Craig Hennis in action during the second half of the match.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Sunderland RCA travelled to the First Mortgage Glebe Stadium to play bottom of the table Whickham FC who haven’t won a home match since mid August 2019.
On a freezing cold night the teams lined up as follows:
Whickham: Wilson, McAndrew, Exley, Peareth ©, Galbraith, Lindo, Scothern, Burrell, McCarthy, Newton, Robson.
Subs: Cowburn, Stevens, Statt, Cranson, Howard.
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Allen, Dorward, Hodgson, Swansbury ©, Hennis, O’Neill, Elliott, Davison, Slack, J Leonard.
Subs: Davis, Ezard, R Leonard, Green, Lawson.
The Lang Jacks kicked off on a freezing cold evening as the pitch started to turn white and conditions were not ideal.
Both teams started at a brisk pace with neither creating any early chances, on balance RCA seemed to be moving the ball quicker and had more of the possession in the first 10 minutes.
In the 12th minute a good move on the left saw J Leonard play in O’Neill and his cross looked destined for the head of Davison but was plucked out of the air by Wilson.
A minute later and Allen found J Leonard with a good through ball; he laid it into the path of Hennis who struck the ball just wide of the post from 20 yards out.
Although RCA looked on top they had to be wary of the Lang Jacks counter attacks and in the 16th minute Peareth unleashed a speculative effort from long range which was comfortably dealt with by Dean.
RCA were switching play very well and when O’Neill played a 40 yard pass to Elliott on the right he found himself in acres of space but his shot was somehow blocked by the desperate tackle of Lindo.
The Lang Jacks almost took the lead in the 25th minute when Newton played the ball forward to McCarthy, he controlled the ball before breaking into the box and although his cross was blocked it fell to McAndrew who powered in a low shot which was cleared off the line by Dorward.
RCA responded immediately, Dean sending a long ball out to the left wing, where O’Neill headed it down to Allen his whipped cross into the box evaded everyone but flew agonisingly wide of the far post.
The pressure was starting to increase as the visitors pressed forward looking for an opener.
After a spell of pressure Elliott forced a corner on the right, he took the corner himself, flighting the ball onto the head of Davison but his powerful header was cleared off the line and away for another corner. Elliott took the second corner and this time Davison was inexplicably allowed space in the box and this time made no mistake heading home to give RCA the lead.
From the kick off RCA won the ball back and Hennis sent a ball straight through the heart of the Whickham defence where J Leonard was allowed to run clear of the defence before curling a shot round Wilson but it struck the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.
Two minutes later and a rampant RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box, Davison took the kick firing it over the wall but Wilson managed to get across to make a great save to keep the Lang Jacks in the game.
The half time whistle probably came at the wrong time for RCA as they were dominating proceedings.
RCA got the second half under way as the weather seemed to have become warmer for some reason.
Whickham started the brighter in the second half playing almost extensively down the left wing, an early dangerous cross from Scothern was hooked clear by Hodgson and from the resulting corner O’Neill had to head away under pressure from McCarthy and Newton.
In the 55th minute a long, direct ball from Wilson almost caught the RCA defence out as McCarthy picked up the ball and although he broke one tackle Swansbury was able to wrestle the ball from the Lang Jacks striker.
The visitors once again lifted their game and a right wing cross from Elliott was glanced just wide of the post by Davison.
A minute later and RCA had a great chance to double their lead when Hennis played the ball wide to Elliott his cross was headed into the path of O’Neill by Davison but the shot was sliced over the bar.
In the 64th minute the hosts equalised when a straightforward ball into the RCA half found Lang Jacks substitute Stevens on the edge of the box, he turned quickly and stuck a sublime low drive into the bottom corner of the net.
Two minutes later it could have been worse as the hosts poured forward and the ball was laid into the path of Newton who struck a screamer of a shot which Dean managed to brilliantly tip over the bar.
RCA looked to have taken the lead in the 75rd minute when J Leonard broke forward and fired in a shot which was parried by Wilson straight to Elliott who side footed home, however he was adjudged to have been offside when the initial shot was taken.
Into the last 10 minutes and it was the Lang Jacks who were looking the most likely to score as they continued their policy of attacking down the left.
The tactic paid off in the 81st minute when a long ball forward found Robson on the left, he cut inside the area before firing in a low cross which was turned in by Scothern to make it 2-1.
With RCA in disarray, Whickham took further advantage and increased their lead when they were awarded a freekick which was taken by substitute Cowburn and he curled a lovely shot over the wall, off the inside of the post and into the net.
After a good first half by RCA in which they could have been 3 – 0 up they totally capitulated in a poor second half and didn’t look like the same team.
Substitutions made the difference in this game with their subs contributing two of the three goals.
Six defeats in a row puts us bottom of the current league table.