Sunderland RCA: Robbie Dean; Ross McNab, Sam Lilley, Craig Hodgson, Clayton Davis; Michael Charlton, Triallist, Dom Moan, Thomas McAloon; Steve Callen, Kyle Davis. Subs Shaun Green, Triallist, Triallist
A lovely summer evening at Heaton Stannington, with the pitch looking superb and the bar selling real ale, what could be better? A good set up at Heaton Stan, and the team have performed consistently well in the second division in the last couple of years, so a good game and a good test expected. RCA were missing a few key bodies for various reasons, and the team sheet featured three triallists, one starting in midfield and two on the bench.
The game got off to a lively start and at a good pace, which to be fair, was maintained pretty much throughout. Both teams probed and had one or two openings before RCA took the lead with a super Steve Callen volley, as he maintained the good form he has shown in pre-season after his long lay off. A cracking goal. Heaton Stan were not downhearted though and continued to give as good as they got. They found a way back into the game with a penalty on 32 minutes when an RCA defender brought down a forward just after he had released a wild shot past the post. Robbie Dean got a good hand to the penalty, but couldn’t quite stop it looping into the net. All square and it remained that way up to the break, with the decent crowd enjoying the action. HT 1-1.