Jonathan Carmichael kept a third clean sheet in four matches in the Ryhope derby victory on Boxing Day. Photograph: Simon Mears.
For more photos from the match please click here.
RCA goal scorer: Callen (2).
The Ryhope derby - Sunderland RCA versus Ryhope Colliery Welfare. A High Noon shoot-out between the two highest ranked non-league clubs in Sunderland. Back on August Bank Holiday Monday it was honours even on a baking hot day at the Recreation Ground as RCA failed to capitalise on a host of first half chances and paid the price as RCW finished the match strongly.
Following a dismal run of results in October - seven straight league defeats and conceding a whopping 32 goals in the process - immediate relegation for RCW was looking like a distinct possibility. But the last couple of months have seen somewhat of a revival, with notable wins against the likes of Seaham Red Star, Marske United, Washington and most recently, and remarkably, a win at West Auckland Town in which three late goals saw RCW from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in one of the comebacks of the season. These results have propelled them to lower mid-table and given much-needed breathing space over the three teams currently in the relegation zone - who are now beginning to get cut adrift from the rest.
RCA are currently on their best run of the season - one defeat in eight now, winning the last four and playing some terrific stuff that’s great to watch.
Prior to the match a quick glance at the current form guide revealed that both RCA and RCW have accrued 10 points from their last six matches - with three wins and a draw apiece.
RCA made two changes to the side that won at Dunston in midweek. Ross Preston was fit to return to the centre of defence and Mark Robinson returned to the starting line-up after an impressive performance off the bench at Dunston.
The teams lined up as follows:
RCA: Carmichael, Davis, McGuinness, Preston, Swansbury ©, Robinson, Charlton, Hodgson, McBryde, Larkin, Callen.
RCW: Ball, Francis, Gordon, Bott, Ryan ©, Trewick, Chapman, Braithwaite, O’Neill, Weirs, Ellis.