RCA started their 2019 – 20 campaign with a win against a strong North Shields team who made it difficult for the home team to get into their normal passing game.
Two second half goals from substitute Elliott in the space of 10 minutes sealed the victory.
The home team gave a debut to Max Allen in place of the injured Clayton Davis who failed a late fitness test. Robbie Dean was also making his debut in goal. Three other pre-season signings were added to the bench, Lewis Green, Kyran Whitehead and Henry Dorward (who came on as a 78th minute substitute to make his debut for the club.)
Teams: SRCA: Dean, Allen, McNab, Preston, Swansbury, Hodgson, Charlton, Moan, Callen, Davis, McAloon. Subs: Davison, Elliott, Green, Whitehead, Dorward.
North Shields: Purvis, Christensen, McDonald, New, Williams, Buchanan, Patton, Forster, Campbell, Carr, Robinson. Subs: Cunningham, Bainbridge, Cassidy, Van-Zandvliet, Jaques.
North Shields took advantage of the slope in the first half, but it was RCA who created the first real chance of the game when a ball forward from Moan was flicked into the path of Davis by Callen but, with only the keeper to beat the RCA striker fired straight into the arms of Purvis in the "Robins" goal.
A flowing move down the right by the “Robins” saw Christensen lay the ball to the overlapping Patton however, his cross was easily cleared by Swansbury.
Patton was causing a few problems with his pace and in the 10th minute he burst into the box before stumbling to the floor amid claims for a penalty which were waved away by the referee.
The visitors were pressurising the RCA defence, but they were standing their ground and were looking to create meaningful counter attacks.
In the 12th minute, a dangerous free kick from Robinson found Carr in the box, but Dean pulled off a fantastic save from the forward’s low shot and then set RCA on the attack which almost caught the visitors napping when McAloon slipped the ball out to Davis his cross into the box was met acrobatically by Callen but his effort flew well wide of the goal.
Two minutes later and Dean was called upon to make another save when Cambell slipped past the RCA defence, but his shot was easily picked up by the RCA keeper.
Having weathered the storm RCA came into the game and in the 25 minute a through ball from Allen found Callen on the right, his cross to the far post was controlled by McAloon but his shot was blocked for a corner, McAlloon took the kick which was headed goalwards by Swansbury but Forster was able to head off the line and clear the danger.
Whilst the game continued to flow from end to end there were few clear cut chances until on the half hour when Forster picked out Robinson with a forward ball and the North Shields winger let fly from a long way out but the ball flew wide of the target.
In the 36th minute a corner taken by Robinson found Williams inside the area and his bullet header looked destined for the net, but Charlton managed to head off the line and Preston cleared the danger.
RCA again responded and when Callen was fouled on the edge of the box Charlton took the kick, floating the ball to the back post where Preston found space to head past Purvis but against the cross bar and out for a goalkick.
Although North Shields had the better of the half it was RCA who finished the stronger as both Callen and Swansbry had shots blocked in the final minutes of the half.
The Robins were quick into their stride at the start of the second half as New broke down the right and his early cross into the box was met by the head of Cambell however, Dean was alaert to the danger and saved comfortably.
Play switched to the other end with Callen picking up a pass from Allen and unleashing a low shot which Purvis did well to save.
The game continued with neither team dominating for long periods and the only shots of note came from Callen ghosting in from the left wing the RCA striker fired in a shot which was blocked by Buchanan.
However in the 62nd minute North Shields took the lead. After a spell of good passing in midfield the ball was switched to McDonald on the left, his curling cross into the box was well met by Carr, whose looping header floated over the outstretched hand of Dean and into the net.
The response from RCA was almost immediate, the “Robins” lead lasting only 4 minutes. A through ball from Davis found Callen inside the box where he was fouled by Buchanan and the referee awarded a penalty. Substitute Elliott took charge and neatly slotted the penalty home sending Purvis the wrong way.
Back came the visitors, a through ball from Patton almost catching the home defence sleeping as Cambell burst into space but Dean was alert to the danger and rushed out to smother the ball.
RCA took the lead in the 73rd minute when Moan won the ball in midfield, played the ball to Allen who in turn found Davis on the right his low cross into the six yard area was flicked past Purvis and into the net by Elliott.
The home team were now playing with a bit more confidence and should have increased their lead in the 79 minute when Callen and Charlton combined to set up Davison but his shot was blocked by McDonald at the expense of a corner but it could so easily have been 3-1.
North Shields mounted a final assault on the RCA defence but could really only muster two efforts on target the first from Campbell from the edge of the box which was blocked by Swansbury and the second attempt was a shot from Patton which was deflected wide by Hodgson for a corner.
The home team did well to manage the final minutes of the game and nullified the visitors to hold on to the lead and record a very good win against tough opposition.
Next up is Guisborogh Town away at their King George V ground. 7.45pm kick off.