Michael Charlton makes a run down the wing at Penrith.
More photos from the match are here.
Goal scorers: Penrith: None. RCA: O.G., McBryde.
Following last Saturday’s impressive Vase win at Dunston, it was back to league action for Sunderland RCA, and a long - but picturesque - trip to Penrith. Whilst RCA were progressing to the Fourth Round of the Vase last week, at the same time Penrith were going out at the hands of Atherton Collieries. But they did, however, have a good midweek win at Ashington, with striker Martyn Coleman scoring a brace to take the points back to Cumbria. Prior to today’s match Penrith were sitting in 17th place in the league - surely a false position - with numerous games in hand on all other teams, mainly due to playing eleven cup ties already this season!
RCA made wholesale changes to the team that had performed so well at Dunston last Saturday. Into the side came Ross Preston, Adam McGuinness, James Cassidy, Kevin Gordon and Liam McBryde - replacing Craig Hodgson, Clayton Davis, Mark Robinson, Stephen Callen and John Butler.
The teams lined up as follows:
Penrith: Jamieson, Lawson, Paul, Davidson ©, Street, Jackson, Newton, Main, Coleman, Connelly, Hebson.
RCA: Carmichael, Richardson, McGuinness, Preston, Swansbury ©, Larkin, Gordon, Armstrong, McBryde, Charlton, Cassidy.
Penrith got the match underway but it was RCA who went straight onto the front foot. In the opening minute a free kick midway inside the Penrith half was whipped in by Armstrong and McGuinness rose highest at the far post to head back into the danger area but the ball was cleared. Five minutes later and RCA were again on the attack. Larkin made a run down the right and his cross was met by Gordon, whose header went narrowly wide of the post. It was all RCA at this stage, and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 13th minute with a delightful bit of football. Charlton won the ball in midfield and made a run forward before playing a lovely one-two with Larkin and driving into the penalty area. His cross took a wicked deflection, deceiving everyone, and, despite Paul’s desperate attempt to clear on the line, RCA were one up.
In the 18th minute Penrith had their first attempt on goal when Hebson made a run down the left before cutting inside and firing in a shot straight at Carmichael. Back came RCA two minutes later when Armstrong made a run down the left and his cross was half cleared by Jamieson. The loose ball was brought down by Richardson who, turning on sixpence, fired in a terrific shot from a tight angle which was well saved by Jamieson at his front post. RCA continued to press for a second goal, and in the 25th minute Charlton played a one-two with McBryde before releasing the ball to Gordon but his shot was saved by Jamieson. One minute later and Penrith came close to an equaliser as Jackson won the ball down the Penrith right and played in Hebson, who hit a superb curling left foot shot which was heading for the top corner before a full stretch Carmichael turned the ball over the crossbar in style.
Penrith were now having their best spell of the half but without creating any further clear-cut chances. Three minutes before the interval RCA enjoyed a good passage of play when dangerous crosses from Larkin and Gordon were both cleared. Penrith’s final attack of the half came as Coleman attacked down the right, turning past Swansbury but firing a shot high over the crossbar from a tight angle. In the final minute of the half Larkin fired in a shot from 25 yards which curled just wide of the post.
Half-time: Penrith 0 Sunderland RCA 1
At half-time the six RCA fans who had made the long journey congregated by the burger stand to discuss the first half and partake in some well-earned refreshment. We unanimously agreed that RCA had a deserved lead but felt that we would need another goal in the second half because of the potency of Penrith’s attacking threat.
RCA got the second half underway but it took until the 53rd minute before the first effort of note. Armstrong was booked for a late challenge and from the resulting free-kick Coleman’s header was saved comfortably by Carmichael. Two minutes later RCA almost doubled their lead when McBryde fired in a shot across the face of goal, with no one able to apply to finishing touch.
Penrith now had a grip of the game with substitute Murray-Jones’ height providing an additional presence up front. In the 63rd minute Paul had a shot charged down by two RCA defenders as Penrith continued to press for an equaliser. With 15 minutes remaining Coleman went on a typical surging run towards the penalty area and it took a combination of Preston, Richardson and Armstrong to dispossess the Penrith frontman as he looked for an opportunity to pull the trigger.
In the 78th minute RCA doubled their lead. After some great work from Larkin down the right, his pinpoint cross was met with a deft header from McBryde and the ball nestled into the corner of the net. Penrith responded as Murray-Jones made a run into the RCA penalty area but was crowded out before being able to get a cross in. In the final minute Gordon had a run and shot saved by Jamieson before substitute Stewart’s follow-up attempt was blocked. In the last action of the match, Coleman made a great run, cutting in from the right, only to see his shot cleared off the line by the head of McGuinness.
A very good victory and a clean sheet for RCA made the journey worthwhile.
Next up for RCA is Whitley Bay at Meadow Park on Saturday.
My interesting stat of the day: the last time RCA kept a clean sheet in an away game was May 7th 2016. The opposition that day: Penrith. The score: 0-2. As someone once said, it’s a funny old game.