James Cassidy competes for the ball at Dunston.
More photos from the match are here.
RCA goal scorers: McBryde; Charlton (2); C Davis.
Just 17 days since that memorable FA Vase afternoon and Sunderland RCA were heading back to Dunston for a Northern League fixture. RCA are currently in a rich vein of form, having won their last three matches and lost only one of their last seven - and in that defeat played superbly at West Auckland for well over an hour with ten men. Since the Vase match, Dunston have beaten Newcastle Benfield, but lost at home to North Shields and were beaten at Seaham Red Star on Saturday.
RCA made one change to the side that beat Whitley Bay. Ross Preston, injured on Saturday, was ruled out and replaced by Clayton Davis. Kevin Gordon was also ruled out with a hamstring injury.
The sides lined up as follows:
Dunston: Holden, Pearson, Halliday, Slaughter, Hall, Capewell, Saunders, Burrell ©, Heslop, Luccock, Youldon.
RCA: Carmichael, Davis, Richardson, McGuinness, Swansbury ©, Larkin, Cassidy, Charlton, McBryde, Hodgson, Callen.
The match kicked off on a fine but very cold evening, and it was Dunston who made the better start, with RCA uncharacteristically slow out of the blocks. In the opening five minutes the home side were virtually camped in the RCA half - with an early penalty appeal turned down. RCA got their first chance of the game in the 6th minute when Larkin made a run down the right before cutting into the penalty area but his shot went high over the crossbar. Dunston went straight back on the attack and opened the scoring when a cross from the right was headed back into the danger area where Youlden was on hand to send a looping header past Carmichael for what was a deserved lead.
Going behind seemed to be just the tonic required to wake RCA up and it didn’t take long for an equaliser. In the 10th minute Callen made a run down the left, cutting into the penalty area and firing in a shot that Holden could only parry straight to McBryde who was perfectly placed to knock the loose ball in from five yards. Two minutes later and RCA could, and probably should, have doubled their lead as Hodgson received the ball from Callen in the centre circle before threading a perfectly judged ball to the clean through Charlton but the shot went narrowly wide of the upright.
RCA were now in the ascendancy and in the 21st minute Callen drove down the left and into the penalty area, his shot was blocked by a last-ditch challenge and away for a harmless corner. One minute later and RCA were almost in again. Larkin chased a ball down the right and was met by Holden, who had rushed from his goal to the corner flag. Larkin got the better of Holden and sent in a cross towards the unguarded goal but Capewell was first to the ball to head behind for another corner.
With 12 minutes to half-time, Burrell broke forward and made a run along the edge of the penalty area before sending in a low, hard cross to the front post which was hit wide by Heslop. One minute later and RCA were in the lead. Richardson won the ball and played it forward to Cassidy, who made a lovely run deep into the Dunston half. Cassidy played the ball to Charlton, who, after an initial slip, regained traction and guided a precise shot into the bottom corner. Two minutes later and RCA has another chance as Charlton made a run down the left and played in McBryde whose shot was scuffed wide. In the final five minutes dunston won a free-kick which was cleared, followed by a dangerous cross, which deceived McGuinness as Carmichael was forced to dive at the feet of Heslop.
Half-time: Dunston UTS 1 Sunderland RCA 2
Sherlock Holmes may have had a ‘three pipe problem’, but at half-time i had a ‘two soup problem’ - with hands and feet so cold, one cup of soup just wasn’t enough!
The second half began with a scrappy passage of play with RCA again taking a few minutes to get back up to speed with the match. In the 57th minute Robinson replaced Cassidy for RCA. The first real chance of the second half came one minute later when Heslop was put through and produced a lovely finish over Carmichael - but the flag had gone up for offside. On the hour mark RCA extended their lead - as Dunston were arguing with the officials about a possible free-kick, Robinson - who had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes - looked up and pinged a 50-yard ball into the penalty area, where Charlton was able to nip in front of Holden to tap in with the goal at his mercy.
With 20 minutes remaining Heslop made a run down the middle of the pitch but his shot was straight at Carmichael, who saved comfortably. One minute later and Larkin made a run and cross to Robinson inside the penalty area - his attempted lay-off fell to a Dunston defender and was cleared. Two minutes later Youldon drove down the left and, cutting into the penalty area, fired a shot just over the crossbar. Dunston kept pressing when Luccock fired in a shot that was blocked by Swansbury.
The match then entered a frenetic final 15 minutes. Robinson won the ball on the left and made a great run to the edge of the penalty area before playing the ball into Larkin whose shot went right across the face of goal, with no one able to get on the end of it. In the 79th minute Robinson again won possession in midfield and played the ball to Davis, who, from an angle at the edge of the penalty area, drove an unstoppable shot across Holden and into the far corner. What a strike!
Dunston threw caution to the wind and went for all-out attack as first Slaughter hit a powerful shot from 40-yards just over, then Pearson sent in a teasing cross that was blocked by Hodgson at the far post for a corner. The subsequent corner was headed just over from close range. In the final minutes Davis played in substitute Stewart down the right before finding Robinson in the penalty area, who turned and had a shot saved by Holden. Dunston pulled one back with four minutes remaining but, despite attempts to further reduce the deficit, it was no more than a consolation goal.
Another cracking win for RCA and a fourth in a row. Despite going a goal down early on in the match the lads didn’t cave in - quite the contrary as they came storming back and played some delightful football during the match.
Next up for RCA is the much-anticipated second Ryhope derby of the season on Boxing Day - kicking off at noon.
A Merry Christmas to one and all - see you all on Boxing Day.