Craig Hodgson takes on former RCA striker Josh Home-Jackson during last season's Ryhope Derby at Meadow Park.
The magic of The Emirates FA Cup returns to Meadow Park this Saturday, 11 August, and what a tie it is, as Sunderland RCA take on our very near neighbours Ryhope Colliery Welfare in the Extra Preliminary Round. Kick-off for this big match is 3pm.
To add to the excitement, BT Sport will be filming the build up to the match, as well as interviewing players, management and club officials from both sides prior to kick-off. They will also be filming the match as part of a series in which one match is featured in each of the qualifying rounds, documenting where The Emirates FA Cup begins.
Last season, RCA enjoyed a terrific run in The Emirates FA Cup - in our first match of last season, RCA beat Garforth Town, 3-1, at Meadow Park. In the Preliminary Round - also at Meadow Park - RCA produced a superb display in a 4-0 thrashing of fellow Northern League Division One side Ashington. RCA were handed a third successive home tie in the First Qualifying Round when Liversedge were the visitors to Meadow Park in a match that finished goalless, thanks to a terrific display from Neal Bussey in the RCA goal. The replay, however, was a different story, as RCA produced, for many people, our performance and result of last season with a magnificent 4-0 win on a brilliant night. In the Second Qualifying Round, RCA faced a tough looking trip to Scarborough Athletic on their 4G pitch and backed by a substantial fan base. But we held our own until a goalkeeping blunder gifted the home side the lead. In the second half, RCA pressed for an equaliser but conceded a second and the excellent Emirates FA Cup run was over for another season.
Meanwhile, Ryhope Colliery Welfare were knocked out in their first match, a 1-0 Extra Preliminary Round defeat to Ashington, and will be looking to go further in this season's competition.
The two sides had contrasting starts to the Northern League season on Saturday, with RCA losing at home to Newcastle Benfield courtesy of a Paul Brayson strike. Ryhope Colliery Welfare, however, got their season under way with a good win, 2-0, away at Newton Aycliffe. Both sides have retained the services of most of last season's respective squads, as well as signing quality additions. It all adds up to being an enthralling match and hopefully a great advert for football in Ryhope.
Perhaps the only downside to this exciting tie is that one of the Ryhope clubs will be exiting The Emirates FA Cup at the very first hurdle, which is a pity - Mr Keith Stoker’s dream of an all-Ryhope final at Wembley definitely won't happen in this season's Emirates FA Cup. Maybe in the Vase, Keith!
Admission to the match is priced at £6 for adults, £4 concessions and, as always at RCA, children accompanied by an adult are admitted free. And with Sunderland AFC away at Luton Town on Saturday, it’s a great chance to come along to Meadow Park to see some early round Emirates FA Cup football.
736 teams will take part in this season’s competition, with 612 teams being knocked out over the course of the six qualifying rounds.
The winners of the match will receive £2,250 from the FA prize fund (losing team receive £750) and will play Clitheroe away in the Preliminary Round on Saturday, 25 August.
Please come along and support the lads as The Emirates FA Cup adventure begins!