Reece Noble clears the ball in the second half of the match.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Goalscorers: SRCA: Cummings, Wightman; Washington: Davison.
After the mid-week defeat at the hands of North Shields, RCA faced another difficult game against sixth placed Washington.
The management team brought back Charlton, who missed the North Shields encounter through work commitments and with Hatch unavailable his replacement was Nathan Cummings, making his first start for RCA. Harkess took over in goal replacing Hunter who was also unavailable.
The game started with RCA going straight on the attack. A through ball from Brown found Charlton who was taken out by Swansbury. The pattern of the game was established in the opening minute. Noble took the free kick and floated it towards Callen at the far post, but Stewart managed to head away for a corner.
Washington went straight on the attack with Walton; he was fouled and another free kick. Walton took the kick driving it into the box where Butler headed over the bar.
A good move by Washington saw Walton pick up a loose ball on the right. He progressed unchallenged into RCA half before crossing to the far post where Butler tried a spectacular bicycle kick which flew high over the bar.
The game was never flowing as tackles were flying in and the referee was continually halting play.
In the 15th minute Armstrong picked up a clearance from Harkess and played a wonderful ball into the path of Wightman. He dribbled past two players before firing in a low shot which Carmichael saved diving to his right.
RCA were starting to make their presence felt and a minute later another freekick was taken by Noble. This time he found Buchanan inside the area, his header fell to Cummings who shot straight at Carmichael.
The flow of the game continued with RCA picking up every second ball and producing telling runs or passes only to be thwarted by niggling fouls and some good Washington defending.
A great move between Davis and Charlton on the right saw the ball played forward by Brown to Charlton. He split the Washington defence with a pass out wide to Davis, but his cross was cut out by Preston at the expense of a corner.
The visitors deservedly took the lead on the half hour when a cross into the box fell to Brown, his shot was defended by Stewart on the goal line, the rebound was fired in and struck the post and in the scramble that followed Cummings blasted the ball into the net although it did look to hit a defender before finally settling in the goal.
Washington were stung into action, a ball out to Walton on the right resulted in the first booking of the game when Buchanan clattered into the winger. The resulting free kick was easily taken by Harkess.
In the 35th minute Washington caught RCA’s defence on the hop when Preston played a ball out wide to the left and Callaghan raced clear before driving in a shot which Harkess did well to save.
Once again the game degenerated into a kicking match and the referee resorted to his cards again this time Wardle was cautioned for a poor challenge on Brown and then Swansbury for a foul on Charlton.
In the final minute of the half another poor challenge by Wardle on Brown went unpunished save for a freekick.
What a change round in the second half as the home team set up siege on the visitor’s penalty area.
In the 50th minute the game was stopped while Charlton received treatment after he charged down a Carmichael clearance and fell awkwardly, eventually being carried off the pitch.
Straight from the restart of play Washington almost scored when a corner was crossed into the box, Davison headed down and Davis’s attempted clearance struck Butler who then had his shot saved by Harkess.
A minute later and the ball was again played forward this time by Tait. Butler picked it up on the edge of the area before firing in a shot which Davis blocked; the rebound fell to Davison, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
Washington substitute Okus’s first contribution to the game was a through ball to Davison who slipped the ball past the advancing Harkess, but Cummings was just able to get back and clear off the line under pressure from Butler.
RCA’s only real contribution during this period was an effort by Wightman after some good work by Graham. Unfortunately the final shot went high over the bar.
A clumsy challenge by Buchanan saw the RCA defender dismissed for a second offence.
Within minutes Washington equalised in controversial circumstances, with the ball looking to be going out of play a Washington player stopped it on the line, Armstrong was in close attendance and looked to play the ball for a corner. The assistant referee indicated that there had been an infringement and a penalty was awarded. Davison took the kick and although Harkess gat a hand to it he could not prevent the ball crossing the line.
In the 80th minute and against the run of play RCA regained the lead. RCA were awarded a freekick deep inside their own half, Noble took it quickly and sent the ball out to Wightman who was able to advance unchallenged on the left, he appeared to stumble under a challenge but somehow managed to hook the ball past a bewildered Carmichael and into the net.
Washington threw everything at RCA and RCA wasted as much time as they could without incurring the wrath of the referee.
Shots were raining in from all angles, but Harkess was able to deal with them fairly easily for the most part.
Man of the Match Cummings was substituted shortly after the goal having sustained a knock to the head when clearing a Washington attack.
With nine minutes of injury time played the referee finally brought this match to a close.
Why this fixture always turns into a battle is beyond me, the two clubs have a good historical relationship, when Washington were in trouble in 1991-92 seasons it was Ryhope who ground-shared with them for two years and last season when we had problems with our ground it was Washington who generously allowed us to use their pitch and facilities.
Today’s game was not pretty to watch. It was littered with petty fouls and poor passing which made for a disappointing game for the spectator and will add another £100 plus into the coffers of Durham FA.
That being said RCA were the better team in the first half and deserved to be in front. The second half degenerated into a shouting match whoever could shout “Referee” the loudest seemed to get the decision and in the main it went the way of Washington.
A good solo effort by Wightman was the difference between the two sides.
Another three points in the bag and next up Dunston UTS at home on Tuesday.