Sunderland RCA welcomed Prescott Cables of the Northern Premier League to Sunderland LGV Park for this 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.
This is the first time that the clubs have met and unfortunately the circumstances surrounding the playing of the game meant that we were not able to offer our usual standard of hospitality especially as our visitors had travelled over three hours to get here.
The RCA management team included Nathan O’Neill in the starting lineup after a number of weeks out through injury. James Fairley, nursing a slight injury was on the bench.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Forster, Callaghan, Preston, Swansbury ©, Hodgson, Leonard, Elliott, O’Neill, Watts, Hope;
Subs: Best, Davis, Armstrong, Ward, Fairley, Bell
Prescot Cables: Allen, Edgerton, Johnstone, McCulloch, Cooper, Jackson, White, , Korie-Butler ,Monaghan, Hamilton ;
Subs: Van-Aston, Myler, Corness, McMilan, Fleming, Staunton.
Sometimes the scoreline really doesn't do the losing team justice and in this match it certainly didn't.
Unusually, RCA found themselves with the advantage of the slope in the first half but it was the visitors who started well, and it took a good save in the opening minutes by Dean turning a well struck White freekick, which was heading for the top corner, round the post for the first corner of the game.
A fairly uneventful if competitive produced little in the way of goalmouth action as the game was played out primarily in the centre of the park.
As the game progressed RCA started to push forward and a good break by Callaghan saw the wing back cut inside before striking a low shot wide of the target.
High balls into the imposing figure of O’Neill was the order of the day and in the 20 minute he headed down a Dean clearance into the path of Elliott who fired in a shot which went inches wide of the upright.
Within minutes a good passing move between Hope and Leonard released the latter, who outpaced his marker before thundering in a shot which Allen held onto.
The home team pressure was mounting a long throw from Watts was flicked on by Preston but Allen saved under pressure from O’Neill.
The final action in this period of pressure came when a ball forward by Swansbury was headed clear by McCulloch; the ball fell to O’Neill who again played the ball into the path of Elliott who curled a delightful effort just wide.
The visitors started to get more possession and their passing and movement was frustrating the more direct approach of the home team.
A good move, started by McCulloch saw the ball moved from the right by Fleming to the left with a 40 yard pass which found Hamilton who was able to get into the box before cutting the ball back to Korie-Butler but his effort was blocked by Preston and the ball cleared.
Just over half an hour gone and another run down the right by Leonard saw his cross into the box headed clear by Cooper the ball fell to Elliott on the edge of the box and he smashed in a shot which flew past Allen, struck the inside of the post and rebounded clear to the relief of the visitors defence.
This seemed to stir the “Cables” who showed that they were dangerous on the break, a ball from Jackson found Fleming on the right and his whipped cross just needed a touch by any of three visiting players but the ball evaded everyone and went out for a throw in to RCA.
A minute later and Jackson picked up a loose ball before firing wide of the target.
As the game drifted into the final minutes of the first half a freekick by Elliott was headed over the bar by Preston and a corner to Preston Cables hit Korie-Butler and fell to Fleming but Callaghan blocked the shot.
The second half saw “Cables” come out looking to take control of the game with the advantage of the slope and it was they who had the first chance of the half when White intercepted a pass but blasted the ball well over the bar.
The pressure from the visitors was evident and in the 56 minute they took the lead, Fleming picking up a lucky rebound sent an excellent crossfield ball into the path of Hamilton who controlled the ball and breezed into space before cutting the ball back to Monaghan who was able to force the ball home under pressure from Preston.
RCA responded through Leonard on the right cutting inside the full back he sent in a cross cum shot which ricochet off a defenders foot and spun towards the top corner; however Allen, under pressure from O’Neill tipped the ball over the bar to avert the danger.
Only some stout defending by the Home defence kept the visitors at bay as both Monaghan and Hamilton had shots blocked by Swansbury.
RCA, having withstood a period of pressure started to mount a fight back as they went looking for and equaliser, the introduction of Fairley seemed to give them a better attacking option with his movement causing problems for the visitors defence.
Another good run by Leonard and a one two with Fairley before a shot was deflected wide by Myler, Fairley took the kick quickly to Leonard who fired just over the bar.
In a change of tactic the visitors attacked through the middle of the park with Myler releasing McMilan whose well driven shot was saved by Dean at the second attempt.
The game was really livening up now as it entered into the final 10 minutes and Allen was called upon again when Elliott was fouled on the edge of the box, he took the kick which was met by Swansbury but Allen was able to dive to his right to save.
Appeals for a penalty from an RCA corner were turned down and the ball was cleared to Fairley who dribble past two defenders before being fouled on the edge of the box. Up stepped Elliott and he struck a superb shot round the wall but somehow Allen once again produced a magnificent save to maintain his side’s slender lead.
With the game going into injury time another RCA corner is intercepted by Hamilton who breaks down the left before moving the ball forward to Substitute Corness, he cuts inside before unleashing a terrific low shot inside the near post giving Dean no chance.
Two minutes later and it was 3-0 with probably the best move of the match as the visitors moved the ball about just inside the RCA half before the ball is released to White who rides a tackle and as the ball falls nicely for him and he dispatches it into the top corner of the net from 25 yards out.
The “Cables” weren’t finished and a minute later White wins the ball deep inside RCA’s half before playing it forward to Hamilton who cuts back onto his right foot before curling an audacious chip shot into the far corner of the net.
Three goals in injury time was the undoing of RCA tonight but nobody can fault their commitment, flair and determination. In the end it was the visitors who had that little bit extra and carried the luck on the night. There were a lot of positives from tonight’s match. Fingers crossed on the injury front.
Good Luck to Prescott Cables in the next round
It’s back to league action on Saturday, 26 September, when we entertain Whitley Bay, FA Cup victor’s over Witton Albion. Kick off 3.00pm.