Craig Hodgson in action for RCA during the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round victory over Ashington.
This Saturday, 2 September, Sunderland RCA are in Emirates FA Cup action when Liversedge visit Meadow Park for what promises to be an exciting First Qualifying Round clash.
Liversedge - like our Extra Preliminary Round opponents, Garforth Town - play their football in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division, which has provided the opposition for many of RCA's FA Vase matches in recent seasons. Liversedge are unbeaten so far this season, with nine points from their first five matches in the league - two wins and three draws, including a 2-2 draw with Garforth Town, and, most recently, a 6-0 thrashing of second-bottom Barton Town on Tuesday night, and currently sit in seventh place in the league table.
They began their FA Cup run at the Extra Preliminary Round stage with a 1-1 draw away at Armthorpe Welfare. Liversedge then made home advantage count with a 5-3 win in the replay. In the Preliminary Round, Liversedge won at Ramsbottom United, 3-2, in a match with a thrilling conclusion for the away side. 2-1 down in the 89th minute, Roy Fogarty grabbed an equaliser to level the scores. Then, incredibly, when a replay was looking likely, Fogarty struck again in the first minute of stoppage time to win the match for Liversedge and set up Saturday’s match with RCA. Liversedge last made the First Qualifying Round in the 2007-08 season when they beat North Ferriby United 1-0, before losing 3-0 to Kendall Town in the Second Qualifying Round.
RCA, meanwhile, have also won two Emirates FA Cup matches - both at Meadow Park. In the Extra Preliminary Round, RCA beat Garforth Town 3-1. And, ten days ago, RCA beat fellow Northern League side Ashington 4-0 in the Preliminary Round with a superb performance. This is the first time that Sunderland RCA have made the First Qualifying Round. However, the club - then playing as Ryhope Community Association - last made the First Qualifying Round during the 1998-99 season when RCA beat Chadderton in the First Qualifying Round before losing 2-0 at Radcliffe Borough in the Second Qualifying Round (many thanks to Keith Stoker and fchd.info for information on Ryhope Community Association).
League form this season has also been impressive, with RCA winning four, drawing one and losing just one of their six matches, and are currently on 13 points from six matches played and are sitting in fourth place in the league table at the time of writing.
Last season the two clubs finished with remarkably similar league records, with both sides finishing in 11th place in their respective divisions. Here's a brief overview of last season's performances:
RCA: P42, W16, D9, L17, Total 57.
Liversedge: P42, W17, D8, L17, Total 59.
It promises to be an exciting FA Cup tie between two teams in excellent form. And with the Premier League and Championship having a break for International football, and England's World Cup Qualifier with Malta being played on Friday evening, there's really only one place to be on Saturday afternoon - Meadow Park!
Admission to the match is £6 for adults and £4 for concessions.
There are a total of 116 ties in the First Qualifying Round. RCA join Consett, Newcastle Benfield, Shildon and Whitley Bay as the only clubs left flying the flag for the Northern League in the Emirates FA Cup this season - a terrific achievement in itself.
The winners of the tie will receive £3,000 from the Emirates FA Cup prize fund and will take their place in the Second Qualifying Round, where they will be joined by teams from National League North and National League South - level six in the English football pyramid.
The Second Qualifying Round ties are due to be played on Saturday, 16 September.