Sunderland RCA welcomed Ryhope CW to The Sunderland LGV Stadium for the opening league game of the season.
Both teams were in action mid week in the FA Cup with RCA winning against Durham City while RCW were defeated by Consett.
We also welcome every one of the 206 spectators who made the effort to attend; we thank them for their patience and compliance with the COVID restrictions in place.
As always the work done behind the scenes tends to go unnoticed so we again thank the ground staff Dave and George for presenting a pitch in fantastic condition also thanks to the committee and volunteers who have worked so hard to get this match on.If you feel you would like to get involved i.e. help out in some way, either on match days or the days leading to a game, please speak to the Secretary, Chairman or any of the Committee members. “Many hands make light work”.
On to the teams for today, RCA had to make changes to the team from Tuesday night with Fairley failing a fitness test, Preston unavailable and when O’Neill pulled up in the warm-up another change was required. RCW also had injury problems with Winter and Price both unable to play.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Forster, Callaghan, Errington, Swansbury ©, Hodgson, C Davis, Elliott, Callen, Hope, Davison; Subs: Best, Larkin, Carr, Armstrong, Dorward.
Ryhope CW: Harkess, Morris, Gordon, Riding ©, Walker, Trewick, K Davis, Wallace, Hird, Hotchkiss, Bird; Subs: Winter, Weirs, Vincent, Ellis, Judson.
With the advantage of the slope RCW pushed forward from the off forcing a corner which was swung in by Bird but Hird could only direct his header over the bar.
Riding set up their next attack when he intercepted a pass from Forster before sending a wonderful 50 yard pass to the feet of K Davis but his shot lacked power and dean was able to save comfortably.
The visitors looked to be well on top at this point and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 13th minute when a good ball forward was picked up by Bird who set off on a trademark dribble inside before sending a reverse pass into the path of Hird who made no mistake slotting the ball past Dean.
Further injury worries ensued for RCA when Hodgson was injured when making a last ditch tackle to prevent RCW going 2-0 up. He was replaced by Best.
RCA were forced to defend in numbers and were restricted to quick counter attack by Callaghan or C Davis but they were unable to manufacture a clear shot on target.
A wonderfully floated freekick from Hotchkiss was met at the far post by K Davis but Dean was able to get across to save at the foot of the post.
As the game progressed RCA started to get a little more possession in midfield and in the 25 minute Best won the ball in midfield, played the ball wide to C Davis who in turn found Davison but his shot cum cross was cut out by Harkess.
Two minutes later and Hotchkiss found space in the centre circle, played the ball to Bird who cut inside before unleashing a fierce shot which Dean palmed away for a corner.
Play switched to the other end with hope sending in a near post corner which was headed away but only as far as C Davis his cross fell to Callen whose shot was blocked but the ball fell to Elliott who produced a good save from Harkess.
RCW lifted their game again, a poor clearance from Errington fell to Wallace who tried his luck from 30 yards out but Dean watched it sail harmlessly over the bar.
Hotchkiss again found space in the centre of midfield and once again played the ball forward to Bird who made 20 yards before firing in another low drive which Dean magnificently turned round the post for a corner.
The final 10 minutes of the half saw RCA trying to play their way into the game and a good passing move Best and Elliott combine to send Davis free on the right, his crass was met by the advancing Elliott but Walker was able to throw his body in the way of the shot and Morris hooked the ball clear.
There followed three successive corners by RCW which came to nothing with Dean able to save the third and set up RCA’s next attack with a quick throw out to Swansbury, he sent a great ball forward to Callen who controlled the ball brilliantly before squaring it to Davison but from a promising position his shot was well blocked by Riding.
So a deserved 1- 0 to the visitors at half time and it could so easily have been more.
RCW came out for the second half intent on keeping the pressure on RCA and in their first attack K Davis fired in a shot which crashed off the woodwork, the ball rebounded to Bird who blasted the ball over the bar with an open goal begging.
RCA were swift to respond and a ball forward from Elliott split the RCW defence to find Callen in space on the left and with Harkess out of position the RCA striker decided to try and get a better angle on his shot but his final effort was blocked by Walker and the ball was cleared.
The home team was starting to make better use of the ball, a run down the left by Callaghan saw him slip past his marker before crossing into the box but Riding got to the ball just ahead of Elliott and the danger was cleared.
RCA continued to press and in the 55 minute undid the RCW defence with route one football, Dean sending a ball straight down the pitch, Callen controlled the ball before squaring it to Elliott on the edge of the box, he lined the ball up before smashing it into the top corner of the net past the despairing dive of Harkess.
After this goal RCA looked to take command and for a 15 minute period they had the upper hand without really creating any meaningful shots on target.
Both teams were competing for everything in the centre of the park in typical derby match fashion.
RCW should have retaken the lead in the 70 minute, but for the brilliance of Dean they surely would have, Morris sent a great ball forward to K Davis who broke into the box and fired in a shot which produced a terrific save from Dean pushing the ball onto the post, the rebound fell to Bird whose shot was blocked by Swansbury but flew straight to K Davis who powered in another shot across the face of goal which Dean turned away at full stretch for a corner.
RCA responded through Callen down the left picking up a ball from Callaghan he drove past two defenders before crossing into the box where C Davis completely missed the ball with only the keeper to beat.
A short break while both teams made substitutions and RCA’s Sub Carr almost made a breakthrough when he dispossessed Walker on the edge of the box drove into the box before crossing to Best but the ball got stuck under his feet and the visitors cleared.
The next chance was created when Morris picked up the ball on the half way line and decided to go it alone he got to the edge of the box unchallenged before firing his shot just wide of the target.
RCA’s last contributions to the game was a freekick on the right which was swung in by Hope, Errington rose highest but could only direct his header over the bar.
Both teams had chances to win this game but a draw was always on the cards especially given the amount of actual game time these players have had.
Next up for RCA is Newton Aycliffe Away on Tuesday, 8th September 2020.. Kick off 7.30pm