Goal Scorers: Sunderland RCA FC: Davison; K Davis. Guisborough Town: OG; Roberts.
Sunderland RCA entertained an improving Guisborough Town in this Ebac Northern League match. The RCA management team made three changes to the side that won 6 – 1 in the Brooks Mileson League Cup at Crook on Wednesday. Ross McNab, John Jury and Craig Hodgson replaced Clayton Davis, Kyle Davis and Dylan Elliott. There was also a place on the bench for Luke Page who returned after a lengthy lay off.
The two sides lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos; Jury; McNab; Preston; Swansbury (c); Hodgson; Charlton; O'Neill; Davison; Larkin; McAloon. Subs: Elliott; Page;Kyle Davis; Lilley; Kokoska.
Guisborough Town: Nixon, Snook, Ferguson, Bythway, Close, Guru, Roberts, Robinson, Hume, Lawson, Young. Subs: Crust, Marshall, McNeill, Seaton, Webster.
RCA started the game facing up the slope and were quickly into their stride, however it was the visitors who had the first shot of the game when Close intercepted a pass and sent the ball forward to Robinson, but his shot was well wide of the target.
The response from RCA was immediate. A through ball from McNab was picked up by McAloon who slid the ball inside to Charlton, his neat little pass set up O’Neill who powered a shot just wide of the upright. Two minutes later and Larkin sent Charlton away on the right, his cross into the box took a slight deflection which taking it away from the foot of Larkin and the ball fell kindly for Nixon in the Town goal.
In the 12th minute a Guisborough shot was charged down by Jury, the referee awarded a freekick on the edge of the penalty area with the Guisborough players insistent that it was inside the box. Roberts took the freekick firing in a curling shot, which was heading for the top corner until Tsapalos somehow managed to get a hand to it and turn it over the bar for a corner. Within a minute RCA had the ball in the net when McAloon curled in a delightful shot which beat the keeper, unfortunately, to the bewilderment of the players, the referee called play back to award RCA a freekick on the edge of the box after initially looking to play the advantage. Davison stepped up and curled a delightful shot into the corner of the net giving Nixon no chance and saving the referee’s blushes. It was almost 2 – 0 a minute later when Preston found McNab on the left and the full back's whipped cross was met by Larkin, but his flick header went inches wide of the upright. Both teams were playing attacking football but both defences were coping well with the pressure and there were no further shots on goal.
Guisborough Town’s equalizer was bizarre to say the least. In the 39th minute McAloon lost the ball on the edge of the opposition penalty area, the ball was played out to the right where Roberts sent in a cross which Charlton, backtracking, headed into his own net. This set up a frantic last five minutes of the half as both teams looked for a half time advantage, RCA coming the nearest when a Davison free kick shaved the post with Nixon looking beaten.
The visitors made a tactical move at half time, moving RCA old boy Brian Close into the centre of midfield and re-shuffling the back four. RCA were out of the traps first in the second half and after a foul on Hodgson, McNab sent a delightful ball into the box, Davison headed the ball down to Charlton who chipped it back into the path of O’Neill, but his header lacked power and was easily saved by Nixon. There followed two corners in quick succession as RCA applied the pressure, the first was headed over by Davison and the second was cleared up field by Bythway.
Against the run of play, Guisborough took the lead on the hour mark. An attempted clearance by Preston was headed back by O’Neill towards Tsapalos, but the ball was intercepted by Roberts who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net.
It could have been worse for RCA two minutes later when Young skipped past McAloon before crossing into the box where the ball was met by Hume who, with the goal at his mercy, pulled his shot wide. This heralded a plethora of substitutions from both sides, for RCA on came Elliott, Davis and Page.mThe changes had an immediate effect when Elliott played the ball out to Larkin in the 79th minute and his cross was headed by Davison onto the back of a defenders head, the ball ping-ponged about the box before finally ending up at the feet of Kyle Davis who smashed the ball home to level the scores.
Three minutes later and a throw in on the left caused RCA major problems when the ball fell to Hume twelve yards out. His tremendous volley was brilliantly saved by Tsapalos. As with the end of the first half, both teams looked to get the winner in the final minutes but without either team threatening the goal. Webster had Guisborough’s best chance but fired wide when in a good position and RCA where unlucky when a Davison volley looked goal bound only to be deflected wide by Kyle Davis.
Not a game for the purists, there were long periods of scrappy play which led to frustration by both teams.
Next up for RCA is an away match at Penrith on 24 November with a 3pm kick off.