Adam McGuinness tracks Stockton Town goal scorer Mikey Roberts.
For more photos from the match please click here.
For Stockton Town's match report please click here.
For Connor Lamb's match report please click here.
Goal scorers - Stockton: Coleman; Roberts; Bulmer.
Sunderland RCA went into tonight’s Northern League match with Stockton Town looking to record their first home points of the season.
In the corresponding fixture last season, it may be recalled, RCA made wholesale changes to the starting line-up, with one eye on the big Emirates FA Cup tie at Scarborough Athletic. RCA were well beaten, 4-1, by Stockton on the night, as they recorded their first points of the season after being defeated in their opening eight league games. Stockton then went on to have a great season, culminating in a narrow defeat in the FA Vase final at Wembley.
The two sides lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Pocklington; Lilley; Watson; McGuinness; Preston (c); Elliott; Clayton Davis; Hodgson; Davison; O'Neill; Moan. Subs: Larkin; Armstrong; Limbo; McNab; Kokoska.
Stockton Town: Arthur; Bulmer; Risbrough; Petitjean; Nicholson (c); Cossavela; Woodhouse; Craggs; Roberts; Coleman; Stockton.
A fairly quiet start to the match with neither side testing the opposing goalkeeper - O'Neill had a long-range effort inside the opening ten minutes which cleared the crossbar. In the 18th minute, the visitors took the lead - Woodhouse made a good run down the right and crossed in the RCA penalty area, where Coleman volleyed the ball into the bottom corner with a sweet strike from eight yards. Three minutes later, and Stockton were awarded a free-kick midway inside the RCA half - Craggs delivered a good ball into the penalty area, where Woodhouse sent a diving header just wide of the far post.
In the 24th minute, a long ball was played into the Stockton penalty area and Arthur punched the ball high into the air - as the ball landed, O'Neill challenged with Arthur and looked to be bundled to the ground, but the referee waved away strong appeals for a penalty kick. On the half hour mark, Elliott played a good ball out to Moan on the left. Moan then played the ball back to Elliott, who had advanced forward, but his shot from 20 yards flew over the crossbar.
A couple of minutes later, and Davis, on the right, played a ball inside to Davison, but again the shot from outside the penalty area didn't test Arthur in the Stockton goal. With five minutes remaining in the first half, a ball was played in from the right, and Craggs hit a powerful half-volley which was narrowly wide of the far post. Three minutes later and Chris Stockton attacked down the left, before crossing low into the RCA penalty area, and Roberts crashed a shot off the post from eight yards, and the ball rebounded to safety.
Half-time: Sunderland RCA 0 Stockton Town 1
The visitors got the second half off to a positive start, with Woodhouse firing a shot over the crossbar from 30 yards in the opening minute. One minute later and Roberts fired in a goal bound shot which was blocked and Craggs, following up, saw a shot deflected behind for a corner which was cleared. In the 50th minute, however, the early second half pressure told after an under hit back pass was intercepted by Roberts, who rounded Pocklington, before slotting the ball into the empty net. Three minutes later and Woodhouse again fired in a shot from distance which was held by Pocklington at the second attempt. In the 55th minute, RCA were awarded a free-kick midway inside the Stockton half after a foul on Elliott. Elliott delivered a dangerous kick and Preston headed the ball narrowly wide at the far post. Three minutes later and Hodgson fired a shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.
On the hour mark, Roberts made a good, driving run down the right, before playing in Woodhouse, who fired in a fierce shot on a angle which was beaten away well by Pocklington for a corner at his front post. From Craggs’ corner, Nicholson headed over the crossbar. Five minutes later and a cross from Craggs was half cleared to Stockton, who drilled in a shot from the left apex of the RCA penalty area which produced a good save from Pocklington.
As the match entered the final 15 minutes, Roberts was released in on goal, before turning inside McGuinness, and firing a shot narrowly wide. One minute later and Bulmer delivered a terrific ball from the right into the RCA penalty area and substitute Ward, on the run, headed over the crossbar from eight yards. In the 87th minute, Stockton scored a deserved third with the goal of the match - Bulmer received the ball on the right wing, before cutting in a firing in a super shot from the edge of RCA penalty area which flew across Pocklington and into the far corner of the net. In the final minute, another under hit back pass was again intercepted by Roberts, who played in Woodhouse, whose shot was well saved by Pocklington. In stoppage time, Davison rattled the crossbar but there was to be no consolation goal, and RCA were soundly beaten.
An evening to forget for RCA - the scoreline could and should have been a lot worse, but for excellent goalkeeping from Pocklington, and the visitors squandering some great chances, particularly in the second half.
Next up for RCA is a big match, as we travel to Clitheroe in Lancashire this Saturday, 25 August, for the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round tie. Kick-off is at 3pm.