Michael Charlton fires in the shot that lead to James Cassidy opening the scoring. Photograph: Simon Mears.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Goal scorers - RCA: Cassidy; Larkin.
Following Wednesday’s dismal trip to Newcastle Benfield, Sunderland RCA were again on their travels - making the short trip to Seaham Red Star. This match was the third in a series of three matches against clubs around us in the table. Following a goalless draw with Newton Aycliffe, RCA were hammered by Newcastle Benfield on Wednesday - so would be looking for a win to get back on track.
The reverse fixture finished in a 1-1 draw at Meadow Park back in October.
RCA made just one change to the side that lost heavily at Newcastle Benfield, with Michael Charlton replacing Craig Hubbard.
The two sides lined up as follows:
Seaham: Newbrook (c); Walker; Price; Johnston; Goodman; Galbraith; Kane; Hodgson; Lynch; Proctor; Bird.
RCA: Carmichael; Richardson; McGuinness; Preston; Swansbury (c); Armstrong; Charlton; Larkin; Butler; Callen; Cassidy.
The match kicked-off in glorious sunshine - most welcome after Wednesday night at Benfield! - and it was Seaham who made the better start. Bird made a good run down the left, cutting into the penalty area but his attempted cross was blocked by Richardson for a corner which was cleared by Preston. In the eighth minute Kane attacked down the right and crossed in the direction of Proctor but Preston was able to guide a cushioned header back to Carmichael. One minute later and Seaham had strong appeals for a foul on the edge of the penalty area as Lynch went to ground when in on goal, but the referee waved play on. RCA’s first meaningful attack came in the 10th minute when Callen crossed from the left and Charlton turned in the penalty area and fired over the crossbar - with the offside flag raised. There was then an uneventful passage of play - with no real efforts of note.
On the half hour mark, Larkin made an interception in central midfield before making a run down the right but the cross was cleared for a corner which was also cleared. One minute later and Bird made a run down the Seaham left and fired in a shot which went out for a throw-in on the opposite side. In the 38th minute RCA won a free-kick midway inside the Seaham half after Larkin was tripped. Larkin’s free-kick was headed back into the danger area by Callen at the far post and Swansbury’s header towards goal was saved by Newbrook, diving to his right. Six minutes later and RCA had a great chance to take the lead as Armstrong, in central midfield, played to ball out to Butler on the left wing. Butler made a terrific run, cutting into the penalty area and towards the six-yard line, before firing in a shot that was blocked by Newbrook. In first half stoppage time Callen turned his man on the edge of the penalty area and fired in a shot that was turned around the post by Newbrook for a corner which was headed away from goal by Swansbury.
Half-time: Seaham Red Star 0 Sunderland RCA 0
A very ordinary half with clear-cut chances at a premium.
RCA were straight on the attack after the interval - Cassidy was fouled midway inside the Seaham half, and from Larkin’s free-kick, Swansbury headed the ball down to Butler whose shot was blasted off the crossbar. From the rebound Callen blazed over the crossbar. In the 50th minute Callen made a good run down the RCA right before playing the ball into Richardson who was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area - with RCA appealing for a penalty. McGuinness struck the free-kick into the wall and, from the rebound, Larkin’s cross to the far post went out for a goal-kick. Seaham then had two excellent opportunities of their own, as first a terrific shot from Hodgson took a slight deflection and skimmed the top of the crossbar, and then Bird got in behind the RCA defence but his attempt was smothered by Carmichael at his front post. The first ten minutes of the second half had produced more entertainment than the entire first half!
In the 58th minute some good play from Butler with a turn, run and shot that was beaten away by Newbrook - Charlton was first to the loose ball but was flagged for offside following in on the shot. Two minutes later and RCA had the lead. Larkin began the move with a run down the RCA right before crossing to Charlton whose initial shot was saved by Newbrook, but the loose ball was coolly slotted home by Cassidy from 12 yards. In the 70th minute RCA produced a lovely move as Charlton won the ball in midfield before releasing Callen down the right, who turned neatly, raced down the line and played the ball into Larkin but the cross went behind for a goal-kick.
With fifteen minutes remaining RCA doubled their lead - Callen’s cross on the right was met by Butler, whose effort struck the post but the loose ball was drilled into the roof of the net by Larkin from six yards. Four minutes later and a run and cross from Butler was blocked and cleared. Then, seconds later, McGuinness made a mazy run through midfield and fired in a shot from 25 yards which was saved by Newbrook. In the final minutes, Callen was fouled near the edge of the penalty area but Larkin’s free-kick was saved by Newbrook. And Seaham had a chance seconds later when substitute Skidmore fired in a shot that was well saved by Carmichael.
A good win for RCA - after a fairly even first half, RCA controlled the majority of the second half and created numerous chances. And it was nice to have just that little bit of luck which eluded us last week when the crossbar was rattled twice against Newton Aycliffe and the ball stayed out - this week, the ball rebounded kindly off the woodwork and Larkin grabbed the opportunity.
RCA stay 12th in the table but join Newcastle Benfield and Seaham Red Star on 51 points - with one and four games in hand respectively.
Next up for RCA is quadruple-chasing South Shields at Meadow Park this Thursday, March 30th.