RCA captain Greg Swansbury snuffs out a second half Hemsworth attack.
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It doesn’t seem like five minutes since Stephen Callen’s last minute winner against Ryhope CW sent RCA into the Preliminary round of the FA Cup to meet West Yorkshire side Hemsworth Miners Welfare. Since then Stephen has been married to the lovely Gemma and we wish them all the best for the future. Hemsworth have started the season in much the same vein as RCA with only one defeat so far in the league and no doubt looking to avenge the 5-1 defeat inflict on them by RCA in the FA Vase in 2015 courtesy of a Larkin hattrick.
The RCA management team gave late fitness tests to both Preston and Lilley and both were passed fit to play although Lilley as a precaution had his head bandaged and was placed on the bench. Ross McNab returned to replace Lewis Green who did well in his first start against Northallerton in mid week and Stephen Callen replaced the injured Craig Hodgson.
The teams lined up as follows:
SRCA: Dean, Allen, McNab, Preston, Swansbury ©, Moan, Leonard, Elliott, Davison, O’Neill, Callen. Subs: K.Davis, Ezard, Green, Croft, Dorward, Lilley, Mcaloon.
Hemsworth: Greaves, Wildblood, Jeff, Parker, Viggars, Cass, Connolly, Paylor, Carroll, Yates, Ripley, Subs: Danville, Mellor, Wilson, Santos, J Davis, Hughes.
RCA elected to kick up the slope in the first half and were soon forced to defend when Ripley took control of the ball on the left but Allen was quickly back to defend the cross and cleared the ball up field.
The home team’s first attack saw Callen cut inside his marker before playing the ball to O’Neill, he found Elliott in acres of space but the midfielder hurried his shot and it flew high over the bar.
Leonard was causing problems on the right and when he picked up a through ball from Swansbury he almost created a chance for O’Neill with a great cross which was met by the striker but blocked by Cass.
In the 12th minute Leonard again caused panic stations in the Hemsworth defence, Davison played a delightful through ball into the path of the winger who rounded Greaves but sent his shot across the face of goal from an acute angle.
Hemsworth fought back after these RCA chances and Jeff instigated their first real chance on goal when he played the ball out to Ripley, he cut inside and hit a right foot shot which was partially blocked by Moan and picked up by Dean.
Minutes later and at the other end RCA had a great chance to open the scoring when they were awarded a freekick 25 yards out, Elliott struck the ball straight into the wall but the rebound fell to Leonard who took aim but his shot was blocked by Viggars.
The home side were applying a lot of pressure at this point and Hemsworth were defending valiantly.
On the half hour mark another Elliott free kick was played out to Davison and his cross found the head of O’Neill but he could not get enough power in the header and Greaves saved comfortably.
Another chance came RCA’s way when Callen picked up a ball from McNab before cutting inside and shooting straight at Greaves.
Dean was called into action in the 35th minute when Greaves found Jeff on the left and the full back sent in a wicked curling cross which had the RCA keeper scrambling back to make the save.
This seemed to lift the visitors and they started to push men forward to try and sneak a half time lead Parker was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when his shot went narrowly wide of the upright.
On a hot, sticky day it was little surprise that the pace seemed to die in the final minutes of the half and the only noteworthy moment came when McNab was booked for a tackle in front of the dugouts as Hemsworth looked to break after an RCA corner and a minute later Ripley went into the book for a mistimed challenge on Allen.
Half Time 0-0 RCA with the better chances of the half but nothing to show for it.
The home team took to the field a full five minutes before Hemsworth but it was the visitors who created the first real chance of the half, Cass won the ball inside his own half and played the ball forward to Carroll his ball found Ripley in space and the Hemsworth winger had time to line up his shot but fired wide of the target.
RCA seemed to take time to get going in the second half and it wasn’t until the 50th minute when Allen and Leonard combined on a right to set up a half chance for Davison that they started to threaten again.
In the 55th minute RCA took the lead when Allen played a ball down the line to Leonard he took the ball past Jeff before sending in a low cross which was missed by O’Neill but headed home by Callen.
The game should have been put to bed three minutes later when Callen picked up the ball on the left and dribbled his was inside the box and to the bye line before sending the ball across the face of goal but both Davison and O’Neill were inches away from making it 2 – 0.
Callen was starting to become a threat on the left and when he cut inside it looked like he may add to his account but the shot was always rising over the bar.
With the game into the last 15 minutes Hughes was introduced into the action and had an almost immediate impact when he laid the ball into the path of Paylor and his speculative 25 yard effort dipped just over the bar.
A minute later and a long kick forward by Dean was controlled by Leonard who burst past the Hemsworth defence before trying to chip the ball over the advancing keeper but Greaves was able to get a hand to the ball and make the save.
The resulting corner taken by Moan was flicked on by Callen, hit Cass and rebounded into the grateful arms of Greaves.
Hemsworth threw men forward in an attempt to get something out of the game and it was substitute Hughes who looked most likely to score, in the 82 minute he picked up the ball on the right and cleverly curled the ball with the outside of his left foot and it took a great save by Dean under the crossbar and he collected at the second attempt with Carroll ready to pounce.
Five minutes later and Hughes picked up a ball from Jeff and fired in a low shot which flew narrowly wide of the post.
RCA almost scored deep into injury time when Dean again played a long ball forward which beat the Hemsworth defence and fell to Davis who clipped the ball past Greaves but Vaggars did fantastically well to get back and clear off the line.
An entertaining match was brought to a conclusion by referee John Mulligan.
Next up is Newcastle Benfield next Saturday, 31st August 2019 3.00pm kick off.