neil Blue. RCA started the game brightly enough & should have had a penalty in the first minute & played some decent stuff, but Myers gradually came back into the game and after 25 minutes won the ball on the half way line and played a long diagonal ball out to Blue on the left wing who cut in and squared for McBride to easily convert from 6 yards. Myers continued to press, but RCA were always a threat on the break and after Liam Dunn had to be replaced due to injury, his replacement Tyzack produced a right wing cross that Andy Place headed home at the near post after 43 mins to give a half time score of 1-1.

Myers started the second half strongly and retook the lead after 50 mins when McBryde lost his marker easily to convert a near post header from a corner and then completed his hat trick five minutes later with a delightful piece of skill, skipping past a static defence to dlot home low to the keepers left. RCA replaced Place with debutant Connor Cheal and Crew with Turvey and clawed their way back into the game when Turvey latched on to a through ball and stroked the ball between the keepers legs to bring the score back to 3-2. Moments later Myers keeper Graham produced a stunning save from a defenders sliced clearance following a corner & as RCA pushed for an equaliser Myers found even more space and RCA keeper Stoker had to be at his best to keep them at bay. However he was caught out with a free kick to the far postthat he assumed would go for ag oal kick but much to RCA’s dismay McBride scored from a tight angle to make it 4-2 and he went on to scramble home a fifth to give Myers a comfortable , if somewhat flattering given the part RCA played in an entertaining match, victory by 5-2.

Well done to Myers and especially McBryde, who on this form was just about unplayable.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes 2 Dawdon CW 5

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Carlsberg FA Sunday Cup, First Round

RCA The Barnes crashed out of the national FA Sunday Cup at the first hurdle when more inept defending handed Dawdon four first half goals after RCA had taken a fifth minute lead through John Turvey. The game went end-to-end for the next 20 minutes with half chances for both sides until defensive mistakes by RCA (no need to name names, it’s a team game) allowed simple goals from Watson (2), McCabe and Bird to put Dawdon 4-1 up at half time and in complete control.

The second half produced a further very poorly defended headed goal for Bird before RCA scored a second with a Callum Charlton volley. RCA’s afternoon was summed up with a miss on an open goal from three yards out, that would have at least given them the satisfaction of winning the second half.

All in all a very disappointing effort only with one or two exceptions, those being a sterling effort in midfield from Jonathan Davis, tireless work from captain Philip Hall and an unflagging effort from John Turvey up front.

RCA need to gird their loins and get back to hard work and a teamwork ethic, as there is still lots to play for for the rest of the season, starting with this coming Sunday against Sunniside SC in the DFA Sunday Cup, at Meadow Park with a 10:30am ko.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes 1 Sunniside SC 2

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Durham County Sunday Cup

RCA The Barnes exited the County Cup with a whimper when losing 2-1 to Suniside S.C., with a woeful performance, lacking in character and commitment.

Fielding a strong side, RCA started the game poorly, constantly giving up possession with misplaced passes and generally looking lacklustre in their attitude and application. However captain Philip Hall took the opportunity to show the commitment necessary when, bursting forward from defence, he played a through ball to Andy Place who finished comfortably to give RCA the lead after 20 minutes. This should have been the signal for an improvement, but still RCA were wasteful in possession and the final ball was often under hit or given away to a grateful Sunniside.

This slack play was then assisted by a dreadful refereeing decision when Lee Knight controlled a through ball under no pressure on his chest and the official chose to give a penalty for hand ball, which Sunniside gratefully accepted to bring the scores level.

RCA pushed forward and despite still huffing and puffing managed to create another four great chances to retake the lead, but dreadful finishing brought no goals, the worst of which was when Andy Place was released clean through on goal with two team mates alongside, but he decided to go it alone instead of squaring for a tap in and fluffed the chance, so 1 - 1 at half time.

The second half was even worse than the first. Despite RCA having all the ball they failed to test the Sunniside keeper once and sure enough Sunniside got one chance through bad defensive play from both RCA full backs, which they gleefully accepted and that was that, a 2-1 defeat, that should have been a comfortable victory.

Good luck to Sunniside who wanted it more and defended stoutly, but really they did not have to be that good to beat a dreadful RCA side, whose only players to come out with any credit would be skipper Phil Hall and his central defensive partner Lee Knight.

So on to another cup tie next week against Golden Lion at Meadow Park, 10.30 KO, when a much improved performance will be expected.

RCA The Barnes 9 Golden Lion 0

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Total Sport Challenge Trophy

RCA The Barnes progressed smoothly into the second round of the Total Sport Challenge Trophy, defeating a spirited Golden Lion outfit by 9-0.

The first half saw Lion up for the challenge against their higher league opponents, but they fell behind after only 10 minutes when Martin Metcalfe slotted home from close range after a good move down the right saw Callum Charlton deliver a perfect low cross into the six yard box. RCA then had further opportunities to increase their lead, but poor finishing a good keeping from Lion's Ian Davison meant RCA had to wait until the 40th minute to increase the lead when Willie Crew beat the increasingly dodgy offside trap to ram home to give a half time score of 2-0 to RCA.

RCA then killed off any resistance from Lion with four goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second half with further strikes fom Crew, Metcalfe, a shot/cross from Paul Knight and Andy Place's first after replacing Crew on 55 minutes.

Further goals were added when Metcalfe completed his hat trick and was then replaced by Newby. Peel was replaced by Stewart, before Andy Place completed his hat trick and the referee brought things to an early conclusion, to give a final score of 9 - 0 to RCA.

Good luck to Lion who played spiritedly till the end and a special mention to keeper Davison who produced a string of excellent saves throughout the 90 minutes to keep Lion in the game.

It is a tougher test next week with an away tie in the Joe Holborn Memorial Cup against Myers at Billy Hardy Centre, Castletown.

Steels Athletic FC 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC 7

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday League Cup

Both sides were severely depleted for this League Cup encounter. Steels had players missing or with thick heads due to over indulgance the previous night and RCA had a total of 13 players unavailable for selection (including the complete list of forwards) and captain Hall left out due to an injury picked up on Saturday. Nevertheless both teams got 11 players on the park and both had a couple of subs too.

Steels started much the better and were clearly up for the challenge, being first to most loose balls and playing some neat attractive football. They deservidely took the lead after 20 minutes when Staite outpaced the square back four of RCA and shot across keeper Stoker into the bottom left hand corner. Steels continued to have the better of the half and could easily have been 3 or 4 up by half time, but for some inspired keeping from Stoker and poor finishing.

RCA's management clearly had some harsh words at the break, because they came out in the second half and completely dominated the game, with Jonathan Davis and Paul Hartley (making a rare appearance whilst up from the Smoke for the weekend) taking over in midfield. It was no surprise when Andy Colledge (RCA assistant manager playing centre forward for first game in god knows how many years) slotted home from close range following good work from recent Northern Ireland signing Jamie Jackson. This was quickly followed by a Martin Metcalfe goal, again after good work down RCA's left flank to give RCA the lead for the first time. At this point RCA brought on centre half and captain Phil Hall to play up front and he immediately had an effect when winning the ball to feed Jamie Jackson who went round the keeper to score RCA's third. Hall then got himself on the scoresheet when the keeper fumbled. Further goals came from another Colledge strike, a well deserved goal from MoM Jonathan Davis and finally another Hall strike to give RCA an, in the end, comfortable 7-1 victory, which rather flattered them as Steels played their part in a very competitive match.

RCA The Barnes 5 Thorney Close Inn 2

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division


Photograph: Adrian Wilkinson

RCA The Barnes bounced back from the disappointing performance last week (apologies for no report, I was not at the game) with a workmanlike victory over a committed and much improved Thorney Close Inn.

RCA started down the slope, with a slight wind advantage, and the opening exchanges were fairly even with both sides trying to adapt to the trying conditions. However after 20 minutes RCA took a deserved lead when Thorney keeper Regan spilled a regulation take and Willie Crew bundled the ball home from close range. RCA then started to dominate and Jamie Jackson shot just wide and also hit the bar with a fine effort.

After 30 minutes Andy Place collected a through ball from Lee Knight and finished in style despite the presence of two or three defenders to put RCA in control. But, just as in previous weeks, RCA got sloppy at the back and after failing to clear their lines allowed Andrew Arnold a simple tap in from six yards to give a ht score of 2 - 1 to RCA.

Thorney must have fancied their chances kicking down the slope and with the wind, but they were undone immediately when they gave the ball away from their kick off and Andy Place was released down the left wing to cross into the box and Willie Crew converted to put RCA further ahead after just 30 seconds of the second half.

RCA took control after this set back and increaded their lead when a Wille Crew cross/shot was deflected past the keeper for an own goal after 65 minutes.

Thorney, to their credit never gave up and got their reward after 82 minutes when Arnold headed home after good work from Hodgson, but RCA wrapped up a comfortable victory when Marni Metcalfe finished off a good move by sweeping home first time at the near post to give a final scoreline of 5 - 2 to RCA The Barnes. Full credit to Thorney though who never gave up and should pick up points soon if they continue with the same attitude.

It was a good solid performances all round the park for RCA, but special mention for Andy Place whose centre forward display was outstanding.

RCA The Barnes 8 Southwick 2

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Total Sport Challenge Trophy

RCA The Barnes progressed smoothly into the next round of the Total Sport Challenge Trophy with a comprehensive 8-2 victory over a committed Southwick.

RCA were given a shock however, when after only one minute, a poor clearance from keeper Stoker was volleyed first time back into the net by Chapman fron 40 yards to give Southwick a dream start. However RCA soon equalized after five minutes through a close range finish from Willie Crew and further goals from Place, Crew and Charlton put RCA in complete control at 4-1 up at half time.

The second half was almost completely dominated by RCA and they went 7-1 up with goals from Metcalfe 92) and Crew completing his hat trick, before a far post header reduced the arrears after 85 minutes, but a further penalty from Metcalfe gave him his hat trick after 90 minutes to give a final score of 8 - 2 to RCA, which could have been a lot more, but for some outstanding goal keeping from the Southwick shot stopper.

Much harder task ahead next week, me thinks, with Farringdon SC visiting Meadow Park for the quarter final tie in the League Cup. Should be a very good match between two evenly matched teams.

Silksworth Paragon FC 0 Sunderland RCA The Barnes 4

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division

RCA The Barnes returned from the Xmas break to record a comfortable 4-0 victory over Paragon, at Silksworth Welfare Park. RCA had a strong squad available, but plans had to be redrawn when keeper Stoker went down with a back injury during the warm up and midfielder James 'JimBob' Dunn took over the gloves.

Both sides struggled in a disjointed first half, and it was evident players from both teams were somewhat rusty after the break. After no chances of any significance being created for over half an hour the deadlock was broken when Willie Crew broke down the right and was tackled, with the ball about to go out for a corner. However he decided to chase it down and just managed to pull it back for Callum Charlton to volley across the keeper into the top left corner of the net, an excellent finish, to give RCA the half time lead by 1-0.

The second half saw a visible improvement from both sides, but it was RCA who assumed control and they increased their lead after 55 minutes when Richie Jordan opened his season's account with a crisp lefy foot finish from 12 yards following a corner.

RCA went further ahead after 75 minutes when substitute John Turvey followed up his initial shot, which had been parried by the Paragon keeper, to tap home from five yards. By this time RCA were well on top and they finished the job off when Turvey broke down the left wing, got to the byline and produced an inch perfect cross to enable Willie Crew to head home from close range, thus giving a final scoreline of 4-0 to RCA The Barnes.

All in all an excellent performance prior to more strenuous tests ahead, starting with Redhouse CIU FC away next Sunday at Downhill complex.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes 0 Farringdon SC 4

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Sunday League Cup

RCA Barnes exited the League Cup when Farringdon deservedly defeated them at Meadow Park, albeit with a slightly flattering scoreline of 4-0.

Farringdon had the advantage of the slope and a fierce wind in the first half and were immediately on the front foot, but RCA withstood the early pressure until a corner was badly defended allowing Pope to shoot through a crowded penalty area into the far corner from 10 yards, after 10 minutes to put Farra 1-0 ahead. The game then became a more evenly balanced affair with RCA breaking forward effectively and having one or two half decent chances to equalise up till half time.

The second half saw the wind drop slightly and produced a hard fought 25 minutes without either side gaining any real advantage, but the game swung in Farra's favour following a slightly short back pass to RCA keeper Stoker, who did not commit fully to his attempted clearance which was blocked by Giliat and broke for sub Adam 'Beefy' Heath to gleefully slot home into the unguarded net. RCA by then had also introduced substitute Turvey into the fray and it was he who thundered a header against the cross bar in the 80th minute. After scrambling the ball clear Thompson broke down the right flank for Farra and slung in a hopefull cross which RCA defender Callum Charlton, under no particular pressure, sliced into his own net to effectively seal the tie.

Adam 'Beefy' Heath added another for Farra with the last kick of the game after a rare slip by RCA skipper Hall allowed a cross into the box for a tap in from six yards.

All in all a very dissappointing second half performance from RCA, but Farra took advantage of some dire home defending, whereas Farra defended stoutly and with concentration, not allowing RCA any easy chances on goal.

Good luck to Farra in the semi against Paragon and we look forward to seeking 'revenge' and claiming a league double against them this coming Sunday, again at Meadow Park.

RCA The Barnes 2 Farringdon SC FC 2

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunderland Sunday Premier League

A thoroughly entertaing encounter resulted in a deserved point apiece after a final scoreline of 2-2.

RCA started the brighter and nearly made the breakthrough after ten minutes when 'Marni' Metcalfe broke onto a ball and saw his well hit drive tipped onto the bar and behind for a corner, keeper Heath doing well.

Farringdon then stepped up a notch and the game became very even, with both sides playing some neat attractive football. Farringdon though were the side to braek the deadlock when a crossfield ball to the left wing found Mark Stephenson free and he advanced into the box and shot powerfully only for keeper Stoker to spread himself and block the effort. However the ball broke straight back to Stephenson and he gleefully stroked it home to put Farringdon ahead after 25 minutes. Farringdon then had a 10 minute spell on top and Brett Gialett had two glorious opportunities to put them two up, both of them superbly stopped by Stoker in the RCA goal. They were then made to pay when a flowing move down the right flank released full back Callum Charlton into the box and he drove home under the diving Heath to draw RCA level after 35 minutes and it stayed that way till half time.

The second half continued in the same vein with both sides playing some good stuff, but it was RCA who went ahead after 65 minutes when Clayton Davis, making his first appearance of the season after a lengthy injury lay off, clipped in a delightful free kick, leaving the keeper no chance. Davis was then replaced by Crew five minutes later as he tired. RCA then should have gone further ahead when Turvey ghosted down the left and played a ball acroos the box for Richie Jordan in acres of space 10 yards out, but he dragged his effort wide of the post.

Farringdon then made their substitute with Gary Barnfather and Mark Liddle coming on and the game swung from end to end, but Farringdon equalised after 85 minutes when Surtees drilled a low cross in from the right and RCA did not deal with it. The ball ended up with Barnfather at the far post and he dispatched it clinically into the net to draw Farringdon level.

The game then took off even more with both sides looking for a winner. Farringdon had the first opportunity when they hit the post and then had the ball cleared of the line by RCA's Jimmy Dunn. RCA then probaly should have clinched the win with the last kick of the game when Willie Crew somehow dragged a shot wide in similar fashion to Jordan's earlier miss, but a winner either way would have been unfair to either side, as a draw to this great match was undoubtedly the correct result.

Congratulations to both sets of players for producing such good entertainment, played in the right spirit too.