John Butler returned to Washington and scored two of RCA's ten goals. Photograph: Simon Mears.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Goal scorers: Washington: Laws. RCA: Armstrong; Butler (2); Callen (2); Charlton (2); Larkin; Stewart; Swansbury.
Less than 48 hours after the epic encounter with South Shields on Thursday evening, and Sunderland RCA were back in action with a trip to Washington.
Having looked comfortable in the table a couple of months ago, Washington will now be nervously looking over their shoulders after losing their last four matches and Guisborough recording back-to-back victories.
RCA made two changes to the side that lost to South Shields on Thursday. Jonathan Carmichael and Luke Richardson - who were both injured on Thursday - were replaced by Neal Bussey and Reece Noble.
The sides lined up as follows:
Washington: Gladstone; Evans; Weldon; Day; Bramley; White; Fowler; Laws; Waters (c); Pickard; Williamson.
RCA: Bussey; Noble; McGuinness; Preston; Swansbury (c); Armstrong; Charlton; Larkin; Butler; Callen; Cassidy.
The match got under way and RCA were straight on the attack - in the sixth minute a corner-kick from Larkin was half cleared to Armstrong, his shot was deflected over the crossbar for a subsequent corner which was cleared. Three minutes later and Callen headed narrowly wide from another Larkin corner. One minute later and Charlton released Callen down the RCA right but his cross was blocked. The RCA pressure kept on coming, and, on the quarter hour, Callen made a driving run down the left, cutting in towards goal, but his effort was blocked. In the 18th minute Larkin made a run through central midfield before playing the ball out to Charlton, whose cross was blocked for a corner. Larkin’s corner landed at the feet of Swansbury, whose shot was blocked for another corner which was cleared. One minute later and a throw-in on the left released McGuinness whose cross just eluded Butler’s outstretched boot.
The pressure on Washington was relentless and, in the 21st minute, Callen was close to a terrific individual goal as he received the ball on the left and took on the home defence, cutting into the penalty area, but his shot was straight at Gladstone. Three minutes later and Washington had their first real attempt on goal - after some neat build-up play in midfield, Waters received the ball and fired in a shot from 22 yards that was saved by Bussey diving to his left. RCA were straight back on the offensive as Larkin made a good run down the right before delivering a cross that was cleared by the head of Bramley.
In the 33rd minute RCA finally made the breakthrough their dominance deserved - McGuinness received the ball from a throw-in on the left and crossed into the penalty area, where Swansbury flicked onto Callen, who, in turn, headed down to where Charlton was first to latch onto it and guide the ball past Gladstone from inside the six-yard area. One minute later and Williamson made a good run down the right and crossed into Waters, who fired in a shot that grazed the underside of Noble’s boot to take the sting out of it, making Bussey’s save a comfortable one. With ten minutes to half-time Charlton received the ball on the right and delivered a pinpoint cross to Callen whose tame header drifted wide of the post.
But Callen didn’t have long to wait to get onto the scoresheet - in the 38th minute Armstrong put Callen in on goal, beating the offside trap, and the RCA striker went around Gladstone before slotting the ball into the unguarded net from an acute angle. Two minutes later and Callen turned provider after making a run down the right, before crossing to Butler whose shot was saved by Gladstone. With half-time imminent, RCA grabbed a third goal in twelve minutes - Butler made a run down the right and into the penalty area before pulling the ball back to Callen, 12 yards out, who took a touch, before driving the ball through Gladstone’s legs to put RCA in a commanding position at the break.
Half-time: Washington 0 Sunderland RCA 3
RCA continued exactly where they left off in the first half, and in the 48th minute grabbed a fourth to effectively end the match as a contest - Larkin received the ball from the right, looked up, and thundered an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25 yards - three ‘keepers wouldn’t have stopped it! Three minutes later and Fowler made a powerful run through midfield, driving into the penalty area, but his shot was comfortably saved by Bussey.
In the 58th minute, RCA made it five - Armstrong crossed from the left and the ball broke to Charlton, who fired in a first-time shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area. Seven minutes later and it was six - Callen was tripped as he made a run down the left. Armstrong sent in a floating free-kick into the penalty area that was brilliantly controlled by Callen over his shoulder, before advancing into the six-yard area and squaring the ball to give Swansbury a tap-in. Seven minutes on and, unbelievably, it was seven - substitute Clayton Davis crossed from the right and Charlton won back possession in the penalty area, squaring to Butler who held off a defender to score from close range.
As the match entered the final 15 minutes, Larkin made a driving run through midfield before releasing Callen down the left, whose cross was fired over the crossbar by Butler. Four minutes later, though, and Butler had his second of the match after another Callen cross found Butler in the six-yard area, who scored at the second attempt for RCA’s eighth of the afternoon. Just two minutes later - and with your correspondent genuinely losing track of the score - RCA made it nine as a ball in from the right was swept into the bottom corner of the net by substitute Stewart from 12 yards - cueing wild celebrations from RCA’s assistant manager! Two minutes later and Laws made a run through midfield before scoring with a terrific finish to deny RCA a clean sheet. In the final minute of the match RCA made it an amazing ten after Butler made a run down the left and pulled the ball back to Armstrong in the penalty area, who coolly slotted the ball into the net from 12 yards.
A truly remarkable match, utterly dominated by RCA as the scoreline suggests.
This is why we love football - its highs and lows. Just ten days ago RCA were mauled in the second half at Newcastle Benfield, and then today, we finish the match in double figures. Incredible!
RCA move up to 11th in the table and have now equalled last season’s points total of 54 - with four matches remaining to exceed it.
Next up for RCA is a trip to Marske United on Saturday.