RCA welcomed visitors Guisborough Town to Sunderland LGV Park for this EBAC Northern League fixture. Guisborough are currently undergoing a period of change under the temporary management of Ex RCA player Gary Wood.
The home team was looking to build on their impressive recent performances and named an unchanged starting eleven.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Burlace, Callaghan, Forster, Swansbury ©, Best, Leonard, Elliott, O’Neill, Fairley, Callen. Subs: Errington, Agnew.
Guisborough Town: Steavens, Garbutt 2, Robinson, Wilson, Guru, Marshall, Martin ©, Young, Holdsworth, Garbutt 10, Ward. Subs: Roberts, Yaqub, Marron, Selby, Wood.
Guisborough, with the advantage of the slope and the slight wind started really well, pinning the home team deep into their own half.
In the third minute a good flowing move saw Young played in Martin who drove a low shot towards the bottom corner of the RCA goal but Dean was able to save diving full stretch to his left.
RCA seemed unable to string two passes together in these early stages and were under constant pressure, from a very pacy Guisborough attack.
Dean was called into action in the sixth minute saving a point blank shot from Martin after some quick interplay between Garbutt 10 and Holdsworth inside the penalty area opened up the RCA defence.
A minute later and a cross from Ward is headed just over the bar by Young.
With 10 minutes on the clock Forster was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty. Robinson stepped up and fired the ball over the crossbar.
With their first attack of the game RCA took the lead a Swansbury intercepted a pass on the half way line before releasing the ball to Leonard on the right wing, he cut the ball back to Elliott who lain the ball off to Burlace who crossed into the box, Swansbury headed the ball back across the box to O’Neill who turned and fired in a fierce shot which crashed off the cross bar and rebounded to Leonard who controlled the ball before drilling a low left footed shot into the bottom corner.
The goal gave RCA the confidence to get control of the game while Guisborough looked totally deflated.
Another flowing move in the 21 minute saw Elliott send a lovely weighted ball to Leonard on the right wing, his over-hit cross was picked up on the opposite flank by Callen who had time to pick out O’Neill with a perfectly weighted cross the centre forward made no mistake heading home from inside the six yard area.
RCA had taken complete control of the match in the space of 10 minutes it was an unbelievable transformation.
The home team went further ahead in the 29 minute when Callen picked the ball up on the left, skipped between two defenders before drifting inside and slotting the ball into the net past a bewildered Steavens.
O’Neill almost got his second when Callen played the ball to Best, he clipped the ball on to Callaghan who crossed into the box but O’Neill’s glancing header went wide.
Guisborough were finding it very hard to get out of their own half and must have feared the worst when Steavens was dispossessed by Fairley inside his own area, the RCA man crossed toward O’Neill but Guru was able to intercept the pass with O’Neill sliding in at the far post.
Fairley created the next RCA goal when he broke down the right and dribbled into the box and although he slipped he was able to pass the ball to Elliott on the edge of the box where he controlled the ball before smashing a terrific drive into the far corner of the net to make it 4-0.
RCA continued to press forward as the half came to an end Callen had a good effort which went narrowly wide before Callaghan broke past two defenders before crossing to O’Neill but he headed over the bar.
The second half started much as the first had ended, a good ball forward by Burlace was chested down by Leonard who broke past the Visitor’s defence but was denied by a spectacular save by Steavens.
RCA went further ahead when a quickly taken corner was picked up by Fairley on the edge of the box before clipping a floated shot beyond the reach of Steavens and into the top corner of the net.
Things got worse for Guisborough when substitute Selby was dismissed for a late challenge on Swansbury.
The home team kept up the pressure and it was only the heroics of the visitor’s keeper that kept the score line down as he produced a string of top quality saves, Best intercepted a poor clearance and smashed in a terrific shot which forced Steavens into a brilliant reaction save tipping the ball over the bar. The resulting corner taken by Elliot to the near post saw Best’s glancing header fly just the wrong side of the post.
Steavens then saved from O’Neill before a Fairley shot zipped past the post.
Totally against the run of play Guisborough scored, Forster was caught in possession by Ward who then played the ball to the unmarked Roberts who calmly slotted the ball past Dean.
Fairley produced the only late chance of the game when he latched onto a long ball from Burlace, beat the keeper to the ball before curling the ball toward the goal but Wilson managed to get back and head the ball off the line.
Despite a poor start to the game RCA dominated for 70 minutes and only some excellent saves from the visiting keeper kept the scoreline down. Four good performances in a row and a settled looking team and formation seem to be doing the trick. With players returning from Isolation / work commitments etc there will hopefully be a better bench for the difficult match on Saturday at Consett.
Next up is Consett on Saturday, 31 October 2020. Kick off 3.00pm.