Jonathan Davis on the ball for RCA.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Goal scorers - Morpeth: David Carson; Taylor.
After six weeks without a home match, Sunderland RCA were back at Meadow Park this afternoon with league leaders Morpeth Town the visitors.
RCA made three changes to the side beaten at Stockton Town last Friday - Keith Finch replaced Neal Bussey in goal, and Greg Swansbury and Clayton Davis replaced Ross McNab and Michael Charlton.
The two sides lined up as follows:
RCA: Finch; Noble; Hodgson; McGuinness; Swansbury (c); Jonathan Davis; Clayton Davis; Page; Callen; Larkin; Cassidy.
Morpeth: Lowson; Daniel Carson; Turner; Sayer (c); Coppen; Reid; Taylor; Elliott; Davison; David Carson; Walton.
Morpeth had the first chance of the match in the second minute as Walton advanced down the right before crossing low to the edge of the penalty area, where Sayer fired a shot wide of the post. One minute later and a good ball was played up to Callen whose shot was saved by Lowson and cleared for a corner, which, in turn, was cleared. And a further minute on and Callen was again in the action, this time exchanging passes with Larkin in a slick move, and firing in a shot that was pushed over the crossbar by Lowson for a corner. From Jonathan Davis’ corner Lowson punched the ball behind for a second corner which was cleared. In the 12th minute, the visitors launched a quick break down the left as Daniel Carson played a super ball down the left touchline to Walton whose cross was headed clear by Swansbury. Two minutes later and RCA were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Clayton Davis - the free-kick was headed down to Callen on the edge of the penalty area, whose shot was tipped over the crossbar by Lowson for a corner which was cleared. In the 18th minute RCA were awarded a free-kick one yard outside of the penalty area after Coppen was adjudged to have handled the ball as he attempted to shepherd the ball to Lowson. Larkin's free-kick was well-struck, low and flew just wide of the post.
Midway through the first half and Larkin, on the right, switched play with a lovely curling pass out to Cassidy on the left, who drove down the wing before cutting in on the edge of the penalty area and firing a shot over the crossbar. In the 27th minute Walton did well down the right before crossing into the six-yard area where Elliott's shot was blocked and was gathered by Finch. Morpeth were now getting to grips with the match after RCA's good start, and, three minutes later, Elliott fired in a fierce shot from 25 yards which cleared the crossbar. In the 33rd minute, the visitors took the lead - a good ball was played up to Davison, who chested the ball down before playing in the lively Taylor down the right, whose cross was headed behind by Hodgson for a corner. From Taylor's corner, the ball was half cleared to the edge of the RCA penalty area and David Carson guided a shot through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner. Three minutes later and Taylor again made a good run down the right but his cross was well held by Finch. With half-time approaching, Callen made a good run through central midfield before playing the ball out to Cassidy on the left, but Cassidy’s cross was punched clear by Lowson.
Half-time: Sunderland RCA 0 Morpeth Town 1
RCA, now kicking down the slope, got off to a good start in the second half as Callen made a good run down the right but his cross was cleared. In the 50th minute, Morpeth won a free-kick midway inside the RCA half - Sayer's free-kick was met with a flying kick from Elliott and the loose ball was cleared. Eight minutes later and Taylor again made a driving run into the RCA penalty area and it took a good challenge from Hodgson and clearance from Swansbury to stop him. In the 63rd minute, a stray pass from McGuinness on the halfway line was intercepted by David Carson who raced clear before firing a shot over the crossbar from 25 yards. Five minutes later and Jonathan Davis was replaced by Michael Charlton.
In the 72nd minute RCA had a good chance to equalise - a ball up to Page was flicked on to Larkin on the left, whose cross was headed wide by Charlton from close range. RCA were now pushing hard for an equaliser and, five minutes later, Clayton Davis made a good run down the right before whipping in a cross that was headed behind for a corner which was cleared. In the 79th minute, a ball was played up to Elliott who fired an ambitious effort over the crossbar from the right apex of the RCA penalty area. One minute later and Morpeth sealed the points as Elliott played a good ball to Taylor just inside the penalty area, who, from an angle, took a touch before smashing the ball across Finch and into the far corner. One minute later and RCA won a free-kick on the edge of the Morpeth penalty area which Clayton Davis drove into the wall and the ball was hacked clear. In the 85th minute, Davis made good progress down the right, before playing the ball back to Noble, who delivered an excellent cross into substitute O'Neill, who header from close range was saved by Lowson. In the final minute of normal time, Callen made a good run through central midfield before firing in a shot that was well saved by Lowson and then the ‘keeper was quick to smother the loose ball with Charlton closing in.
Just as was the case at Stockton Town last Friday, RCA created some very good chances, after a positive opening half hour against the league leaders, but failed to capitalise on any of them and were punished.
This afternoon's RCA man of the match was chosen by Iain Robb. Iain picked Reece Noble for “an excellent, solid performance, doing everything right”. Well played, Reece!
Next up for RCA is the short trip to Washington on Saturday, 13 January. Kick-off is at 3pm.