Delve into recent seasons as we build up an on line archive of Sunderland RCA FC


The 2006-07 season

Club news

First Team

Team photo
The Sunderland RCA squad and coaching staff line up before the Esh Winning match on Saturday, 24 February 2007.

Back row, left to right: Karl Langley (Assistant Manager), Barry Massey, Gareth Hill, Dean Fox, Willie Crew, Gary D Anderson, Niki Lawson, Sean McLaughlin, Phil Hall, Anth Laidler, Si Andrews (Club Captain), Ian Matthews, Ian - Pop - Palfreyman (Physio), Scott Hembrough, Steve Smith (Manager)

Front row, left to right: Marcel Lundy, Danny Haley, Paul Moss (Captain), Jon Butler, Andy Middleton, Gary Anderson, Andrew Allen

Not in photo: Wayne Henderson, Karl Jarvis, Adam Monkhouse and Stuart Dixon.

Final Northern League Division 2 Table

Pos Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Spennymoor Town (C) 40 15 4 1 41 13 14 5 1 44 20 52 96
2 Seaham Red Stat (P) 40 14 3 3 52 28 12 5 3 47 24 47 86
3 Washington (P) 40 13 3 4 33 15 11 6 3 45 21 42 81
4 South Shields 40 13 2 5 46 30 10 5 5 43 28 31 76
5 Marske United 40 10 7 3 37 24 10 6 4 31 20 24 73
6 Norton & Stockton Ancients 40 12 2 6 45 26 9 3 8 41 32 28 68
7 Penrith 40 11 5 4 47 20 7 5 8 34 22 29 64
8 Stokesley SC 40 10 4 6 41 32 8 4 8 42 38 13 62
9 Guisborough Town 40 11 2 7 47 37 6 2 12 18 34 -6 55
10 Hebburn Town 40 9 5 6 41 38 6 4 10 27 33 -3 54
11 Team Northumbria 40 10 3 7 34 28 6 2 12 23 42 -13 53
12 Ryton 40 6 9 5 35 23 6 5 9 36 37 11 50
13 Thornaby 40 7 6 7 33 34 6 3 11 27 35 -9 48
14 Crook Town 40 8 3 9 40 42 5 4 11 32 46 -16 46
15 Whickham 40 9 3 8 40 33 3 6 11 31 43 -5 45
16 Esh Winning 40 7 4 9 34 41 5 3 12 29 42 -20 43
17 Brandon United 40 7 5 8 29 36 5 2 13 35 51 -23 43
18 North Shields 40 7 1 12 27 39 6 3 11 22 33 -23 43
19 Sunderland RCA* 40 7 3 10 26 34 5 1 14 24 51 -35 37
20 Prudhoe Town 40 6 1 13 29 49 2 3 15 19 55 -56 28
21 Alnwick Town (R) 40 5 3 12 31 47 3 1 16 19 71 -68 28

* Three points deducted

First team 2006-07 season results


ANL - Arngrove Northern League - Division 2
ATMC - Alan Thompson Memorial Cup
DCCC - Durham County Challenge Cup
EAMC - Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup
FAV - FA Vase
LC - League Cup
CC - Craven Cup



Date KO Venue Opposition
F - A
Saturday 22 July 2006 3:00 PM Away Shildon
1 - 1
Tuesday 25 July 2006 7:30 PM Away Nissan
2 - 2
Saturday 29 July 2006 3:00 PM Home Chester le Street
2 - 2
Tuesday 1 August 2006 7:30 PM Home Ryhope CW
1 - 1
Thursday 3 August 2006 7:30 PM Home Horden CW
1 - 4
Saturday 5 August 2006 3:00 PM Home Consett
1 - 4
Saturday 12 August 2006 3:00 PM Away Ryton
0 - 8
Tuesday 15 August 2006 7:30 PM Home Alnwick Town
2 - 5
Saturday 19 August 2006 3:00 PM Home Guisborough Town
1 - 0
Tuesday 22 August 2006 7:30 PM Home Whickham
0 - 0
Saturday 26 August 2006 3:00 PM Home Seaham Red Star
3 - 3
Monday 28 August 2006 11:00 AM Away South Shields
3 - 4
Saturday, 9 September 3:00 PM Away Alnwick
1 - 3
Tuesday 12 September 2006 7:30 PM Home North Shields
2 - 3
Saturday 16 September 2006 3:00 PM Away Team Northumbria
1 - 2
Saturday 23 September 2006 3:00 PM Away Hall Road Rangers
1 - 2
Wednesday 27 September 2006 7:30 PM Away Shildon
4 - 3
Saturday 30 September 2006 3:00 PM Away Spennymoor Town
0 - 3
Tuesday 10 October 2006 7:30 PM Home Esh Winning
1 - 2
Saturday 14 October 2006 3:00 PM Away Hebburn Town
0 - 4
Tuesday 17 October 2006 7:30 PM Home Murton FC
3 - 4
Saturday 21 October 2006 3:00 PM Home Penrith
0 - 3
Saturday 28 October 2006 3:00 PM Away Norton & Stockton Ancients
0 - 4
Tuesday 31 October 2006 7:30 PM Away Prudhoe
0 - 2
Saturday 4 November 2006 3:00 PM Home Stokesley
1 - 0
Saturday 18 November 2006 3:00 PM Home Washington
1 - 3
Tuesday, 21 November 2006 7:30 PM Home Marske United
0 - 2
Saturday 2 December 2006 3:00 PM Home Crook Town
2 - 1
Saturday, 9 December 2006 3:00 PM Away Guisborough Town
4 - 2
Saturday 16 December 2006 3:00 PM Home Ryton
2 - 4
Tuesday 26 December 2006 11:00 AM Home South Shields
2 - 0
Saturday 6 January 2007 3:00 PM Away Seaham Red Star
1 - 2
Saturday 13 January 2007 3:00 PM Home Prudhoe Town
2 - 0
Tuesday 16 January 2007 7:30 PM Home Brandon
3 - 1
Saturday 20 January 2007 3:00 PM Home Spennymoor
0 - 2
Saturday 27 January 2007 3:00 PM Away North Shields
2 - 1
Tuesday 30 January 2007 7:30 PM Away Tow Law Town
1 - 2
Saturday 3 February 2007 3:00 PM Home Team Northumbria
5 - 1
Wednesday 21 February 2007 7:30 PM Away Thornaby
3 - 2
Saturday 24 February 2007 3:00 PM Away Esh Winning
0 - 1
Saturday 3 March 2007 3:00 PM Home Hebburn Town
0 - 1
Tuesday, 6 March 2007 7:30 PM Home Guisborough Town
0 - 1
Saturday 10 March 2007 3:00 PM Away Penrith
1 - 1
Wednesday 14 March 2007 7:30 PM Away Brandon United
0 - 1
Saturday 17 March 2007 3:00 PM Home Norton & Stockton Ancients
0 - 3
Saturday 24 March 2007 3:00 PM Away Stokesley
2 - 5
Saturday 31 March 2007 3:00 PM Home Thornaby
0 - 0
Tuesday 3 April 2007 7:30 PM Away Whickham
2 - 1
Saturday 7 April 2007 3:00 PM Away Washington
0 - 1
Saturday 14 April 2007 3:00 PM Home Brandon United
2 - 1
Tuesday 17 April 2007 7:30 PM Away Marske United
1 - 2
Saturday 21 April 2007 3:00 PM Away Crook Town
3 - 2


Match reports from the 2006-07 season


Shildon 1 Sunderland RCA 1


Saturday, 22 July 2006

Our first friendly saw the first team squad in action in a highly competitive match away to Arngrove First Division club Shildon AFC. This was the first friendly of six whereby manager Steve Smith was hoping to assess the fitness and potential of his squad.

Sunderland RCA started brightly with several good moves breaking down at crucial points, mostly on the edge of the box.

Although chances were rare in the early exchanges it was clear that there would be little to separate both teams. As the first half wore on it was the experienced Shildon team who began to take control and only excellent goal keeping kept the score 0-0 at half time.

In the second half both teams rang the changes and it was to no surprise when the lively Shildon forwards broke through to open the scoring early in the second half. This did not deter the youthful SRCA team who battled throughout and deservedly equalised.

A good workout was experienced with manager Steve Smith and his assistant Karl Langley declaring that there were 'more positives than negatives to come out of the game' and 'this is certainly a platform to build on'.

Nissan 2 Sunderland RCA 2


Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Sunderland RCA more than held their own throughout and took an early lead through Craig (Sid) Ellison - a great finish.

Slack defending cost us for the equaliser to make it 1 - 1 at half time.

Nissan took an early lead in the second half through a goal keeping error. However not too long after we got our rewards with a well taken reply from John Butler.

It was another good workout, where we deserved at least a draw. Again, Steve made wholesale changes to have a fair look at everyone.

Sunderland RCA 2 Chester-le-Street 2


Saturday, 29 July 2006

Speed of thought, skill and bottle in the face of the
on-rushing Chester goalkeeper led to the first goal
of the match for SRCA number nine Willie Crew.

Our first friendly at home.

It was a tremendous display for the first hour, but we then lost our shape due to changes.

Willie Crew got both our goals. The first was a just goal when he ran at the goalkeeper and forced a rebound into the net. The second a class finish lobbing the keeper. At this point we were cruising.

In the second half with better luck we may have been four up, however due to fair changes in personnel and, it has to be said, abysmal defending we conceded two goals.


Sunderland RCA 1 Ryhope CW 1

Alan Thompson Memorial Trophy

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

This was an excellent competitive match before a good and enthusiastic crowd for the Alan Thompson Memorial Trophy. Sunderland RCA had the better of the first half, passing the ball well, hitting the bar and missing a couple of other good chances, while Niki Lawson in the RCA goal also had to be alert on a couple of occasions as Ryhope CW pressed on the break.

At half time the game was goalless, but John Butler opened the scoring for the RCA early in the second half. Ryhope CW pressed hard after this and when it looked as if their efforts were going to be in vain, Gavin McGuinness came up with an excellent lob over the keeper ten minutes from the end. There was still time for RCA to make a couple of good chances to win the game but it was not to be and it finished all square, with the trophy shared for this year, and more importantly £300 raised for local charities.

Ryton FC 8 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 12 August 2006

There will have been a lot to say about this match and most of it will have been said behind a closed dressing room door. On a very uneven pitch, Sunderland RCA were often overrun and caught out at the back by a rampant Ryton, who had a very effective, new centre forward. The score line does not do justice to our lads though, because at times we were well in the match, threatening and playing some nice football. We did not, though, have Ryton’s directness. Definitely a match from which to learn, forget and move on.

Sunderland RCA 2 Alnwick Town 5

Northern League

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Our first ANL home match – and on a much better playing surface than we had for Saturday – and well done to Owen for the last minute line marking duties! While we had been on the end of an 8 – 0 score four days before, Alnwick had played out a 1 – 1 draw in their first match. Expectations of a turn around were high. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Alnwick went three up in the first half before Willie Crew pulled us a goal back. In the second half they piled on the misery with two more goals, with Willie getting his second and our consolation goal towards the end of the game. Alnwick played direct football and our defending lacked organisation and marking leaving too much space for the Alnwick attack to run into and to have time on the ball in and around our penalty area. This was a more frustrating match than at Ryton. At times Sunderland RCA played some really neat football – one move on the right during the first half was really terrific – but we lacked the directness of play shown by both Ryton and Alnwick, making life more difficult for our forwards. Plenty to work on as we head into a series of home games against some tough sides, but good play too, which should soon translate into results.

Sunderland RCA 1 Guisborough Town 0

Northern League

Saturday, 19 August 2006

The RCA first team recorded their first win of the season in the Arngrove Northern League Second Division with a solid and well earned 1-0 win over Guisborough Town. RCA controlled most of the game, looking very solid at the back, but failed to convert chances until the 70th minute when a composed John Butler finished very calmly through a crowded penalty box. RCA then saw out the game comfortably enough although further chances to settle things were missed meaning the game stayed open to the end.

Sunderland RCA 0 Whickham 0

Northern League

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

It was a cracking match at Meadow Park last night when Sunderland RCA entertained Whickham FC in an ANL Division 2 match. A good advert for football at this level with some great football and solid goal scoring efforts belying the goalless score line. RCA started very strongly and could have notched on several occasions during the first half, with one save from Whickham custodian, Steve Robinson to tip a bottom corner bound effort by RCA centre forward Willie Crew being particularly noteworthy. RCA failed to make their first half dominance count and came under increasing second half pressure as Whickham pressed forwards with the advantage of the notorious Meadow Park slope. The RCA defence stood firm with Lee Charlton and Gary Anderson particularly prominent and saw RCA through to their second clean sheet in four days, good news after the goals shipped in the first two games. Good game!

Sunderland RCA 3 Seaham Red Star 3

Northern League

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Red Star shaded the first half, scored early, and preserved their lead through to the break. The second half was a different story with RCA showing pace and determination to constantly stretch the Seaham defence. Anthony Middleton and Anthony Laidler scored in a 10 minute spell in the middle of the half, and when Willie Crew converted an 82nd minute penalty which also saw a defender dismissed, RCA looked home and dry. But Seaham had other ideas, replied immediately through a penalty, and then pressed hard into extra time. A corner was conceded with literally seconds remaining and former RCA man Ian Watson headed home with the RCA defence static. Very disappointing, but a good game with lots of bright spots, including good combinations from our front two and the pace and willingness of our wide men.

South Shields 4 Sunderland RCA 3

Northern League

Monday, 28 August 2006

Going to South Shields to face a side on top of the league, and with a number of RCA players unavailable always felt like a tough ask. To find ourselves a minute or two from the half time whistle therefore with a 3-0 lead, featuring two tremendous Karl Jarvis strikes from range, was very pleasing indeed! Shields notched right on the break however, which seemed to give them the lift they needed going into the second half. The home team came out all guns blazing and soon leveled things with an unfortunate own goal and the second penalty against us of the weekend. RCA steadied the ship and had chances on the break but were undone right on time again as yet another penalty conceded saw the South Tynesiders collect all three points. So near and yet so far! Touching distance of two wins which would have made the league sit up and take notice. Six goals scored with only a one point return is a blow, but there was much to admire and build on in the approach play of the team.


Team Northumbria 2 Sunderland RCA 1

Northern League

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Sunderland RCA forward Willie Crew controls the ball in the Team Northumbria penalty area prior to scoring our goal and, below, watches as his shot beats the Team Northumbria goalkeeper.

Sunderland RCA slumped to another Arngrove Northern League defeat, with a very disappointing display at League new boys Team Northumbria. Two bad mistakes early in the game gifted the students a lead, and had not Niki Lawson saved a penalty things could have looked even worse before the break. The second half was better as Willie Crew continued his excellent goal scoring run with a goal mid way through the half. That was all RCA could manage however, and we find ourselves in a parlous league position after the first 6 weeks of the season. Improvement will be needed as cup ties over the next couple of games give us some respite from league battles.

Hall Road Rangers 2 Sunderland RCA 1

FA Vase

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Saturday's Vase trip to Hall Road Rangers near Hull saw RCA go into the game with a five man midfield supporting Willie Crew as lone striker.

The game started with RCA seeing lots of the ball, and it was soon clear that Hall Road were, as we had heard, a very direct side. The pitch wasn't great but the weather was fine, and RCA made a good start. Willie Crew had what looked like a very good penalty appeal turned down inside the first five minutes, before bad luck with early knocks saw both Barry Massey and Simon Andrews needing to be replaced within the first 20 minutes.

At half time the 0-0 score line was probably fair and RCA were right in the match. Early Hall Road pressure was weathered in the second half before a super Karl Jarvis strike on 72 minutes gave RCA the lead. The RCA defence held out comfortably enough as Hall Road pressed before disaster struck in the 86th minute as their winger was allowed to get his cross in from the bye line for the Rangers to equalise with a close range header. Worse was to come as a stray ball across the box took a wicked bounce to beat keeper Nick Lawson, who had an excellent match, to allow Hall Road to snatch the tie deep in injury time. another odd goal defeat for Sunderland RCA.

Shildon 3 Sunderland RCA 4

Durham County Challenge Cup

Wednesday, 27 September 2006 Seven-goal Durham County Challenge Cup thriller!

Sunderland RCA forward Willie Crew lobs the ball over the advancing Shildon keeper to make it 4 - 3 and a win for RCA in last night's Durham County Challenge Cup tie.

Sunderland RCA came out on top in a seven-goal Durham County Challenge cup-tie at high-flying Arngrove Northern League side Shildon last night. RCA midfielder Karl Jarvis opened the scoring after five minutes with a terrific shot from 30 yards. Shildon then settled their nerves, equalising through a penalty and then taking the lead. RCA’s John Butler headed an equaliser to make the match even at half time.

A Sunderland RCA attack in the first half of the match

The second half saw the penalty count evened up, with Willie Crew equalising from the spot and taking us into a 3 - 2 lead. Shildon made it 3 - 3 with a blasting shot which gave RCA keeper Niki Lawson no chance. As the match headed into the last ten minutes Shildon piled on the pressure. They failed, though, to clear deep in their own half, despite three attempts, and the ball fell to RCA forward Willie Crew who skillfully lobbed the advancing Shildon keeper from 25 yards to make it 4 – 3 and a terrific cup win for the Sunderland RCA lads.

Spennymoor Town 3 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 30 September 2006

RCA fought hard against a powerful Spennymoor team, who led from the 25th minute as they attacked down the notorious Spennymoor slope. A 1-0 deficit at half time probably would have been acceptable, but a scorching 25 yarder a minute before the break gave RCA a mountain to climb in the second period. With the advantage of the slope in the second half RCA had long periods of dominance, but could not find the net, before a breakaway ten minutes from time sealed the Moors victory. RCA now have a ten day break to organise themselves for a vital home clash against Esh Winning.


Sunderland RCA 1 Esh Winning 2

Northern League

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Another disappointing night for SRCA against Esh Winning. SRCA took the lead through Jon Butler after 10 minutes and in an even first half Esh equalised after 30 minutes. SRCA had experienced defenders Paul Moss and Marcel Lundy making their debuts and they certainly gave an air of security at the back with Gary Anderson and Lee Charlton holding the wide defensive berths.

The second half saw few chances with Esh generally having the slight edge but SRCA also making chances. Willie Crew took the ball around the keeper in one attack but was forced wide before he could get his shot in, and as the ball broke Adam Monkhouse, making his seasonal debut after injury, agonisingly hit the bar. It summed up SRCA's season to date when Esh broke the deadlock 10 minutes from time with an absolute screamer of a free kick.

Hebburn Town 4 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 14 October 2006

It’s a tough and challenging time for players and staff and Sunderland RCA! Losing 4 – 0 at Hebburn Town did not make for good watching. Hebburn went one up through centre forward Paul McKenna’s 31st minute strike, but the first half was a very evenly balanced affair, with SRCA unfortunate to go into half time a goal down.

The game altered dramatically after Hebburn’s Michael Younger made it 2 – 0 in the 50th minute which led to a change of formation to gamble to pull the game back. Goals from Daniel Grey (73) and sub Tony Hanson (80) piled on the misery and it could have been worse but for wasteful Hebburn finishing.

In the second half, Karl Jarvis produced one of his trademark long strikes at goal, which slammed into the bar with the keeper stationary. This was not our day.

New players have arrived and once they bed in we’re confident that we will turn things around. For everyone at the club now’s the time to re-discover the self-belief in our abilities and our fighting spirit.

Sunderland RCA 3 Murton AFC 4

Durham County Challenge Cup

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

In a match in which they were never behind, Murton AFC went through to the next round of the Durham County Challenge Cup 4 – 3 after extra time at Meadow Park.

After a 20-minute delay because of floodlight failure, Murton took the lead in the tenth minute through a Stephen Brown goal. Despite their efforts, RCA had to wait for until the second half for John Butler to equalise on 46 minutes.

Paul Moss, centre, heads past the Murton AFC keeper to make it 2 - 2
at Meadow Park in the Durham County Challenge Cup

Karl Garside made it 2 – 1 to the visitors on 63 minutes and RCA centre half Paul Moss equalised on 76 and the score stayed at 2 – 2 to full time.

Murton took the lead in extra time through Paul Wintrip, who headed home from a corner at the cemetery end. Si Andrews, who had come on as a substitute for Willie Crew, broke away to place a fine shot past the Murton keeper.

Paul Wintrip heads home a Murton corner to put Murton 3 - 2 up

In the 110th minute, Murton went on to win the game through a fine individual goal from Stephen Turner, who earlier had had a penalty saved by RCA keeper Niki Lawson.

Congratulations to Murton on their win and we wish them the best for the next round.

Sunderland RCA 0 Penrith 3

Northern League

Saturday, 21 October 2006

More woe for RCA as we go down 3-0 to a strong Penrith side at Meadow Park on Saturday. A competitive game throughout but RCA were punished for defensive mistakes with three first half Penrith goals all from short range headers settling the game before half time.

The lads kept fighting and showed good spirit and were unlucky not to notch at least one consolation goal in the second half.

Norton and Stockton Ancients 4 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 28 October 2006

A late flurry of goals saw RCA slump to a harsh 4 0 defeat at Norton and Stockton Ancients. RCA were fully in the game for the great majority of the match with only a 30 minute goal for the Ancients dividing the teams going into the final 15 minutes. By this time RCA were going full out a three man strike force and paid the penalty for leaving gaps at the back as Norton broke and scored quickly.

Prudhoe Town 2 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

The first bitterly cold night of the season saw RCA at Prudhoe Town and again our luck was out. Goalless for 60 minutes, RCA were weakened by the loss of the inspirational Paul Moss after the hour with a suspected hamstring pull and conceded two goals in quick succession midway through the second half from a well taken free kick and a close range header. No further goals were forthcoming as Prudhoe coasted home.


Sunderland RCA 1 Stokesley 0

Northern League

Saturday, 4 November 2006

This was a good battling performance by Sunderland RCA, following in the vein of recent weeks, but this time with some reward. The game was very even. RCA had the bulk of the chances, with Karl Jarvis hitting the post in the first half and Jon Butler striking the bar early in the second.

RCA lost Ian "Flash" Matthews to a hamstring strain half way through the first half, allowing Willie Crew to take his place. A good spell of pressure late in the second half saw Jon Butler get his rewards for a very solid display with a close range header from a Karl Jarvis cross.

RCA played out time comfortably enough to record a precious win!

Sunderland RCA 1 Washington 3

Northern League

Saturday, 18 November 2006

SRCA played their best football of the season and it was no surprise that we took the lead through defender Simon Andrews, firing home after Washington were attempting to clear from a corner.

SRCA were creating numerous chances and the Washington keeper was at his best in saving efforts from Butler in particular.

Washington equalised on the stroke of half-time against the run of play and this gutted the home supporters.

Worse was to follow after the re-start when we conceded a penalty which was converted in the 48th minute. Unbelievably SRCA conceded in the 51 st minute.

Washington tightened ship and the game fell away.

Sunderland RCA 0 Marske United 2

Northern League

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

This was a very dour and physical game. 0-0 at half time, no goals looked on the cards tonight. Alas a deflected goal after 65 minutes saw SRCA chasing the game to salvage a point and then the sucker punch in the dying minutes.


Sunderland RCA 2 Crook Town 1

Northern League

Saturday, 2 December 2006

This was an excellent battling win for RCA in the Arngrove Northern League on Saturday, against a strong Crook side. Manager Steve Smith had his strongest squad for a while available and the lads gave a strong performance.

Jon Butler races through to score RCA's first goal

Two Jon Butler goals had RCA two up with half an hour to play but, as always fans weren't allowed to relax as Crook quickly got it back to 2-1. RCA held their nerve though and saw out the last half hour with few alarms.

Jon Butler beats the keeper to the ball to score RCA's second goal

Two wins out of the last four games puts a better complexion on the league table but everyone knows the same level of results will have to be maintained right through to May.

Guisborough Town 2 Sunderland RCA 4

Northern League

Saturday, 9 December 2006

After manager Steve Smith had named the first unchanged side in his 18 months with the club, it looked like another one of those days for RCA when an unfortunate defensive slip presented Guisborough Town with the lead inside the first two minutes on Saturday. RCA battled back well though and a superb Jon Butler lob leveled matters inside 15 minutes.

RCA had the best of the play in the remainder of the half, only to fall behind again to a breakaway goal in the fourth minute of first half injury time.

After the interval RCA pressed hard and Jon Butler got his second after 50 minutes.

More pressure through the half led to a Si Andrews goal after 75 minutes as the keeper fumbled his header.

The first league away win and first double of the season was sealed with an Anth Laidler penalty late in added time. Consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Sunderland RCA 2 Ryton 4

Northern League

Saturday, 16 December 2006

RCA forward Jon Butler calmly slots the ball past the Ryton keeper to open the scoring after
11 minutes

In an open, entertaining and hard fought match, Sunderland RCA went down 2 - 4 to a strong and well-organised Ryton side, ending their run of two wins.

Kicking down the Meadow Park slope, RCA were swiftly on the attack with Jon Butler chasing a good ball into the Ryton penalty area after five minutes. Ryton, through. were creating their own chances and fired over at the cemetery end.

On 11 minutes Jon Butler opened the scoring for RCA, beating a defender and then the goalkeeper to slot home. The remainder of the first half was incident packed. First, on 20 minutes, keeper Niki Lawson needed a long period of injury treatment after a nasty collision with an RCA defender. On 31 minutes, Jon Butler was one-one-one with the Ryton keeper, but his shot hit the post. On 37 minutes, Buts was through again, pushing the ball past a defender and beating him for pace, before hitting a good shot. On 39 minutes, Dean Fox hit a shot on target that was well saved. Then, from an RCA corner that was only half cleared, Job Butler had another, difficult, chance on goal.

RCA were soon to rue those missed chances, because on 41 minutes, Ryton equalised with Ross Atkinson firing home from close range, the defence having failed to clear from a corner. On 45 minutes Butler was in action again, chasing a ball through, but it broke badly for him and the keeper collected.

In the second half Ryton nearly scored from the kick off and gained corners to put RCA under pressure. Then came two killer goals in two minutes, on 62 and 64 minutes, from Ryton's Ludlow and Bulford.

Captain Paul Moss pulled a goal back on 68 minutes, following a Karl Jarvis cross, after his corner was only cleared back to him. It looked as through RCA could still get something out of this game, but as the match went on Ryton were showing strongly.

On 75 minutes, manager Steve Smith made a double-substitution bring on Gareth Hill and new signing Gary Anderson for Dean Fox and Adam Monkouse. On 82 minutes, Hill's shot beat the keeper, but also, narrowly the far post.

Substitute Gareth Hill breaks through in the Ryton penalty area

On 85 minutes, Bulford scored his second and Ryton's fourth goal, following a poor clearance.

Sunderland RCA 2 South Shields 0

Northern League

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

A great result for RCA as a battling performance saw us over turn league leaders South Shields at home on Boxing day morning.

Shields pushed us hard all game, but RCA are showing real grit and determination now and we weathered the storm before a Dean Fox cracker in the 44th minute gave us the half time lead.

It was the same story in the second half. Shields had most of the play, but RCA defended stoutly, with teenage goalkeeper Nick Lawson outstanding, before a cool finish on the break from Danny Haley settled the points.

Anth Laidler was sent off for two bookings with 25 minutes to go, so it was an even more creditable result, which puts RCA back in touch with the league and looking forward to 2007 with renewed optimism.


Seaham Red Star 2 Sunderland RCA 1

Northern League

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Sunderland RCA lost a tight game against Seaham Red Star by a 2 -1 score line on Saturday. The game saw a rare outing as stand in manager by old stalwart Graham Defty, in the absence of Steve Smith and Karl Langley. Two changes were made, with "Flash" Matthews coming in for Danny Haley, and Marcel Lundy being restored to the heart of the defence.

Red Star pushed hard from the off, with the pace of John Toft causing problems, and both of their goals came in the first half from near post flick ons from corners. RCA equalised the first through Anth Laidler, but could find no answer once Red Star got their noses in front again. In the second half RCA pushed hard and had chances, but Seaham held on for the narrow win.

Sunderland RCA 2 Prudhoe Town 0

Northern League

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Off the bottom at last!

A battling performance, in atrocious conditions, saw RCA to a 2 - 0 win over Prudhoe Town on Saturday. The fifth win in our last nine matches saw our recovery over the past six weeks lift us off the bottom of the table for the first time in four months.

Despite being without several players RCA worked hard throughout and fully deserved their win. Two Dean Fox goals, one in each half, were reward for another excellent display from the front man, and both he and his strike partner Jon Butler could have added others in the second half.

Special mention also for the second Gary Anderson who had an super game on his full debut in midfield.

Sunderland RCA 3 Brandon United 1

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Sunderland RCA played Brandon in the Ernest Armstrong Cup last night in what was the first of three meetings between the sides before the end of the season.

Both teams were at less than full strength, but RCA came out on top in an entertaining match.

Brandon started the game knocking the ball around nicely and took the lead after 20 minutes with a well worked goal. RCA equalised a few minutes later when Jon Butler capitalised on a mix up in the Brandon defence to score from a tight angle.

The games was 1-1 at half time, but the second half saw RCA get on top playing down the hill. Dean Fox scored a superb 30 yarder from a free kick after 70 minutes and ten minutes from time captain Paul Moss was in to net the rebound as a Karl Jarvis free kick from long range came back from the cross bar.

Sunderland RCA 0 Spennymoor Town 2

Northern League

Saturday, 20 January 2007

A decent crowd, including the usual fanatics from Spennymoor, turned out in atrocious conditions for the game.

Spennymoor had the advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half and pressed solidly. They were rewarded half way through the half with a well taken goal and that remained the situation until the break. With the conditions now in their favour SRCA pressed very hard for the first 20 minutes of the second half and looked likely to get something for their efforts.

Spennymoor held fast though and once they had doubled their lead with a break away after 70 minutes they were able to play out time with few alarms.


Thornaby 2 Sunderland RCA 3

Northern League

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

A John Butler hat trick inside 50 minutes blitzed Thornaby, as RCA continued their good recent form. It could have been worse for the home side, as a solid defensive display provided a platform for Butler and fellow strike partner Dean Fox to cause havoc with strong running and excellent hold up play.

As RCA cruised through the final minutes, two penalty decisions in the last three minutes gave the score line a false gloss, with Thornaby back in the contest, if only for a short while.

A good win, further progress up the table and games coming thick and fast - bring it on!

Match photos

Esh Winning 1 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 24 February 2007

It was a very disappointing day at Esh Winning on Saturday. After the great midweek win at Thornaby expectations of another good result were high as we tackled bottom of the table rivals Esh. But it was not to be as injuries and absences deprived us of players and a heavy pitch took its toll.

Esh are much improved as well and deservedly won out in an always interesting and tight game with a single goal on the hour, ironically just after RCA had their best spell of the game. 11 league games to go and after this setback we need to focus again on pushing as far up the table as possible.

Match photos


Sunderland RCA 0 Hebburn Town 1

Northern League

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Sunderland RCA slumped to a second consecutive 1 0 defeat in the Arngrove Northern League against a determied Hebburn Town sided.

Luck was right out for us as we struck the uprights and bar no fewer than five times during the match.

RCA started at 100 miles an hour and threatened to overwhelm Hebburn in the first quarter, one tremendous effort from Dean Fox thundering off the bar, but decent goalkeeping and the thickness of the framework kept us out, and the scores somehow level until the break.

To be fair Hebburn played a much stronger hand in the second period, but the majority of chances fell to RCA again, with the woodwork, goal line clearances, solid keeping and plain bad luck frustrating us time and time again. Inevitably Hebburn took the lead after 65 minutes from a free kick which came back off keeper Niki Lawson, and try as we did, we could not find the leveler.

Match photos

Sunderland RCA 0 Guisborough Town 1

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Great disappointment as RCA's last chance of silverware vanished on Tuesday night, courtesy of a lack lustre display in a 1 0 home defeat to Guisborough Town in the quarter final of the Ernest Armstrong Cup.

In a scrappy game, the North Yorkshiremen scored the only goal by way of a first half own goal, which summed the game up. This was our third 1 - 0 defeat in a row, but by far the worst performance in recent weeks.

10 league games left to get back to some real form and push up the table, and a big effort will be needed as we are not safe yet!

Penrith 1 Sunderland RCA 1

Northern League

Saturday, 10 March 2007

After the very disappointing display midweek against Guisborough the lads put in a vastly improved performance away to Penrith on Saturday, and were desperately unlucky not to come away with all three points. Despite the long trip RCA turned up at Penrith in good time, and with a good turn out of players and officials, reflecting well on the club, but with Marcel Lundy and Danny Haley noticeable absentees through injury and work commitments, although the unexpected return of Stu Dixon was a bonus.

RCA started strongly and could have scored in the first minute as a Jon Butler effort was cleared off the line. The lads continued to press and got their reward when we took the lead in the 30th minute as Andy "Scally" Allen capitalised on a weak clearance by the keeper to bring the ball under instant control and lob into an empty net from 30 yards. By half time the lead should have been more than one, and the pressure continued into the second half as Penrith struggled to get out of their half. When it looked as if one would be enough a 75th minute Penrith breakaway left goalkeeper Nick Lawson stranded on the edge of his box as a Penrith cross was unluckily turned into his own net by Si Andrews, who otherwise was RCA man of the match with a powerful display in defence.

Penrith got a lift from the goal and the last 15 minutes was end to end and included some narrow escapes for the RCA goal, notably a brilliant goal line block by Anth Laidler. A point was what we had to settle for, all three would have been fairer, but the display will have given manager Steve Smith heart for the vital last few games ahead.

Brandon United 1 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

A tight and scrappy game at Brandon, settled by a single goal for the home team late on in the second half. We didn't play well but could and should have got something from the game.

It seems like our goals have dried up at present, we need to get back on the scoring trail sooner rather than later as we move into the end of the season.

Match photos

Sunderland RCA 0 Norton and Stockton Ancients 3

Northern League

Saturday, 17 March 2007

RCA lined up with a severely depleted squad, with Marcel Lundy taking the captain’s armband in the absence of Paul Moss, who was carrying a hamstring injury from the Brandon match.

It was bad start: a Norton cross from the left was side footed past Niki Lawson.

On seven minutes good play from Willie Crew gained RCA a free kick 30 yards out, which was taken by Dean Fox. The ball broke to Jon Butler whose strong shot was blocked by the keeper.

While the opening 10 minutes had been mostly Norton’s, the next period was much better for RCA. A good Dean Fox effort on 13 minutes went just over the bar. On 14 minutes a foul on Jon Butler led to a free kick on the edge of the box. Gary Anderson swung the ball in and it was headed over the bar by a Norton defender. The resulting corner was headed clear for a throw in.

On 17 minutes Jon Butler was tremendously unlucky as his goal-bound header was palmed away by the Norton keeper.

On 20 minutes dean Fox picked up a yellow card, which seemed harsh.

On 24 minutes Marcel Lundy ran across to clear when it looked as though the Norton winger had broken clear on the left.

On 25 minutes there was a flurry of RCA corners. From the first, Jon Butler heaed against the post and the ball was then cleared for another corner. From this one a powerful Dean Fox shot was palmed away for another RCA corner. Unfortunately no one connected with delivery, which sailed across the goal and out.

On 29 minutes Niki Lawson saw some action as he palmed a goal-bound header around the post and collected the subsequent corner kick.

The game was swinging from end to end and on 30 minutes Andy Middleton swung in a free kick, which a Norton defender headed out for a corner under pressure from Jon Butler. On 31 minutes RCA won yet another corner, but he delivery was just too high for Jon Butler who could not head the ball down.

A clever nod on from Willie Crew on 37 minutes created a half chance for Jon Butler whose shot was blocked. Norton cleared the ensuing corner. A minute later, RCA had yet another corner, but could not convert. On 42 minutes Willie Crew clipped wide from a difficult chance.

Half time: RCA were wondering how they could create so much pressure and so many chances, but not score!

The second half began as badly as the first for RCA. A very harsh penalty was awarded against Andy Allen for handball and Norton converted.

On 50 minutes RCA gained a free kick, but the Norton wall did its job.

On 57 minutes Norton were clear on goal and the shot from the left skimmed the post as the forward tried to go inside Niki. On 60 minutes there was another chance for Norton, but it went over the bar. A minute later Niki comfortably saved a Norton free kick conceded by Scott Hembrough.

On 63 minutes Willie Crew knocked the ball through to Scott Hembrough, whose snap shot was saved by the keeper. Two minutes later, Scott tried a long shot, which went just wide of the post.

A Norton handball on the edge of the D on 75 minutes led to a Dean Fox effort, which went just over the bar. Two minutes later the action was at the other end as Niki made a good save from a Norton forward who was clear through on goal.

On 83 minutes Jon Butler had a shot saved.

As RCA pressed they were taking risks at the back and on 85 minutes Norton’s Tyson Masters beat the off-side trap to go through one-on-one with Niki Lawson and rounded him to go on to roll the ball into the unguarded net.

RCA did not give up and on 89 minutes Scott Hembrough produced a promising situation for RCA, but his pass to Jon Butler was short and the ball was cleared by Norton.

Stokesley 5 Sunderland RCA 2

Northern League

Saturday, 24 March 2007

A below par performance at Stokesley, with an injury hit team, both before and during the match, failing to defend with the quality we have been showing for the past few weeks. After 30 minutes with the team 3 0 down and both Paul Moss and Stu Dixon injured, things looked very bleak indeed. Amazingly though we pulled ourselves together a bit and a great effort by Jon Butler followed by an opportunist goal by Willie Crew got us right back in the match at the break.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was our best spell of the game, and several good efforts could have brought reward. Sadly it was not to be as Stokesley broke well and added two more before time. Six games to go and a real show of determination needed by everybody connected with the club. Post mortems can wait until May, right now we need everyone pulling together to pick up some vital points, come on!!!

Sunderland RCA 0 Thornaby 0

Northern League

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Yet another game where our failure to take chances has cost us points.

We more than matched Thornaby throughout the game, hitting the bar and bringing an excellent save from the keeper within the first ten minutes, but couldn't hit the back of the net, and it always looked as if the game might end goalless, and so it proved.

Even more frustrating in the second half as chances went begging throughout. John Butler pulled wide when through on goal, and Andy Allen shot straight at the keeper when he looked sure to score.

Thornaby had their own moments, but we were the better side and should have won.

Overall a good solid performance with good effort and determination, without that vital spark which seems to have left us at the tail end of the season. Five big games to go, starting at Whickham on Tuesday night.

Match photos


Whickham 1 Sunderland RCA 2

Northern League

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Sunderland RCA made absolutely sure of their ANL status with a hard worked for win at Whickham. well on top in the first half we were unlucky to go in level as a superb 30 yard goal from Whickham with just about their only effort of the half, cancelled out our opener from Willie Crew, RCA's only reward from numerous well worked chances. the second half was a different story as Whickham had most of the play, only to fall behind to Wilie Crew's second after 80 minutes. Willie was denied his hat trick as a penalty was given to RCA in the dying seconds after an excellent Andy Allen run was ended with a foul, moments after Willie had been substituted. Sub Anth Laidler, with his first touch, predictably had his effort well saved, but SRCA held on for the win.

Sunderland RCA 2 Brandon 1

Northern League

Saturday, 14 April 2007

RCA began their last home game of the season kicking off down the slope. Manager Steve Smith had adopted a 3 – 5 – 2 formation, with Andy Middelton and Ian Mathews as right and left wingbacks.

Within two minutes a left wing attack led to Si Andrews passing to John Butler in a promising position, but he was flagged offside – it looked like a very tight call. RCA were back quickly though as Si Andrews broke through and ran into the box before hitting a shot across the keeper to open RCA’s account.

On nine minutes, Si Andrews was in action again, heading goalwards from a free kick, bit it proved to soft to bother the keeper.

On 20 minutes, very nice work on the right led to Si hooking the ball into the net, but the whistle had already gone for handball.

On 27 minutes Ian – Flash – Matthews took a corner and John Butler headed over.

On 31 minutes and Andy Middleton diagonal ball was taken down by Flash but his cross shot went wide.

On 60 minutes a Brandon ball into the box was not defended and Andrew Johnson had a free header, which he looped over Niki Lawson in the RCA goal for the equalizer.

Si Andrews restored RCA’s lead within five minutes, as he connected with a right wing cross to beat the keeper from 15 yards.

On 75 minutes there was an apparently bad injury to RCA keeper Niki Lawson who went down from a challenge in obvious pain from his left ankle. Following a long period of treatment from Pop, Niki was helped off and Si Andrews pulled on the goalkeeper’s jersey.

And that was the end of RCA’s home campaign for 2006/07. It was nice to see Mr Ray Baines at the match and good that he was treated to a win.

Washington 1 Sunderland RCA 0

Northern League

Saturday, 7 April

Another 1 0 defeat for RCA, the fifth in recent weeks, and harder to bear as the only goal came in the last 10 minutes, just as it looked like we would earn a deserved point and dent Washington's promotion hopes.

A depleted squad saw manager Steve Smith name himself on the bench, but a battling performance on a bumpy pitch nearly saw us home. In a game of few chances forwards found it hard going on both sides, with defences well on top throughout before Washington capitalised on an error to seal the win.

Marske United 2 Sunderland RCA 1

Northern League

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The game began at a lively pace and both sides were adopting a physical approach, but RCA started comfortably the better side. Si Andrews worked tirelessly up front winning headers and holding up well, allowing Scotty and Flash to support and make us a three as often as possible.

Paul Hartley sat centrally and held his shape well allowing Any Allen and Karl Jarvis to get on the ball and after 10 minutes we started to dominate the game. Si had two great headed chances which he put over the bar, and in Marske's only attack of any note in the first half, the stand in kepper Steve Smith pulled off a full length save low to his left. The back four dominated their attack and Phil Hall was outstanding throughout.

We continued to control possession with Karl Jarvis back to his best with the ball and were very unlucky to come in all square. The second half started as the first ended and we took the lead after a great run into the box by Andy Allen, who was found by Jarvis, and brought down for a penalty. Jarvis stepped up and slotted to his left, sending the keeper the wrong way for a deserved 1-0 lead.

Marske then made a double subsitution and went with three-up front. Still we kept possession well and the defence remained stubbornly resolute.

As the game approached the final 15 mins Marske were throwing all into attack and we hit them on the break with a great move which resulted in a great chance from eight yards which Si Andrews just fired too high.
On 78 minutes Marske were awarded a disputed free kick ten yards outside the box. The three man wall jumped to defend it. The referee judged Andy Allen had blocked via a hand and gave another freekick right on the edge of the box. This resulted in Marske's number 6 firing hard and low into the bottom left hand corner. From the kick off we gave the ball away and from a long cross into the box, Laidler unluckily found the top corner of his own net to give Marske their second goal in a minute.

Heads could have dropped, but the exact opposite happened and in the last five mins we pressed with lots of balls into the box but could not quite find the equaliser. So 90 mins for all involved to feel massively proud of their efforts and but for a bad minute the result would have produced what the boys deserved. An absolute credit to the club from 1 - 12. Well done and thanks boys!

Crook Town 2 Sunderland RCA 3

Northern League

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Sunderland RCA rounded off their season with a solid victory away at Crook Town.

The 3 2 margin makes it look closer than it really was, as RCA played most of the football and had gone into a well deserved 2 0 lead by the hour mark, and looked likely to cruise home. Andy Allen gave RCA the lead with a excellent header from a quality Jon Butler cross after half an hour, and that was enough for the half time lead. A great Flash Matthews break and cross on the hour was finished by Karl Jarvis with aplomb, with others queueing up for the goal.

The referee got himself in on the act when he inexplicably refused a cast iron penalty as second half sub Andy Middleton worked his way into the box and, as always seems to happen, Crook went down the other end and scored with a good finish past manager Steve Smith, who again found himself between the posts, as regular keeper Niki Lawson watched on crutches from the sidelines. Steve "The Cat" then endeared himself to the Crook fans as he slowed play with his astute use of the laws of the game, before Si Andrews restored the two goal advantage after 75 minutes. A last minute Crook goal put a gloss on proceedings for them but there was no dispute who were the better side, and two wins and an unlucky defeat in the last week of the season should put the club in good heart for next year.

The committee, staff and players are committed to fighting at the other end of the table next time around, and the squad have shown enough to make that a realistic target.

Sunday Team

Sunderland RCA 6 Steels SC 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday, 20 August 2006

The Sunderland RCA Sunday team began their season in the Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division missing a number of players and facing a tough game against Steels SC. In the circumstances the 6-1 victory achieved was more than pleasing and bodes well for the coming season. A very well taken Paul Tunstall hat trick saw RCA cruise to an excellent win.

Sunderland RCA 0 Myers FC 4

Sunderland Sunday League

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

The RCA Sunday team has had mixed fortunes in their first two games with an excellent 6-1 victory being followed with a disappointing 4-0 defeat against newly promoted Myers FC in mid week. Some excuses with player unavailability but the Myers game only underlined what a tough and competitive league the Premier Division of the Sunderland Sunday League is. We hope it will prove an excellent testing ground for young and up and coming players.

Sunderland RCA 4 Red House WMC FC 3

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday, 17 September 2006

The RCA Sunday team won an entertaining Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division encounter with Red House WMC. The clash saw Red House manager Karl Langley, also assistant manager of the RCA Northern League outfit on Saturdays, up against wily old foxes Owen Haley and Colin Wilson. RCA took an early lead and led 4-1 at half time with goals from Keith Gray, Ian Thompson and a brace from Jimmy Oliver. Red House fought back well and two goals late in the half saw a tense finish before RCA held on to win 4-3.

Sunderland RCA 7 Bishop Middleham Cross 3

Durham County Sunday Cup

Sunday, 3 September 2006

RCA's Sunday team progressed in the first preliminary round of the County Sunday Cup with a comfortable 7 - 3 victory over Bishop Middleham Cross Keys FC. An Andy Wilson five timer was the highlight against a strong Bishop side who kept the game alive for a very long time. The first target for the team in the County Cup is to win three more games and make it to the second round proper, thus earning exemption from the preliminaries next year.

Preston and Eaglescliffe 0 Sunderland RCA 2

County Cup

Sunday, 1 October 2006

The RCA Sunday 11 have had contrasting fortunes in the past two weeks. A week ago a severely depleted team lost 8-1 against the Golden Fleece in a Sunderland Sunday league fixture, but Sunday gone was a different story as a stronger line up, though still missing a few players, enjoyed a County Cup victory away against Preston and Eaglescliffe.

RCA won 2-0 comfortably enough against their big and powerful opponents with two first half goals, the first an opportunist header from Steve Proudlock and the second a classic own goal by an embarrassed defender attempting to clear a corner.

The Teessiders had their chances but RCA saw the game out to progress to the Third qualifying round of the prestigious County competition.

Sunderland RCA 3 Hall Farm FC 0

Sunderland Sunday League - Barry Wilson Trophy

Sunday, 29 October

The RCA Sunday team showed good fighting sprit to ease past a plucky Hall Farm outfit in the Barry Wilson trophy. Two goals from centre forward Ian Thompson were the highlight as RCA won 3 0 after a goal less first half

Sunderland RCA 2 Barnes FC 3

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Sunderland RCA Sunday team gave a much improved showing when they played Barnes FC in a Sunderland Sunday League Premier Division fixture.

After last week's horror show in the 8 - 1 cup defeat to Grindon Broadway, the lads showed much better shape and discipline, but still lost narrowly 3 - 2 to a solid Barnes team.

Two superb goals from Keith Gray and Ian Thompson were not enough to win the match, but given the team was again very depleted by injuries and suspensions the overall performance was good.

Sunderland RCA 1 Golden Fleece 5

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday, 3 December 2006

On Sunday, a depleted RCA Sunday squad fought hard but went down 5-1 against the Golden Fleece. Injuries, transfers and some players lack of motivation now the cold mornings are here means that what was looking a strong squad a couple of months ago is now looking decidedly thin.

Joint managers Colin Wilson and Owen Haley are on the lookout for new players and have signed several in the last couple of weeks but more are still needed.

Under 18s

The Under 18s in 2006-07


Reports for the Under 18s in the 2006-07 season

Sunderland RCA 5 Washington Dunlop 3

Durham County Under 18s Saturday Pre Season Tournament - Semi-Final

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

In a game slightly spoiled with the wind - yes the football season is upon us - Sunderland RCA with the wind at their backs piled the pressure on from the off. Two early SRCA corners were cleared frantically by the Dunlop defenders.

It was no surprise that our lads opened the scoring in the 20th minute from a twelve yard strike from Neil Errington.

After 25 minutes the lead was increased when a move involving six SRCA players was converted by left back Ross Turnbull, who started and finished the move with a crisp shot just inside the 18 yard box.

It was all the red and white lads now when after some excellent footwork by Lewis Collinson he hit a 30 yard pile driver against the Dunlop bar - the keeper was helpless and Kyle Baker stole in to convert the rebound.

Dunlop responded well and converted a reply just before half-time.

Half time score 3-1

RCA had to dig deep with the wind hard in their faces, but fortunately stole away and scored a breakaway goal through Adam Maggiore.

Dunlop responded magnificently clawing two goals back for a grand stand finale in the last 10 minutes. However our lads sealed the game in the 88th minute with a conversion by Lewis Collinson who had a very good game.

Final score 5 -3

RCA will play Brandon or Darlington Spraire in the final at Chester le Street on Saturday 12th August 2.00pm

It's just a pity the first team commence their season the same day - as this could be the first historic day in the Sunderland RCA history.

Sunderland RCA 4 Darlington Spraire Lads 2

Durham County Under 18s Saturday Pre Season Tournament - Final

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Sunderland RCA Under 18s with their trophy from the Durham County Pre Season Tournament.
Manager Andrew Harrison, front row, first left.

The Under 18s give a magnificent performance on Saturday against a strong Darlington side.

SRCA certainly deserved their victory and in extra time proved comfortably winners.

The team spirit was excellent and we seem to have blended a crop of players from the three-strong Russell Foster Sunday teams (St Joseph's, Boldon Colts and Redby) into one well turned out unit. Much praise needs to go to Harry for the persistence in achieving this.

SRCA had two very early chances to go one up however a combination of good goal keeping and sometimes a little over play resulted in the tie remaining level for the first 15 minutes.

Darlington were always dangerous on the break with a couple of lively forwards being well supported by a combative midfield and it was against the run of play when they took the lead through a defensive splitting pass which was coolly dispatched by the Darlo number 9.

SRCA upped their game and Lloyd Conlin powered through the midfield and drove an unstoppable equaliser minutes after our going one down.

Half time score: 1 – 1

The game was evenly balanced and could go either way with Darlo having a strong wind at their backs. Rob Thompson and Anth Maggiore needed to be organised and strong to combat the long high balls into the SRCA penalty area and comfortably dealt with these on most occasions.

SRCA gave a sloppy free kick away on the edge of the box, some 15 minutes into the second half, and the resultant low cross evaded everyone and sneaked into the corner of the net. SRCA battled hard and it looked like the Darlo lads would hang on for victory when the energetic and physical ‘Leon’ headed a cross from Nicky Bell into the Darlo goal.

From then on it was one-way traffic and although the winning goals did not come until extra time there was only going to be one winner. Chris Curtis and man of the match Lewis Collinson sealed the first trophy of the season for the impressive Sunderland side. Lets hope there is more to follow. Well done Harry and the lads!

Sacriston 0 Sunderland RCA 5

Durham County Lomax Training Services Under 18 League

Saturday, 19 August 2006

The Under 18’s started things rolling on Saturday morning by following up their winning of the Durham County pre season tournament with a comprehensive 5-0 win over a gutsy and competitive Sacriston team in their first league outing of the season in the Durham County Lomax Training Services under 18 league. A Chris Curtis hat trick was the highlight of a very encouraging display by the RCA youngsters.

Washington Dunlop 3 Sunderland RCA 2

Under 18s

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

RCA Under 18's great start to the season came to a halt with a 3-2 defeat away to Washington Dunlop on Monday night. Harry experimented with his side a little and the game started with a sloppy early goal from Washington. RCA came back strongly, dominated the first half and went in 2-1 up courtesy of two well worked goals. The second half started in similar fashion, but a Washington breakaway saw them equalise against the run of play and go on to take the points with a late goal. A wake up call for the under 18's, who we are sure will react well in future matches. They take on Chester le Street here at Meadow Park on Wednesday evening (7:00 PM KO). Come along and see how our youngsters are developing.

Sunderland RCA 3 Chester-le-Street 2

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

RCA Under 18's are back to winning ways. After being 2 down, they staged a great come back to beat Chester-le-Street 3 - 2 at Meadow Park.

Sunderland RCA 3 New Hartley 1

Durham County Under 18 League

Saturday, 2 September 2006

Will the result stand?

There was unwanted drama at Meadow Park on Saturday as RCA Under 18s took on rivals New Hartley in a Durham County Under 18 League encounter. Well into the second half, and with RCA finally getting on top of a resilient New Hartley team, referee Peter Fletcher was taken ill and the game had to be abandoned as he was taken off to hospital. Peter is diabetic and his blood sugar level had fallen steeply during the game. Luckily he quickly recovered after treatment and was able to travel home later in the day. RCA were leading 3-1 at the time, but it will be up to the FA after reading the referee's report to decide whether the game has to be replayed or the result stands. Either way the most important thing is that the situation ended with all well.

Sunderland RCA 7 South Moor 1

Saturday, 9 September 2006

RCA under 18s won 7-1 in their home game with South Moor earlier in the day. A Chris Curtis hat trick was the highlight, backed up by a Dean McKeown brace and efforts from Andrew Hall and Nathan Dodd. The Under 18s are going well and the games are well worth watching, usually 11.00 kick offs on Saturday mornings, with free admission and the club house open for refreshments. See the fixtures on the notice board at the ground or on the web site (shortly!)

Army Juniors 2 Sunderland RCA 9

Saturday, 16 September 2006

RCA Under 18s used a free weekend to go to Catterick to play an army juniors eleven. RCA were always in charge of a young army side and won 9 - 2 in an enjoyable work out for the lads. We will be reciprocating the forces hospitality later in the year.

New Hartley 1 Sunderland RCA 6

Saturday, 3 February 2007

After their successful trip to Scotland Sunderland RCA Under 18s returned to Durham County Lomax Training Services League action on Saturday with a crushing 6 -1 victory away to New Hartley in deepest Northumberland.

A Michael Chapman hat trick was the highlight of a very impressive performance, ably supported by strikes from Andrew Hall, Lewis Collinson and Dave Baker. The Under 18s still have nearly everything to play for this season and seem well up for it!


The 2007-08 season

The First Team

The first team in the 2007-08 season

First team results from the 2007-08 season

League table

The 2007-08 ANL Division 2 League Table
- this is an external link to the Northern League site


ANL - Arngrove Northern League - Division 2
ATMC - Alan Thompson Memorial Cup
DCCC - Durham County Challenge Cup
EAMC - Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup
FAC - FA Cup
FAV - FA Vase
LC - League Cup


Opposition Venue Competition
F - A
Saturday 14 July 2007
3:00 PM
Bedale Away Friendly
3 - 0
Tuesday 24 July 2007
7:30 PM
Durham City Home Friendly
0 - 2
Saturday 28 July 2007
3:00 PM
Seaham Red Star Home Friendly
3 - 4
Tuesday 31 July 2007
7:30 PM
Washington Away Friendly
1 - 0
Wednesday 01 August 2007
7:30 PM
Ryhope CW Away ATMC
2 - 1
Saturday 04 August 2007
3:00 PM
Chester-le-Street Home Friendly
0 - 6
Saturday 11 August 2007
3:00 PM
Horden CW Away ANL - 2
1 - 2
Saturday 18 August 2007
3:00 PM
Crook Town Away FAC
2 - 2
Tuesday 21 August 2007
7:45 PM
Crook Town Home FAC - replay
0 - 3
Saturday 25 August 2007
3:00 PM
Prudhoe Town Away ANL - 2
2 - 3
Monday 27 August 2007
11:00 AM
South Shields Home ANL - 2
0 - 3
Saturday 01 September 2007
3:00 PM
Hebburn Away ANL - 2
0 - 1
Saturday 08 September 2007
3:00 PM
Stokesley Away ANL - 2
2 - 5
Tuesday 11 September 2007
7:30 PM
Team Northumbria Home EAMC
2 - 0
Saturday 15 September 2007
3:00 PM
Thornaby Away ANL - 2
2 - 2
Saturday 22 September 2007
3:00 PM
Seaham Red Star Away FAV
0 - 7
Tuesday 25 September 2007
7:30 PM
Shildon Home DCCC
3 - 2
Saturday 29 September 2007
3:00 PM
Marske United Home ANL - 2
3 - 2
Wednesday 03 October 2007
7:30 PM
Bishop Auckland Home Friendly
1 - 0
Saturday 06 October 2007
3:00 PM
Prudhoe Home ANL - 2
1 - 3
Tuesday 09 October 2007
7:30 PM
Guisborough Town Home ANL - 2
4 - 1
Saturday 13 October 2007
3:00 PM
Esh Winning Away ANL - 2
2 - 1
Wednesday 17 October 2007
7:30 PM
Consett Away DCCC
0 - 7
Saturday 20 October 2007
3:00 PM
Penrith Home ANL - 2
0 - 1
Wednesday 24 October 2007
7:30 PM
Brandon Home ANL - 2
5 -1
Saturday 27 October 2007
3:00 PM
Norton & Stockton Away ANL - 2
1 - 0
Wednesday 31 October 2007
7:30 PM
Birtley Town Home League Cup
0 - 1
Saturday 03 November 2007
3:00 PM
Darlington RA Home ANL - 2
3 - 1
Wednesday 07 November 2007
7:30 PM
Marske United Away EAMC
2 - 1
Saturday 10 November 2007
3:00 PM
Whickham Away ANL - 2
1 - 2
Tuesday 13 November 2007
7:30 PM
Crook Town Home ANL - 2
2 - 2
Saturday 17 November 2007
3:00 PM
Birtley Town Home ANL - 2
2 - 0
Saturday 24 November 2007
3:00 PM
North Shields Home ANL - 2
3 - 0
Saturday 1 December 2007
3:00 PM
Team Northumbria Away ANL - 2
2 - 0
Saturday 08 December 2007
3:00 PM
Hebburn Town Home ANL - 2
3 - 2
Saturday 22 December 2007
3:00 PM
Horden CW Home ANL - 2
3 - 2
Saturday 12 January 2008
3:00 PM
Stokesley Home ANL - 2
6 - 1
Saturday 19 January 2008
3:00 PM
Thornaby Home ANL - 2
3 - 1
Saturday 09 February 2008
3:00 PM
Guisborough Away ANL - 2
2 - 1
Saturday 16 February 2008
3:00 PM
Esh Winning Home ANL - 2
1 - 1
Saturday 23 February 2008
3:00 PM
Penrith Away ANL - 2
2 - 3
Saturday 01 March 2008
3:00 PM
Norton & Stockton Home ANL - 2
1 - 0
Wednesday 05 March
7:30 PM
Brandon United Away ANL - 2
4 - 0
Saturday 08 March 2008
3:00 PM
Darlington RA Away ANL - 2
2 - 0
Saturday 15 March 2008
3:00 PM
Whickham Home ANL - 2
3 - 1
Wednesday 19 March 2008
7:30 PM
Marske Away ANL - 2
2 - 2
Saturday 22 March 2008
3:00 PM
Birtley Town Away ANL - 2
3 - 0
Tuesday 25 March
7:30 PM
Ryton Away ANL - 2
0 - 5
Saturday 29 March 2008
3:00 PM
North Shields Away ANL - 2
7 - 3
Saturday 05 April 2008
3:00 PM
Team Northumbria Home ANL - 2
3 - 0
Tuesday 08 April 2008
7:30 PM
Penrith Town Away EAMC QF
4 - 3
Tuesday 15 April 2008
7:30 PM
South Shields Away ANL - 2
0 - 1
Saturday 19 April 2008
3:00 PM
Ryton Home ANL - 2
0 - 1
Tuesday 22 April 2008
7:30 PM
South Shields Home EAMC SF
4 - 1
Saturday 26 April 2008
3:00 PM
Crook Town Away ANL - 2
2 - 0
Monday, 5 May 2008
11:00 AM
Esh Winning Ryton EAMC Final
0 - 3

Northern League Division 2 Table

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Penrith Town (C) 38 24 7 7 78 40 38 79
2 South Shields (P) 38 24 5 9 98 52 46 77
3 Ryton (P) 38 24 3 11 83 41 42 75
4 Sunderland RCA 38 22 4 12 83 54 29 70
5 Horden C.W. 38 21 5 12 71 57 14 68
6 Whickham 38 20 6 12 87 73 14 66
7 Thornaby 38 18 7 13 78 64 14 61
8 Marske United 38 17 8 13 69 43 26 59
9 Stokesley SC 38 17 5 16 68 71 -3 56
10 Norton & Stockton Ancients 38 17 3 18 66 46 20 54
11 Birtley Town 38 16 6 16 57 66 -9 54
12 Guisborough Town 38 16 5 17 73 64 9 53
13 Esh Winning 38 15 7 16 73 58 15 52
14 Crook Town 38 14 9 15 60 74 -14 51
15 Hebburn Town 38 14 7 17 55 72 -17 49
16 Prudhoe Town 38 13 9 16 61 68 -7 48
17 North Shields 38 11 4 23 50 87 -37 37
18 Darlington Railway Athletic 38 10 6 22 51 78 -27 36
19 Team Northumbria * 38 6 8 24 43 90 -47 23
20 Brandon United 38 2 4 32 26 132 -106 10

* Three points deducted


20007-08 season reports from first team matches


Bedale 0 Sunderland RCA 3

Pre-season friendly

Saturday 14 July 2007

In their first friendly of the season Sunderland RCA travelled to North Yorkshire to face Bedale FC. Playing 4-4-2,

RCA started very brightly and at a great pace and had the home side under constant pressure from the off. Within five minutes of the start RCA were rewarded with a corner and from a great delivery by Robinson, Anderson soared above the home defence only for the keeper to produce a full length save. Butler reacted quickest and a shot on target was cleared off the line. Further pressure was applied and from a free kick on the left hand side of the box Robinson's curling effort hit the bar. RCA quickly retrieved the ball and some neat passing between Dixon and Jarvis played Matthews in down the left hand side. He went past two defenders before playing the ball to Butler who crossed to the far post, where the inrushing Middleton blazed over.

With the away side comfortably in charge they seemed too take their foot off the pedal and allowed Bedale some respite. RCA's passing now became long and scrappy and this resulted in attacks breaking down or shots being fired in from the ambitious 30-yard plus range. Bedale mounted a couple of attacks of their own as the half drew to a close, and Lawson was forced to pull off a full length tip over the bar, after Anderson and Massey were caught ball watching and their big centre forward latched onto the loose ball.

Half Time 0-0

With thee subs entering the fray, RCA seemed much more determined to get the ball down and press home their superiority. From the start of the half they were on top and Crew and Robinson were causing all sorts of problems for the home defence. The introduction of Hembrough on the right hand side was becoming a more and more influental factor as the extra injection of pace was overwhelming the home side.

It was no suprise the red and whites took the lead, a great through ball from Dixon was jumped on by Crew who beat the last defender, rounded the keeper and rolled the ballinto an empty net. With almost unanswered pressure RCA increased their lead when Robinson released Hembrough down the right hand side. He raced to the bye line, fired in a low cross, and Matthews, coming in from the left, hammered low and hard past a stranded home keeper.

Better was to come for the away side, now showing by far the better fitness levels as the best goal of the game was scored. Lawson rolled the ball to Peel at right back who, having dummied two forwards played the ball to Jarvis. He in turn sent it first time out wide to Hembrough who left the full back in his wake before again delivering a great ball for 18 year old debutant Richie Rowe to slot in from six yards. A great move covering the full length of the pitch in just four passes. From this point RCA remained comfortable, and keeping the passes short, easily played out the game for a good return to action and a clean sheet.

N Lawson, A Laidler (C Peel), M Lundy, GD Anderson, B.Massey (N Dodd), A Middleton (S Hembrough), K.Dixon, K.Jarvis, I Matthews, J.Butler (W Crew), P.Robinson (R Rowe)

Sunderland RCA 0 Durham City 2

Pre-season friendly

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

A very tough test for RCA indeed.

It was clearly evident that Durham were on their sixth competitive friendly and they did have a big array of non-league talent on show. In fact with a couple of dominant central defenders and a direct centre forward, Durham will go close this year. They can certainly pass the ball.

RCA certainly matched them for effort though and full credit for getting to half time 0 - 0. Could have even sneaked the lead just before the interval as well.

The second half was generally one way as match fitness showed and we got pushed deeper. No surprise when Durham took the lead and I dont think we will see a better strike at Meadow Park by Tom English (I think). A goal of massive quality.

The last fifteen minutes saw the RCA have some belief and we could have sneaked a consolation....late on!

Certainly some positives and this is going to be a tough fitness week with Nissan Thursday then Seaham Saturday.

Sunderland RCA 3 Seaham Red Star 4

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Sunderland RCA entered the game with no fewer than 13 players missing due to holidays, work commitments and injuries. However there were massive plusses with Wayne Henderson playing his first game for over a year and Kev Dixon making his home debut.

The game started at a good pace and both sides showing a competitive edge. RCA started well and were looking lively, and played some neat and crisp football. After five minutes Butler won a great header, flicking into the path of Crew who released Middleton down the right, but with time and space he crossed straight into the keeper's hands. In their next attack Middleton was fouled, Jarvis swung in a great cross that Butler headed just wide of the far post.

On 10 minutes Seaham attacked, but Bell shot from some 40 yards and this rolled tamely through to Lawson. Seaham attacked down the left hand side on 15 minutes, Toft beat two defenders and rolled the ball to Lumsdon who fired high and wide.

The next 15 minutes saw Seaham forcing the pace and when RCA lost the ball through Henderson, Byrne raced clear, beating the offside trap only for Lawson to save well. Seaham then took advantage of some dreadful play from Hembrough, who gave the ball away, Bell crossed from the right, Lawson completely missed the cross and Toft picked out Jennings on the far post to head into empty net from three yards. RCA went straight on the attack and Butler released Crew, a low hard drive produced a great save from Finch, and as Jarvis followed up he unleashed a pile driver from 12 yards that was somehow brilliantly turned away by Finch.

Just before the half hour mark Seaham increased their lead, when a ball into the box was not dealt with. Anderson hacked weakly clear and Lumsdon fired into the bottom right hand corner. RCA again pushed forward and from a cross from Peel on the right hand side Butler fired wide.

On 37 minutes Seaham won a corner and again a misjudgement from Lawson saw the kick directly hit the back post and be cleared to safety by Anderson. On 42 minutes Laidler and Hembrough combined down the left hand side, some swift passing got Hembrough free in the box but Finch saved well, low to his left. From the resulting corner Anderson climbed above everyone only to see his header thunder onto the bar and behind to safety.

Half Time 0-2

The second half saw RCA change to a 3-5-2 formation with Henderson pushing up into the midfield. This brought a big improvement for the home side who started to really press. Two minutes in Henderson and Jarvis combined, only for the latter to fire wide from the edge of the box. On 52 minutes Dixon and Jarvis played some quick passes. Jarvis skipped past Goodwin but again shot wide.

On the hour RCA were finally rewarded for some good attacking play when Henderson played in Butler, who in turn rolled Maw inside the box only to be pulled down from behind. From the resulting penalty Crew fired low and hard into the bottom right hand corner sending Finch the wrong way.

On 65 minutes RCA levelled when Crew played Middleton in behind the Seaham defence, and as he headed towards goal he was clumsily brought down for another penalty. Crew again fired low and hard to the same corner, easily beating Finch.

On 65 minutes Goodwin flicked the ball forward for Seaham, Byrne collected and spun Anderson on the edge of the box, only to fire wildly over the top. RCA went on the attack again and a great ball out wide from Henderson released Butler, who skipped passed the defender and crosses cleverly for Crew to fire under Finch from six yards, giving him a hat trick and RCA a 3-2 lead.

In the 79th minute Dixon spread the play wide to the left, Butler evaded a challenge from Toft, and fired a great drive towards the far corner. With Finch well beaten the ball thudded off the far post and out for a goal kick. Seaham again lost the ball in the opposition half and with time and space to play RCA needlessly went backwards to Lawson. Unchallenged Lawson scuffed his attempted clearance straight to Jennings, he then squared to Byrne who rolled it into the empty net to level again at 3-3. With Seaham having made several changes and RCA's attacking efforts, the shortage of bodies was now starting to tell on the home side. As the game was drawing to a close Peel stumbled on the ball just outside the box, Newby picked up the loose ball and ran straight past a static home defence to slot past Lawson and give Seaham the lead. As the clock ticked down RCA produced the final attack of the game and when the ball was crossed in, Crew looked certain to score. But from two yards out and with the goal at his mercy, he somehow managed to fire wide.

Washington 0 Sunderland RCA 1

Pre-season friendly

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Sunderland RCA travelled to First Division Washington continuing their hard pre-season fixture schedule. Manager Steve Smith went with a 3-5-2 formation following on from their excellent second half performance against Seaham Red Star on Saturday.

The side saw a few changes in the line up with Paul Moss returning, Dave Hills playing as a trialist, Dean Goodwin making his debut and Flash starting up front after returning from injury. Also in the squad was defender Steve Williams, another defender playing on trial after being recommended by Kev Dixon. With Deano excellent throughout the 90 minutes, Dave calm and talkative at the back and Steve performing admirably after his introduction at half time, another great deal of plusses can be taken from the game.

Washington lined up with the prolific and vastly experienced pairing of John Milner and Willie Moat up front, but barring one or two half chances our back three performed really well. RCA attacked at every opportunity and had good chances with Butler and Hembrough in particular, but a free flowing and competitive game reached half time at 0-0.

In the second half RCA continued to get the ball down and play some swift and good football. Flash had a header well saved, then what looked a certain goal hacked off the line, but not to be stopped he fired in a great header on 75 mins after getting across the front of the defender to give the visitors a deserved lead. Play continued at a good pace, with both sides still looking to attack and Washington had a goal disallowed for offside when a shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the post to be headed in, only for the forward to be flagged offside. In the last ten minutes, Butler and Matthews went close for the visitors, and with the midfield on top they comfortably saw out the game to record a good victory.


Ryhope Colliery Welfare 1 Sunderland RCA 2

Allan Thompson Memorial Cup

Wednesday, 01 August 2007

Two-goal hero Jon Butler is presented with the Allan Thompson Memorial Cup
by Allan's brother Jimmy.

Sunderland RCA made the short journey up the bank to face neighbours Ryhope CW in the annual Alan Thompson Memorial Cup match. Having played the previous night against Washington, this was likely to be a long night for the RCA, with numbers already short due to injuries, holidays and work, RCA lost Moss, Hill, Matthews and Anderson from the previous night's squad.

The game started with RCA playing a 3-5-2 formation and from the outset taking the game to the CW. With some sharp interplay between Dixon, Goodwin and Jarvis, RCA should have been three up in the opening 20 minutes, but wasteful finishing saw the CW stay in the game. Jarvis fired wide from the edge of the area when unchallenged, Andrews shot wide when in a great position from a Dixon through ball, Butler headed wide from a corner when unchallenged three yards out, and from the move of the game Goodwin was put clear by Dixon only to shoot straight at the keeper.

The CW were starting to work their way into the game, and their direct route up to the front two unsettled a new, untried RCA back three. A shot saved by Lawson was pushed straight to former RCA man Gareth Hill, who, with the keeper still on the ground, fired wide of the far post. Hill then had a volley hit the post, and Jordan lashed the rebound high and wide. RCA continued to be on top, although however their passing became more sporadic and attacks repeatedly broke down around the CW box.

The CW toool the lead opwards the end of the first half. A long ball was launched down their right hand side, and when this was not dealt with, RCA's Laidler and Henderson both got sucked out of their central areas and a ball into the box, left the CW forward with a free header that just rolled into the far corner via the post.

This sparked a frenetic last few minutes of the half. When the ball dropped it was played forward to Andrews, whose collision with the full back resulted in a free kick to the CW. This produced an angry response from former RCA player Hill, and after prolonged and repeated warnings from the referee, he was substituted right on half time.

At the start of the second half and galvanised by the lead the CW were working and closing down RCA with great endeavour. The game lost a lot of its shape, and RCA began to go long and hopeful, resulting in scrappy play, and very little in the way of controlled possession and goalscoring chances.

With 20 minutes of the game remaining, RCA keeper Niki Lawson was fouled when he came for a high ball into the box, and although he continued for five minutes, he was replaced in goal by Barry Massey. Lawson was taken to hospital and has sustained concussion and damaged ribs.

RCA brought on Peel and reverted to a 4-4-2 system in the hope of shortening their passing. Laidler and Jarvis were now gaining good ground down the left, and RCA began to get back on top. From a clearance by Massey, Andrews flicked on and with hesitation in the CW back four, Butler burst through the back line and fired emphatically past Burlinson.

RCA were now looking for a winner and right at the end of the game Laidler and Jarvis combined down the left. Laidler raced towards the box only to be blatantly tripped from behind. Jarvis swung in a great free kick to the far post. Butler attacked the ball, easily climbing above a static defender to head firmly home for the winner.

Sunderland RCA 0 Chester-le-Street 6

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Sunderland RCA were playing their fourth game of the week and were severely depleted yet again. Niki Lawson, Mark Lawton, Wayne Henderson, Karl Jarvis, Nathan Dodd, Phil Hall and Paul Robinson were all absent due to injuries and holidays had robbed the squad of Steve Thomas, Simon Hanlon, Marcel Lundy and Willie Crew.

The last thing the home side needed was to concede after three minutes, however due to some dreadful decision making by the referee, that's exactly what happened. Chester ran the ball out down their left hand side, the assisstant referee awarded the throw to RCA, however when a Chester player took a quick throw, the ball was crossed into the box for the unmarked forward to roll home. This resulted in long and loud protests from the home players, however to the consternation of all in the ground, the referee allowed the goal to stand.

Worse was to follow on 10 minutes when the Chester number 10 left Laidler floundering on the edge of the box, ran through unchallenged, and calmly slotted past the exposed Hall.

Hall then suffered a hip injury when colliding with a Chester forward as he came to collect a low cross into the box. After lengthy treatment, although obviously struggling, he managed to continue.

At the other end Hembrough cut in from the left, unleashed a shot which beat the Chester keeper, only for it to hit the post and bounce to safety. Butler also had a great chance to reduce the arrears, but failed to test the keeper with a free header from six yards. Further knocks to Dixon and Moss on 25 minutes saw them both replaced, and a complete reshuffle of the side as numbers were stretched to the limit.

Chester increased their advantage when Andrews and Hill were totally out-foxed inside the box, and again unchallenged the Chester forward scored past the exposed Hall. RCA were still attacking and had two great chances when Matthews was released, however on both occassions, heavy first touches allowed the Chester keeper to race off his line and smoother the ball.

The second period started with Hall giving way to injury, and full back Barry Massey taking over between the sticks for the home side. With Andrews playing at the back, RCA only had one defender on the pitch, and their sporadic possession was being wasted and given away cheaply.

Chester increased their options by introducing March, Draper and Shields into the fray - three experienced first division players. RCA were now looking a tired side both physically and mentally, and Chester dominated the rest of proceedings.

With some swift and flowing football Chester went on to score three more unanswered goals to record a deserved and comfortable 6-0 victory. RCA now have a week to nurse their walking wounded back to fitness, see the return of players from holiday, and get ready for a tough opening fixture away to last season's relegated side Horden CW.

Horden CW 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Sunderland RCA began their ANL Division 2 campaign with a tough away fixture to Horden CW.

As has been the case throughout pre-season, the RCA were again severely disrupted with no less than 9 players missing. With Niki Lawson, Karl Jarvis, Mark Lawton, Phil Hall, Paul Robinson, Nathan Dodd, Dean Fox and Andy Middleton injured and Simon Hanlon away, there was also Marcel Lundy and Willie Crew returning that morning from holidays and Steve Thomas coming back after a month out with a foot fracture.

So with an unfamiliar starting eleven, and a great deal of experience missing it was no surprise RCA started slowly. Horden were moving the ball well and the away side were finding it difficult to get a foot hold in the game. Horden went with three up front forcing Laidler deep, so RCA pushed Andrews up front and brought Butler out to the right.

Horden's forwards, particularly Martin and Allan, were looking lively and causing the RCA defence some anxious moments. However with all the possession the home side had there were very few chances being created.

All that changed when a ball down the home side's righthand side was played forward by Di Lella, Lundy came across and scuffed his clearance, Anderson swung wildly and sent the ball high but no distance, and Martin latched onto a header into the box to fire wide from six yards. With RCA allowing Horden all the freedom in the world the home side were increasing the pressure. Egbe and Stephenson both fired over from the edge of the box, Allen shot tamely wide from eight yards out.

Horden finally took the lead when Dixon lost possession to Stephenson, he played the ball forward, and a static RCA back line, stood with hands in the air appealing for offside. With play waved on Allen raced claer, rounded Hall and tapped into an empty net. Horden comfortably ran down the remaining five minutes of the half to go in leading 1-0.

The second period was only a couple of minutes old when Horden attacked down their left. Anderson never got near the winger who flighted a cross into the box, Moss was sucked under the ball allowing Martin a free header which caught out Hall. A late reaction saw Hall tip onto rather than over the bar. The rebound fell straight to Laidler at the back stick and only six yards from his own goal. With Allen closing in Laidler should have cleared first time, but took a touch, allowing Allen to pinch the ball and hammer high into the net.

RCA made a triple substitution on the hour introducing Thomas, Hembrough and Crew for Laidler, Dixon and Andrews. This seemed to bring a renewed determination and much quicker tempo to the away sides play, and going thee at the back they now started to dominate the game.

RCA's passing was shortened, quicker and much more effective and Thomas began to exert some control to the play. With 20 minutes to go RCA got themselves back into the game. Thomas rolled the ball out wide to Matthews who in turn found Butler in the box. He turned the defender and when he fired goalwards, a deflection saw the ball roll into the bottom left corner to reduce the arrears.

Horden now seemed to lose their shape and began to pump long balls forward, these were being picked up by the away side and the pressure was being increased. Hembrough and Butler combined down the right hand side, the former producing a superb cross to the far post after leaving the fullback in his wake. Crew rose unmarked two yards out, and with the goal at his mercy managed to head straight across goal and back out wide.

RCA had three freekicks in quick succession, Thomas each time delivering with quality into the box. However two were headed clear unchallenged and when Moss reached the other he headed wide. Right at the death RCA were awarded a freekick 25 yards out and just right of centre of the goal. Thomas bent the kick over the wall, and with the keeper beaten saw it drift narrowly wide.

Crook Town 2 Sunderland RCA 2

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FA Cup

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Sunderland RCA travelled to ANL 2nd Division Crook Town in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup. With the revenue and exposure generated by a good run in the competition, RCA were looking to record their first win of the campaign.

Again hampered by injuries RCA were missing no less than 11 players from the squad, (Lawson, Hall, Lawton, Laidler, Jarvis, Goodwin, Fox, Robinson, Andrews, Dodd and Middleton) however they did include Winspear, Hanlon and Thomas, all making their first starts of the season.

The game started brightly and the visitors should have taken the lead in the first four minutes when some good play and a great ball into the box found Crew unmarked six yards from goal. His header was easily saved by the keeper diving to his right. The game was being played at a frantic pace with Crook going direct at every opportunity to the tall forward and trying to play off the bits.

RCA had another good opportunity when Winspear delivered from the right. Crew flicked on at the front post, but nobody reacted quickly enough and the home keeper came and collected low in the six yard box. The visitors took the lead when Crew fired in from the left hand side of the area, after beating the offside line and being played in with a clever ball over the defence from Dixon.

Crook restored parity on the half hour when awarded a free kick on the left hand side. The ball was swung into the box, the knock down bouncing high for the Crook forward to head in off the post with Moss caught flat footed. RCA attacked hard and almost took the lead again when Winspear drove past the fullback, raced into the box, but just overran the ball for the keeper to come and collect.

The second half started with RCA in the driving seat, Thomas becoming a pivotal figure, and passing the ball much better and shorter than the home side. They again took the lead with some decisive passing down the left, good interplay between Dixon, Hanlon and Thomas who delivered a quality ball to the back stick for Butler to head home above the defender.

Crook leveled for the second time when awarded a corner on their left hand side. The ball was thrown to the back post and the Crook forward was allowed a free header. Hanlon headed clear and Henderson completed the clearance. However the linesman flagged and indicated the ball had crossed the line, resulting in the referee awarding the goal.

In the final 10 minutes RCA attacked with great purpose. Dixon beat two defenders before firing a great drive just wide from 20 yards, Thomas passed to Butler, who spun and fired goalwards, a deflection seemed to wrong foot the keeper, who changed direction and produced a top quality save. The corner resulted in Moss just heading wide.

So, a draw and back to Meadow Park for the replay on Tuesday night, when RCA hope to have four or five players returning.

Sunderland RCA 0 Crook Town 3

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FA Cup replay

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

A very bad night for RCA as a committed and determined Crook outfit deservedly progressed to the next round of the FA Cup, and collected the £500.00 prize in doing so.

Honours even in the first half of what was not a great game, with Paul Robinson lasting only 15 minutes on his return from injury before a bad tackle forced him to limp off, but things changed rapidly in the second half.

Within five minutes of the restart Crook were two goals to the good as a mistake by keeper Simon Hall gifted them an early lead was followed within a minute or two by a recklessly conceded penalty, which effectively sealed the tie.

Crook had more chances and eventually notched a third, while the RCA misery was completed as Steve Thomas missed a penalty in the 89th minute. A bad night, made worse by the knowledge that the draw had been kind and we could and should have won the game at the first time of asking at the Millfield ground.

Good luck to Crook at Hall Road in the next round, they have every chance of progressing. Few positives for RCA on the night, and big games in the League to come.

Prudhoe Town 3 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Would the Crook result be out of the boys' systems for the away trip to Prudhoe?

A few changes saw Steve Winspear return to the team for his second game, John Butler and Wayne Henderson also returned after missing the replay and Glen McCartney made his debut, at left back rather than his usual right side.

Again the first half was goalless, although RCA had the best of the few chances and looked strong. Prudhoe did hit the bar, which was a warning.

The second half again saw goals conceded early with a frantic four minute spell seeing Prudhoe score twice with John Butler replying with a penalty for RCA.

All to play for but it was Prudhoe who extended their lead before a goal keeping blunder pushed a Scott Hembrough cross into the net with 10 minutes left to set up what might have been a hectic finish.

Prudhoe saw the game out comfortably enough however and RCA remain pointless in the league, with a tough bank holiday fixture to come at home to South Shields.

Sunderland RCA 0 South Shields 3

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Monday, 27 August 2007

With two down in the league and two defeats, Monday morning was a good time to get the season started.

More changes with Simon Andrews acting as an emergency keeper in the absence of all three signed on specialists, and Paul Moss missing out through injury, along with Paul Robinson and Wayne Henderson. Andy Allen came into midfield for his first start since returning to the club, Anth Laidler came back after injury on the left hand side and Steve Winspear moved forward to partner John Butler up front.

The first half followed the pattern of recent games, staying goalless as RCA battled hard against a good quality and confident Mariners side, given vocal, if not always coherent, backing from their usual band of devoted followers.

Sadly the second half started the way we are beginning to dread with Shields establishing a three goal lead, that never looked threatened, within the first 20 minutes of the half. A full range of substitutes was used with Scott Hembrough, Kevin Dixon and Gary Anderson getting into the action for Steve Winspear, Simon Hanlon and Steve Thomas, but Shields were always well on top, and could have extended their lead on a number of occasions in the final quarter, much to the delight of their fans.


Hebburn Town 1 Sunderland RCA 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 01 September 2007

A dour struggle at the Old Reyrolles ground saw RCA come out on the wrong side of a single goal result against Hebburn Town, who will not expect to feature high in the league this season.

Hebburn took the lead half way through the first half and, despite a lot of pressure in the second period, RCA could not get back on level terms. Willie Crew had a goal disallowed for offside as the ball came back of the keeper, always a contentious decision, but when Karl Jarvis went off with what looked a bad shoulder injury the RCA effort faltered and Hebburn saw out the last 20 minutes quite comfortably.

Young Michael Robertshaw made an encouraging debut in goal and looked comfortable throughout, as well as making a couple of fine saves early on, while the return from injury of Mark Lawton was another bright spot on another disappointing day as the bad early season form continues for RCA.

Stokesley SC 5 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 08 September 2007

Stokesley is a lovely little town, the sports club is a great set up, with fans having the choice of football or cricket to watch on Saturday, plus England later on the clubhouse telly. That's where the positives end for Sunderland RCA, as our second ever visit ended the same way as the first, with a 5-2 beating.

Stand in boss Graham Defty went with five at the back, and recalled Kevin Dixon in place of the injured Karl Jarvis, and the first half hour was entertaining as RCA came close on a number of occasions and took the lead through a well worked Andy Allen goal, following good work after a corner by Anth Laidler and Kevin Dixon.

Dean Fox saw a great strike rubbed out a few minutes later for a marginal hand ball call, but that was the end of the good news as Stokesley hit back with three goals in eight minutes to take a 3-1 lead into the break.

Within 10 minutes of the restart the game was all over as sloppy defending let Stokesley in twice more to take a decisive 5-1 lead in the game. A couple of changes at the back saw things settle down, and a scrambled Willie Crew effort gave the scoreline a slightly better look, but it was still a miserable visit to North Yorkshire, as our bad start continues.

Sunderland RCA 2 Team Northumbria 0

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Trophy

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

With new manager Neil Hixon watching from the stand before beginning his duties on the following morning, Sunderland RCA recorded their first win in any competition this year with a well deserved victory over Team Northumbria, as the playing staff took the opportuntiy to show their new boss that they had some qualities in the team for him to build on.

A solid performance saw goals from Anth Laidler before the break and Willie Crew half way through the second. Team Northumbria worked hard, but the RCA squad matched them and played some very good possession football at times. Hopefully the start of better things to come!

Thornaby 2 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 15 September 2007

What looked like a very tough start on paper for new boss Neil Hixon ended with RCA disappointed not to collect all three points from a good all round display.

The manager showed his intentions from the start, bringing in three new players for their debuts. Craig Sheilds and Graeme Brown, both signed from Nissan the day before came into goal and central defence respectively, while Luke Ball slotted in at right back after his move from Durham City.

A very even first half saw few chances, but RCA broke the deadlock immediately after the restart with a smart
Willie Crew finish, and when the recalled dveteran striker Simon Andrews notched a super second on the hour things looked good for RCA.

Thornaby were undaunted however and sloppy marking at the back post let them in for a quickfire brace within the next ten minutes.

The game continued to be entertaining with Thornaby pressing hard before Willie Crew had two golden opportunties to settle the match in the last few minutes, with a great Dean Gordon tackle defying him right at the end.

A first point of the season though, with hopefully many more to come!

Seaham Red Star 7 Sunderland RCA 0

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FA Vase

Saturday, 22 September 2007

(The home side, Seaham Red Star, are in red and white stripes.)

Well, we knew the return to Seaham Town park would be interesting, as Neil Hixon made his first visit to Red Star only 10 days after stunning them by leaving the club to come to RCA. It was interesting all right, as the side Neil built were right up for the battle against his new charges. Sadly the same could not be said for the Sunderland RCA team. We conceded the first goal early, as Seaham's giant centre forward, Andy Jennings, looked like he didn't believe the space he had found in the six yard box; neither did any of the spectators.

Always second best, the RCA lads kept it down to two goals at the interval, but afterwards the floodgates opened and within 10 minutes of the restart Red Star had stretched their lead to five. It got worse, and with the local fans and officials more or less quietly jubilant, Seaham notched two more. Jennings, who we found unplayable throughout, got his hat trick, and by the end RCA were a thoroughly beaten outfit, and out of another national cup competition, only the All England Sunday Cup still to go... Its not all bad news though, I managed to puncture the excitement a little by pointing out that we would be a good deal more worried if we had won 7 - 0 against a team put together by our new boss! 

Just a short comment on quotes you may have seen from Seaham Red Star suggesting we were less than honourable in our approach to Neil Hixon. This is simply not true. I personally rang John Smith the Seaham secretary to tell him we were going to try and talk to Neil, and as far as I am concerned that was all I needed, although was not required, to do. It is not my job to interfere in internal relations at another club, or to tell them if someone has decided to leave and come to us. I don't know what was or wasn't said between Neil and Seaham Red Star, and I don't want to know, that is their business. We are just pleased he is now on board with us at Meadow Park.

Mind, they got their own back. Against all the normal conventions and courtesies, and in order to make my match notes, I had to buy my programme at the game last Saturday, there was none available for this particular visiting secretary. Ah well, whatever floats your boat...

Sunderland RCA 3 Shildon 2

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Durham County Challenge Cup

Tuesday, 26 September 2007

On the first really cold night of the autumn, Sunderland RCA were hot stuff - certainly too hot for ANL First Division outfit, Shildon. The 3 - 2 victory was well deserved and went a long way in restoring club pride after the defeat at neighbours Seaham Red Star.

In a frantic first ten minutes, RCA, kicking up the slope, got a free kick on the right, which was cleared for Shildon to break away and from a cross hit the side netting. On 10 minutes, following good work in midfield, veteran Si Andrews was put clear in the Shildon penalty area and scored to make it one - nil to the lads. The goal stung Shildon, who gained three corners in a row, the third one cleared twice by Gary D Anderson, who was playing an unfamiliar role in midfield. A minute later Niki Lawson ran out bravely to deflect the ball from an on-rushing Shildon forward. On 22 minutes Gary Anderson was back in action, clearing the ball off the RCA goal line.

On 33 minutes, Shildon equalised. From a corner the ball pinged around the RCA penalty area eventually falling to John Hutton on the 18 yard line, who made no mistake firing strongly through a crowd of players. Three minutes later Shildon had the ball in the net again, but the whistle had gone for off-side.

In the second half, Craig Shields took over in the RCA goal. Manager Neil Hixon was soon forced to make more changes. Luke Ball was booked for what looked like a fair 50:50 tackle and went off for treatment. The injury proved too severe for Luke to continue and John Butler, who has been recovering from an injury over the past few weeks, was thrown into the fray.

Shildon were showing determination to get themselves ahead. On 55 minutes, Craig Shields dived to push a shot around the post for a corner. On the 60th minute Shildon got their breakthrough. A long shot was deflected for a Shildon corner. The ball was cleared, but pushed back into the RCA penalty area where it broke to Karl Everitt on the 18 yard line. His well hit cross shot found the net to put Shildon ahead.

Seven minutes later RCA were back on level terms. Under-18 player and ANL debutant, Nathan Johnson, went through one-on-one with the Shildon keeper. There was an audible clash between them, but it did not stop Nathan heading the ball into the net to make it 2 - 2. Well done Nathan, with an attitude like that you will go far in the game - let's hope it's with us. Chairman Owen Haley, who devotes a lot of time to the Under-18s, was delighted and it is certainly an inspiration to the other young lads at RCA.

RCA went ahead on 75 minutes. Intelligent and quick thinking from captain Glen McCartney meant that an RCA free kick from 25 yards was taken early and with the Shildon keeper asleep the ball was in the back of the net. Terrific!

Shildon did not give up. The next minute they brought an excellent reaction save from keeper Craig Shields and RCA more than hung on for a deserved victory.

Well done to all the lads. We needed that. It's a funny old game!

Sunderland RCA 3 Marske United 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Two wins on the trot are very welcome to RCA supporters and will have raised eyebrows elsewhere as we trebled our league points tally against a tough Marske side, who were eighth in the league, with no away losses, going into this match. Things are changing at Meadow Park as new manager Neil Hixon's early work takes effect. There's more heart, more belief and more ability on show. RCA can go into the next two home ANL encounters with Prudhoe (Saturday) and Guisborough (Tuesday week) with a positive frame of mind.

RCA began the match kicking up the slope. Marske were first to show, heading over the bar from a right wing cross after two minutes. In the next minute RCA had a corner, but this was cleared. On five minutes there was a long stoppage as a Marske player was knocked out when competing for a header in midfield. When play was resumed, Wayne Henderson made a good and crucial tackle as a Marske forward ran clear on goal. Six minutes later, Wayne was in action again, managing to disturb a Marske forward who was clear through on goal, weakening the shot that was comfortably saved by keeper Craig Shields.

Marske were having success down their left wing and on 17 minutes shot just past the far post. RCA were also threatening. Lee Owens collected a good diagonal ball, but his shot was straight at the keeper.

On 26 minutes Marske got the goal that their play had been threatening. Again the problem was on the RCA left side of defence, with a Marske forward having far too much freedom to run through to slot past Craig Shields.

Two minutes later it looked like it was not going to be RCA's day as Wayne Henderson conceded a penalty, but the shot was way wide past the right post.

RCA were getting some joy down their right, with good work from new signing Lee Owens. Unfortunately his cross on 37 minutes was just over hit. On 41 minutes Si Andrews challenged the keeper on his line and inevitably the referee blew in favour of the keeper.

Marske will have been frustrated that there lead was only 1 - 0 at half time, although any neutral would not have felt much sympathy for their constantly mythering fans, who were giving the match officials a ridiculous level of abuse.

Manager Neil Hixon made some key changes for the for the second half bringing on Gary D Anderson and Paul Moss to tighten up the right side of the defence. Both players did very well and the changes had the desired effect, as would the introduction of new signing Lee Bell on to the right wing.

On 48 minutes Gary Shields won a penalty, which he then took to score and put RCA on level terms. Ten minutes later though Marske were ahead again scoring from their second penalty.

RCA were back in the match on 59 minutes. A terrific ball from the ever-improving Kevin Dixon put Gary Shields in good space on the right of the Marske penalty area. His cross was half-stopped by the keeper, but Si Andrews was on hand to bundle the ball into the net.

On 75 minutes RCA went ahead for the first time in the match. Tricky footwork from new boy Lee Bell was too much for the Marske defenders and he slotted home to make it 3 - 2. Three minutes later a good ball from Dean Goodwin set up Lee on the right, but all missed his tantalising cross.

There was more woe for Marske on 82 minutes as David Onions was stretchered off. Let's hope he's OK.

On 82 minutes another good ball from Kevin Dixon to Lee Bell was crossed, but Si Andrews did not connect effectively enough with his header and the keeper pushed around the post.

A good win and with a friendly against the Bishops arranged for Wednesday night Neil Hixon will have more opportunity to assess his squad.


Sunderland RCA 1 Bishop Auckland 0


Wednesday, 4 October 2007

This quickly arranged friendly suited both clubs. For RCA it was the opportunity for manager Neil Hixon to get more of a look at his squad and to introduce the new left winger Ashley Davis, who has signed for RCA from Jarrow Roofing. The Bishops have a new management team and Brian Honour and Assistant Player Manager Steve Howey were equally keen to assess their team.

The Bishops started brightly, but as RCA settled in to the match new signing Ashley Davis was showing some good touches and threatening positions on the left in an RCA side that started with Anth Laidler taking a central midfield role, Gary Anderson on the right and Paul Moss and Gary D Anderson in central defence.

Matthew Raine continued his solid start with RCA at left back, but unfortunately was injured in the 35th minute and had to leave the field. The substitute's first action was to concede a penalty. Niki Lawson brought off a good save diving to his right to palm the shot away and the danger was eventually cleared.

In the second half Si Andrews came on for Dean Fox to partner new signing Lee Bell in attack. Midfielder Kevin Dixon also entered the fray alongside Karl Jarvis who was making his comeback after a lengthy shoulder injury.

The Bishops created a good chance in the 60th minute when a right wing cross was volleyed across goal and wide. It was RCA who made the breakthrough, though, courtesy of its new boys. Ashley Davis carried the ball forward and passed to live wire Lee Bell in the penalty area. Lee controlled the ball well and shot past the Bishop's keeper.

This was a good workout and will encourage the players for the next completive action - a clean sheet as well!

Sunderland RCA 1 Prudhoe Town 3

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 06 October 2007

What a disappointment. An opportunity to avenge our defeat in August, and we created more than enough chances to do so, but found it hard to score in the face of some solid defending, good goalkeeping, and a few slack efforts.

Prudhoe opened the scoring in the 10th minute, and within another 60 seconds their keeper managed to block a Gary Shields effort from close range when he looked certain to score. We had the better of the rest of the first period, and some good chances but went into the break still a goal down, confident we could turn it round in the second half.

No doubt Neil and George told the boys at half time the importance of starting the second half wide awake, but a few weren't listening, as within two minutes Prudhoe players were allowed to turn on the ball and stroll through retreating defenders before coolly finishing to double their advantage. What a shocker.

Neil made all three changes before the mid point of the half, and Jif Dickinson came on and got his first ever goal for the club with a well taken effort after a confident run into the box but, despite several more openings, the equaliser just wouldn't come.

Paul Moss came up from the back and could have scored twice, with a solid header from a corner and a turn and shot in the area, and sub Willie Crew also went close, but with seconds remaining a corner on the right looked like being our last chance. Keeper Craig Shields came up to add his height to our effort, and as sometimes happens, Prudhoe took advantage to break away and notch with the last kick of the match. Not our day!

Sunderland RCA 4 Guisborough 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Tuesday, 09 October 2007

A great result for Sunderland RCA to celebrate the launch of their new partnership with GENTOO. A good crowd, including a good contingent from GENTOO, had turned out in pretty awful weather, but the omens before the game were realistically not good. A team being rebuilt week by week, a poor result against Prudhoe, and now a game against a side who had won seven and drawn one of their eight League games to date. This had some fearing a very tough night.

How wrong can you be? Left back Mathew Raine started things rolling for RCA after only seven minutes, when he rocketed a 25 yard shot through the keeper's hands as he latched onto a ball knocked out of the area from a corner. This was something special for the lad's first goal for the club! Goals from Ash Davis with a neat header, and Lee Owens with a far post finish, both again with their first goals for the club, saw RCA into a comfortable 3-0 lead inside the first half hour. However, debutant Matt Hyson, signed the day previously from Spennymoor Town, and who had looked very solid at the back alongside evergreen, play anywhere, stalwart Simon Andrews, was then sent off for a second bookable offence a minute before the break, to leave RCA facing 45 minutes with 10 men.

Guisborough produced the expected barrage at the start of the second period, but found goal keeper Craig Shileds in tremendous form, pulling off three top class saves. It was not all one-way traffic, as Gary Shields, James Dickinson and Lee Owens showed great pace on the break to keep the Guisborough defence on their toes, ably prompted by the returning Karl Jarvis in midfield. Perhaps they took the caution too far, as Gary, playing as a lone striker, often found himself with three or even four defenders for company.

An unfortunate mistake by Si Andrews gave the Teessiders a little hope, but within five minutes Si put things right himself, with a great turn and shot in the box to restore the three goal margin. RCA played out time without further alarms, and could have scored again as they burst forward against a visibly deflated Guisborough team.

Esh Winning 1 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 13 October 2007

A bit of a smash and grab! The game started at a good pace, and the first half was very evenly contested. Gary Shields gave us the lead after 10 minutes with a well struck goal following a quality passing move.

Esh Winning were always dangerous, playing patient possession football, but lacking a real cutting edge. After 25 minutes Jif Dickinson hit the bar with a diving header when he probably should have scored, and RCA went into the break with the single goal lead, reasonably happy with the performance, and with little inkling of the second half to come.

Jif was hurt late in the first half, taking a blow in the ribs, so Willie Crew replaced him for the second period.

Esh Winning came at us in waves from the restart. There must have been five corners in the first five minutes. Constant pressure, but thankfully not many real chances created.

On the hour a super move on the break saw Lee Bell finish coolly and if Willie had scored from a great chance after another quality move a few minutes later it might have been a different story. As it was the pressure from Esh intensified again, they got one back after 70 minutes and then it was all hands to the pump for the last 20. Craig Shields pulled off a couple of great saves, there were crosses and half chances galore, but we held on to take all three points. Phew!

Consett 7 Sunderland RCA 0

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Durham County Challenge Cup

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Nothing much to say: a top First Division side who gave us a comprehensive lesson. 2-0 at half time; and then the pace of the Consett front men was too much for us as they went nap in the second half.

Hicka treated the game as a good training session, and at least we now how far we have to go, if we do manage to get promoted one of these days!

Sunderland RCA 0 Penrith Town 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 20 October 2007

A tough old game. RCA had most of the play from start to finish, but Penrith looked dangerous on the break throughout.

Scott Richards and Scott Thompson came in for their debuts and both fitted in well, with Richards prompting from midfield and Thompson holding the ball up well from the front, although he took a knock and had to leave the field after an hour to be replaced by Willie Crew.

Overall, we looked a little short of pace with some of our quick players missing, and to be fair, until late in the second half the goalkeepers were largely spectators, and a single goal as always likely to be enough.

The game turned on an incident in the 75th minute when Matty Hyson could only lift a header into the roof of the net as he tried to clear for a corner. The goal lifted Penrith and Craig Shields had to make a couple of smart saves in the next few minutes, but RCA went for broke in the last ten and camped out in the Penrith area. A goal mouth scramble might have seen the ball into the net, but in the end Penrith held on and ran out narrow winners. The Cumbrians are always competitive and we were by no means second best, so let's hope it is just a temporary set back as we look to continue our improvement of recent weeks.

Sunderland RCA 5 Brandon United 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Brandon scored in the first minute as their player turned on a short corner and flighted the ball past a stationary Craig Shields in our goal, and for a minute or two we looked rattled.

But the team soon settled, and were 2-1 up by the break, before easing clear in the second half with three more goals, including a marvellous volley from Jif Dickinson and an equally superb chip from all of 40 yards from Dean Goodwin, one of a brace for the midfielder.

Brandon never gave up, always tried to play football and were a credit to their club. For us it was a solid display, and a welcome improvement to our goal tally.

Norton and Stockton Ancients 0 Sunderland RCA 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Any trip down to Teesside and returning home with the points is always satisfying, and this was particularly so.

A couple of players missing meant an emergency role up front for Matt Hyson which he carried out well.

The game started with Norton having most of the possession without threatening too much, before a quick break and good passing led to a well taken goal for Gary Shields after eight minutes.

The pattern was set for the game and did not alter much throughout. Norton huffed and puffed while only looking like scoring on a couple of occasions, while we defended well and looked very dangerous on the break, with the pace of Shields and Lee Owens always a threat.

No more goals, job well done, and back up the A19!

Sunderland RCA 0 Birtley Town 1

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League Cup

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Neil Hixon reshuffled the pack again for the league cup tie vistit of league leaders Birtley, Jon Innis making his debut as goalkeeper. After being informed that Birtley had not lost an away game in league or cup this season, the Chairman was wondering if the opposition management had deliberately conceded home advantage! Very few spectators at 7.25 PM, but a late surge of visiting supporters, decked out with hats and scarves gave the atmosphere a real boost at kick-off time.

A very tight game with both defences very well organised and space was at a premium all over the pitch. Very keenly contested with SRCA shading possession with main threat coming from deep runs from Lee Owens and Ash Davis. A lot of great crosses were flying into the Birtley box but unfortunately no RCA forwards getting on the end! Attacking with the slight wind and slope advantage, SRCA were regretting not scoring first half - 0-0 at half time.

Second half Birtley upped the pace a little realising SRCA were going to be tough opposition to overcome and a couple of long range efforts were well saved by the home keeper Innis who was certainly enjoying his debut. Game was still finely in the balance. At 80 mins the visiting Secretary approached the Chairman to confirm that the tie had to be settled tonight - extra time and pens looked on the cards. The Chairman retort was that if it were to be a replay would Birtley want to play at Meadow Park again; this brought a wry smile from all the visiting committee party!

On 82mins the controversial decision by the Referee. A Birtley midfielder hit a free kick just inside the SRCA half straight at head height towards SRCA midfielder Laidler. Unable to get out of the way and covering his face the ball hits his defensive hand. Very harsh indeed ...then unbelievably he was also booked. This meant a second free kick approx 25 yards from goal. Hepple then stepped up to drill home a superb free kick. Ouch!

The home Manager brought Gary Shields on for the last 10 minutes as we piled forward in search of the equaliser, alas it was not to be.

Only one more Cup left to go for this season; hopefully we are due a change of luck!


Sunderland RCA 3 Darlington RA 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Another good win for RCA, the third league win on the trot, fourth in the last five matches, and one which pushes into the top half of the league table for the first time in a few years.

Darlington RA came into the game having lost their manager during the previous week, but they looked up for things and started strongly with most of the possession in the first quarter of an hour. Mossy and Wayne held firm at the centre of defence and then, with our first real attack, Gary Shields gave us the lead in the fifteenth minute as he reacted quickest to a ball that found its way right across the six yard box, and squeezed his shot into the corner.

Darlington continued to press, but RCA were looking lively on the break as the pace of Shields and Owens stretched the RA defenders time after time. At the other end Craig Shields in the RCA goal had little to do bar catch a few hopeful crosses and field backpasses.

The score stayed 1-0 at the half time interval.

The second half started in much the same vein as Darlo pressed, and we looked sharp in return.

Gary got his second on the hour with a quick break, and the side relaxed and played their best football of the game. The two substitutes combined for the third as Lee Bell made a great run into the box and found Taz Raine at the far post to slot home. RA got a consolation late on but RCA saw out time very comfortably to secure the vital win.

Marske United 1 Sunderland RCA 2

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

RCA travelled down to Marske United for the second round of the Ernest Armstrong Trophy, hoping to repeat the victory secured over Marske at home in the league last month. Manager Neil Hixon shuffled his pack with Matt Hyson returning for Wayne Henderson in defence, Glen McCartney replacing Gary Anderson at right back, Taz Raine coming in for Ash Davis at left back, with Ash pushed forward to left wing to replace the unavailable Jif Dickinson. In attack Lee Bell played in the hole behind debutant Craig Lines. With Gary Shields, Scott Richards and the returning Jon Butler joining Wayne and Gary Anderson, the bench looked strong if needed.

The game started with Marske enjoying a lot of possession without ever looking comfortable. the new partnership of Bell and Lines looked dangerous up front while Lee Owens begin to torture the Marske backline on the break, as he would continue to do all night. By half time the pressure was 60/40 in favour of Marske while the chances were all ours although the scoreline was still 0-0. Goodwin and Hyson had been booked, Matty not helped by the disgraceful intervention of the Marske manager. In a rare moment of danger from the home side Craig Shields was lucky to escape unharmed from a very late challenge.

Within a minute or two of the restart Lee Owens set off on another long run into the Marske defence, shot from the edge of the box, and saw the hapless Marske custodian fumble the ball under his body and into the net. A soft goal, but no more than our enterprising attacking play, particularly from Owens, had deserved. Marske were rattled by this, and the game should have been out of sight in the next 20 minutes as we wasted several excellent chances.

The balance of play turned to Marske as Paul Moss went off injured, and Marske finally made the breakthrough to equalise after 80 minutes. However, it had been good to see Jon Butler make his return on 70 minutes and, within a minute of Marske scoring he made the winner with a strong run to the line and excellent cutback across the keeper which Ash Davis bundled into the net.

That was that, job well done, a quarter final to look forward to, and onto Whickham on Saturday.

Whickham 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 10 November 2007

A tough afternoon on Tyneside!

As we arrived the clubhouse was full of Newcastle supporters, optimistically hoping to see their team prevail at the Stadium of Light. All of the bonhomie, good grace and intelligent analysis one has come to expect from our friends in the north was on display; until of course Sunderland took the lead! The boys couldn't hold on however, so it was up to Sunderland RCA to fly the flag against the black and whites of Whickham.

Whickham are a tough act to contend with. Much improved from last season, fast and direct, they put us under pressure from the off, and went ahead in the 15th minute with a super strike as a ball was cleared from a corner.

It took us a long time to get to grips, but as the half wore on we came more into things, although still finding it difficult to get it down and pass it, not helped it much be said by Whickham's awful pitch and the strong wind. Still 1 - 0 at the break, and Neil reacted immediately, with all three subs used by the 50th minute. Simon Andrews came on to add more height up front for Lee Bell, while Wayne Henderson and Glen McCartney came in at the back to replace the injured Matt Hyson and Taz Raine.

Now playing into the wind we came more and more into things and began to really press the Whickham back four. Craig Lines held it up well while Gary Shields dropped deep to turn and run at defenders. The goal looked like it would never come, but finally a clever ball from Simon set Craig away and he finished well to bring things level with 12 minutes to go.

There looked to be only one winner at this stage, and it wasn't going to be Whickham, or so we thought. But a quick break exposed a lack of pace at the back and the chance was buried, to leave us with only five minutes to try and salvage things again.

It was not to be, and Whickham celebrated like a cup final on the whistle. They expect to be in contention at the end of the season, and on this performance, particularly since we know we can do much better, so should we.

Sunderland RCA 2 Crook Town 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

A cold and wet night was no deterrent to a good turn out at Meadow Park, where attendance was helped by a strong Crook contingent. The weather was no deterrent to an action packed match either, with both teams keen to get a maximum points. In the end, the points were shared and this will be a cause of frustration to both teams.

Crook began the match kicking down the slope. The first significant action was on ten minutes when a Crook free kick on their right was floated into the box, but the header went over. On 12 minutes, Gary D Anderson got a long lecture from the referee. Crook wasted the opportunity by over hitting the free kick. Two minutes later an RCA corner caused problems for the Crook defence, but they eventually cleared the danger. On 15 minutes, RCA were living dangerously as they failed to clear from their box. The ball fell to a Crook forward, but from a difficult angle he hooked over the bar. More Crook pressure followed. RCA countered with a swift beak feeding Lee Owens on the RCA right. The header from his cross was unfortunately off-target.

RCA were cursing their luck on 20 minutes. A terrific through ball from Anth Laidler found winger Adam McGuiness in space on the left. His cross evaded everyone and was eventually cleared by Crook for an RCA corner on the right. A good delivery saw captain Paul Moss head against the post.

On 25 minutes it looked like RCA had a real opportunity when the referee awarded a free kick on the Crook D, but he reversed his decision after consulting his assistant. This did not dampen RCA's ambitions. Two minutes later they had a clear break on the right, with the shot on goal being defected for a corner. The delivery was cleared despite Paul Moss getting a touch. Two minutes later Adam McGuiness has a strong run down the left, but his cross was eventually cleared.

On 34 minutes it looked as though Crook must score as the ball broke to them on the edge of the six yard box, but it was somehow cleared. Two minutes later Crook had another clear opportunity, but the shot was pushed around the post by keeper Craig Shields, who then punched clear from from the corner. At half time it was hard to believe that it was 0 - 0.

Manager Neil Hixon made one change for the second half, with Jon Butler coming on for Gary Shields. Everyone will be pleased to see Butts back after his injury lay off. It was RCA's other forward who broke the deadlock. New boy Craig Lines ran on to an excellent through ball which split the Crook defence and slotted clinically under the advancing Crook keeper to make it 1 - 0 to the RCA.

Crook continued to threaten and RCA got a clear warning on 60 minutes when a strong Crook shot from outside the area went just past the post. On 65 minutes a slip by Paul Moss caused danger and the quick running of Ashley Davis meant the ball was cleared just in time.

On 70 minutes RCA thought they had got a crucial second goal. A slick move ended with Lee Owens putting the ball into the Crook net, but the linesman's flag had been raised for off-side. This turned out to be a sickner, because a minute later a Crook corner ended in an equaliser from a glancing header across the RCA goal. On 75 minutes it was too easy for Crook to cross and RCA were relieved when the shot went wide.

On 76 minutes RCA had a free kick on the Crook D. It was well struck by substitute Matthew Raine, but was deflected for a corner.

On 83 minutes Crook took the lead as poor defensive work meant that the ball broke for them to shoot past Craig Shields to make it 2 - 1.

On 87 minutes RCA were awarded a free kick on their right. Si Andrews came on for Ashley Davis to add height and power to the massed ranks of RCA players waiting to receive the ball just inside the Crook penalty area. The cross broke well for RCA and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty for pulling. Lee Owens scored strongly from the post kick. What a relief!

Sunderland RCA 2 Birtley Town 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 17 November 2007

RCA had new signing Paul Sammons making his debut in a five man midfield for the visit of league leaders Birtley. The game started at a decent pace, and as has been the way of recent games, RCA defended solidly while Birtley had much of the possession in the first half hour. Chances were at a premium however, Craig Shields tipping one over after 20 minutes being the best chance for the visitors, who also saw a good long range drive go narrowly over the bar late in the half. For RCA the pace of Shields and Owens began to cause Birtley a lot of problems as the half wore on, and both Lee Owens and Craig Lines went close in a two minute spell just before the break.

Into the second half and RCA began to take more control, with Lee Owens outstanding as he tormented the Birtley back line. A hand ball in the box saw Gary Shields give RCA the lead after 54 minutes. Birtley rallied briefly but still had no answer to the pace of RCA wide. Lee Owens should have scored a great goal after a marvellous run saw him go past three defenders before blasting over the bar in the 72nd minute, but he was not to be denied and sealed the game with a solo run and shot in the 87th minute. A well deserved victory as Sunderland RCA goalkeeper Craig Shields was a well protected spectator behind a solid back three of Moss, Anderson and Henderson, despite Birtley's possession. Paul Sammons made a pleasing debut in a combative midfield where Anth Laidler and Dean Goodwin also worked hard.

Sunderland RCA 3 North Shields 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 24 November 2007

RCA produced an excellent performance against a North Shields team who were in good form themselves.

Only one change from the team against Birtley, with Scott Richards coming in for the suspended Dean Goodwin. Richards signed a few weeks ago from Bishop Auckland with a good reputation and first division pedigree, but his appearances have been restricted due to injury and suspension, so knowledgeable fans were looking forward to seeing him perform.

RCA started brightly and Richards had the first attempt on goal with afine effort in the 4th minute. Shields had some decent possession early on, but RCA always looked more dangerous, and should have taken the lead after an excellent Gary Shields run left Lee Owens with a good shooting position in the 10th minute, but the North Shields keeper pulled off the first in a string of fine saves. More efforts on goal came up at regular intervals for RCA, before the deadlock was broken by Gary Shields in the 37th minute when a good ball from midfield left him in on goal and he finished coolly.

1-0 at the break, and a few spectators were thinking that RCA might regret not taking the chances they had through the half, as North Shields would surely offer more as the game wore on. The second period however started in the same vein as the first, and the only surprise was that those spectators had to wait until the 63rd minute before a superb Anth Laidler long range effort was too hot for the keeper to hold and Paul Sammons followed in smartly to net the rebound.

Sunderland RCA continued to have all the chances and many fans were pleased to see Jon Butler, slowly getting back to form after a long break through injury, finish the job by getting on the end of a good Lee Owens diagonal ball to slide it past the keeper and make the final score 3-0. A very good display against a side that were made to look quite ordinary despite their recent good run. RCA were solid at the back, aggressive and creative in midfield and, despite missing a few, had a good conversion rate from the front men. Very promising!


Team Northumbria 0 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Sunderland RCA continued their recent good form by securing three valuable points, and another clean sheet, at Team Northumbria, despite a dogged and workmanlike performance from the home side. Team Northumbria played good possession football throughout, threatened occasionally, particularly from set pieces, but never really looked like breaching the RCA defence.

For the third game in a row the only change in the Sunderland side was enforced as Dean Goodwin returned from suspension to replace the unavailable Anth Laidler. The game started at a good pace with chances at a premium but Gary Shields might have given RCA the lead as he struck a shot over the bar after five minutes. Ash Davis did the same after 15 minutes as the ball broke from a corner, but for the most part it was a tough midfield battle with Dean Goodwin, Paul Sammons and Scott Richards working hard to contain a hard working and skillful Team Northumbria midfield. Late on in the half Team Northumbria went close with two headers from corners, but thankfully both flew wide.

For the second period RCA significantly upped the tempo, and now having the benefit of a bitter wind, pressed hard. Craig Lines was just off target before Neil Hixon changed his attacking options by replacing Gary Shields with John Butler after 55 minutes. Almost immediately Butts broke free on a chase to goal before his control let him down and the defence got back to cover. On the hour Adam McGuiness came on to replace Ash Davis as RCA moved to a more attacking formation but despite a lot of pressure the goal wouldn't come and, to be fair to Team Northumbria, they continued to respond with calm and precise football. In the 80th minute Taz Raine replaced Craig Lines and a couple of minutes later the Team Northumbria goalkeeper had to be helped from the field and replaced after a collision with John Butler. Thankfully despite some nasty cuts and bruises the goalie did not look too badly hurt. Two minutes later his replacement brought down Butts as he went round him and Lee Owens scored from the resultant penalty. Matters were settled in the 89th minute when Adam McGuiness went round the keeper after a good run onto a pass from midfield. A good win but by no means easy!

Sunderland RCA 3 Hebburn Town 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday 8 December 2007

Another good win for Sunderland RCA who made it four wins in a row with this victory over Hebburn Town. A miserable, wet, cold day saw only die hard fans making the effort to get to Meadow Park for this clash. RCA started brightly attacking with the advantage of the slope, and chances came and went at regular intervals through the first period. After four minutes a ball from the left flashed across the box with no one reaching it and after seven minutes Lee Owens had his first attempt of the afternoon, shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Hebburn broke occasionally and looked dangerous in the 17th minute as their centre forward, Garry McCartney, turned and shot smartly, but just wide. In the 21st minute the long serving Hebburn keeper, Gary Rogers dropped the ball from a corner and RCA skipper Paul Moss should have done better than to poke it wide. More chances followed, mostly for RCA before Lee Owens broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, pushing the ball home from a yard in the middle of an enormous scramble. Four minutes later Lee doubled the lead with a superb goal for his and RCA's second, waltzing past 2 defenders and planting a shot past the Hebburn keeper from 12 yards.

RCA pressed from then to the break but the score stayed level. Early in the second half however the game seemed to be in the bag as, in the 52nd minute, Craig Lines got the faintest of touches onto a Lee Owens cross and directed the ball into the far corner. RCA seemed well on top at this point, but Hebburn were handed a lifeline by a good Mick Younger header after the hour, and, when Paul Donaghy made it 3-2 in the 69th minute, it was definitely game back on! From then until the final whistle it was end to end stuff, with chances being created and spurned by both sides. The referee found five minutes of injury time from somewhere, and right at the death Craig Shields made a tremendous save to keep RCA in front. For the resulting corner the Hebburn keeper joined the attack and the game ended with him stranded as RCA broke and looked certain to score into an empty net, but the ref saved Mr Rogers blushes, blowing for time before the goal could be scored. A very entertaining contest in tough conditions, very well done to both sides, Sunderland RCA up to 7th and march on!

Sunderland RCA 3 Horden Colliery Welfare 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday 22 December 2007

With new signing Andy Jennings making his debut in the number nine shirt, RCA kicked off with a promising start, but Horden were quickly back and could - should - have scored with their first break. RCA defender Paul Moss did enough to make the Horden forward pass the ball instead of shooting. The resulting cross was somehow cleared when a goal looked certain.

On ten minutes, RCA got a free kick on the left 25 yards out from the Horden goal. A good cross was cleared for a corner kick, but RCA failed to capitalise as the referee blew for a Horden free kick.

On 15 minutes Horden missed their second clear chance. An under hit back pass meant that the Horden forward got the ball ahead of keeper Craig Shields, but he could only shoot high and wide when more composure would have given him a clear chance against the out of position keeper.

Andy Jennings did not have to wait long to take his first goal for RCA. On 25 minutes a good cross from the right saw Andy rise at the far post to head just over the line.

Five minutes later and Andy Jennings had his second turing the ball into the net from six yards following good work from Lee Owens, who beat a player of the right and then crossed from the by-line.

A minute later RCA keeper, Craig Shields made a good save following a Horden corner.

Five minutes into the second half saw Andy Jennings turn provider as he broke clear on the left and crossed for Gary Shields, who was in acres of space, to score easily past the isolated Horden keeper. 3 - 0 did not reflect the balance of play and Horden fought back. On 74 minutes, an excellent shot hit the bar and rebounded for the Horden substitute to strike the ball firmly from close range, giving Craig Shields little or no chance.

In the 83 minute things got more nervous still for RCA, who were playing too deeply and inviting Horden on to them. Good work from a Horden corner saw them peg RCA back to 3 - 2.

On 87 minutes the stage seemed set for Willie Crew, returning to his old club, to seal a draw for Horden, but Craig Shields pulled off a terrific save from his well hit shot.

There was further danger on 89 minutes when Paul Moss conceded a free kick 22 yards out, but all Horden could do was sky it.

The final whistle came as a relief to RCA. How Willie Crew would have loved to mark his return to Meadow Park with a goal, but it was not to be his day. Instead it was RCA fans who went home happy for Christmas. Well done Andy Jennings - scoring two and making the third - not a bad debut!


Sunderland RCA 6 Stokesley SC 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 12 January 2008

An excellent display of attacking football from RCA, although the final scoreline is undoubtedly harsh on a strong Stokesley team who contributed much to a very entertaining game.

RCA gave debuts to Sean Davies, newly signed on loan from Newcastle Blue Star for the remainder of the season, Steve Houlahan and Andrew Hoban, joining on a permanent basis from Ryton and Willington respectively. Davies started in the left back spot as RCA lined up in an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation, while Houlahan and Hoban had to settle for places on the bench.

The game started with Stokesley the brighter side and after 10 minutes they could have taken the lead as Sonny Andrews saw his effort strike the post and run away to safety. RCA began to settle and took the lead after 14 minutes as Adam McGuinness met a Lee Owens corner to plant the ball past the Stokesley keeper with a powerful header.

Five minutes later Andy Jennings made it 2-0 with a smart finish after an excellent break down the right by Lee Owens. Shortly after Stokesley hit the post again, and began to have that sinking feeling that it wasn't going to be there day!

A tremendous Jennings effort, which saw him juggle the ball along the edge of the box before firing in a great shot which the keeper just managed to parry onto the bar, brought applause from the crowd before a rare Wayne Henderson goal, again a header from a corner, saw RCA into the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead, although the Stokesley fans were wondering how they hadn't managed at least one themselves.

The second half started busily until Paul Sammons seized on a loose ball to fire into the net from the edge of the box, to make it 4-0 after 58 minutes. Andrew Hoban replaced Gary Shields for his debut after 63 minutes and the game meandered a little, until a superb Lev Yalcin free kick gave Stokesley a flicker of hope in the 78th minute.

Steve Houlahan came on for Adam McGuinness in the 80th minute, and then two goals in a minute from Andrew Hoban and Paul Sammons, in the 87th and 88th minutes, finished Stokesley off. A super game, and evidence of the potency RCA now possess going forward, but sympathy for Stokesley, who competed hard throughout.

Sunderland RCA 3 Thornaby 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 19 January 2008

A 3-1 scoreline looks comfortable enough, as RCA stretched their league winning run to an impressive seven on Saturday, but as the week before, it doesn't tell the whole story. Thornaby were strong opponents, and pushed us all the way.

The game kicked off on a heavy pitch after all the recent rain, but weather conditions were good, and the game started in a very lively fashion, with both sides trying to create chances with intelligent football. The first real chance fell to Thornaby when their impressive left back, Paul Harvey, hit a powerful free kick which Craig Shields dealt with at full stretch. Gary Shields then had a couple of good chances to break onto balls from midfield for RCA, but it was Thornaby who took the lead after 29 minutes, taking advantage of defensive slips for their number 10, Dane Wilson, to slide home. The lead was shortlived however, as RCA replied as Gary Shields converted a 34th minute penalty given at the second time of asking when he was bundled over in the box. 1-1 was the score at the break.

The second half was an impressive affair as both sides produced some quality football. For RCA, Gary Shields should have done better after 47 minutes with a shot inside the box, and Scott Richards shot tamely when well placed on 51 minutes. At the other end the front runners for Thornaby were keeping the RCA defenders fully occupied until, on 57 minutes, RCA took the lead with a goal of rare quality. Lee Owens raced down the right, turned his marker beautifully and centred precisely for Adam McGuinness to smash a superb volley past the Thornaby keeper, from around the penalty spot area.

From then to the end of the game it was Thornaby asking the questions against some, at times desperate, defending from RCA. Steve Houlahan came on for Gary Shields to shore up the midfield, and Adam McGuiness made some strong runs in possession as the game wore on, but for the most part, Thornaby dominated, despite the non stop efforts of Paul Sammons and Scott Richards to gain some control through the centre. Craig Shields was well covered however, and made few real saves, although he tipped one over the bar well, and was relieved to see two good efforts fly narrowly wide.

Up top centre forward Andy Jennings had been quiet for most of the game, well marshaled by centre backs Leon Carling and Gareth Wake for Thornaby, until in the 88th minute, as RCA staged a late rally, he made his mark on the game, smashing an unstoppable 15 yard shot past Stu Trotter in the Thornaby goal to settle the match.

A real good game, and the run goes on!


Guisborough Town 1 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Get a high resolution copy of the team photo, with credits and partners' logos, taken just before the Guisborough match and celebrating eight wins on the trot. Please right click on this link and select 'Save Target As...' Please note that the file is very large at 3.57 MB. The file is set up for 10 X 8 printing.

RCA finally got a game on Saturday when they faced Guisborough after a frustrating couple of weeks of postponements. Craig Shields failed a fitness test with another recurrence of his increasingly troublesome leg problem, and may face further surgery and be out for some considerable time. Hard luck for Craig who has been rock solid since returning to the club, but an opportunity for Jon Minniss to step in and show his worth. Dean Goodwin returned in central midfield for the suspended Scott Richards.

The game started scrappily, with RCA showing the effects of their break in some sloppy play, while Guisborough failed to make much headway against rugged defending from the RCA back line. Andy Jennings had the ball in the net after five minutes but was rightly pulled back for offside, the first of a large number of such calls, both right and wrong, which were to frustrate the RCA strikers all afternoon. Jon Minniss made a good save after 12 minutes, before RCA took the lead with a goal of real quality. Lee Owens carried the ball 60 yards past three defenders before playing in Gary Shields with a superb pass. Gary went past the last defender, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home with great confidence. The goal clearly boosted RCA who began to play with more fluidity, and after having a strong shout for a penalty turned down, Shieldsy doubled the lead with a good turn and finish from 12 yards after 33 minutes.

It looked like plain sailing for RCA, but a minute later the referee, who did not have the best of games, turned the match on its head, first harshly dismissing Lee Owens after mishearing a shout from the bench, then sending manager Neil Hixon to the stand for expressing his frustration. Guisborough were lifted by the prospect of facing 10 men for an hour, and after Sean Davies had blasted a dangerous free kick over the bar, the referee intervened again on 41 minutes to award a controversial penalty to the home team for a challenge in the box. Jon Minniss very nearly saved the spot kick, getting a good hand to the ball which just crossed the line, but nonetheless a 2-1 scoreline at the break looked less than secure under the circumstances.

The second half was goalless as Guisborough huffed and puffed without threatening very much or very often, against the RCA back four of Davies, Henderson, Wardle and Anderson, well in command of things with a no nonsense display, and Jon Minniss proving a more than capable deputy in goal on the rare occasions he was called into action. On the break RCA always looked dangerous, and Jon Newton, who was always lively, could have marked his debut as a 65th minute substitute for Andy Jennings with an immediate goal, but his close range shot hit the side netting. Ash Davis, who had replaced Adam McGuinness at the half time interval, always looked to carry the ball on his trademark long runs, and Gary Shields adapted well to life out wide as RCA went to a one up formation. Paul Sammons, man of the match for me, was his usual tigerish self at the heart of the RCA midfield. Shieldsy should have got what would have been a well deserved hat trick when played in by Newton after 73 minutes, but chose power when a careful place might have done better, and the game finished with Anth Laidler, on for Dean Goodwin, holding the ball well in the corners to count down time. A solid if unspectacular performance, against the odds for a lot of the time, and the run goes on, now eight wins on the spin. Come on Esh!

Sunderland RCA 1 Esh Winning 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 16 February 2008

The run comes to an end! After a fantastic eight consecutive wins, a hard working and skillful Esh Winning team held RCA to a 1-1 draw in Saturday's encounter before a decent and appreciative crowd of around 100. Let's hope we can get such gates from now until the end of the season.

A draw was no more than Esh deserved for a very tidy and solid display, which saw them have the majority of possession, although on another day RCA would have taken more advantage of the chances created, and stolen the spoils.

The game started in bright but cold conditions, with Esh starting as they intended to go on, with good possession and swift passing, without posing too many problems for Jon Minniss in the RCA goal. Play was scrappy until Esh took the lead in the 17th minute with a soft penalty awarded for a clumsy foul in the box.

On 22 minutes Gary Shields should probably have equalised when a good pass from Andy Jennings gave him a clear shooting opportunity, but he shot straight at the keeper, who saved comfortably. The leveler came however in the 30th minute when a good Lee Owens run and excellent pass saw Gary Shields cross and Adam McGuinness slide home from a few yards out.

Between this and the break chances were few, although Lee Owens made a good opening with one of his trademark runs, and Jon Minniss had to save smartly from an Esh effort. The second half continued in the same vein, with good Esh possession being matched by RCA with breaks from deep. The game came alive in the last quarter as both keepers starred, showing great anticipation and good hands to make several saves as the game opened out. It could have been settled either way as Esh created chances while Lee Owens made a number of excellent runs only lacking the final ball, but the keepers had the last word. Honours even, still 10 games unbeaten, and into a real testing part of the season, where our destiny for next season will be decided, I can't wait!

Penrith 3 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 23 February 2008

SRCA's long unbeaten run came to an end in disappointing fashion at league leaders Penrith last Saturday, when two late Penrith goals in the 77th and 85th minutes gave the home side a 3 2 win in a game Sunderland RCA should have won comfortably. Andy Jennings will rarely score two easier goals, and, while leading 2 1 through most of the second half, RCA spurned a string of good chances to settle the game. Penrith though are nothing if not game and kept going to steal victory in the last 15 minutes with two sloppy goals that the RCA defenders will be very annoyed about, not to mention the manager...

The pattern of the game was settled early on, with Penrith seeing a lot of possession, but failing to trouble Jon Minniss in the RCA goal while when possession was won, RCA threatened on nearly every occasion. Gary Shields crossed dangerously in the second minute, Paul Sammons lifted a shot over the bar in five minutes, and a sustained spell of RCA pressure had Penrith defending hard around the ten minute mark.

The deadlock was broken after 20 minutes when Gary Shieids crossed superbly from the right for Andy Jennings to nod home unmarked at the far post from a couple of yards out. The pattern stayed the same with Penrith edging possession but Lee Owens threatening with long runs and good crossing.

Penrith equalised after 33 minutes when a hopeful effort from outside the box took a deflection from the challenging Paul Sammons and left Minniss helpless in the RCA goal. The score stayed that way until the break.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Penrith possession, and their first really threatening attack of the game coming in the 52nd minute when a header narrowly went over the bar, but a superb ball from Paul Wardle in the centre of defence was the early highlight as he sent Lee Owens away. As that attack broke down a great piece of Owens skill from the throw in saw Lee beat three men and cross low for Jennings to slide home from close range in the 54th minute to restore the lead. The next twenty five minutes was the decisive period of the game, as RCA spurned a number of excellent chances to make the game safe, with all the forwards at fault at one time or another.

The consistently excellent Lee Owens failed to round the keeper when he looked certain to score and a few minutes later Penrith, who always battled away, while only occasionally looking likely to score, capitalised on their let offs to score from a close range header. Although clearly rattled by this RCA continued to create chances, but were left dumbfounded when five minutes from time Penrith took the lead for the first time in the game with a low shot that escaped everybody to nestle in the corner. It was too late to come back, and RCA were left to rue their finishing, while Penrith march on at the top of the league, no doubt as surprised by the win as anyone.


Sunderland RCA 1 Norton and Stockton Ancients 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Sunderland RCA got back to winning ways against Norton and Stockton Ancients on saturday, but it was a close run thing. An Andy Jennings close range header from a Scott Richards cross in the 84th minute was all that separated the sides. The game was always going to be tough, with a strong wind blowing down the bank, and RCA had to play into it in the first half.

Jon Newton came in for the suspended Lee Owens, with Gary Shields moving out wide to accommodate him, and Scott Richards returning from suspension in place of Dean Goodwin. As was to be the pattern of the game, RCA started brightly playing into the gale, with Jon newton having good chances in the seventh and ninth minutes to break the deadlock. Norton then used the wind to have a succession of corners, but Jon Minniss's handling was exemplary and we got through it.

After 19 minutes Newton had the ball in the net for RCA, but it was adjudged offside. RCA continued to have the best of the play, but Jon Minniss needed to save sharply as he pushed a shot round after 27 minutes. RCA got in a number of good crosses without reward, and the ame was still goalless at the break.

As with RCA, Norton found it easier to play into the wind after half time, and pushed quite hard, with Jon Minniss pulling off a tremendous save after 57 minutes to keep things level.

The home team began to push Norton back, winning a number of corners, and with Ash Davis and Andy Middleton brought into things, RCA pressed hard. it looked like it was going to be in vain until Scott Richards took a corner from the right, had the ball played back out to him, and dropped a cross on Jennings head for the big target man to break through from a yard out. Norton couldn't come back and RCA held out well for a vital three points.

Brandon United 0 Sunderland RCA 4

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

A couple of changes were made to the RCA forward line that started on Saturday against Norton. Gary Shields was unavailable due to a family bereavement (all our thoughts are with you Gary) and Jonny Newton pulled out at the last moment through sickness. As Lee Owens was suspended, Neil Hixon was forced to shuffle the pack opting to bring Andy Middleton (wide right) into the starting line up for the first time in months and playing Ash Davis on the left.

RCA certainly had the better of early exchanges as both Davis and Middleton were enjoying space on the flanks culminating in good crosses in the 10th and 15th minutes, ending in headed efforts from Jennings and a shot by Richards. Brandon cleared their lines from three corners and were proven to be no shove over as they competed very well in all physical challenges. Although RCA were having most of the play, Brandon were looking to break at any opportunity playing some very neat football. After their best spell of play on 18 minutes the ball was exchanged quickly from defence to attack and Brandon left winger Ian Pritchard was unlucky when breaking into the RCA box, beating two defenders before pulling his shot wide across Minniss.

After a scrappy five-minute period a long ball was hit from the half way line from Henderson towards the penalty spot. Jennings ran forward to beat the offside trap and gleefully headed over the advancing keeper on 23 minutes. From the Brandon kick off RCA quickly looked to gain possession with a couple of strong challenges by Sammons who took a bad knock after winning a couple of fifty-fifties. On 25 minutes the ball was crossed out wide right to Middleton who pushed the ball past the left full back only to be pulled down. The ball was knocked in by Richards, the keeper punched out, then a defender headed out to Ash Davis who slammed the ball home to make it 2 – 0; it looked like game, set and match. RCA were stroking the ball about confidently and Brandon looked a little subdued. However just after half an hour Scott Richards pulled up with hamstring trouble and Paul Sammons was also struggling with a knock. Dean Goodwin replaced Scott on 32 minutes. Andy Middleton seemed to be involved in a lot of the nights proceedings and was proving too fast for the Brandon defence. (He was not rewarded for his efforts as he took a defender’s clearance right in the proverbials and will have to check today if his family allowance is still in tact! Certainly will be feeling blue this morning.

Brandon then enjoyed their best spell with some very good football, but struggled when getting into the RCA box. Against the run of play the ball was pushed out to left full back Sean Davies who from inside the Brandon half launched a long ball into the Brandon six yard box; the Brandon keeper seemed to lose the ball in flight and under pressure from Jennings pushed the ball into the net. One for the dubious goal review panel but for me should count as Davies’ first for RCA.

Robert Clarkson entered the fray as a replacement for Sammons on half time.

The second half petered out as Brandon reformed their defence and RCA whilst in control could not break them down.

The wind got up to make playing football more difficult, but Jennings was guilty of a couple of glaring misses and was holding his hands up to his service providers. In particular he will regret the opportunity on 60 minutes of beating two defenders, passing the keeper, but then hitting the shot at an empty target weakly allowing the keeper to recover. Not to be denied though: on 70 minutes some good play down the left resulted in the ball getting crossed to the back post to find Jennings, who fired home to his and the away supporters relief.

Darlington RA 0 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Again changes were made in the SRCA starting line up with Lee Owens returning from suspension and replacing Andy Middleton, whilst Jonny Newton retuned up front with Ash Davies replacing Adam McGuinness in left midfield. Anth Laidler started in central midfield for Paul Sammons who was unavailable.

In far from ideal weather conditions, SRCA kicked off facing a strong wind and in the early stages it was clear that playing football was going to be difficult on a hard, bumpy pitch. Like Brandon on Wednesday, Darlington RA were showing full commitment in the tackle as both midfields grappled for control. In the eighth and 11th minutes similar moves were played by the RCA midfield when passes were exchanged quickly, but as the final ball was threaded though for Jennings he was pulled up offside. The Darlington RA defence were holding a very high line, which was restricting the midfield area and frustrating RCA as we looked to breakdown the trap. In the 22nd minute a long ball was hit for Newton to chase on to and from 25 yards he hit a strong shot, but this cleared the RA bar by quite a few yards.

RA then put their first real threat together in the 25th minute and when the ball was put into the box, RCA defenders were guilty of leaving the ball for one another and a half chance was shutdown by a clearance from Wayne Henderson.

The game then came to life in the 26th minute, Laidler playing a short ball to Richards in the centre circle who then fed in Owens up the right wing. He sprinted past the full back before firing in a perfect cross to the penalty spot where Andy Jennings planted a firm header over the RA keeper. 1 – 0 and on our way.

Both teams then tightened up further with Darlington RA hitting hopeful balls which, if not running through to Minniss in the RCA goal, were running out for throw ins or goal kicks. A messy period of play resulted in the ref blowing a lot for free kicks and having to calm the players. Laidler for RCA was the first name taken when a yellow card was issued on 40 minutes. The game petered out until halftime with RCA clearly having the edge.

Darlington kicked off the second half and were immediately on the attack, but when a good cross was fired in the attacking number 10 fired over from close in – a warning that the game wasn’t over yet.

RCA quickly responded and had two corners in quick succession and Jennings was unlucky when heading over the bar. Henderson also headed wide during this period.

Andy Middleton came on for Newton on 60 minutes and his extra pace gave more momentum to RCA’s attacking force. On 65 minutes some excellent midfield play resulted in Ash Davies sprinting through with the advancing keeper to beat. As the keeper advance he opted for a chip when the ball could have been squared to Laidler to pop in. The keeper saved and a corner resulted.

After 68 minutes McGuinness came on for Ash Davies. RCA were dominating now and after 70 minutes were camped in the RA box. There were three consecutive corners after saves and clearances with Henderson’s header glancing the bar.

On 75 minutes, though, efforts were rewarded with Richards again firing in a great corner which was glanced home by Jennings: 2 – 0 and game set and match.

RCA were in control until the end with Jennings attempting to find his hat trick on 82 minutes with a spectacular 35 yard half volley effort which had the RA keeper running backwards to cover his goal. The effort was not that far way.

A good day was rounded off with the news coming quickly from our Southern correspondent Les Dodd: both Whickham and Thornaby had lost. The league table makes for interesting reading now.
Arngrove Northern League Division 2.

Sunderland RCA 3 Whickham 1

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Although a big crowd turn out was expected at Meadow Park on Saturday for this crunch match, kick off approached with only steady numbers arriving through the turnstiles. All could feel the tension however, as it was one of those games that neither side wanted to lose.

SRCA winning the toss opted to kick up the slope with a slight wind facing them. Whickham, hoping to take the slight conditions advantage, were quick out of the stalls and in the early exchanges their centre forward Hay and left-winger Fairless were showing good strength and pace. Paul Stout, making his debut at right back for SRCA, was certainly involved quickly as a lot of the play was coming down the left and he had to make a couple of last ditch tackles. On seven minutes the first time effort from Whickham’s central midfielder King was extremely unlucky, when the ball played quickly to his feet was curled with his left foot towards goal, with the keeper beaten the ball just missed the post, hugging the outside of the net.

Tackles were fast, occasionally furious, as the referee was called into action in quick succession and the visiting supporters found voice. RCA were restricted to playing long balls to Owens on the right- wing, which resulted in the winning of consecutive corners, Jennings heading goalwards on 15 minutes, but the Whickham defence was not to be breached.

Whickham shouted claims for a penalty on 25 minutes, but the referee was having none of it after the linesman was in good viewpoint. After a messy period of play, with both defences on top, the referee stopped the game on the half hour to have words with the Whickham manager who was objecting to many decisions made by the officials, good and bad. Whickham forced consecutive corners again from the left, which appeared to be their main threat.

David Wells, making his debut on the left for RCA, was now involved a lot in our attacking play and after exchanging passes with Ash Davis he beat the offside trap, the keeper was rushing out quickly as he lobbed, but the covering defender made a goal-line clearance – the best chance of the match so far!

From 40 minutes onwards there was action in both goalmouths, good play between Richards and Jennings ended up with Newton getting the ball, but from 22 yards he fired into the keeper’s hands. Whickham broke on 44 minutes when a defensive mix up nearly allowed the Whickham centre forward Hay through. The game was certainly in full life now, but the referee blew for half time: 0-0 with Whickham shading overall forward play.

The second half started similarly to the first, with Whickham again looking to score the opener and on 49 minutes a dangerous cross was fired in from the right, which was cleared but resulted in a Ryhope defender colliding with Minnis in the RCA goal. Anxious glances all round – he was down for approximately five minutes – and no second keeper was on the bench. Fortunately he got up to restart. The play was stretched from end to end with half chances being created and corners at both ends.

Goal machine Andy Jennings rounds the Whickham keeper to open the scoring for

In the 65th minute came the key moment of the game when Whickham again from the left cut into the RCA penalty box, a weak shot was not dealt with resulting in the ball dropping on the six yard box and when it looked easier to score a last ditch tackle saved the day. The ball fell to left full back, Davis, who wasted no time in getting the ball to Owens who quickly got the ball through to Jennings; he burst through, side stepped the keeper and fired home gleefully with his left foot. 1 –0 and game on.

Livewire Lee Owens takes the other way around the keeper to score RCA's second
and to put us ahead again

Whickham responded quickly after moving the ball up the left and Fairless ran strongly into the box when Stout made a challenge from behind: a clear penalty. King fired home to level the scores.

Gary Shields, who had been brought on a substitute for Newton, was causing many problems for the visitors as the game swung RCA’s way. On 76 minutes Wells and Davis combined again with the ball fired through to Owens who, from the right, pushed the ball wide of the keeper then fired home to make it 2-1. The game was totally going our way now as Shields also got into the same position a few minutes later, but when he hit a good shot from the right, the ball was glanced onto the post by the keeper.

Marskman Gary Shields makes the game safe for RCA from the penalty spot

As Whickham gambled for the equaliser, RCA broke again down the right. After some swift passes the ball was fed to Jennings who beat the offside trap and when moving the ball to his left to hit home he was upended on 93 minutes. Gary Shields picked the ball up for the penalty and made no mistake. 3 – 1, game over and a massive three points for the Red and Whites.

Marske United 2 Sunderland RCA 2

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Given that for midweek games team sheets have to be in at 6.45 for a 7.30pm kick offs, it was rush time for many at SRCA to get to Marske. Many of the committee, Neil and George, plus players were supporting Gentoo employees who had volunteered to carry out works at our home ground to improve Meadow Park ready for the Northern League inspection later this month.

Fortunately most arrived on time other than Scott Richards who could not get to the ground until 7:20 and was on as substitute. So from Saturday’s line up Anth Laidler replaced him in central midfield whilst Craig Shields returned for Minniss in goal (after a lengthy lay off). Veteran Gary Ventress who last played in goal for the club over three years ago was on the bench as reserve goalkeeper.

Sky TV were in the ground with cameras having previously interviewed League Management and staff about the new proposals to rid bad language from the Northern league. Lively indeed!

And rushing we were straight from kick off, ball pushed to Ash Davies at left back he played a 35 yard pass up the left to David Wells, he ran 10 yards on and fired a terrific ball to the back post. Lee Owens who had raced up the right was there and volleyed unstoppably, keeper getting a hand to, but no chance of saving. The fastest goal I have ever witnessed from SRCA and barely 20 seconds on the clock. 1-0 to us and what a start!

It seemed to unnerve Marske, the team with the best goals against record in the division. However both teams could find no pattern with the home side showing good movement and willing. After five minutes it was they who started gathering momentum and sending balls to the flanks quickly, which resulted in the winning of two early corners. The centre forward Thompson was proving to be a handful as he fired two headers in, one just a metre over the SRCA bar. All the possession was with Marske at this stage, but quite unbelievably on 10 minutes RCA got hold of a loose ball in the centre circle via Laidler who pushed it quickly forward to Jennings; he reverse passed in space to Newton on the right, who ran with the ball about 10 yards before drilling a low 25 yard screamer down to the keeper’s left and into the right corner of the net. Screams from the away crowd, Newton’s debut goal and overcome, he pulled his top off, swung it around his head…and was promptly booked. 2-0 and all our supporters were too excited too care.

The goal lifted Marske though who controlled the game again and for the next 15 minutes they dominated with some fantastic ground football with all round movement. Three corners won and SRCA were defending with true grit. Clearly becoming frustrated with the away defending the Marske centre forward Johnson spoilt his team’s good rhythm by making an off-the-ball challenge on our left full back Ash Davis. The referee approached his linesman and both agreed elbow was raised, debated for two minutes, then the ref raised yellow. Very surprising and the centre forward had been given a let off. SRCA lifted their game and realised that they would have to stand up for themselves. Pushing forward SRCA were improving, but only had one corner as reward for their efforts.

After 35 minutes Marske were making progress again and enjoying possession on both flanks and on 37 minutes, after good play on the left, the ball was hit against the RCA left post with a cracking effort from Thompson. RCA were unnerved and it was no surprise when Marske pulled a goal back on 39 minutes, but the goal was a real soft one to concede. Some good passes on the 18 yard area resulted in the ball been played to Skelton who appeared to take the wrong option in shooting when well marked, however the mishit shot appeared to deceive Craig Shields in goal, who was partially unsighted as the ball squeezed past to make it 2 – 1. Football was restricted until half time as both clubs tackled hard, but were not giving up any territorial advantage.

The second half commenced similar to the way the first ended and the first real chance fell to Jennings who hit an excellent shot from distance, but this cleared the home bar. A couple of corners were won by the away team, but both sides were refusing to give in as the referee commenced blowing for trivialities and the free kick awards going with the home team.

On 65 minutes Neil Hixon showed his hand and brought on Scott Richards and Gary Shields replacing Paul Sammons and Jon Newton. SRCA were lifted with both immediately gaining possession of the ball and exchanging excellent passes down the right side. RCA had three corners in quick succession and Richards was hitting excellent balls, which Marske were scrapping to defend. The improvement in play meant that Lee Owens was finally coming into play and he raced past the left full back with ease. One-way traffic now and RCA looked like a new force. Jennings was also receiving the product of this good play and on 76 minutes played in from the right he beat the full back, looked up at goal but pulled the ball sideways instead of shooting. A great opportunity wasted.

However the game was broken down again with SRCA winning good challenges, but the referee was giving needless free kicks, generally against RCA. Unbelievably Richards, who was now controlling the midfield, got pulled up when winning an excellent 50:50 and was booked. This took the wind out of the RCA sails as no team was now finding any headway. For the next 10 minutes the game was flat and it appeared that there would be only one winner. However in the last five minutes needless fouls were given away giving possession to the Marske team. The clock was ticking, but then in the fourth minute of injury time, Davis gave away a foul close to the bye line on the left. Marske raised the troops forward, then the long ball was hit to the back post, Shields was deceived by the flight and the ball was headed by central defender Taylor, who gleefully planted it over the advanced keeper. 2 –2: a real sucker punch! SRCA kicked off and immediately won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Richards chipped in, Jennings challenged keeper, ball in net – but the ref blows for a foul and then full time.

Football can be kind and cruel. Reminds us that we still have a long hard journey before the season ends.

Birtley Town 0 Sunderland RCA 3

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Full photo set

After defender Wayne Henderson failed a fitness test, manager Neil Hixon was again forced into making changes for today’s match at Birtley Town. Paul Stout was switched from the right back roll that he has enjoyed in his first couple of SRCA appearances, to central defence. Anth Laidler who finished the game at Marske in central midfield was switched to right back with captain Scott Richards returning to his normal role in the middle.

Although kicking off in very decent playing conditions, it was not long before the skies darkened and the wind began swirling. The early game pattern was similar to many of our away games this season with strong challenges from both sides and the SRCA midfielders were immediately showing that they were up for the challenge. In fact after 10 minutes it was the result of consecutive good challenges by Sammons that resulted in possession being gained via Richards who fed Lee Owens in down the right. Linking with Jennings corners were forced, the second of which resulted in Jennings heading from distance into the hands of the Birtley keeper. SRCA were growing in confidence and beginning to control the game and half chances fell to Owens and Newton who both shot tamely at the keeper. However after 24 minutes SRCA were not to be denied with good work again down the right resulting in the ball being crossed by Owens to the back post, finding Newton who half volleyed home giving the keeper no chance. 1 – 0 and on the way!

Straight from kick off the skies darkened further and snow was the order of the day. Both sides seem to grit their teeth and the football on display was no longer for the purists. On the half hour, Birtley made their first clear opportunity when the ball was passed between midfielders, then a piercing ball was played through the centre to number seven, Barrie Smith. He raced to the edge of the 18-yard box and pushing the ball a touch too far met the advancing Shields in goal who saved well, pushing the ball sideways for it to be cleared by central defender Stout. Birtley then resorted to playing longer balls, which were dealt with well by centre half Wardle.

On 40 minutes a late tackle on Davis by the Birtley winger went unpunished and the RCA full back went into the book for arguing with the decision. Things were a little frantic up to half time and Manager Hixon was keen to get the players inside to settle.

For the second half Gary Shields took to the pitch as replacement for Newton who had turned his ankle. The away team appeared to have fresh impetus and on 49 minutes Davis found Wells on the left who, running forward, played a swift one two with Shields and found himself running onto goal from the corner of the 18 yard box. Options were available in the middle, but Wells looked at goal and struck an unstoppable shot across the keeper and in off the far post. 2 – 0 and SRCA looking well likely now!

Confidence all over the pitch and all the football from SRCA as both full backs looked to join in and attack the home side. Davis on the left won a corner, Laidler on the right had a mazy run playing one-twos and also winning a corner. Richards was firing the crosses in and the Birtley keeper saving well. On 64 minutes Richards hit a long free kick which nearly deceived the keeper when he had to retreat quickly to palm over the bar. Another goal was likely and this came after 68 minutes. A ball was intercepted from a rare Birtley breakaway by Sammons on the half way line who hit a tremendous ball out to the left where Wells again cut inside and ran on to chip the advancing goalkeeper. 3 – 0 and game over.

On 70 minutes Gary Anderson replaced Wardle at the back, who walked off holding his groin. SRCA were still looking to get forward, this time down the right with Shields putting Owens through who hit a strong shot straight at the keeper. Birtley were becoming frustrated in not getting out of their own half and this showed when the centre half Sherlock attempted a 40 yard effort which was never going to find the net. On 76 minutes Adam McGuiness replaced centre forward Jennings and the same player was quickly involved in the best move of the match when five different SRCA players exchanged passes and advanced culminating with the ball arriving to Owens in the box who shot low, but the keeper smothered.

Birtley who had not done that much in 80 minutes seemed to enjoy their best spell in the last 10 and raised great efforts to pull a goal back. Shields pulled off two outstanding saves in the latter stages and the SRCA rearguard stood strong in defending resulting corners.

The referee blew to end a match in which SRCA showed good strength in readiness for Tuesday’s crucial away game at Ryton.

Ryton 5 Sunderland RCA 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Key changes were required by the SRCA Manager for this vital promotion match with both regular central defenders, Wayne Henderson and Paul Wardle, unavailable. Gary Anderson was brought into central defence for the first time under Neil Hixon’s leadership. Up front Gary Shields passed a very late fitness test and came in to replace Jon Newton who was sidelined through injury.

A crowd in excess of 100 was in attendance as SRCA kicked off and moved the ball around brightly, attacking down the right twice before winning a corner in the fourth minute. Gary Shields headed the Richards’ corner a yard wide at the front post. On the next RCA attack Shields appeared to be through and well onside only to be called back by the referee.

However the early good signs were extinguished quickly as Ryton looked to win possession at all opportunities and their midfield and forward movement began to cause problems in all areas for the SRCA team. Ryton won their first corner on eight minutes and a good header brought keeper Shields into action to push wide of the post. In fact three corners were won by the home team who were showing their intentions and SRCA were defending well. On 12 minutes the ball was cleared from the SRCA box to Laidler who quickly moved the ball to full back Davis who went on an eighty-yard sprint with the ball winning a free kick wide of Ryton’s penalty area.

Respite was short lived though as Ryton again pushed forward from the wasted free kick and in the 16th minute their captain, Forbes, played short one-twos before pushing the ball to forward Burrell, who turned quickly to hit a good shot from 18 yards which went in the corner past Shields: 1 – 0 to the home side.

The game tightened up for a while with the best opportunity coming SRCA’s way in the 25th minute with Lee Owens crossing well from the right by-line onto Jennings’ head which brought Shields into play, but on getting the ball above the keeper, it also sailed well over the Ryton cross bar. If anything this lifted the home team again who dominated with possession before a ball was knocked into the SRCA penalty box. The central defenders appeared to get a call from the keeper, but the indecision allowed Ryton number 10, McBride, to ghost in, spin and hit a terrific connection onto the underside of the crossbar and into the net: 2 – 0!

There was no time for SRCA discussions to take place as Ryton were upping the pace and the second goal appeared to galvanise them. Tackles were fast and furious and then a bullet was fired! Ryton midfielder Steven Shaw picked the ball up just inside the SRCA half, pushed forward and with few choices available, decided to strike the ball from clearly 35 yards. The ball ripped towards the target crashed against the underside of the crossbar and over the line. The celebrations summed up the quality of the strike and it was a real kick in the teeth for all involved with SRCA. 3 – 0 and half time needed quickly. Would there be any way back from this?

The second half could not be as bad as the first! Well Ryton set their stall out and were quickly getting men forward and into the away team’s penalty box, winning consecutive corners. Manager Hixon then replaced Laidler with another central defender, Purcifer, for his debut on 52 minutes. Ryton then won a free-kick very wide right, which was contentious to say the least.

The ball was then drilled in diagonally and low across the pitch to the front of the 18 yard box where the stooping centre forward Walton managed to glance firmly and this flew into the left top corner of the SRCA goal. 4 –0 and things were really hurting now. No time to bolt the doors though, as Ryton, knowing now that it was to be their night, bolted forward again winning a further corner. The corner was fired in and really poor marking allowed defender Parker to head into the net. 55 minutes gone and 5 – 0 down. It was going to be a very long night for SRCA.

On 60 minutes Gary Shields was booked for a late challenge that was no different to a number that had gone before. This brought a stiffer reaction from SRCA, who at last began to stand up for themselves and show more grit. Ryton appeared to be happy with what they were holding and sat back, which allowed SRCA to play. Middleton replaced Owens and McGuinness came on for Wells, as manager Hixon looked to salvage something from the game. A couple of corners were won and there was an unlucky header by Jennings as Ryton defended well. After winning a couple of free kicks, Richards drilled the ball in well, but the home keeper held out ably after glancing efforts.

The referee blew to end SRCA’s misery. It’s still in our hands, but a real tough run in. A top three spot is still achievable, but Ryton will no doubt be looking forward to their visit to Meadow Park in three weeks' time.

North Shields 3 Sunderland RCA 7

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 29 March 2008

SRCA welcomed the return of central defenders Paul Wardle and Wayne Henderson for today’s game, whilst Jon Minnis was selected in goal. Defender Paul Stout who was used as a central defender at Ryton in midweek returned to his normal right back role.

In the opening exchanges North Shields started the most brightly and were passing the ball through the midfield to both flanks very impressively. After five minutes SRCA keeper Minnis had to be at his best when the North Shields number 6 hit a great effort at him from 20 yards, which was pushed round for a corner. SRCA responded with Henderson clearing long to find Jennings who glanced a header into the path of Owens who beat the full back, but pushed the ball too close to the North Shields keeper. The game was very open as both sides looked to attack at every opportunity and the home team won corners in quick succession, which were cleared desperately by SRCA. However the first clear-cut chance came to Shields on 11 minutes, who after playing an excellent one-two with Jennings, found himself with the keeper to beat, but opted to side foot, which the keeper smothered comfortably.

On 16 minutes though, SRCA were not to be denied when right back Stout played a 30-yard ball to Jennings who flicked the ball to the right ring. Owens running on beat the left fullback and a cross cum shot was fired across goal, racing in at the back post was Shields who gleefully slotted home: 1 – 0 to SRCA. North Shields were not to be put off though and on 20 minutes were having success up the left, which ended up winning successive corners. On 24 minutes they got the reward for their endeavour, but it was a very soft goal to concede. SCRA after a period of good defending allowed Robertson in to head home with a simple header and no man marking. 1 – 1 and game back on.

North Shields had a good possession period of play with SRCA looking to counter attack. In the 33rd minute the tactics paid off when Owens fed the ball through to Jennings who with back to goal, flicked up, turned and hit a 25 yarder over the advanced keeper. 2 - 1 to SRCA. The home team were rattled now as three minutes later a five man SRCA move ended with the ball at the feet of Owens on the edge of the box who shaped to shoot with his left foot, but then fired a shot in with his right which glanced off Shields, past the keeper who got a hand on it but could only push into the net. 3 – 1 to SRCA.

Minutes later Stout who appeared to pull his hamstring had to be replaced by Laidler. The change did not affect SRCA who were dominating now. The best move of the game involving Wells, Davis, then Jennings who fed Shields down the left before crossing in quickly, found Sammons who raced into the box and fired home. 4 – 1 and game over!

At half time Craig Shields replaced Minnis, who had strained his groin, in goal. He was quickly in action having to save on 50 minutes from a good drive by Dean Lee as North Shields refused to throw in the towel. In fact like the opening stages of the first half Shields were putting impressive moves together with no end product. However SRCA killed the game totally in the 60th minute when impressive play by Jennings fed the ball out to Owens on the right, he played a one-two with Richards before hitting a great cross on to the head of Jennings which flew into the net. 5 – 1 and definitely on our way now.

Newton replaced Gary Shields after 62 minutes and he was involved quickly having two efforts on goal, which the keeper saved well. It was one-way traffic as Jennings, in search of his hat trick, was pushing forward and also testing the keeper. On 74 minutes the inevitable happened when Richards fed Jennings. He turned the last defender, ran on goal and drew the keeper who partially saved before his follow up. Third goal to him and the beaming grin said it all; top of the Division Two scoring charts as well.

Was it all over? Not quite as Jon Newton fired in for seventh heaven on 88 minutes. 7 – 1. Our highest score of the season. Rain streaking down, but smiles all over for the away support.

However there were further twists after 90 minutes when first Dean Lee fired in an excellent free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner. Immediately afterwards a North Shields attack won a corner and somehow this was also turned into the net by Hitfell. 7 – 3 and a real strange scoreline! The referee then blew the whistle. Phew!!

But up to 4th now in the league and all supporters of SRCA are not complaining. Real test ahead. Can we still get into that top 3 position?


Sunderland RCA 3 Team Northumbria 0

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Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 5 April 2008

RCA captain Scott Richards shields the ball in midfield

Conditions were cold and blustery as RCA prepared to start this vital game aganst a Team Northumbria side who had thumped Whickham the previous week, despite being destined to finish second bottom of the league this season.

Manager Neil Hixon made three changes to his starting line up, resting Paul Sammons and his troublesome ankle problem, by bringing Anth Laidler into the midfield slot, and replacing the injured Paul Stout with stalwart Gary Anderson, while Craig Shields returned in goal for Jon Minniss.

Ash Davis carries the ball foward for RCA!

Team Northumbria started brightly, and the first incident of note saw them denied what looked like a good penalty appeal in the third minute as their striker was tumbled off the ball. RCA replied with a good Lee Owens effort which was smartly saved and as the game settled Owens flashed a cross over without a RCA player being able to make contact. Andrew Jennings was troubling the Northumbria back four with his power in the air, but RCA were unable to profit from his good flicks. After 23 minutes however Jennings was responsible for one of the misses of the season as he rounded the keeper and then hit the bar from three yards out.

RCA's Anth Laidler battles for the ball

RCA were now well on top but struggling to make it count, with Gary Shields breaking clear of the defence and firing wide, while Team Northumbria always played enterprising football on the break. After 37 minutes David Wells just failed to connect with a ball across goal from Lee Owens, and that was followed by Team Northumbria's best spell to date, as they kept RCA under pressure for several minutes, culminating in a free kick from the right which caused chaos in the box and brought two smart stops from Craig Shields in the RCA goal in the resulting scramble. RCA had the last word of the half however, taking the lead as David Wells finished his own good run with an excellent finish from a tight angle. 1-0 at the break.

David Wells opens the scoring for RCA

The second period started slowly with little goalmouth action, but Team North pressing, and after 56 minutes Hixon replaced David Wells with Adam McGuinness. The game continued to be scrappy and the RCA fans were nervous at the slim lead, particularly so when Team North winger John Redhead ran well and shot narrowly wide. RCA roused themselves and should have extended their lead when Scott Richards followed in a free kick and struck the bar from six yards. Jon Newton replaced Gary Shields for the last 20, and a Scott Richards free kick produced a scramble as RCA finally mounted some pressure.

Andy Middleton mounts an attack on the Team Northumbria goal

Andy Middleton joined the fray replacing Lee Owens, and the game was finally secured as Andy Jennings ran menacingly into the box and, although he shot weakly, the hapless Team North defender could only help the ball over the line. 2-0 after 77 minutes.

The game was clearly over now, and Jennings put the icing on the cake, and strengthened his charge for the second division goalscorers crown, with a run across the edge of the box and a fine finish to make the scoreline 3-0 in the 84th minute. Not a pretty game in fairly miserable conditions, and Team Northumbria certainly made RCA work hard, but a win is what matters now and the points are on the board. Three to go!

Penrith 3 Sunderland RCA 4

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup - Quarter-Final

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

A classic cup tie in Cumbria as RCA came back with two late goals to snatch a tremendous 4-3 victory.

Manager Neil Hixon rang the changes in light of the tough games coming up, with Andy Middleton coming in for a start wide right, Adam McGuiness wide left and Andy Jennings, Paul Sammons and Lee Owens starting on the bench, Gary Shields and Jon Newton brought pace and control up front and Steve Purcifer started the game at centre half for the cup tied Paul Wardle.

RCA began brightly on a cool clear night, but Penrith had the best of the early chances with a header and shot in the first five minutes before Anth Laidler, who grafted ferociously in midfield all night, shot over from a free kick, followed by a dangerous cross shot from Andy Middleton, and a good effort from Gaz Shields as RCA showed they meant business and settled to their work.

It was no surprise therefore when RCA took the lead in the 20th minute with a quality finish by Shields from a Scott Richards free kick. Penrith were stung into action and began to press, but keeper Craig Shields and his defenders will think they should have done better as the hosts turned the game upside down with two goals in three minutes, both back post headers which should have been dealt with in the 29th and 32nd minutes.

RCA were rattled by this, and Penrith dominated from then to the break with only a Scott Richards free kick, which flew over, coming back from RCA.

2-1 to Penrith at half time.

Hixon had obviously had words as RCA came out strong for the second half, and it was no surprise when the referee gave a 50th minute penalty for a blatant block on Jon Newton after a superb Ash Davis run from deep. Gaz Shields, who was excellent all night, was never going to miss, despite the antics of the Penrith coach, making a fool of himself behind the goal. Absolutely disgraceful.

2-2 and game on.

This was now a cracking cup tie with both sides wanting to win without the dreaded extra time or penalties. End to end stuff, and then a bizarre goal as Craig Shields was deceived by the softest of shots from a Penrith striker, and could only watch as it trundled into the net. 3-2 to Penrith on the hour, and looking bleak for RCA.

Neil Hixon had made a double change just before this bringing on Paul Sammons and Glen McCartney for the injured Scott Richards and Steve Purcifer, and now he went for broke, bringing Andy Jennings into the fray for Jon Newton and going with three up front, with Adam McGuinness joining Jennings and Shields. RCA were now the stronger but could not break through, despite surging runs from Ash Davis getting forward as well in support of the front men, who were now well on top of the home defenders.

The game was now frantic until, with 10 minutes to go, Andy Jennings showed what he is all about with a superb turn, run and shot from the edge of the box which gave the home keeper no chance, 3-3. RCA tails were up now and the winner came in the 88th minute, as Adam McGuiness challenged for a high ball punted forward, and as it broke into the box the keeper was wrong footed and Paul Sammons sprinted forward to gleefully run it into the net from three yards. The referee played five minutes of added time, and the ball was rarely out of the RCA penalty area during it, but the lads were resolute and held on for a famous win, and our first semi-final for many a year!

South Shields 1 Sunderland RCA 0

Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

SRCA supporters have waited a long time for nights like this. Actually in with a chance in the promotion frame, going into the last week of the season, it was important to arrive early at Filtrona Park for this one. At kick off there were over 300 supporters already in the ground, the atmosphere was cutting as the players took to the field. A game with that little bit extra with Shields having former RCA forwards, crowd favourite Jonny Wightman, who once scored seven goals in a league match for RCA, in their line up as well as Willie Crew on the bench.

Immediately from kick off on a very wet and heavy surface, strong challenges were made from the opposition central midfield players, Richards and Sammons for SRCA showing they were up for the task in hand. In the third minute Richards won the ball and moved it quickly to the left where Wells fired in quickly to Jennings who tested the keeper with a half chance. If the opening was anything to go by RCA were definitely up for this, but South Shields also showed their quality in the sixth minute when consecutive passes allowed space for full back Craig Russell (former Sunderland AFC star) who drilled an excellent ball from the left to the back post which skimmed over the onrushing forwards. Minutes later Wells for RCA found more space on the left and hit a decent effort at goal from 25 yards, but the home keeper was untroubled. South Shields responded in the 11th minute winning a corner which was well cleared by Wardle on the penalty spot. RCA were then enjoying a lot of room down the right , with Owens, Gary Shields and Stout linking well. The good passing resulted in Shields having a half volley effort on goal on 12 minutes..

Then a cracking move from the away team allowed room for Owens on the right; dummying the defender he cut inside and disguising a cross he then fired at the target with a left foot effort from 25 yards that the keeper was pleased to see move past his right post. Immediately after the same player was in again with a good cross that found Jenning’s head, but he could not make good contact towards the goal. On 18 minutes RCA with their second corner of the game again created half chances for Wells and Jennings, but again no end product.

On 26 minutes RCA conceded a free kick in a dangerous area 30 yards from goal. After possibly taking the wrong option in floating the ball towards the penalty spot, the ball was cleared back to the same South Shields midfielder who had a good effort from the same distance, but this cleared the bar by a couple of yards. Play was end to end now with one corner for either side, but on 35 minutes Wells intercepted on a Shields attack, raced through and again tested the keeper who held well. Davies for RCA also attacked down the left and his good run resulted in a further corner. Henderson had a header towards the home goal before Jennings and Wells again could not get good contact on. Half time: 0 – 0 an excellent game to watch, defences strong but a half definitely edged by SRCA.

The second half started as lively as the first with RCA winning a corner and Richards again testing the keeper. On 49 minutes however Jennings was booked on the half way line after a tackle with the central defender. For the next few minutes RCA were in disarray as a good midfield move from the home side ended up with the ball fed to centre forward Johnson who raced through with keeper to beat, hit a good effort that was very well saved by Minnis when pushed for a corner.

On 60 minutes Jon Newton replaced Gary Shields up front and immediately after Scot Richards was booked in a spell where the referee lost his way a little. A couple of decisions in favour of the home side caused upset and it was the home side who took the game forward. Indecision in the RCA defence, who up until this time had looked very solid, allowed South Shields in via Wightman and Johnson who were blocked with last ditch tackles.

Given that a drawn result was no good to RCA, manager Hixon brought McGuiness on for Wells on 68 minutes in search of the opening goal. The plan nearly worked with Newton benefiting from good work on the left and finding room on the right he had a clear sight of goal, but screwed his shot across the face of the goal. On 70 minutes disaster happened when a hopeful clearance deceived Wardle who had been solid all night, the ball fell to the dangerous Mark Johnson who cut into the box and fired past Innis in goal. 1 – 0 and a feeling of hurt for the RCA.

RCA had further chances with Newton and Jennings again having efforts at goal, but it was clear that this was not to be our night. All out attack nearly backfired as South Shields were coping well in defence and nearly caught RCA out again in the closing minutes.

The referee blew the whistle and promotion celebrations at the end for Shields supporters with a bitter pill to swallow for all involved with SRCA. Must lift ourselves again though as promotion is still in our hands with two games to go, together with a semi final tie against Shields to come at Meadow Park. Hopefully the crowd will be is as big, then a lively night is ahead of us. Book your ticket now!

But up to fourth now in the league and all supporters of SRCA are not complaining. Real test ahead … can we get into that top three position?

Sunderland RCA 0 Ryton 1

Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Saturday, 19 April 2008

There was bitter disappointment for RCA today as all hopes of promotion went with a single goal defeat to rivals Ryton. To be fair the scoreline flattered RCA as Ryton were the better side throughout the game, as many RCA players failed to raise their game against determined opponents in good form.

Our bad run has come at just the wrong time, when we had no room to spare. Ryton started the game playing up the hill and with a good contingent of their supporters in the crowd. The early exchanges were fairly even, but Ryton soon began to get on top, and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 25 minutes, but with what was a very sloppy goal.

A bad clearance from keeper Minniss, who struggled badly with his distribution all game, was followed by loose passing in midfield and led to RCA giving the ball away in their own half as a Ryton player sprinted forward. He still looked second favourite to get to the ball but fatal hesitation from Jon Minniss in the RCA goal let Ryton's Liam McBryde in for a simple finish.

This stung RCA and we pressed a little, but Ryton always looked the stronger side, and the home team faced a mountain at the break, needing a win to stay alive.

The second half followed the pattern of the first with Ryton always the sharper side, and it looked like being a terminal blow when Sunderland RCA skipper Scott Richards was sent off in the 60th minute as a Ryton player made a meal of minimal contact.

Strangely the dismissal had the opposite effect as RCA came more into the game with ten men, possibly as Ryton realised how close they were to their promotion goal. Even so it looked too little too late when RCA were awarded a penalty in the 88th minute, but matters were settled when the usually deadly Gary Shields slid the spot kick wide.

On the final whistle the Ryton players and fans celebrated as RCA faced up to at least another year in the second flight.

Sunderland RCA 4 South Shields 1

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup - Semi Final

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Sunderland RCA faced South Shields for the second time in a week, looking for revenge for last Tuesday's narrow defeat which saw Shields confirm their promotion. Following our failure to try and do the same on Saturday with a poor show against Ryton, Neil shuffled his pack a little and brought in Jon Newton up front to partner Andy Jennings, with Gary Shields in a free role. Andy Middleton also started on the right, and Glen McCartney replaced the cuptied Paul Wardle.

The game started very evenly with Shields maybe settling the better, until after 10 minutes Andy Jennings just failed to connect with a floated cross from Jon Newton. Jennings then fired over from 18 yards, synchronistically after 18 minutes. A tough territorial battle ensued until RCA broke the deadlock as Andy Middleton, relishing his chance, deftly played in Jon Newton who calmly slotted home on 27 minutes. South Shields were rattled and were quickly on the attack, with Craig Shields bringing off a fine save from Michael Rodenby.

RCA went close as Newton again had the keeper in action, then in the 32nd minute Gary Shields jinked into the box and crossed for Jennings to power home a header. RCA began to play with freedom and made it three in 39 minutes as Jon Newton got his second with a close range header. 3-0 to RCA at the break.

The second half began like the first, lots of industry, but few chances, until in the 62nd minute, Jon Newton completed an excellent hat trick, placing the ball into the corner from 12 yards, afeter being set up by Ash Davis - game over.

The large away support were deflated and contented themselves with good humoured abuse of the officials, while the RCA faithful looked forward to the club's first cup final since 1981 in the Northern Alliance, happy days!

South Shields restored some pride with a goal from substitute Dean Patton close to the end, but it was RCA who were looking forward to a Bank Holiday Monday morning date with Esh Winning at Ryton. They won't forget old Ernie!

Crook Town 0 Sunderland RCA 2

Arngrove Northern League Division 2

Crook Town 0 Sunderland RCA 2

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Sunderland RCA signed off the 2007/08 league season with a competent performance against Crook Town up at the historic Millfield ground. Jon Newton again partnered Andy Jennings up front, as Andy went head to head with Crook Town No 10, Darren Kokes for the Second Division goalscorer's crown. With both players on 24 goals for the season today's individual performance would decide the trophy. At the back Paul Wardle returned in place of the injured Paul Stout.

ANL DIvision 2 leading goal scorer Andy Jennings slots home RCA's opener after being played in by Jon Newton (left)

The game started with an early goal as Jon Newton unselfishly rolled the ball across the goal line in the second minute for Andy Jennings to take the lead in his personal battle, 1-0 to RCA. Crook looked lively and fought back from this early setback with plenty of work in midfield but few real opportunities came their way. One dangerous effort went past the post with Craig Shields watching, while at the other end Paul Sammons came close after a good move.

Ash Davis on one of his trademark attacks down the left

On the half hour Jon Newton had the ball in the net for RCA, but the liner pulled it back for a marginal offside. 1-0 to RCA at the break, and we would need to hold that lead to keep our fourth place finish in the league.

Andy Jennings challenges with the Crook keeper

For the second half Neil replaced Jon Newton and Paul Wardle with Adam McGuinness and Gary Anderson, being cautious with slight knocks in light of next week's cup final.

Jon Newton leads an RCA attack

Crook came out fighting, and a great block from Wayne Henderson was needed to avert an early equaliser. Around the hour David Wells came on for Gary Shields and a moment later Adam McGuiness was booked for a foul, although at this point most spectator interest was being taken by an irate Crook spectator launching a tirade of abuse against RCA captain Scott Richards, a personal matter it seems.

Adam McGuiness attacks down the left in the second half.

On 64 minutes Adam McGuiness went to the goal line and crossed for David Wells to go close, and as play went back and forth Jennings made the game safe with an excellent run and shot; 2-0 and his 26th goal of the season, in the 78th minute.

Andy Jennings breaks through the Crook defence.

The game finished with a flurry of efforts by both sides, but no addition to the scoreline. Fourth place for RCA, and the best season since our relegation from the top flight in 1988. Next season?


Esh Winning 3 Sunderland RCA 0

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Final

Monday, 5 May 2008

RCA's season ended with another big disappointment as we lost fairly tamely in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Final at Ryton on Bank Holiday Monday. It was a lovely day and Ozo's bus load of the Ryhope faithful turned up to cheer the lads on, but it was not to be. Hicker had a few problems naming a side, with Paul Wardle cup tied, Andy Middleton off to Hawaii and Lee Bell heading for Poland, while on the morning of the match Glen McCartney reported sick. So it was a thin bench but a reasonably strong first eleven, with Gary Shields slotting into right wing back.

RCA started brightly enough, with decent pressure and a couple of corners in the first ten minutes and half chances for Jon Newton and Andy Jennings, before Esh showed for the first time after ten minutes with a sharp header from a corner which Craig Shields gathered well.

Paul Stout was having a bit of trouble with the Esh wide left man, Chris Smith, and it was Smith who opened the scoring after 17 minutes with a great strike from wide which curled past Shieldsy into the goal, 1-0.

Esh grew in confidence with the goal as RCA, despite having plenty of possession struggled to create real chances. A Gary Shields effort close to the half hour mark was better, and lead to a series of corners from which Wayne Henderson finally blasted over, but all the time Esh looked lively with the ball. Coming up to the break Gary Shields stole the ball in midfield and made a great run and cross, which Jennings couldn't reach, and it seemed as if we were finally coming to life. Lets get to the break at just 1-0 and see how the second half goes. Right on the stroke of half time however Esh made it 2-0 with a fine goal from Craig Coates, a real killer as the Ref immediately blew for half time.

We desperately needed to start the second half well, and we did, with Andy Jennings shooting wide, then heading a great chance straight at the keeper from a Scott Richards free kick.

And that sadly was that, Esh broke immediately, Wayne brought a striker down, the Ref gives the pen, and i'ts 3-0 after 51 minutes, game over.

The game wandered from now to its end, David Wells came on for Stout and did well with some sharp passing and movement, Ash Davis got himself sent off for a rash stamp on an opponent, and Jennings had a number of attempts which didn't trouble the keeper. Esh knew the game was won and saw it through with few alarms for a deserved victory in which they took their chances and worked hard.

Well done to Esh Winning, off we go for the summer, before coming back to make next year a year of achievement, not nearly boys next time!


Season 2007-08 first team statistics.

Club news

Sunday Team

Rawdon FC 3 Sunderland RCA 3 AET - Rawdon went through 3 - 0 on penalties

Carlsberg All England Sunday FA Cup First Round

Sunday, 14 October 2007, played at Pool FC, in Wharfdale

RCA travelled to Yorkshire for their first try at the All England Sunday FA Cup and came home feeling slightly agrieved, having lost on penalties after a 3-3 draw at 90 minutes and no further scoring during extra time.

The first half was pretty much even, with both sides creating openings only to waste the chances or have both keepers making decent saves, but RCA went ahead on 40 minutes, thanks to an own goal 1-0 up at half time.

In the second half Rawdon started to exert more pressure but the RCA back line held firm and Willie Crew increased the lead on 60 minutes scoring after a mix up in Rawdon's defence let him in to walk the ball into an empty net. Rawdon pulled a goal back after putting two subs on and catching out the RCA defence with a well known 'dummy' corner routine that allowed a free run into the box, a cross to the far post and a free header. Rawdon then equalised with a deflected strike to set up a cracking last 10 minutes. RCA then re-took the lead when Andy Gilbert tucked a low shot into the net and it looked like RCA were about to go through to the second round, but a quick throw in again caught us napping and a cross into the box found a Rawdon sub, who had no trouble volleying home in the 93rd minute, with the last action of the game.

Extra time produced no further scoring and RCA then proceeded to miss all three of their penalties taken and Rawdon scoring all three of theirs, despite goalkeeper Chris Errington going the correct way every time, but just not getting enough to prevent the goals.

All in all, a very good game that has whetted all our appetites for next year's competition and we should be rightly proud of the club and the supporters who tavelled and represented Sunderland RCA. This can be confirmed by club chairman Owen Haley who travelled down with us. Roll on next year.


The 2008-09 season

Sunderland RCA Senior and Junior squads for 2008/09 seated in the Ray Baines Stand

The First Team

The First Team in the 2008-9 season

2008-09 First Team results


sNL - skilltraining Northern League - Division 2
ATMC - Alan Thompson Memorial Cup
DCCC - Durham County Challenge Cup
EAMC - Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup
FAC - FA Cup
FAV - FA Vase
LC - League Cup


External link to the skilltrainingltd Northern League Divsion 2 table

Opposition Venue Competition
F - A
Saturday 19 July 2008
3:00 PM
Sunderland Nissan Home Friendly
1 - 5
Tuesday 22 July 2008
7:30 PM
South Shields Away Friendly
1 - 0
Thursday 24 July 2008
7:30 PM
Ryhope CW Home ATMC
3 - 1
Saturday 26 July 2008
3:00 PM
Ryton Away Friendly
0 - 3
Thursday 31 July 2008
7:30 PM
Jolly Potter Home Friendly
7 - 0
Saturday 02 August 2008
3:00 PM Dunston Fed Away Friendly
0 - 2
Saturday 09 August 2008
3:00 PM
Prudhoe Town Away sNL - 2
4 - 0
Saturday 16 August 2008
3:00 PM
West Allotment Celtic Away FAC
1 - 2
Saturday 23 August 2008
3:00 PM
North Shields Away sNL - 2
8 - 0
Monday 25 August 2008
1:00 PM
Horden CW Home sNL - 2
0 - 5
Saturday 30 August 2008
3:00 PM
Hebburn Town Away sNL - 2
3 - 4
Tuesday 09 September
7:30 PM
Esh Winning Home sNL - 2
1 - 1
Wednesday 17 September 2008
7:30 PM
Northallerton Away LC
2 - 4
Saturday 20 September 2008
3:00 PM
West Auckland Away FAV
4 - 2
Thursday 25 September 2008
7:30 PM
Ryton FC Home Friendly
1 - 1
Saturday 27 September 2008
2:00 PM
Jarrow FC Away DCCC
1 - 2
Saturday 04 October 2008
3:00 PM
Marske United Home FAV
1 - 2
Saturday 11 October 2008
3:00 PM
Thornaby Home sNL - 2
5 - 1
Tuesday 14 October 2008
7:30 PM
Marske United Home sNL - 2
0 - 1
Saturday 18 October 2008
3:00 PM
Guisborough Town Home sNL - 2
4 - 0
Tuesday 21 October 2008
7:30 PM
Prudhoe Town Home EAMC
2 - 1
Saturday 25 October 2008
3:00 PM
Darlington RA Away sNL - 2
0 - 1
Saturday 01 November 2008
3:00 PM
Crook Town Home sNL - 2
1 - 2
Saturday 08 November 2008
3:00 PM
Washington Away sNL - 2
2 - 1
Saturday 15 November 2008
3:00 PM
Brandon United Home sNL - 2
0 - 0
Saturday 22 November 2008
3:00 PM
Whickham Away sNL - 2
1 - 0
Wednesday 17 December 2008
7:30 PM
Norton and Stockton Away sNL - 2
3 - 0
Saturday 20 December 2008
3:00 PM
North Shields Home sNL - 2
4 - 2
Saturday 27 December 2008
3:00 PM
Horden CW Away sNL - 2
1 - 1
Saturday 03 January 2009
3:00 PM
Hebburn Town Home sNL - 2
0 - 1
Saturday 17 January 2009
3:00 PM
Prudhoe Town Home sNL - 2
1 - 0
Saturday 24 January 2009
3:00 PM
Esh Winning Away sNL - 2
3 - 1
Saturday 31 January 2009
3:00 PM
Birtley Town Home sNL - 2
3 - 1
Tuesday 17 February 2009
7:30 PM
Team Northumbria Away sNL - 2
2 - 1
Saturday 21 February 2009
3:00 PM
Thornaby Away sNL - 2
2 - 2
Saturday 28 February 2009
3:00 PM
Guisborough Town Away sNL - 2
0 - 2
Wednesday 04 March 2009
7:30 PM
Jarrow Roofing BCA Home sNL - 2
0 - 0
Saturday 07 March 2009
3:00 PM
Darlington RA Home sNL - 2
4 - 2
Tuesday 10 March 2009
7:30 PM
Thornaby Home EAMC - 3R
2 - 1
Saturday 14 March 2009
3:00 PM
Crook Town Away sNL - 2
6 - 0
Tuesday 17 March 2009
7:45 PM
Norton and Stockton Home sNL - 2
1 - 1
Saturday 21 March 2009
3:00 PM
Washington Home sNL - 2
2 - 0
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
7:30 PM
Whitehaven Away sNL - 2
3 - 5
Saturday 28 March 2009
3:00 PM
Brandon United Away sNL - 2
5 - 1
Wednesday 01 April 2009
7:30 PM
Stokesley SC Away sNL - 2
3 - 3
Saturday 04 April 2009
3:00 PM
Whickham Home sNL - 2
3 - 0
Wednesday 08 April 2009
7:30 PM
Marske United Away sNL - 2
2 - 2
Saturday 11 April 2009
3:00 PM
Jarrow Roofing BCA Away sNL - 2
4 - 0
Tuesday 14 April 2009
7:30 PM
Whitehaven Home sNL - 2
1 - 0
Saturday 18 April 2009
3:00 PM
Team Northumbria Home sNL - 2
3 - 2
Tuesday 21 April 2009
7:30 PM
Brandon United Home EAMC - SF
3 - 0
Saturday 25 April 2009
3:00 PM
Stokesley SC Home sNL - 2
2 - 1
Monday 27 April 2009
7:30 PM
Birtley Away sNL - 2
1 - 2
Wednesday 06 May 2009
7:00 PM
Horden CW Chester-le-Street EAMC - Final
1 - 2

Northern League Division 2 Table

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Horden CW (C) 38 24 8 6 92 44 48 80
2 Norton + Stockton Ancients (P) 38 24 8 6 79 36 43 80
3 Esh Winning (P) 38 23 8 7 89 59 30 77
4 Sunderland RCA 38 21 8 9 88 46 42 71
5 Marske United 38 18 8 12 63 59 4 62
6 Brandon United 38 18 7 13 85 67 18 61
7 Guisborough Town 38 18 7 13 71 53 18 61
8 Birtley Town 38 18 7 13 73 62 11 61
9 Crook Town 38 17 7 14 68 71 -3 58
10 Hebburn Town 38 15 10 13 71 83 -12 55
11 Whitehaven 38 15 8 15 57 52 5 53
12 Team Northumbria 38 13 12 13 75 66 9 51
13 Stokesley SC 38 14 7 17 63 67 -4 49
14 Whickham 38 14 7 17 55 73 -18 49
15 North Shields 38 13 6 19 53 76 -23 45
16 Jarrow Roofing 38 11 4 23 50 78 -28 37
17 Washington * 38 10 6 22 44 61 -17 33
18 Darlington Railway Athletic 38 10 2 26 45 80 -35 32
19 Prudhoe Town 38 5 11 22 47 88 -41 26
20 Thornaby 38 5 7 26 50 97 -47 22

* Three points deducted


2008-09 reports from the first team matches


Sunderland RCA 1 Sunderland Nissan 5

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Roy Keane says there's no such thing as a friendly match. RCA would beg to differ as our generosity knew few bounds as we gifted Nissan five goals - the best goal of the game came from RCA - Rasher (Keith Graydon) hitting a screamer from nearly 30 yards into the top right corner - but that was the only consoltaion. Nobody's going to thank me for these match pictures. As for Neil's and George's comments: they are probably not repeatable here!

Nearly, but not quite!

An RCA attack

Another RCA attack

wayne Henderson wins out

Sunderland RCA 3 Ryhope CW 1

Alan Thompson Memorial Cup

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Keith Graydon (RCA captain), Lisa Thompson, Maureen Thompson, Robert Dixon (Ryhope CW captain)and Mark Thompson with the Alan Thompson Memorial Cup

Rain and a water-logged pitch had led to the postponement of this year's Alan Thompson memoriual cup match between local rivals Sunderland RCA and Ryhope Colliery Welfare. Last night's match lit up the sea fret gloom as both sides provided a competitive match with entertaining football.

Gary Shields attacks

After a goalless first half of few clear opportunities for either side, RCA took the lead early in the second period through a fine Adam McGuiness shot from the edge of the area. This goal was quickly followed by a double from new signing Paul Taylor.

The CW replied with a goal from Mark Turnbull.

This was another good work out for RCA, as new formations are tried and new players get used to each other. With three more friendlies to play - two against First Division Ryton and Dunston Fed - RCA will hope to be firing on all cylinders by the time we kick off the Northern League season on 9 Agust, away to Prudhoe.

Ryton 3 Sunderland RCA 0

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Granted: Ryton's ground has hardly made for happy hunting for RCA of late and this is no weather for football, but this was a dispiriting performance that needs getting out of our systems ASAP. All credit though to Ryton who looked good during many parts of this match. It looks like they will more than hold their own in their first season in Division 1.

Ill-fortune saw us concede early on as the ball deflected off Wayne Henderson's shoulder to loop over stranded keeper Craig Shields, but as Ryton went 3 - 0 up with 30 minutes they dominated with slick and incisive passing and running.

Things tightened up after half-time, but there was little incisiveness in our attack. All credit to Jon Newton for some strong running, but he'll be kicking himself for not finishing off two of his chances.

Although it was good to see Paul Sammons come on for his first action of the season, we're also more than a bit concerned by early season knocks to Andy Jennings and Gary Shields, who did not play on Saturday.

Match photos

Jon Newton rounds the Ryton keeper
Jon Newton rounds the Ryton keeper, but does not find the net

Strong tackling from RCA's right back

An effective clearance

This Ryton effort hit the bar

Sunderland RCA 7 Jolly Potter FC 0

Pre-season friendly

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Jolly Potter FC, from the Wearside Combination League Premier Division were last night's guests at Meadow Park. The hosts were mean and the visitors generous as the difference in status was clear across the park and throughout the match. That said, the Jolly Potters were a great set of lads who got on with their football in a good competitive spirit with no moaning. All credit to them and best wishes for the season. There was a particularly good performance from ex-RCA Under -18, Lloyd Conlin, playing number seven in midfield.

Gary Shields opened the scoring on three minutes - it should have been earlier - and made it two on 10 minutes by converting a cross from the left. On 26 minutes Gary completed his hat trick, heading in from a left wing cross, which had followed a nice set of midfield passes. Four minutes into the second half and he scored his fourth, receiving the ball in the six-yard box, taking a few showboat steps and passing the ball into the net from virtually the goal line. By this time RCA were five - nil up, the Jolly Potter having conceded an own goal on nine minutes from a right-wing Andy Middleton cross.

Manager Neil Hixon used the match to give many players a run out. This was Paul Sammons first full start of the pre-season, playing alongside Keith Graydon in central midfield, alongside Andy Middleton and Adam McGuiness out wide. It was good to see Paul come through the match feeling good. Glenn Moan at right back always looked cool, classy and in control. Ash Davis was back from his holidays and showed off his pace and power before cramp set in. Sean Davies played well at centre half.

On seventy five minutes new signing Anth Holmes made it six - nil and three minutes later up popped Dean Goodwin to volley home powerfully to make it seven up. After injury, this was Dean's first run out and it was good to see his powerful midfield drive on show again at Meadow Park.


Dunston Fed 2 Sunderland RCA 0

Pre-season friendly

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Please click here for some photos from the match.

Another disappointing result in a Saturday friendly away to Dunston Fed, but a good work out with several positives in what was a fast and well-contested game.

The Fed were playing their eigth pre season game and looked well advanced in their preparation. Holidays and other absences meant Hicker went with a 4 4 2 formation featuring Henderson and Davies at centre back, Davis and Moan at full back, Graydon and Arkley in centre midfield with Middleton and Casson wide, and Taylor and Shields up front.

Goals from Harkin and Hedley had the Fed in front within the first twenty minutes and in truth it could have been more by half time as we struggled to get to grips with the pace and passing of the Fed front men. Nonetheless there were some signs of good control and the beginnings of some understandings between partnerships around the pitch.

The second half saw more quality play from RCA, although from the hour onwards a lot of substitutions and positional changes, from both sides, inevitably broke the flow of the game. Jon Newton missed a good chance for RCA, and Ash Davies moved forward and had several chances, and made a number of strong runs.

Youngsters Josh Watson and Lloyd Conlin impressed when they got on, as did a young triallist who showed real quality in a twenty-minute stint at full back. No names till he signs!

Prudhoe Town 0 Sunderland RCA 4

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Nothing like a good win to put a spring in your step!

The Forum has been pretty lively with differing views on Saturday's 4 - 0 win over Prudhoe Town. For those of us who were at this fixture last season, when we got beat 3 - 2, with our goals coming from a penalty and a bit of good fortune, this result and the performance will be taken as a mark of just how far - and that's very far - we have come under the leadership of Neil and George. In the first half we were dominant and in the second totally dominant. Granted: Prudhoe were not good and they were down to ten men shortly into the second half, but you can only play what's in front of you. This was a very solid and encouraging performance. We look like a well-balanced team. The frustration for everyone from RCA on Saturday was that we did not score more. It's not an exaggeration to say that we could have got into double-figures.

Quite a few of the squad will be disappointed not to have been selected. That's a mark of just how difficult selection is. We have a strong squad with competition for places running high.

Prudhoe kicked off and were quickly attacking down their right, forcing RCA wing back Adam McGuiness to clear. From the Prudhoe throw in the cross was held by Craig Shields for his first touch of the match.

On eight minutes new signing and captain, Keith Graydon, aka 'Rasher', had a shot blocked following good work on the right from Paul Taylor. Two minutes later and Rasher was in action again with a free kick into the box, but the referee blew against RCA. On 14 minutes, it was the captain again, this time putting in a cross to Andy Jennings, who headed on, only for Paul Taylor's shot to go wide. A minute later Andy Jennings was through on goal, but carried the ball too far. 'Pull the trigger Andy' was the shout from the back.

In between these RCA attacks the defence had looked reasonably solid. Glenn Moan in particular, who was at the centre of the three man defence, was getting in good headed clearances and showing strong leadership and organisation.

On 25 minutes Paul Sammons slid a great ball though to Paul Taylor to run through on goal. The ball was cleared in desperation and both Paul Taylor and the Prudhoe number 5 needed treatment following the clash.

In the 29th minute Prudhoe found it too easy to attack down their left and RCA keeper Craig Shields could only parry the shot for Adam McGuiness to clear.

Ryhope CW old boy Richie Jordan, who had a very good RCA debut, very nearly opened the scoring for RCA, but his shot from the right edge of the penalty area was pushed over for a corner, which the keeper gathered.

On 37 minutes Paul Taylor beat the keeper, but also the far post with this cross shot. Minutes later, he was through on the keeper only to be brought down just outside the area by a chasing Prudhoe defender. While no one likes to see a red card, this looked like a 'rules-is-rules' moment, but the referee held up a yellow. The free kick went just wide.

At half time it was 0 - 0. RCA frustration, Prudhoe relief.

There were no changes for the away side as RCA kicked off the second half playing into the wind. On 50 minutes RCA's domination was beginning to become evident. A good shot from Keith Graydon was turned around for a corner, which Prudhoe cleared for another corner from which Paul Taylor shot over.

On 55 minutes the big man broke the deadlock. Andy Jennings ran from the left to shoot strongly across the Prudhoe keeper to score in the far corner. A text book finish.

Two minutes later Paul Taylor put in a strong run and cross from the left which was cleared for yet another RCA corner. That was Paul's last action of the match as he was replaced by Gary Shields.

On 60 minutes Prudhoe went down to ten men following a second yellow card.

RCA were becoming more and more dominant. Prudhoe could not cope with Gary Shields' powerful, fast and incisive wing play down both flanks. Dynamic or what?

On 65 minutes the second of successive corners was turned in powerfully by defender Andrew Bowes from the edge of the six yard box.

It was nearly three-nil a minute later as an Andy Jennings header found the side netting. At this point Anth Laidler came on for Paul Sammons in central midfield.

On eighty minutes great work from Gary Shields put Keith Graydon in and he looked as though he must score. Desperate defending saw the ball beak to Andy Jennings, who made no mistake.

On 90 minutes it was four-nil. Andy Jennings ran through and, as the keeper came out, unselfishly passed to Keith Graydon who scored emphatically into an empty net. Well done Rasher, after all your efforts you deserved that one.

A good, solid start with a score line that's not at all flattering. It will no doubt be a stronger test against Hebburn, but there is no question that everyone will be up for it. See you there.

West Allotment Celtic 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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The FA Cup

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A massive disappointment as we go out of the FA Cup before I have even had me holidays!

A lot of excitement as usual because it is the Cup and it was a bright and breezy day as we made the trip to Blue Flames Sports Ground to play West Allotment. A great pitch, but not a proper football ground, with wide open spaces all around, and a cricket match on view over the open fence.

Hicker made two changes to the team before he went off scouting in Europe, Shieldsy returned in place of Paul Taylor up front, and Buddy Halliday was preferred to Paul Sammons in midfield.

The game started in front of a decent enough crowd, and for the first 15 minutes was fairly untidy, as both sides tried to settle, and with little in the way of goal mouth action. Having said that, Andy Jennings had the ball in the net after 12 minutes from a good Gary Shields cross, only for it to be disallowed for what looked like offside, which might have been harsh. As the game wore on we started to find our feet a little and began to have most of the ball, knocking it about nicely in midfield, finding Shieldsy down the wings regularly, but not showing too much penetration.

West were hard working but not having much joy, with their main tactic seeming to be to try and turn the defenders with long balls and rely on their strikers pace.

After 26 minutes we took the lead, as Keith Graydon found Andy Jennings with a great ball and the big fella ran well into the box and finished smartly. Graydon's passing had started to look very dangerous and this looked like a fair reward. But disastrously we switched off and virtually from the kick off a long hopeful cross found a man unmarked on the six-yard box to head home. 1 -1, and we were sick. Both sides were livened up by the goals and the rest of the half saw half chances at either end, with defenders Glen Moan and Andy Bowes both getting up well for headers from corners.

We started the second half well and pressed hard for the first 15 minutes. A short corner from Graydon leading to panic in the box, Jennings challenged the keeper for a couple of other crosses from Richie Jordan and it looked like we were bound to get something from the game. Gradually however West Allotment started to increase in confidence, and had their purple patch around the 70 minute mark.

They pressed us hard, had a couple of efforts and then scored the winner when a speculative shot from wide left came off the bar and the centre forward bundled home the rebound from a few yards out. They then missed a great chance to settle things completely when a cross was begging to be converted. George Herd made a rash of substitutions, going for three up front as we chased the game. Graydon shot well, Bowes again went close from a corner, we pressed but couldn't find a way though, and that was that, as the ref brought things to a close, and left us to think what might have been. On another day we would have won it or got them back to our place, but we looked short of games and ran out of steam.

North Shields 0 Sunderland RCA 8

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Andy Jennings

Sunderland RCA enjoyed a romp at Ralph Gardner Park as they swamped a young, but game North Shields side 8-0.

From the off RCA were always in control with our midfield trio dominant. Within the opening 10 minutes Rash Graydon hit the bar with a chip, Anth Laidler was clean into the box but couldn't get his cross in, Rash had a free kick tipped round the post, Buddy Halliday shot over the bar, and Rash hit another free kick narrowly over.

Wayne Henderson

It was no surprise then when we opened the scoring in the 22nd minutes as Gaz Shields pounced on the rebound as the Robins' keeper saved from Buddy Halliday. Within two minutes Andy Jennings added the second from a Paul Sammons cross, and when constant pressure led to a third from a Sean Davies low 20 yarder in the 28th minute, the game was effectively over.

And it was all over a few minutes later as the North Shields centre half and player manager Paul Hogg lost his rag, nutted Rash, and was promptly sent off.

Gary Shields

A good move saw Gaz get his second in the 34th minute from an Andy Jennings cross, and it was five at the break as Jennings turned well on a Wayne Henderson pass and slotted past the keeper.

Keith Graydon

The second half was understandably low key, goals from Gaz Shields, Paul Sammons and Paul Taylor, subbing for Jennings, in the 60th, 66th and 78th minutes saw us reach eight, but in truth it could have been many more, although North Shields managed to have one disallowed before the ref brought it to an end.

Andy Middleton

So two clean sheets in the league and a positive goal balance of 12; not bad, but surely Horden will prove tougher opponents on Monday?

Sunderland RCA 0 Horden CW 5

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skilltraining Northern League

Monday, 25 August 2008

It really has been a Jekyll and Hyde holiday weekend for Sunderland RCA. This was a horror story. All credit to Horden CW as they showed us how to play the game and why they are fancied to make a strong challenge for promotion this season.

The start of the match was not so bad, with RCA playing down the pitch and with a favourable strong cross wind. On two minutes Paul Sammons won a corner, which was cleared. Five minutes later and a good cross field ball from Keith Graydon put Paul Taylor through wide on the right, but his cross was cleared. On 11 minutes, Andy Rafferty, the very tall Horden keeper, fluffed a cross to concede a corner. On 18 minutes a ball out of the RCA defence to the left wing was collected brilliantly by Anth Laidler who ran through to cross strongly.

On 24 minutes Horden attacked down their left and were allowed to progress into the RCA area where the outstanding Ian Clark shot across the RCA keeper Craig Shields to make it 1 - 0.

On 31 minutes we handed Horden a further advantage when striker Paul Taylor saw a straight red for a two-footed tackle that connected painfully with a Horden player.

On 35 minutes an RCA free kick flew off the Horden wall for a corner, but this was cleared.

On 37 minutes a double save from Craig Shields stopped Horden going 2 - 0 up. Just before half time Stephen Thomas scored Horden's second after he was allowed far too much time and space in front of goal.

On 50 minutes a back pass from Steve Halliday played in the chasing Horden forward who shot wide of the inside post when a cross shot seemed the more sensible option. Horden did not have to wait long to go three up, with an excellent shot across the keeper and into the far corner by Darren Atkinson.

On 66 minutes Horden substitute Craig Hubbard made it four nil with a stunning shot from outside the area which flew past the RCA keeper. Five minutes later and Michael Ford went nap for Horden following poor defensive play.

The pain was not over for RCA as Wayne Henderson suffered an injury which meant he had to leave the field. For the last 10 minutes of the match RCA were down to nine men having already used their three substitutes. Keith Graydon moved to centre half.

In the ninetieth minute RCA were saved by the post from being knocked for six as the Horden forward was clear through.

Painful stuff, but the rude awakening we clearly needed.

Hebburn Town 4 Sunderland RCA 3

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 30 August 2008

A highly disputed goal separated Hebburn and Sunderland RCA at the end of the match, but in truth this was another frustrating display by the visitors.

RCA got off to a flyer. Andy Jennings knocked a long ball down to Paul Sammons who worked hard on the right to deliver a perfect cross for Gary Shields to knock the ball past the Hebburn keeper. 1 - 0 up before a minute had gone. This gave us some confidence and we were comfortable for the first 20 minutes, with new signing Neil Moan heading goal ward on seven minutes only for the referee to pull pull up for pushing and Paul Sammons putting the ball in the back of the Hebburn net, but again the referee had blown for a push.

On 28 minutes a cross from the left saw a good challenge form Andy Jennings and the ball feel to Paul Sammons again, but his shot went wide.

By this time Hebburn had worked their way back into the match and on 33 minutes a left wing cross fell to Stephen Rutherford who shot across Craig Shields to equalise.

On 40 minutes we gave the ball away badly in midfield and Hebburn ran through. The shot on goal was parried, but then ran to a Hebburn forward who looked clearly to be in an offside position, with the linesman in a good position, but the flag did not come up. There was much protest from the RCA players and after the match they were adamant that this was a clear off-side.

After the break RCA made strong efforts to get back on terms. Strong running and a cross from Gary Shields led to a clearance for a corner. on 50 minutes Ritchie Jordan snatched at a shot to fire just wide of the inside post. On 58 minutes a strong run from Andy Middleton, who had come on for Paul Sammons, led to the ball falling to Sean Davies, who shot powerfully, but just over.

0n 65 minutes Hebburn extended their lead with a free header from a right wing corner to make it 3 - 1 to the home side. RCA's response was to use our last substitution bringing on Paul Taylor for Anth Laidler.

Determination and strong running from substitute Dean Goodwin was beginning to drive RCA forward and on 72 minutes Dean was on hand in the box to hook in from a Sean Davies cross. On 80 minutes a snap shot from rom Paul Taylor was pushed around the post.

Hopes of a come back looked to be completely dashed when Hebburn hit their fourth, with RCA's attacking leaving them too exposed at the back.

On 87 minutes Dean Goodwin popped up again to make it 4 - 3, but it was not enough.


Sunderland RCA 1 Esh Winning 1

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skilltraining Northern League

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

RCA put on a battling display, especially after going down to ten men, but Esh will think that they should have got three points from this match.

Esh Winning kicked off the match kicking up the slope and after ten minutes they had the balance of play with some strong crossing from both left and right wings keeping the RCA defence on its toes. The number 11 Michael Fort was particularly incisive. On 13 minutes though the home side nearly took the lead when Lee Owens stole the ball and ran through to chip over the keeper and shave the post. The ball came back in to Andy Jennings who headed strongly towards goal but the keeper gathered.

The RCA keeper Jon Minniss was in action two minutes later when Chris Smith curled a 25 yard Esh free kick round the wall. The on target shot was smothered by the keeper and then held.

On 25 minutes new RCA right back, Patrick Little suffered a bad injury and had to leave the field. Dave Anderson came on in his place, to make his first appearance for RCA.

On 31 minutes close skill and speed from Lee Owens led to a good cross, which was cleared for an RCA corner. Good pressure was followed by captain Keith Graydon turing the ball back in for Andy Jennings to jump and head just wide.

On 42 minutes Lee Owens was nearly through again and appealed for a handball on the blocked ball, but Esh broke quickly down their left and RCA were asleep as Craig Coates ran through and the ball broke for Nicky Martin to hit home to make it one-nil to Esh.

In the second half it was Esh who were looking the more dangerous. A cross from Craig Coates glanced the bar on 54 minutes.

On 61 minutes new boy and ex-Ryton player David Lee, who was playing left wing for RCA, equalized, shooting past the keeper from close range as the ball broke to him.

On 65 minutes, Dave Anderson was shown a straight red for a two footed tackle. Andy Jennings went into the defence.

On 67 minutes an Esh shot across the goal hit the post and rebounded back into open play, but no Esh player was near to capitalise. A minute later and RCA had a terrific chance to take the lead, an attack ending in a strong RCA shot which was deflected behind for a corner.

RCA lived dangerously for the rest of the match as Esh sought to make their numerical advantage pay. Resolute defence and brave keeping from Jon Minniss kept them at bay.

Northallerton Town 4 Sunderland RCA 2

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League Cup

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Faced with a few injuries manager Neil Hixon decided to take no chances on fitness and go with a much altered team for the League Cup tie at Northallerton. Three players made their debuts, centre forward David Tait who joined from Nissan, and youngsters Michael Chapman playing wide left and Michael Laidler playing right back.

Within a couple of minutes of the start we went behind as Northallerton took the lead with a softish looking goal from centre forward John Ryan. Northallerton stayed on top for the first 10 minutes or so as we got ourselves sorted out, with their excellent left winger giving young Laidler a particularly hard time. But things steadied as Halliday and Coghlan got a grip in the middle of the park, and our wide players, Lee Owens and Michael Chapman began to see more of the ball.

Dean Goodwin, who had taken a nasty knock very early which will leave him with a right shiner, had a good effort saved before Owens went on a mazy run and slipped the ball through to young Chappie who finished well for his first RCA goal in the 15th minute.

And things got better a few minutes later as Tait also marked his debut with a goal, and a real good one, as he turned and volleyed past the keeper from 20 yards, We were on top for the rest of the half, and went in at the interval at 2-1 up, looking good.

Northallerton changed their formation for the second half, flooding midfield to try and stop Buddy and Micky Coghlan from playing, and for a while it worked, and they got their reward with an equaliser in the 51st minute. From then for the next half hour it was a real good cup tie with chances at either end, although to be fair I think we had the best of them. Lee Owens looked good, getting onto Coghlan's long ball's from the middle, young Chapman had an excellent debut, with good hard running and good positional play, David Tait worked hard on his own up front, and will think he should have scored from a header he put straight at the keeper, and Buddy was probably man of the match with good control in the middle of the park.

Having said that Jon Minniss, who had come into the side at the last minute for the injured Craig Shields made a number of good catches from dangerous crosses, as Northallerton constantly looked for their big men up front, who always looked a threat, and their wide men got at our defenders with pace on more than one occasion.

With 20 minutes to go and the game poised Neil went for an even more attacking formation, bringing Anth Holmes and Gary Shields on for Coghlan and Chapman, both of whom had understandably tired. The changes led to a flurry of chances for RCA, before disaster struck in the 81st minute as a free kick from wide right was not dealt with. Minniss came when he maybe should have stayed, and Roberts headed Northallerton ahead, this just after Paul Sammons had come on for Michael Laidler.

We chased the game even more. Bowesy ended up playing centre forward, and right at the death Northallerton broke and made it 4-2, which did not reflect the game. Lots of positives though, good debuts from Tait and Chapman, and it is good to have Lee Owens back, good width on both sides, and good quality in the middle of the park, if we can get the formation right, but a lack of pace in the middle and at the back. Lets be optimistic for the Vase on Saturday!

West Auckland Town 2 Sunderland RCA 4

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Saturday, 20 September 2008

FA Vase

Sunderland RCA won their first FA Vase game in a long time with an excellent performance at first division West Auckland Town, a result which seems sadly to have cost West's manager Phil Owers his job soon after the final whistle. It's no secret that injuries, suspensions, postponements and the like have meant that so far this season we have not performed as we thought we could, but with manager Hixon back on the job we were confident for Saturday's game. Skipper Keith Graydon was still out injured, as were a few others, including Paddy Little who failed a late fitness test, and Paul Taylor was suspended, but we still fielded a strong looking side, and from the off dominated the game.

Andy Jennings could have scored after four minutes, and had a penalty appeal turned down after 10. Gary Shields was making a great job of his role as stand in right back, and linking well with Lee Owens who had the West defence worried every time he ran at the them, while at the back Neil Moan and Andy Bowes looked very assured, with Dava Lee comfy at left back. Neil could have scored with a header when he went forward, David Tait had an effort blocked, and Lee Owens had a couple of decent efforts. In response West Auckland were working hard and running at our defenders when they got the chance, but generally we looked comfortable, with Buddy and Sammo dominating in the middle of the park. it was a surprise therefore that it took until the 42nd minute for us to take the lead. A free kick wide right was blocked and came out again to Andy Jennings, who turned well and knocked the ball over for Lee Owens to finish.

1-0 at the break, and it should have been more. And two minutes into the second half it should have been as Lee was set free to run in on the goalie, who saved his shot with his legs - should have scored, son! The next 15 minutes however were all West Auckland, as they repeated Northallerton's tactic of flooding the middle of the park to try and keep Buddy's passing out of the game, and it worked for a while. After 55 minutes they levelled and we were rocking under good pressure from the home side, although to be fair, Jon Minniss mostly only had to catch crosses and long range efforts. West couldn't capitalise on their possession, and gradually we worked our way back on top of the game. For the last 25 minutes we pressed them very hard. Taity should have scored with a header, then the keeper made a brilliant stop from a Paul Sammons volley, before the pressure told with two goals in three minutes for David Tait from Andy Jennings assists. First the big man crossed superbly for a header, then the keeper couldn't hold his powerful shot and Taity picked up the pieces. Game over, but West got another one back to make for an exciting last five, before Jennings notched his usual goal to make the scoreline more accurately reflect the match. A great win, lets hope we can really kick on from this!

Jarrow FC 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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Durham County Challenge Cup

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Another Jekyll and Hyde performance, as the same team who won so well at Northern League First Division West Auckland last week went down to a 2-1 defeat at Wearside League outfit, Jarrow FC.

Take nothing away from Jarrow, they were a committed and hard working group of players, and a credit to their club, but nonetheless with the amount of possession we had in the game we really should have come out comfortably on top. RCA had a good start as well, with decent possession from the kick off eventually leading to a very well worked Lee Owens goal after only seven minutes. Young Michael Chapman got down the left after a good passing move orchestrated by Buddy Halliday, and delivered an excellent cross which was well finished by Lee coming in on the back post.

But a few minutes later a mistake by Dava Lee, who will have nightmares about his attempted crossfield ball, led to Jarrow equalising after good quick passing and a solid finish. 1-1 after 12 minutes.

The rest of the first half saw mostly RCA possession, with good chances for Jennings and David Tait, but with Jarrow always dangerous on the break.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, we had most of the ball, got plenty of crosses in, but couldn't get a finish, while Jarrow always looked to exploit the pace of their front men on the counter.

A scramble on 50 minutes saw the Jarrow bar and post struck in quick succession, while on 55 minutes Jarrow struck the bar.

Lee Owens ran at the defence constantly, without always producing good balls for the forwards, and just before the hour, Hicker took off Tait and Sammons, both of whom were struggling with knocks, with Dean Goodwin and Glen Moan replacing them. Gaz Shields moved forward to replace Tait, and the pressure continued but without end result.

A break from Jarrow was always to be feared, and sure enough on 79 minutes their quick forward Craig Armstrong got away, two defenders clashed as they tried to tackle him and he coolly drew keeper Jon Minniss and slotted home. We huffed and puffed but it was not to be, so good luck now to Jarrow in the County Cup, and for us, all eyes now on the Vase next week!


Sunderland RCA 1 Marske United 2

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FA Vase

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Visiting supporters eyes tend to light up on arrival at Meadow Park at our decent but quaint home. However the Marske United supporters visitors bus arrived today at 2.45pm with our guests stepping off with eyes to the floor, bracing themselves as the wind and rain had arrived around the same time to greet all. The contingent of approximately 50 with scarves and rattles as well, soon found warm voice though, as they all converged into the stand and proudly spread out the long banners with their team name and colours.

Home supporters were outnumbered, but optimism was high as this was a day when SRCA could possibly make the last 64 of the FA Vase for the first time ... in a long time! Many home locals were tempted to the Stadium of Light today with many more watching the same game against Arsenal from warm public houses (apparently beamed back games are not classed as live if there is a one minute delay). I wonder what this attendance would have been like if this tie was played on a Friday night or even Sunday. Even quiet in the cemetery; our past soldiers don't even want to join the attendance debate.

Winning the toss, captain Steve Halliday elected to defend the slope and more importantly the strong wind and increasing rain. Early touches were solid from the home side and the first chance was created on two minutes with a decent effort from David Tait just missing the post. In the first 10 minutes Lee Owens was fed the ball twice in quick succession and both times he created half chances, the second of which winning a corner for the home side. On a third occasion Owens again dribbled past the left midfielder and left back, but on cutting inside and beating further players the ball was stolen and Marske showed early sign of the pace in the side as the ball was moved quickly downfield, ending up with the visitors winning their first corner on 14 minutes. The knock in caused problems and hesitation in the SRCA box with keeper Shields connecting with a punch, but the ball was immediately hooked back in to cause further problems resulting in a second clearance for a further corner. Marske were now getting the impetus and controlling the game with quick decisive football and the quick forwards were causing problems for the defence. Richard Flynn making his debut for SRCA seemed well up to the task and was impressive when breaking down a couple of attacks. Halliday was quickest to react from clearances and getting the ball down he played an excellent wide ball again to the right where Owens was having a lot of joy again racing away to win a further corner. From the right a good cross was fired in which centre forward Jennings connected with, but this was a yard wide of the Marske goal.

On 28 minutes though a needless free kick was conceded by a SRCA defender just a yard from the D in a central position. A difficult one for the wall to defend, but it was still a massive surprise when Andy Swalwell hit a decent effort that went past Shields after the slightest of deflections. 1 - 0 to the visitors and a very loud celebration from most of those housed in the Ray Baines stand. The game was totally going with United now who were full of confidence and moving the ball round very quickly. Central midfielder Glen Wesson even fancied his chances when drilling a speculative effort from 25 yards, which Shields was pleased to see going wide of the target. SRCA were again finding joy down the right, but were fairly predictable and getting closed down with general ease. However disaster on 35 minutes when good play from the opponents had Owens racing back to defend and in a bad area he attempted to play an offside trap that only he knew about. The Marske left midfielder then cut behind, drilled a cross in a good area which was left by all defenders and goalkeeper, unbelievably the ball found the oncoming Derek Bradley at the backpost who not believing the chance gleefully rammed home from 2 yards. 2 - 0 and now real celebrations from all the visitors.

After 40 minutes Owens again made progress and a great cross was met by Jennings who headed upwards and over the bar. Half time approached and many of the home contingent were glad to get inside to warmer chimes. The visitors were in a very strong position and looking forward to further hospitality!

The second half kicked off with rain stopping and wind decreasing, Gary Shields replaced Paddy Little at right back for SRCA, a move that immediately gave the home side a lift as the extra pace supported the right side even further.SRCA were in general control now with Halliday in central midfield probing at all opportunities and firing a decent effort just wide. However on 58 minutes a loose ball again fell to Wesson in central midfield who cracked a thirty yard drive that crashed against the SRCA bar. Nearly all over.

Dean Goodwin replaced McLeod in the SRCA midfield and this again gave injection to the home play who were pushing forward at all opportunities. Halliday again played one-twos with forwards in an excellent move which finally resulted in him cracking a great effort just over the bar on 75 minutes. Marske made a substitution to bolster there defence, but this did not stem the tide as on 78 minutes came the goal of the game. After good home play, in a spell when we were always keeping the ball on the ground, Halliday in the centre circle hit a terrific 35 yard pass out to the right towards the corner flag. Gary Shields from full back had raced from the half way line and on reaching a ball that was just on the bye line, hit a raking cross which Andy Jennings met with a brilliant header at the front post. Right in the top corner. 2 - 1 down, but celebrations at last for the home contingent and all at SRCA were up for this now.

However with the clock running down the home side again reverted to a long ball game and whilst centre forward Jennings was winning a lot of balls in the air they were not finding on running forwards. In the 89th minute though good play again down the right flank resulted in a further cross, but this time Jennings glanced the header past the back post. Surprisingly only one minute of extra time was played and the Marske celebrations on the final whistle said it all. The away supporters gathered to applaud their heroes off the pitch, a Wembley FA Vase dream still alive at least until November. All SRCA attentions are now focused on moving up the League.

Sunderland RCA 5 Thornaby 1

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Sunderland RCA got themselves back on the winning track with a 5-1 victory over Thornaby at Meadow Park. Hicker made a couple of changes to the line up, with new goalkeeper Gary Hoggeth coming in to replace Craig Shields, who's season will end soon as he has another operation to face. Good luck, Shieldsy!

Gary Shields started wide right, with Lee Owens wide left in a 4-4-2 formation, though no doubt they would switch at times during the game. Also included on the bench were debutants Chris Youldon from the under 18s, and Sparky Davison signed from the CW.

The game started on a beautiful afternoon, and after a few early exchanges RCA took the lead with our first serious attack, a great ball from Buddy putting Andy Jennings in to run at the keeper and slide it past him with minimum fuss. A few minutes of back and forth followed, as a young looking Thornaby side put themselves about, before our second good move saw Buddy put Lee Owens away to cross well where David Tait finished with a deft strike. 2-0 after 13 minutes, and looking good.

Thornaby struck back immediately and hit the post from close range, before the game settled into a bit of a scrappy pattern, with good defensive play from both sides making it hard for attackers to make their mark. This continued as the half wore on and it remained 2-0 at the break.

RCA came out looking strong for the second half. Dean Goodwin replaced Mark McLeod and the first ten minutes of the half saw RCA well on top and create and miss a series of good chances, with Andy Jennings, David Tait, Lee Owens, Gary Shields and Buddy Halliday all having good opportunities. It stayed at 2-0 though and Thornaby came back more into the game and some of us started to worry that we might pay for our profligacy. The impressive Abdullah hit the bar for Thornaby from a corner as a warning, and the bench became somewhat agitated. It looked as if it would stay 2-0 until the end, as Hicker gave young Youldon and Davison their chances for Tait and Jennings.

With five minutes left however an all action finish started as Youldon got his first Northern league goal as he advanced on the keeper and just beat his despairing effort to save. From the kick off Thornaby went straight up and made it 3-1, before with time running out first Sparky got his head to a good Shieldsy cross, and then Lee Owens produced a trademark top corner finish to give the scoreline a different gloss. 5-1 at the end and this big week of league action is underway.

Sunderland RCA 0 Marske United 1

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skilltraining Northern League

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

This was a very disappointing result on a miserable night at Meadow Park, as Marske staged a smash and grab raid to take all three points.

Despite the rain a decent crowd had turned out. RCA took the field showing a few changes from Saturday, with Andy Reay making his debut at centre half after signing from Nissan, young Michael Chapman returning to the side, wearing number two, but playing in his usual wide left position, Dean Godwin replacing the unavailable Mark McLeod in centre midfield, and Adam McGuiness and Anth Laidler taking places on the bench.

RCA started playing up the bank into the rain, but soon got into the game and had the better of the early exchanges, before Marske took the lead after ten minutes with a back post header from a corner, scored by an unmarked Stephen Cochrane. RCA were stung by this and worked hard to get back level, winning a number of corners, without reward, and knocking the ball about well in midfield. Marske were busy and effective as always, but Gary Hoggeth in the RCA goal was rarely involved. The best chance of the half fell to David Tait, who was beautifully played in by Dean Goodwin, only to push his shot past the post. 0-1 at the break.

For the second half Adsy McGuiness replaced Michael Chapman. Playing down the hill in the second half the pattern of the game was established early, with Marske defending deep and RCA having almost permanent possession of the ball, but struggling to create clear shooting openings. Andy Jennings will think he should have scored when in on the keeper after a couple of minutes, and Dean Goodwin and Buddy Halliday, took time out from dominating the midfield for both to have good shooting opportunities, but could not beat the keeper.

Marske were reduced to booting the ball clear and occasional forays, although from one they hit the bar from a very wide left position to remind RCA of their threat, but it looked as if the equaliser was only a matter of time. Anth Laidler came on for the weary Andy Reay, who had done well on his debut, and Sparky Davison replaced David Tait, who had also battled well, up front.

The half wore on, the pressure continued but the goal would not come. As the last quarter started the Marske right back in particular came to prominence, with a string of superb last ditch tackles to deny shooting opportunities to Jennings, Goodwin and Davision. By this time the game was very congested, and it was clear that Marske thought they could hang on and defy whatever we threw at them. A last turn and shot from Jennings, which the keeper saved comfortably, a final couple of corners, from one of which the ball rebounded from a convenient backside into the keeper's arms, a free kick by Lee Owens that was scrambled clear and that was that. Marske showed that when your luck is in you keep winning despite the performance and make it eight in a row, and RCA are left wondering how on earth we lost the game.

Sunderland RCA 4 Guisborough 0

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 18 October 2008

At 2:40pm there was a very welcoming atmosphere inside Meadow Park, both sides warming up in sunshine conditions, a few autumn leaves dropping from the cemetery side of the ground and a rainbow appearing in the distance - after Tuesday's bad luck against Marske, was this to be our lucky omen! When the players returned to the field for actual kick off though, a very swift change, as the rain and wind picked up strongly, so it was a good coin toss to win when captain Steve Halliday opted to kick against the conditions.

After a few exchanges of the ball between the teams and the customary early challenges in the midfield area, SRCA were the first to show with good passing interchanges between Goodwin and Halliday feeding Owens on the right who was looking to fire early crosses into the area. Jennings showed his early threat forcing defensive clearances before the first corner was won in the seventh minute. The same player did get a decent goalward header in, but this went safely wide of the goal.

Guisborough were hitting longer balls into the RCA half and Anth Laidler starting today as sweeper was heading back well. However this direct play nearly had success when Gary Shields playing at right back ran back to cover the central area, but underhit a back pass which Hoggeth in goal defended well against the strong number 10 Richard Storr, a further clearance giving the Boro their first corner. Hoggeth attempted to gather the deep cross at the back post, but this was pushed out and a scrambled clearance was pushed to the right, Owens raced forward, crossed quickly and Jennings fired in another header which was safely collected under the bar by Scott Allison in goal.

On the 25th minute after good interplay from all the RCA midfield the ball was pushed to Flynn who hit a cracking long pass to Jennings, heading down he found Goodwin who played in the overlapping Shields firing in a great effort which was well saved. The game was definitely opening up now with RCA also starting to find room down the left with full back Lee and McGuinness combining well, delivering a cross to Jennings who turned, but could not get full connection on his left peg and the shot was gathered.

In the 35th minute a further Guisborough long crossfield ball from the left found the right winger Mark James who nearly got past defenders ending up winning a corner. Another dangerous cross to the back post was forced away but Halliday quickly turned defence into attack when playing in Owens on the right. Feigning and dummying to go right again this time he cut inside and hit a tremendous 20 yard effort with his left foot into the top corner: 1 - 0 to the home team and very well deserved.

Guisborough responded by pushing more men forward and Onions and Storr were working hard to find an opening, winning a couple of corners after 40 minutes. The curling corners were hit into great spots at the back post, but were met by very good defending.

Half time: 1 - 0 and the positive signs were met with strong encouragement from home supporters.

Manager Neil Hixon was forced into change at half-time with Richard Flynn (who had played a lot of the first half feeling his hamstring) being replaced by Glenn Moan. The change did not affect the organised approach of SRCA who were pushing forward quickly playing football on the ground and finding early room. However although the approach play was good with some swift one-twos it was a surprise that the ball fell in the right area to Mark Davison and he wasted no time in slotting home the second on 49 minutes. 2 - 0 and the look on some of the faces of the Guisborough defenders said enough; this was going to be a very tough second half for them.

Although possession was dominated now by SRCA the home team were struggling to find a further break through and good opportunities were wasted. After corners were squandered, Lee Owens did find a lot of room on 60 minutes and when racing into the corner of the box he opted to cross when a shot might have been the best option. Although this split the defence the on-rushing forwards could not connect and the keeper was very pleased to see this fly past the back post. However Guisborough did not throw the towel in and pushed forward well in the 65th minute hitting successive goal bound efforts which Glenn Moan threw himself at to clear. Instead of this lifting the away side, SRCA upped the ante and pushed forward to kill the game off. Moan flushed by his good defensive work moved forward for the next RCA corner and nearly was the hero when connecting well, but sending a firm header over the bar.

McGuinness who had worked well as a left wing back today supplying three half chances for Jennings, was replaced by Michael Chapman on 65 minutes. David Tait also coming on a minute later for Davison. The Management were obviously keen for more goals and if these were not inspired changes then there is no such thing as inspiration.

After 75 minutes, first a left sided cross was hit into the Guisborough box and when this was half cleared substitute Chapman hit a 20 yard left foot cracker which flew in glancing off the inside of the post. 3 - 0 and game over! Guisborough were shell-shocked and this was evident as from kick off they immediately gave the ball way and now substitute Tait found himself in the clear racing through the defence and rounding the keeper to make it 4 - 0. Well the celebrations said it all and the management team of Hixon and Herd high-fiving each other as well !

The game nearly petered out with Jennings working to the end attempting to get the goal that his efforts deserved, but again he was thwarted by the keeper with two late efforts. However in the dying stages the Guisborough left back who had a torrid afternoon against Lee Owens decided to take his own free kick. Owens took exception to this and retaliated. Straight red and not even a caution for the full back. Well Lee, might have to see where the end of that rainbow is - he will need a pot of gold to pay the fine! Full time and very positive signs that the team is taking shape of the upward direction. Let's see on Tuesday when we are at home again in the cup. Don't back against the lads on this performance, Prudhoe will certainly have some defending to do!

Sunderland RCA 2 Prudhoe Town 1

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Our very last Cup competition of the season and supporters were looking forward hopefully to progressing in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial tonight. On a very cold night, it was also pleasing to get a crowd of above 60 and a decent atmosphere when many locals could have stopped at home to watch Champions League football, but nothing beats live Northern League football, does it.

Michael Ford who was signed on the day from Horden CW was immediately pitched into the fray by SRCA manager Neil Hixon, selected in central midfield, whilst Chris Youldon who has stepped up from our youth team made his starting debut. After 10 weeks off, it was also pleasing to see stalwart Wayne Henderson return to the starting line up in central defence.

Prudhoe won the toss and from the kick off quickly won possession off RCA and showed their intentions. The ball was moved around quickly as they looked to get forward with RCA pushing the ball out to safety on three occasions. A young Prudhoe team were very lively and a very good move on eight minutes saw central midfielder Mark Hewitson hit a long-range effort a few yards wide of the RCA goal. Against the general flow of the game RCA won the first corner in the tenth minute, but a good cross was wasted after a foul on a Prudhoe defender. From that free kick the ball moved back up the field and only some good defending prevented Prudhoe creating their first chance. On Prudhoe winning their first corner though on 15 minute the ball was not fully cleared and forward Mark McKewan tried a speculative effort that travelled well wide.

After 20 minutes RCA were finding their rhythm as the midfielders were bringing wide men Lee Owens and Michael Chapman into the game on the flanks. Owens was cutting in well and creating a lot of space which Tait was starting to exploit. On 25 minutes with his back to goal and marked tightly Owens knocked a speculative overhead kick ball, which was nearly met by on rushing forwards but cleared for a corner. A good cross again was wasted as it ran out of play for a goal kick. After good work down the left ending with a cross fired across the six yard box, Chris Youldon raced in at the back post, but could not fully connect and the ball glanced past the back post.

Ford and Youldon in midfield were getting more in the game and on 30 minutes the latter split the whole defence with a piercing ball that found centre forward Tait, but he fired a decent effort over the bar. RCA were taking control now with Owens winning consecutive free kicks, but the home team were not making use of good crosses, centre half Andy Reay though nearly stung the opposition, coming closest as he leapt like a salmon, but over bar. The game reached half time with a final free kick won by Prudhoe, but 30 yards from goal central defender Ryan Monaghan hit well over the bar.

Half time: 0 - 0

Prudhoe started the second half as lively as they did the first with McAnespire, Armstrong and Hewitson combining to bring in centre forward Liam Bell who was unlucky when trying to dribble round the last defender. It was the visitors who were the more likely now and forward Ben Haddock was also starting to show his lot, combining again with Bell and a long effort was drilled at goal which Shields dived well to save. On 60 minutes Henderson who had done well on his return to action was replaced by Anth Laidler at the back and minutes later Mark Davison replaced Chris Youldon up front. The shape of the team was more direct in a 4 - 3 - 3 formation and RCA started to ask all the questions now with Davison and Owens finding more space and causing the Prudhoe defence all kinds of problems.

After 70 minutes with the game moving with the home side, top scorer Andrew Jennings also entered the arena as a replacement for wide man Chapman. This was the final impetus as RCA dominated play and it seemed clearly a matter of time, but the forwards were thwarted by some excellent Prudhoe defending. On 74 minutes though the inevitable arrived, but from an unlikely source as full back David Lee was played in on the overlap and beating the last defender, rounded the keeper and finishing with aplomb firing into the net.

One way traffic now and Davison who was looking positive in every attacking movement then got in after some good work by Jennings and Owens gave him space to fire a good shot in to make it 2 - 0 in the eightieth minute. All involved at RCA might of thought that was it, but injuries to Tait and Lee meant that the home side had to complete the last eight minutes plus injury time with nine men. Prudhoe now realising that they had more space, pushed forward winning consecutive corners then free kicks. It definitely wasn't wrapped up. In the 87th minute the game really came to life again when number 10 Haddock played a one-two, then drilled a 22 yard screamer inside the right hand post, past the diving Shields. Stunned silence from the home support. In extra time RCA would only have nine men! Prudhoe threw bodies forward with RCA all back to defend, counter attacking by hitting the ball wide to Lee Owens to keep. Very exciting till the end when Prudhoe's final gamble was broken down by Moan and Laidler. RCA raced away with the ball which was retained in the top right hand corner until final whistle. Job done, still in the pond and through to the next round draw and no minnows left!

Darlington RA 1 Sunderland RCA 0

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A very disappointing result at Darlington RA, which completely took the gloss off Sunderland's stuffing of the mags a couple of hours earlier. It was a blustery afternoon on a bumpy pitch, which made it difficult to play good football, or even to get the ball down and pass it, but we had most of the play throughout the game before RA popped up with a winner in the last minute, which Gary Hoggeth will be very upset that he failed to hold.

Adam McGuiness started for RCA wide left, with Anth Laidler at left back and Sparky Davison partnering Andy Jennings up front. The pattern of the game was set early on, with RCA having most of the ball but failing to make many inroads into a determined Darlington defence. Paul Sammons was his usual tigerish self in midfield for the home team, and chances were few and far between.

Sparky got his head to a couple of good Lee Owens crosses, but the keeper was equal too it, and we had a couple of decent corners, but otherwise not a lot to report.

Early in the second half Andy Jennings was surprised by a ball that came back to him and put a good chance wide of the post, and Adsy hit a good free kick over the top.

The ball continued to bounce around in midfield as both sides struggled to put a foot on the ball, and as the half wore on Darlo started to look dangerous from occasional breakaways. Glen Moan came into the fray for Anth laidler, and late on young Chris Youldon got another 10 minutes in his football education as a replacement for Sparky.

The game looked certain to end goalless until with 30 second of added time left a fairly innocous shot went through Hoggy's hands into the top of the net. Disaster! The ref blew for time almost immediately. A good chance to move up the table gone, a very bad day at the office, but still no need to panic, let's learn and move on.


Sunderland RCA 1 Crook Town 2

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Another disappointing result for RCA in what must have been an interesting game for neutrals to watch. Heavy rain over night put the match in some doubt but, although it cut up quite a bit and players were slipping and sliding down by the grandstand, overall it allowed for a good game of football.

RCA started with Steve Jones making his debut at right back and Michael Ford making his league debut in midfield, and looking to make up for last week's major slip up at Darlington RA.

Crook were playing up the bank in the first half and started brightly with some good possession football before RCA got hold of the ball and with our first real attack Lee Owens saw a fierce shot pushed over by the keeper. The pattern of the first half was set, with Crook looking neat and tidy when they had the ball, and RCA having good chances with direct play. Michael Ford came close after nine minutes, Lee Owens hit a good shot wide after 14 and Ford again might have capitalised on a flick on in the box after 24 minutes. All the while Crook continued to probe carefully when in possession.

The Crook keeper had a lucky escape when he completely missed the ball as he rushed to the edge of his area and a defender hacked clear, and Andy Jennings had the ball taken at his feet by the keeper on the half hour. As the half wore on we began to think we might rue missed chances and on the 40th minute Crook took the lead with a tremendous strike from Michael Coad from the edge of the box.

HT 0 - 1.

The second half opened in a very competitive atmosphere and built up to be a real feisty exchange. There was good pressure from both sides and a lot of firm tackles and hefty exchanges in midfield. Hicker brought on Dean Goodwin and Gaz Shields for Sparky Davison and Michael Ford and the game really began to open up. The Crook keeper went walkabout again on the hour, and this time Lee Owens finished coolly to bring us level. Chances came from a flurry of corners, but within five minutes Crook were back in the lead as Mark Johnson seized on a cross to slide the ball home.

Young Chapman got into the game as sub for Adam McGuinness and looked sharp, and chances were made, but the equaliser wouldn't come and Crook played out time to take the points.

By no means a bad display by RCA, but things are definitely not running our way at present. Just got to keep playing!

Washington 1 Sunderland RCA 2

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Don't infer from the score line that this was a close game. If RCA had not won it would have been a travesty, such was their domination, but as with previous matches the ratio of effort, possession chances to goals scored for RCA leaves everyone involved with the club thinking that the gods are not smiling on us.

RCA played a 3 - 5 - 2, with a back three of Steve Jones, Wayne Henderson and Andy Reay, Glenn Moan was sweeping in front of the back three, David Lee and Gary Shields were wing backs, Steve Halliday and Anth Laidler were in the middle and Andy Jennings and Mark Davidson led the front line. With Lee Owens beginning his three match suspension and injuries elsewhere in the squad, the bench was depleted, with assistant manager Glen McCartney joining Dean Goodwin, Michael Chapman and Michael Ford.

The game started with both sides testing each other out. On five minutes, David Lee took a free kick wide on the left level with the 18 yard line, which was cleared for a corner. On ten minutes a very good diagonal ball found the Washington number eight who cut in and shot only for Wayne Henderson to clear.

In midfield, manager Neil Hixon seemed to have got his selection and tactics right with Anth Laidler battling away, Glenn Moan looking assured and comfortable on the ball and captain Steve Halliday probing.

On 16 minutes a Glenn Moan shot from 20 yards was tipped over by the keeper for an RCA corner which he subsequently punched clear.

Five minutes later, RCA must have thought that their ill-fortune of previous weeks was continuing. Following a Washington free lick from their right, which was not cleared, the ball fell to the Washington number nine, who shaped to curl the ball into the the opposite corner: a shot he then executed perfectly. RCA will feel that they should have closed this opportunity down.

On 27 minutes Washington nearly scored a second when their forward was one on one with keeper Gary Hoggeth, who did well to kick clear.

The rest of the first half saw good periods of pressure from RCA. On 34 minutes, a shot from Steve Halliday rolled agonizingly wide. Overall, though, RCA needed more composure and movement in the box to make their pressure pay off.

Does anyone know what was in the RCA lads' half time drink? Because I want some! RCA attacked, attacked and then attacked again. Andy Jennings turned and shot, but just past the post. A Gary Shields free kick from near the corner flag was headed down for Andy Jennings to challenge the keeper. A Steve Halliday shot was turned away. Then Andy Jennings was in again, with his looping header coming back off the bar with the keeper nowhere.

On 59 minutes it seemed that the RCA pressure was going to finally pay off as Gary Shields stepped up to take a penalty. He drove the ball accurately to the left corner of the goal, but the keeper got down to push the ball round the post for a corner. The pressure ended with Andy Reay blasting over.

On 74 minutes, RCA's more than well deserved equalizer finally came. A free kick from the RCA left was gathered by Mark Davison, who hammered the ball home from 12 yards.

Nine minutes later Mark was on target again, this time following a cross from the right, which was skillfully headed on by Andy Jennings for Davison to head home from close range.

On 86 minutes a very good knock from Glenn Moan was headed goal ward by Andy Jennings and looked destined from the bottom left corner only for the washington keeper to save well.

On 89 minutes it seemed that skipper Steve Halliday, who had an excellent game, had done all the hard work only to shoot over.

Onwards and upwards!

Sunderland RCA 0 Brandon United 0

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skilltraining Northern League

Saturday, 15 November 2008

RCA began the match kicking up the slope and with the same formation - 3 - 5 - 2 - as the previous match against Washington. One change of personnel was forced on the management team, with Andy Jennings taking a place on the bench as he recovered from a nasty bug. Captain Steve Halliday moved up front to partner Mark Davison and Adam McGuinness came in for the position behind the front two.

One thing is very clear from this match: Brandon are not the rather sorry side of last season. This match finished 0 - 0, but it could have been 4 - 3 to either side and Brandon's young, fit, committed and slick passing players will perhaps count themselves the unluckiest as they missed a penalty and hit the woodwork twice.

Brandon shaded the early exchanges and 16 minutes had gone before Steve Halliday was nearly in against the Brandon keeper only for the combined efforts of two Brandon defenders, one of whom injured himself in the process, to clear the ball.

On 21 minutes it was RCA physio Darren Handy's turn to come on to the pitch as Glenn Moan required treatment. Brandon did not make the most of a series of free kicks which they won in midfield, but on 30 minutes one led to a corner, which RCA cleared. This was the occasion for more concerted RCA efforts. On 31 minutes, David Lee just kept the ball in to cross for mark davidson to fire a shot from 18 yards which the keeper covered. On 33 minutes Adam McGuinness kept the ball in play and passed it to Gary Shields whose first time cross was for a header by Mark Davison, which the keeper did well to save. Two minutes later though and it looked as though RCA would be going behind as the referee awarded a penalty to Brandon. The Brandon number 10, Paul Dixon, fired low and strongly to keeper Gary Hoggeth's right. Happily, Gary went the right way and made a good save, but the penalty taker will find fault with himself for putting it too close to the keeper.

On 43 minutes RCA forward Mark Davison was presented with another good heading opportunity when Gary Shields skillfully created space to fire in a cross from the right which Mark headed towards goal, but again the keeper was well-placed. At half time Andy Jennings replaced Adam McGuinness. Gary Shields continued his hard work down the right, but on 66 minutes it was a lucky escape for the home side as a Brandon cross shot came back off the post to be claimed by keeper Gary Hoggeth.

From the break, there was another text book Gary Shields right wing cross, which mark Davison headed just wide. Five minutes later and Brandon had the ball in the back of the RCA net, but were pulled up for off-side.

On 73 minutes Gary Shields' frustration continued as his cross came back off the Brandon bar. This was followed by three successive corners for RCA, but we could not make the pressure tell. Brandon dominated the last ten minutes of play and again had a shot come back off the post for the rebound to go wide. While RCA will continue to rue their goals to chances and effort ratio, credit should go to Brandon, whose youth policy, Dutch connection and tie up with Durham University seem to be paying dividends.

Whickham 0 Sunderland RCA 1

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skilltraining Northern League

22 November 2008

Sunderland RCA gained a well-deserved win at the Glebe Ground against Whickham FC on the wintriest day of the season so far. RCA, with there now familiar 3 - 5 - 2 formation and wearing a third strip to avoid clashing with Whickham's stripes, kicked off facing the low sun and keeper Gary Hoggeth needed his peaked cap to see the approaching play.

On ten minutes good work from Andy Jennings from a throw in led to an RCA corner, which Gary Shields played short to captain Steve Halliday who played it back, but the cross was cleared. The RCA captain was back in action again two minutes later when a shot was tipped over by the keeper for another corner. There was consistent pressure from RCA.

On 15 minutes Andy Jennings, who was doing a lot of good defensive tracking back, drove powerfully, but wide. RCA won corners and fee kicks, but could not convert their dominance to clear cut chances. On 38 minutes great running led to a cross from right wing back Gary Shields which was headed clear for a corner, but David Lee hit it just too long. On 44 minutes a cross from Andy Jennings created a chance for fellow centre forward Mark Davison, who headed just wide.

Soon after the re-start RCA got a bit of a fright with Whickham through on goal and only a last ditch clearance averting real danger. After this, though, RCA dominated play, but again without creating clear cut chances until the hour when it seemed that the pressure must pay off with an Andy Jennings 'goal' ruled out for offside and a driving shot from David Lee tipped round the post for a fantastic save by the Whickham keeper. At this point manager Neil Hixon made a tactical switch, bringing on Adam McGuinness for Andy Jennings, which added new pace to the left side of the RCA attack. RCA scored minutes later. A Steve Jones cross from the left was headed back across goal for David Lee to break the deadlock.

On eighty minutes fresh legs were added to the central midfield battle with Michael Lawson coming on for skipper Steve Halliday. On 85 minutes good work from Mark Davison it seemed that RCA must score, but somehow Adam McGuinness's return ball was cleared. On 87 minutes the entire Whickham bench was on up on its feet claiming an equaliser when Gary Hoggeth gathered the ball on the line. Much shouting and abusing of the officials did them no good and the match ended with a well-deserved three points for the visitors.


Norton and Stockton Ancients 0 Sunderland RCA 3

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skilltraining Northern League

17 December 2008

Sunderland RCA finally got our season back underway after nearly a month out through bad weather with what looked likely to be a very tough trip to League leaders Norton on Wednesday night. And it looked a lot tougher when a rash of late cry offs saw Hicker left with a depleted force at his disposal. Gary Hoggeth took his place in goal, but the absence of Henderson and Reay through illness meant dispensing with our more usual wing back formation and going with a flat back four, with Anth Laidler deputising alongside Steve Jones in the middle and Gary Anderson, welcome back Gaz, and Dava Lee as full backs. In midfield young Michael Lawson came into the centre to partner Buddy as Glenn Moan was in hospital getting his snout fixed, with Gaz Shield and Adam McGuinness wide, and Andy Jennings and Sparky Davison were our usual twin strikers. Lee Owens was baby sitting, don't ask why. The bench was very short, with only Chris Youldon and Jon Minniss as genuine alternatives, so we couldn't afford any knocks.

Norton were obviously confident and started well, competing hard all over the pitch, but the first half hour was fairly even, Norton had pressure without much in the way of shots on goal. Gaz Shields was getting a lot of room to run down the right, and Michael Lawson started well, looking calm in possession and passing well.

After 14 minutes a Norton lob bounced off the top of the bar, and Hoggy had a lucky escape when he fumbled a ball on the edge of the box, but Andy and Sparky were proving a handful for their centre backs whenever we got it forward.

On the half hour Norton had a little spell of pressure leading to a couple of corners and a harsh booking for Buddy. The corners showed we had trouble with a bit of lack of height at the back, but we coped well with the use of tight marking and solid competing. We now came more into the game and began to enjoy some situations out wide for Shieldsy and Adsy. Adam should have done better when well placed in the box and failing to find a man, but a couple of minutes later he made amends in some style, running onto a knockdown in the box and blasting an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. 1-0. From now to the break we looked confident and went in one goal to the good, after a well contested half.

The second half started with Norton throwing everything at us and for a while it was like the Alamo with Laids and Jonesy having to work their socks off under constant pressure in the air and Dava Lee and Gary Anderson also making a string of excellent tackles. But we seemed like we couldn't get the ball far enough up the pitch and had Norton had a bit more finesse about their play we must have been in trouble. We still looked sharp on the break though, with Sparky missing the best chance of the game when he pushed an Adam McGuinness cross past the post. And just after the hour we proved just how sharp with a candidate for goal of the season.

The ball was worked swiftly forward through three or four passes and reached Sparky about 25 yards out, from where he looked up and smashed a great shot past the Norton keeper, who could only dive in despair. 2-0.

Norton still pushed hard and had a couple of half chances, but you could tell they knew the game was up and we started to look good working the ball wide and forward. Buddy Halliday had led by example throughout, supporting his defenders and using the ball well when he got the opportunity and he again started the move that brought Sparky Davison his second, another corking drive, and tied the game up nicely with ten minutes to go. A fantastic performance from everybody, great team spirit and will to win, leadership by example from Buddy, everybody supporting each other and working their socks off. 3-0 and job well done!

Sunderland RCA 4 North Shields 2

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skilltraining Northern League

20 December 2008

This was a real battle on a very poor pitch with North Shields unrecognisable from the team we played early in the season.

Manger, Neil Hixon made a couple of changes with Andy Reay resuming at the back and young Anthony Ashman making his debut alongside him as Gary Anderson dropped out with injury and Wayne Henderson was only on the bench. We reverted to a wing back formation with Anth Laidler going back into the middle of the park, as Adam McGuinness was also missing due to family illness.

The game was delayed for a minute or two for a presentation to SunderlandvRCA's Graham Defty to mark his fifty years in the game. League chairman Mike Amos did the honours, and the event was marked with warm applause from the crowd and both teams.

The sides kicked off and it was clear it was going to be a physical contest with football hard to play on the sticky surface that broke up from the start. North Shields were very combative and RCA stood up to it, and the Ref was fully involved. No surprise therefore when Shields took the lead after quarter of an hour through Ian Dugdale, up supporting his attack. RCA hit back immediately with young Ashman causing a few problems with his good quality long throws and within three minutes we were level as Sparky Davison forced home the ball at the far pst from a free kick. But Shields continued to harry and came again to lead from a corner as Brian Smith won a header at the back post, which Gary Hoggeth saved well, only for Smith to seize on the rebound and score. 2-1 to North Shields at the break.

RCA came out with a determined manner for the second period, playing up the bank and keeping the ball well. Dava Lee got the equaliser, scoring direct from a free kick out wide, despite the linesman trying to disallow it for offside. Sparky then put our noses in front for the first time with an absolutely superb header from an Andy Jennings cross, which beat the keeper on his line, and Andy Reay got forward to head home in text book style with another good effort to give us a two goal cushion. Shields didn't give up, pressed hard and had a goal marked off, but we held firm and took the points again. Five games unbeaten now, let's keep going!

Horden CW 1 Sunderland RCA 1

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skilltraining Northern League

27 December 2008

'It was a good result. I would have settled for a point before the game. - Manager, Neil Hixon

'This keeps our run going - undefeated in six games.' - Chairman, Owen Haley

Sunderland RCA earned a well-deserved draw with Horden CW at Welfare Park.

On a gloomy December day, RCA lined up with their now customary 3-5-2. Horden were quick to show and had good midfield possession without really troubling RCA keeper Gary Hoggeth, although they used dead balls effectively. At the other end, RCA mounted some good attacks.

On ten minutes a good move down the left ended with Mark Davidson taking a good cross shot, which the Horden keeper did well to dive to his left to save. Fifteen minutes later a good corner from the left was spilled by the keeper, but eventually Horden cleared their lines. On 35 minutes an RCA free kick led to the ball being cleared for a left wing corner, but this was cleared by Horden. With half time a minute away the referee seemed to miss a blatant handball by Horden and then awarded a dubious free kick to Horden on the edge of the RCA penalty area. The ball was pushed left and the resulting well taken shot was parried by Gary Hoggeth, but Horden followed up to force the ball home.

Horden threatened early in the second half, winning a corner from the kick off, which was only half cleared and Gary Hoggeth had to gather the following cross.

On 52 minutes RCA were unlucky not to equalise when the ball broke to Andy Jennings whose early taken shot came back off the cross bar with the keeper well beaten. A minute later and Horden were threatening again with a strong shot causing Gary Hoggeth to dive to his left, parry and gather the ball at the second attempt. On 60 minutes Andy Jennings had the ball near the Horden corner flag. Harried by two Horden defenders there was the usual cry of 'He's going no where!', but he was. Very skilful footwork beat the two defenders and Andy ran into the box squaring the ball across the six yard box. Unfortunately the final touch was just missing.

Four minutes later, more skillful work from Any Jennings led to a left wing corner. On 68 minutes RCA finally got the equaliser their play deserved. Micky Lawson, who had come on as substitute for Andy Reay three minutes earlier, threaded the ball through for the on-rushing Mark Davidson, whose powerful run beat two defenders. Running through the centre, Sparky fired powerfully past the Horden keeper.

On 73 minutes it looked as though RCA might take the lead as a throw in on the right led to a powerfully hit shot, but straight at the keeper. Horden exerted sustained pressure in the last ten minutes of the match and came closest when they headed against the cross bar from a right wing cross on the 86th minute.


Sunderland RCA 0 Hebburn Town 1

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skilltraining Northern League

3 January 2009

A very disappointing result as RCA missed the chance to consolidate on our recent good form when we entertained Hebburn Town at Meadow Park for our first game of the year. Neil named an unchanged side against a Hebburn Town sitting around us in the league table, but with a mixed record of decent results and poor defeats. The four points gained in previous two games against top three sides away from home meant we went into this fixture confident of making more progress.

We started brightly enough, playing down the slope, with half chances coming from long balls into the box for Andy, who would have scored with any kind of touch, and a good cross for Dava Lee which he couldn't quite control.

Hebburn looked workmanlike and confident and took the lead on 22 minutes when a corner came back off the post and was slotted home by Myers, 1-0 to Hebburn. Nothing to worry about there surely, we had come back twice against North Shields hadn't we? But this time the belief just wasn't there as Hebburn looked the better side for the rest of the half, and had the ball in the net again, before a linesman's flag meant it was ruled out for a push on Hoggy.

0-1 at the break.

Early in the second half came the turning point of the match, as a certain penalty for handball was refused. From then on we looked like a tired side. Hicker used all his subs, but it made little difference; we lacked punch or composure and might have played all night without scoring. So, Hebburn do the unlikely double over us, much like Prudhoe last season. Not good, but still not halfway in the season, keep the faith.

Sunderland RCA 1 Prudhoe Town 0

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skilltraining Northern League

17 January 2009

RCA had two new faces on show for the game at home to Prudhoe, and another two on the bench, as manager Hixon prepared for the hectic spell of games to come by boosting his squad. Making a welcome return to the club was last year's captain, Scott Richards in midfield, and making a club debut was Wyn Fremlin on the right wing. Dave Henderson, joining from Tow Law was on the bench alongside Sean Joseph who has come to us from Northallerton.

There was a familiar face or two in the stand, but no doubt more of that later!

Missing from the previous game was Andy Jennings who is away, while Anth Laidler had to make do with a seat on the bench this time. RCA lined up in their familiar 3-5-2 formation, with Gary Shields moving from front to back to partner Mark Davison up front. Prudhoe came in to the game boosted by ceditable draws in their last two fixtures and made a decent start, and could have gone ahead within a minute or two as a ball broke in the box, but was scrambled clear.

The game settled into a steady pattern of midfield scrimmaging with Prudhoe, playing down the bank working hard to frustrate Buddy and Scott in midfield, but already the combination of Scott's running power and Buddy's steadiness on the ball looked very promising as a partnership. There were a few chances at either end: Wyn Fremlin made a number of good runs and his added width looked to balance the side well, but Prudhoe also created a chance or two.

Adam McGuiness made an excellent long break and created a shooting chance for himself, Richards fired just over, a good tackle stopped Sparky, and we made it to half time with honours even, but RCA were looking forward to playing down the bank in the second half.

The second half started with RCA camped in the Prudhoe half of the field and making good positions without creating many clear chances. Prudhoe continued to work hard in denying us clean possession, but the impression grew that it was only a matter of time until we made the breakthrough and one goal would lead to more. But time got on and it wouldn't come. Sparky had chances, the keeper made a great one handed save from one of the. Hicker took off Fremlin who had done well on his debut, and Adsy McGuinness, and gave debuts to Sean (Taz) Joseph and David Henderson and the pressure increased and increased. Taz, looking a quality left winger, put over a number of good crosses from the by-line, which were cleared or scrambled away, and Dave Henderson was very busy on the right.

It looked as if it would never come until in the 87th minute Andy Reay, by now playing as an auxiliary centre forward, claimed a header was over the line from another Sean Joseph cross, while Sparky seized on the keeper's half clearance and powered a header into the roof of the net for his 11th goal of the season. Relief all round, but hard lines on a very spirited and hard working Prudhoe team who never resorted to kicking people. This valuable three points lifts us into the top half of the table. Tally ho!

Esh Winning 1 Sunderland RCA 3

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skilltraining Northern League

24 January 2009

It was a sunny day but a heavy pitch which looked sure to cut up badly as Sunderland RCA took the field for their vital game at table toppers Esh Winning on Saturday. Hicker has been busy in the transfer market ready for the second half of the season and some new faces were on display. Scott Richards returned to the club and took his place in midfield alongside Buddy, Steve Stewart, signed from Chester-le-Street, started wide right, and Sean Joseph (Taz) made his full debut on the left wing, while Adam McGuinness took up his occasional role up front alongside Sparky Davison as we went with a 4-4-2 formation, with Lee, Reay, Henderson and Jones across the back in front of Hoggy. Wyn Fremlin dropped to the bench, as did Gaz Shields, and they were joined by Paul Wardle (Delta), who also returns from Chester. Dave Henderson and Anth Laidler completed the subs, while Glenn Moan, David Tait, Liam Gill and Gary Anderson failed to make the 16, to their clear disappointment.

The game started with RCA playing up the bank, and we should have taken the lead after only two minutes as Taz was brought down and Buddy's free kick reached an unmarked Wayne Henderson in the box who put his header wide. The new width given to us by Taz and Steve Stewart was immediately apparent as the game settled down into an open, attractive contest, but one in which RCA clearly had the upper hand. Another good run and cross from Taz was forced away with Sparky closing in, for the first of a number of corners which always looked dangerous although the Esh keeper was obviously in good form.

A good burst from Adsy after 20 minutes was wasted when he shot weakly and Taz continued to cause a lot of trouble with direct running and good crossing. Hoggy had to be alert as Esh also pushed forward, and nearly dropped one into his own net after 23 minutes before recovering well. A couple of minutes later he tipped a fine shot over, but by and large it was RCA asking the questions with Adsy again denied by a double save from the keeper after great work by Stewart set him free, a Taz corner leading to a goal being disallowed for a push on the keeper, and then as the half wore down a bad miss by Scott Richards after a good turn in the box, followed by a shot over from Taz after great work and a mazy dribble from Buddy Halliday.

As the half ended goalless some of us were worried that we had seen the best of our play and that RCA would pay for failing to take their chances. A 2-0 scoreline at half time would have fairly reflected the play.

The second half started in similar vein to the first however, with Scott Richards and Steve Stewart becoming more prominent as the game wore on. Early in the half Gaz Shields came on for Adam McGuinness and his understanding with Stewart was immediately obvious as we broke with speed on a number of occasions. Sparky and Stewy were both guilty of blazing over early on in the half and then the keeper and a defender combined to get in a couple of blocks when it seemed Richards must score. Esh continued to look dangerous on the break, but overall RCA were dominating without reward, including as a great move was finished by Sparky sliding in, only for the linesman to flag for offside. The deadlock was finally broken in the 73rd minute as Stewart showed great pace to burst past his man, feed Shieldsy, and the little man showed great composure to slide the cross in for Sparky who made no mistake from close range.

Justice at last. But now Esh were stung into action and enjoyed their best spell of the game, pushing us back and enjoying a couple of good chances, and probably should have equalised. Dave Henderson came on for Taz, who had a great first half but who had tired as the game wore on after several weeks out, and the partnership of Stewart and Shields continued to look dangerous on the right. And so it proved as again the swift surge from Stewart led to a Gaz cross and Sparky firing home. 2-0.

Esh pressed hard, and Delta came on for Sparky to shore up the back as we went one up front to protect our lead. At the death the Esh skipper fired home to give them a little hope, but deep into injury time Steve Stewart finished them off with a calm finish from another Gaz Shields cross. Three assists from Gaz in his half hour appearance in a performance of real quality which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Sunderland RCA 3 Birtley Town 1

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skilltraining Northern League

31 January 2009

A cracking win for RCA against a committed and hard working Birtley team who belied the unfounded rumours of their demise to put up a good performance. A diabolical pitch to play on, and a couple of enforced changes as Scott Richards was absent and Sean Joseph failed a late fitness test. Ever-reliable replacements in Anth Laidler in midfield and Gary Shields out wide meant we again fielded a strong looking side, in front of a decent crowd in bitterly cold conditions. And the game started lively as Birtley had a good near post effort in the second minute followed by a strong drive past the post in the fifth.

RCA started to get to grips with things, playing down the bank, and created a couple of good chances of their own with Gaz Shields doing well down the left to cross dangerously, and Sparky Davison looking to be in the same good form as of late and putting the defence under pressure. Steve Stewart made a couple of sttrong runs, but it was Birtley who took the lead after 24 minutes as a mix up between Gary Hoggeth in goal and Wayne Henderson let Hepplewhite in to give the visitors the lead with a soft goal. Hicker was not happy! And a few minutes later things took another turn for the worse as Dava Lee clattered into a concrete post and was forced off with a nasty looking knee, cut and swelling rapidly. Wyn Fremlin came on with Adsy McGuinness moving to left back and Gaz Shields moving up front to allow Wyn to assume a position wide right, with Stewy moving over to the left.

It was Stewy who got us back into the game, running well into the box and being brought down for a stonewall penalty. Sparky stepped up and confidently put us level after 39 minutes. A few minutes later, as your reporter was starting his half time duties, Sparky got his second running through strongly and hitting a strong shot from an anagle past the keeper to bring us in at half time in front.

HT 2-1.

The second half was a different story to the first. RCA ramped up the pace of the game, and dominated proceedings right from the off. Wyn Fremlin and Steve Stewart looked to run wide at every opportunity and stretched the defence constantly with excellent breaks, and helped by the good movement of Davison and Shields. Buddy and Anth had the centre well policed. Wyn saw a shot turned onto the post by the keeper, Shieldsy managed to miss an open goal twice in the same move, and Sparky had at least half a dozen good efforts. Birtley will be disappointed with their second half show playing downhill, and when Gaz Shields made it 3-1 with an excellent headed finish after good work from Stewart and Davison it looked all over. But Birtley roused themselves in the last 10 and had probably their best spell of the game. Glenn Moan and Paul Wardle came on to bolster the defence and had to work hard as the visitors suddenly looked dangerous, culminating in Hoggy making a tremendous save after 82 minutes, which kept the margin intact. Overall though a good show, up to sixth, and we get the chance to do it again on Wednesday, Birtley's problem pitch permitting.


Team Northumbria 1 Sunderland RCA 2

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skilltraining Northern League

17 February 2009

RCA Chairman Owen Haley observed that it was like watching Brazil as RCA ran out in their yellow and blue change strip for this reversed, evening fixture against Team Northumbria. For some early parts of the match, the remark did not seem, relatively, out of place, but at the end of the match it was the away side that had got out of jail and the hosts were justifiably frustrated.

After five minutes it was the consistently lively Team Northumbria who were through on goal with appeals for a penalty for holding dismissed by the referee. RCA were soon back in it with winger Steven Stewart crossing dangerously from the right. On nine minutes, Andy Jennings gathered the ball and evaded tackles, but his diagonal ball to the left wing was just too strong.

On 12 minutes, RCA pressure told, receiving the ball on the left wing Adam McGuinness made a good run and crossed strongly and accurately for Andy Jennings to collect unmarked in the centre of the penalty area. Lashing the ball home he gave the keeper no chance. Good stuff and a real early boost for Andy and the team.

Team Northumbria came back strongly from the kick off and shortly after had a corner which was only partially cleared, but North could only blast over the bar. RCA continued their good pressure - on 20 minutes the North keeper had to palm the ball away - but this was not a one-sided match: North broke strongly and with speed on many occasions and got into dangerous positions, but without delivering the killer final ball. The match got to half time at one - nil and RCA were worried that the lead was so slim - it should have been more both by chances and the perceived need for a cushion.

Two minutes after the re-start it looked as through RCA would rue missed chances in the first half as North very nearly equalized as the ball came back of the post from a strong cross shot.

Five minutes later and it looked as through skipper Steve Halliday must score as he broke the off-side trap to run through on goal. It looked as though he had the option to pass to Adsy, but shot only for a North defender to get back in time to deflect the ball behind for a corner.

RCA were looking ring rusty against a fit and lively Team Northumbria who won a disputed penalty on 57 minutes, which led to Paul Wardle being booked for his protests. Gary Hoggeth saved well parrying the ball after diving to his right, but North were quicker to the follow up and netted.

On 61 minutes, Scott Richards won a free kick 28 yards out. Manager Neil Hixon took the opportunity to bring off Wayne Henderson and put Glenn Moan into the fray in a like for like swap. From the free kick Scott Richards chipped the ball in, but it was just too high for Andy Jennings and when the ball broke out a Richards volley went wide.

Soon after Wyn Fremlin came on for Adam McGuinness (68) and Gary Shields for Mark Davison (76) as the RCA management tried to counter the liveliness and speed of North who were playing their wide pitch well.

RCA were increasingly harassed by North as the match went on and at this stage I would have settled for a point on the balance of threat - not that that's what we need as we try to make up ground. Not that we were without chances or hope. On 80 minutes RCA floated a free kick into the box which the North keeper missed and the header came back off the post. Five minutes later and a strong break from North down their right led to a strong cross-come-shot across the goal line.

Bit then our luck changed! Well into added time the referee blew for a penalty which I could not see from my position, but which drew great protests, ending in at least one red card, from Team Northumbria. Up steps AJ and blasts it into the roof of the net!

The push goes on! Come on you reds!

Thornaby 2 Sunderland RCA 2

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skilltraining Northern League

21 February 2009

Not a disaster at Thornaby as RCA battled well with a swirling wind and rough pitch to finish level with the bottom club. RCA will feel we should have won the game, and had plenty of chances in the second half to do so, but Thornaby worked hard, were well marshalled at the back by ex-Boro stalwart Nicky Mohan and will feel grateful for their point, not that it does them much good. Hicker made a couple of changes at the back with Andy Reay returning after suspension and Paul Wardle getting the nod to partner him. The game kicked off with Thornaby having the advantage of the breeze and for half an hour they made good use of it and were the better side. RCA were struggling to get going with passes going astray and the front two of Davison and Jennings not being able to hold it up. It was no great surprise therefore when Thornaby took the lead after 27 minutes with a simple enough strike from Morton.

The goal woke RCA up and we pressed from then to the break. Two or three decent chances were spurned before right on the stroke of half time Andy Jennings notched after good work by Davison and Stewart.

1-1 at HT.

The second half started in completely different mode with RCA totally on top. Jennings had a goal harshly disallowed for offside on 50 minutes, but the pressure was continuous and finally Adam McGuinness struck home from a narrow angle after 59 minutes. It looked like game over as we continued to push forward. Five minutes later however, during a rare Thornaby attack, Andy Reay was harshly adjudged to have pushed former RCA player Dean Fox in the box, and Foxy made no mistake from the spot: 2-2 with 25 minutes to go, certain to be more goals?

There should have been, as virtually every RCA midfielder and striker had chances to score. AJ hit the bar, Sparky headed over when he should have scored and in one ten second spell the keeper made two good saves before the ball went narrowly wide, and AJ had another disallowed for offside. But it was not to be and we have to settle for a point. Unbeaten in five though and need to keep going. A setback, but not the end of the world.

Guisborough 2 Sunderland RCA 0

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skilltraining Northern League

28 February 2009

Hicker started with Paul 'Delta ' Wardle at centre half today, playing alongside Glenn Moan who was recalled to the side. Dava Lee was missing through illness so Adam McGuiness played left back and a fit again Sean 'Taz' Joseph took his place wide left. Andy Reay, Wayne Henderson, Anth Laidler, Gary Shields and Wyn Fremlin took their places on the bench.

The Guisborough pitch was in very reasonable condition after a light rolling pre-game and the match started in very fair conditions, although with a few spots of rain. Both sides started quite brightly and within the first few minutes both keepers had to look lively against threatening attacks. The game soon settled into a pattern with RCA probably having the bulk of the ball, but with Guisborough showing good control in midfield and getting forward well when they got the chance. Taz seemed to have the regular beating of his man on the left though, and from one good attack Mark Davison rattled the post with a firm header.

Scotty Richards was getting forward regularly and hit a good shot over the bar, before making a great break into the box, again getting onto the end of a Taz cross and looping a shot again over the bar, when he had a lot more time than he thought. Andy Jennings also had opportunities, but could not force the ball home, particularly from one desperate scramble. At the other end the lads were having to stay alert, and after 30 minutes Delta went into the referee's book for a shirt pull, when it looked to many like half a dozen of one and six of the other. But worse was to follow in the 43rd minute when again the ref reached for his pocket as Delta went in on the edge of the box. Two fouls, two bookings and off! It looked very harsh indeed.

HT 0-0, and Hicker had a problem. To be fair draws are not much better than defeats to us in the present circumstances so it was understandable that he chose not to replace the missing defender from those on the bench, and instead went with three at the back, hoping to take the lead before making the change. And the pattern of the second half was much as the first despite the numerical disadvantage. We pressed, Guisborough looked dangerous when they could and chances came at both ends.

The Boro centre forward, Dave Onions is always a handful and you could tell he fancied his chances of leading his side to victory now. After the hour Guisborough took the lead with a well-worked goal which saw them exploit the gaps as one of their midfielders made it into the box and finished well. Hicker still kept pressing, brought Wyn Fremlin and Gary Shields on to refresh the attack, and we continued to press. But it wasn't until Guisborough made it two after 75 minutes, with what looked like a bit of a spawny goal as the ball spun in off the post, before we made some real chances again. As always happens we now had four or five good efforts, a great shot from Wyn Fremlin well saved by the keeper the pick of them, in the last 15 minutes, but it wasn't to be. A 2-0 defeat against a very decent young Guisborough side was no disgrace, but a real blow all the same.


Sunderland RCA 0 Jarrow Roofing BCA 0

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skilltraining Northern League

4 March 2009

A good atmosphere tonight with a decent crowd gathered in the main stand for this match against neighbours Jarrow Roofing. The game was spiced up in that quite a few of the players on show had played for both clubs in recent years, with Jarrow having Keith (Rasher) Graydon and Dean Goodwin in their starting eleven, both players involved with SRCA at the start of the season.

Jarrow won the toss and opted to defend the slope. Immediately from the RCA kick off it was clear that all in sundry were in for a very competitive night. The referee had whistle to mouth consistently and exchanged words with a Jarrow forward on three minutes after a late challenge on Glenn Moan just inside the RCA half. Strong challenges were swapped throughout the midfield before RCA had their first surge into the box, with Stewart playing Halliday in from the right and although in a position to shoot the player attempted to switch inside, the defender reading the move, making a good intercepting challenge. Soon after Stewart was in again down the right and this time he was more direct cutting into the box then drilling an excellent 20 yard drive across the keeper who parried out; the ball nearly fell to Jennings who following up, but was beaten to it when a hasty defensive clearance was made for a corner. Jarrow's feathers were ruffled now and they conceded three successive corners, one great cross finding Jennings who headed firmly goalwards but this ricocheted off the head of a defender with the keeper beaten. Jarrow dusted themselves down though and now winning more of the ball, showed their first attacking intent after 12 minutes, moving the ball well up the left through Graydon, finding Tate, but the ball was wasted with a speculative effort hit high over the bar. RCA responded winning the ball again in midfield through Moan. Halliday played the ball to Stewart and moving forward quickly he hit a great effort from 25 yards which cleared the bar by inches. Only minutes later Shields got played in down the right and in a good position with the keeper to beat he hit a shot which the keeper easily dealt with. More corners were then wasted by RCA with poor delivery.

Jarrow were generally playing counter attack football and moved the ball well when breaking away on the right with Goodwin breaking clear and his run winning the visitors their first corner on 25 minutes. However after moving more players into the RCA box Jarrow were nearly caught on the counter, when McGuiness received the headed clearance on the left playing a great ball down the line to left winger Joseph who raced clear but pulled his shot a couple of yards wide of the post. On 30 minutes Halliday was booked for RCA and moments later Jarrow's Graydon, in what seemed a more serious tackle, only received a reprimand from the referee. SRCA upped the tempo with Joseph on the right causing major problems, but there was little end product, his best cross being headed over the bar by Jennings. Jarrow however responded with their best chance on 40 minutes when a five man move was completed with a great goal bound effort well saved by Hoggeth in goal. Half-time arrived 0 - 0 and well appreciated by the crowd who applauded the fighting spirit of both teams.

The second half opened like the first as neither side were prepared to give up territory and again it was RCA who had the first attack ending up with a saved shot hit by Joseph and a further corner that was well defended. As the game was becoming even more physical in midfield Hixon made a change in bringing on Scott Richards for Shields on 55 minutes. He immediately made his presence felt and after winning successive challenges was unlucky in playing through an excellent through ball which travelled through to the keeper. The next ten minutes brought most of the action from the referee and the game lost momentum with needless fouls from both sides. After bookings for two Jarrow players, Scott Richards also received a caution on 70 mins. Moments later RCA hit a ball into the box which was handled, however penalty appeals were turned down with a free kick been awarded right on the 18 yard line. Scott Richards drilled this into the wall. On 74 minutes Davidson came on for Jennings and the extra pace immediately livened up the RCA attack and again a flurry of corners were won. The Jarrow keeper was floundering at times and grateful for his defenders assistance in scrambling balls clear. To make matters worse Jarrow were reduced to ten men on 80 minutes, when a defender received his second caution for another dangerous tackle.

The last ten minutes were as lively as the rest of the game with chances end-to-end. Jarrow nearly stole the lead on 82 minutes when the right winger ended a good move by racing into the box and a cross shot eluded the home keeper and glanced off the bar to be cleared. Then the best chance of the game came to RCA on 85 minutes when Stewart raced away up the right, hassled by the last defender, the linesman was flagging for a foul close to the penalty area, but Stewart was given the advantage by the referee and he managed to cross the ball into the area where Joseph racing in and an open goal available, hit the ball with ferocity over the bar. The home supporters, arms already in air, were gobsmacked. Jarrow then ran the clock down and the referee blew. A 0 - 0 game that was very entertaining, but a severe setback to SRCA's promotion hopes. We need Saurday's home game to arrive quickly to get back to winning ways.

Sunderland RCA 4 Darlington RA 2

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skilltraining Northern League

7 March 2009

A very modest attendance today - live FA Cup football on the box and SAFC at home - meant the crowd only numbered about 50 at kick off, very disappointing given that RCA are still in with a promotion chance. Darlington lined up eagerly, having Paul Sammons in the centre of the park (with us last season and winner of our Player of the Season award). RCA captain Halliday won the toss and elected to defend both the slope and one of the strongest winds felt at Meadow Park this season.

Darlington RA kicked off and immediately showed their intentions getting the ball into the RCA box quickly and defenders Jones, Reay and Wardle had to make aerial challenges in getting the ball away and eventually into touch. The approach clearly unnerved the home defence and in the fourth minute the quickest breakthrough made by a visiting side this season came when a long throw was launched into the box by the left back, deceiving the central defenders, was then half cleared to the right side of the penalty spot where number six Michael Carter, with a lot of space, drilled just inside the right hand post. A fantastic start for RA who raced back to the half way line, whilst enquiries were made between the RCA players. No relenting though as RA quickly won the ball again hitting direct balls straight into the box and winning corners in quick succession one of which was headed firmly away by Reay. After ten minutes RCA began to get more of the ball, Stewart making good ground up the right after exchanging passes with Halliday and this resulted in their first effort which was hit wide. RA responded again though, this time the RA right full back hitting a decent long-range effort which was well saved by Hoggeth.

After 20 minutes RCA were winning a lot more possession in particular up the left where Joseph won a free kick outside the box near the by-line. The cross hit in actually beat the keeper, but was then scrambled clear. RA responded on 25 minutes hitting a long ball which again deceived the home defenders and the centre forward raced onto meeting the on rushing keeper, but lifted his effort over the bar. A real awakening and the SRCA management shouted their instructions, the home side lifting the tempo and winning their first corners of the game. RA were struggling to clear their lines now as it was all one way traffic and it was no surprise when the equaliser came on 30 minutes. After good passing between Moan, Halliday and Davison the ball eventually arrived to Richards just outside the box and he drilled an excellent 20 yard effort in off the bar, bouncing over the line, with Halliday following up still pushing in the net again just in case their was any confusion. 1 - 1 and much more like it from RCA.

Darlington RA were completely on the back foot now defending frantically on both wings. Then on 38 minutes the best move of the game again down the right when Stewart played one-twos with Halliday who turned and played the ball into the right side of the box to the feet of Joseph who turned quickly and impressively before curling the ball with his left foot into the top left hand corner. Great goal, 2-1 and RCA in ascendancy. RA were struggling now as the attacking play was unrelenting as RCA won successive free kicks and more corners. However their desperation turned to joy as half time approached, a long clearance found Sammons in midfield who passed the ball to the left finding number 11, Lyons who played a neat one-two and in a great move finished off with aplomb lifting the ball over Hoggeth. 2 -2, then the half time whistle blown - home supporters gob smacked, but it was time to catch your breath again.

Although the wind strength reduced when SRCA kicked off the second half, it was clearly going to be a tough time for RA and a corner was won immediately by RCA on 46 minutes, which was scrambled away. Joseph was asking many questions of the left full back who was left for dead before a great cross was hit into the box finding the onrushing Stewart who possibly should have done better, but headed over with the keeper to beat. For the next ten minutes the ball was kept in the Darlington half, but all moves broke down when reaching the penalty box. McGuinness was hitting good free kicks in, whilst corner after corner was won, Wardle heading over from the best chance.

However the breakthrough was inevitable and Halliday after linking with Stewart on the right, got what his efforts deserved on 75 minutes, breaking into the box and after sidestepping the defender, he hit an early effort which took the slightest of deflections, beating the keeper at his near post. RA responded by winning their first corner soon after, having to adjust their game plan now that they were a goal behind. More space was being found all over the pitch by RCA and Stewart in particular was causing many problems down the right creating further half chances for both Halliday and Davison. Jennings was then brought into the fray on 78 minutes as a substitute for midfielder Moan, as manager Hixon declared his intentions. It was generally one-way traffic from then on. Jennings had three great opportunities in the last ten minutes bringing out a good save from the keeper in a one-on-one situation. It was Davison who benefited most though when following up on one of Jennings efforts to turn the ball into an empty net. 4 - 2 and game over! Lee was brought on for Joseph as RCA controlled the game until the end. A first win in four games hopefully gets us back on track and surely more goals will come in the eagerly awaited cup match at home against Thornaby this Tuesday. Could this be the year when we make history and bring home a Northern League trophy for the first time in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup?

Sunderland RCA 2 Thornaby 1

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup - Third Round

10 March 2009

Arriving at the business end of the season now, the management made a number of team changes for tonight's cup game in readiness for a hectic run in, which could see 15 games played in the remaining eight weeks. Wayne Henderson returned to defence, Anth Laidler in midfield, Andy Jennings back starting as centre forward alongside Liam Gill, promoted up from our U21 side to make his debut for SRCA in the Northern League. Manager Neil Hixon also called up forward Lee Andrews (top scorer for our Under 18 youth side) for the first time - he who won a place on the bench, a clear indication that the overall SRCA club development project is progressing upwards.

SRCA kicked off with the slope advantage, but it was Thornaby who were the more lively in the opening exchanges winning more possession and quickly aiming to attack up the flanks. The ball was moved quickly in each half but forwards at both ends were flagged offside which slowed down the game momentum. After ten minutes the home sides first main attack came with Moan playing in Gill who showed excellent touches down the left before turning into the box and finding Laidler; he crossed the ball first time and Jennings racing into volley from eight yards, sliced the ball well wide of the target. Thornaby upped their game and after a period of keeping the ball with some excellent play involving centre forward Fox and left winger Gell, the ball was played to the feet of central midfielder Mohamed Abdullah who from a good 25 yards hit a great curling effort which had keeper Hoggeth racing back to cover. He was relieved that it just cleared the bar. Joseph on the left flank for RCA was now getting into the game a lot more and on two occasions he got past his marker, both times crosses found the head of Jennings who first time was pulled up for a foul on the keeper, but the second bringing a great goal line clearance from the full back who cleared well to concede a corner. RCA were winning many free kicks at this stage of the game the best of which was hit direct from 30 yards by Lee which brought a good save from Pisani in the Thornaby goal.

Thornaby were proving more than capable and again took the match to RCA with number 10, Elstrom Die and Gell again causing many problems when linking with Fox and they were certainly working the home keeper, who had to come out twice in a few minutes to collect very good crosses, hit right on the spot. Jones at right back had to make a number of last-ditch challenges, whilst Wardle and Henderson were having their work cut out in central defence. However their attacking play enabled the home side to counter attack quickly and in the 35th minute, against the run of play RCA took the lead. After the ball was won in midfield it was hit quickly to the feet of Gill who intelligently hit a high ball quickly out to the right wing where in a race between Shields and the left back, it was the attacker who controlled the ball brilliantly enabling him to move into the box, racing on with only the keeper to beat he despatched the ball into the far corner. 1 - 0 to RCA and the cup-tie was really brought to life now as the supporters clapped their appreciation. The game really opened up with Thornaby again taking the game to the opposition, but their final ball was letting down great approach play. If the first goal was harsh on the visitors the second was a real sickner for them when Jennings was played in tight on the left touch line and racing from 40 yards he beat the full back and cut right into the penalty box before racing towards the byeline and with the angle against him he hit a great drive into the opposite corner of the net. 2 - 0 and RCA looking like semi finalists already as the referee blew for half time.

The second half was as entertaining as the first with Thornaby showing quickly that they were still going to go for the tie. In the early stages they pushed more players forward creating many half chances. However the best effort actually came from their right full back, captain Richie Farrell, who hit a cracking effort from distance, which Hoggeth saved well. The direct approach was certainly unsettling the RCA defence who whilst solid in the first half were now mistiming clearances and Thornaby were winning more free kicks and corners. RCA made their first substitution on 60 minutes with Lee Andrews making his debut coming on as a straight swap for Gill.

At the back RCA were still unsettled and on 65 minutes after a period of quiet the game really came to life when a long ball into the home box was headed upwards into the air at high distance. When the ball came down a further clearance was sliced goal wards. When the ball was pushed out again to the edge of the box, No 6. Abdullah hit a great first time volley from 20 yards into the bottom corner of the net. 2 - 1 and game back on.

After a further substitution for RCA on 70 minutes, McGuinness coming on for Joseph, the home side raised the game and again were gaining possession in the opposition half. Jennings and Andrews were working hard trying to get a further goal, but the Thornaby defence stood firm. On 80 minutes though a good move did find the breach and McGuinness played an excellent cross into the centre which Andrews just headed wide, only to be pulled back for a very tight offside. As the clock ran down Thornaby did win a couple of free kicks, one approximately 25 yards from goal, Fox racing in to hit a fierce shot, fortunately for RCA hitting the centre of the wall. The referee blew a few minutes later and after a good entertaining game, it was RCA through to a guaranteed home semi-final tie against Birtley or Brandon. The season is replicating last year when we made a late promotion push, ending up fourth and runners up in the same Cup. If we can go one better in league and cup this year it will be good times indeed!

Crook Town 0 Sunderland RCA 6

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skilltraining Northern League

14 March 2009

A strong, blustery wind blowing down the pitch greeted us at Crook on Saturday, and the alternative attraction of Sunderland v Wigan on the pirate satellite in the clubhouse sounded good to a few of the locals as we prepared to meet Crook in a vital NL game. Hicker made a few changes from the midweek match, with Adsy preferred at left back to Dava Lee, who was on the bench, and Delta and Andy Reay reunited in central defence. Gaz Shields started wide right with Steve Stewart wide left, and AJ and Sparky were up front. The game started with us having the advantage of the wind, but for fifteen or more minutes the home side were in the ascendancy knocking the ball about well, while we struggled to get a rhythm. But we started to gradually get a hold on the game and took the lead in the 18th minute as a free kick floated to the back post and Gaz Shields soared to bounce a hopeful header past a flat-footed keeper, 1-0 and a great start, though Hicker wanted to know if it had just hit him on the back of the head. The goal altered the game completely, as we were lifted and all of a sudden Crook looked flat.

The keeper made a good save from Sparky from an AJ head on, our back four looked untroubled by the Crook forwards, and Scott and Buddy were in charge in midfield. In 25 minutes a super Steve Stewart run and cross was laid back for Scott to strike the post with AJ following up to fire home, 2-0. Better was to follow in the 28th minute when AJ took a quick throw in, Buddy ran onto it perfectly, made the box and dropped the cross on Sparky's head, 3-0 and happy days! Crook got a bit upset at this point and started to try and rattle us, but to no avail. Stewy should have made it four when he ran into the box with only the keeper to beat, only for the keeper to make a good save, and we cruised into the interval, looking very, very comfortable.

No doubt Crook got a good talking to at half time, and to be fair they came out with the wind at their backs and put us under a lot of pressure for ten or fifteen minutes. Hicker took off Adsy to bring on Dava with his better defensive qualities, and did the same to bring Glenn Moan into the action in place of Shieldsy. But we picked up the pace, and Glenn in particular found himself doing at least as much attacking as defending. We made more chances, but the fourth goal didn't come until the 77th minute when Stewy was brought down as he charged into the box. Sparky stepped up and hammered home the penalty, 4-0. Crook were goosed now, their heads dropped, and we were in complete control. In the 83rd minute Buddy, having got his goalscoring fancy back last week, strolled into the box and finished like a veteran striker, and in the 87th minute Sparky finished the rout with a well taken goal for an excellent hat trick. 6-0 away from home at one of the most famous old clubs in the country, well done all round. A great performance, and this season isn't over yet!

Sunderland RCA 1 Norton and Stockton Ancients 1

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skilltraining Northern League

17 March 2009

Surely a Meadow Park record tonight, a visiting supporter (dressed with the Guinness St Patrick's Day top hat) waiting for the turnstile to open at 6.00 PM tonight. He had travelled by public bus from Norton for tonight's eagerly awaited promotion crunch match and was unperturbed that the game kick off was going to be 7:45. Conditions were near perfect as kick off approached and an above average crowd looked on with expectation from the stand. Manager Neil Hixon had to make enforced changes from the Saturday squad that had won convincingly at Crook Town 6-0 (our best ever win at their Millfield home) with both centre backs unavailable. Wardle, failing a fitness test and being replaced by Henderson, whilst Moan took the shirt of Reay, who was also unavailable.

RCA won the toss and defended the slope and Norton were first out of the traps, quickly gaining ground in the RCA half. Winning an early free kick in a dangerous area on the right side of the penalty box, Moan headed away well before Norton were pulled up for an infringement. The visitors were very positive in the early stages moving the ball around swiftly and they nearly opened the scoring after ten minutes when some great interplay allowed number eight, Alan Cossavella, space and he cracked a terrific effort from 20 yards against the RCA cross bar. The home team, that had started slowly in comparison, were brought to life and getting the ball down, they started to get right winger Shields into the game and he created a couple of half chances, Stewart getting on the end of a cross field pass, but drilling an effort well wide of the target. For the next period RCA central midfielders Halliday and Richards were finding little room from their opposite markers.

The sides were tending to hit longer balls, avoiding the midfield area, but playing very intricate passing moves in the final third thus minimising any risk and reducing counter attack opportunities. Both teams were firing good long crosses into the box, McGuinness in particular for RCA finding Jennings and Davison who were well challenged when trying to head towards the target. Both sides won a couple of corners each before the game really came to life in the last five minutes of the half. Stewart hit a great corner that Jennings headed goalward, but was cleared for a further corner. Richards then hit a terrific corner from the opposite side that missed all in the six yard area. End-to-end though as Norton replied winning corners themselves and again they nearly broke the deadlock with crosses hit in identical spots, which Hoggeth in goal dealt with very well. However the best chance of the game fell right on half time when Halliday was played through the centre and he raced into the right side of the penalty box hitting a 20 yard effort diagonally which Briggs in goal for Norton, did well in pushing away for the final corner of the half.

0 - 0 though at half time and a decent game for all and sundry.

It was the home side who really pushed forward in the second half and in the 50th minute McGuinness played in a great 30 yard pass to the chest of Jennings, who flicked the ball over the defender and spun round leaving himself with the keeper to beat, but he hit his effort past the post and into the side netting from ten yards. Norton responded winning further corners which were again gathered well by Hoggeth who was looking very assured in goal. After the hour mark it was RCA who were looking the more likely and Stewart broke away twice before being brought down when breaching the visitors midfield. The referee Terry Phillips had kept good control of the game and had long conversations with the fouling culprits. Manager Hixon then made a decisive change when taking off Shields on the right flank moving Stewart to that area and bringing on Joseph down the left on 70 minutes.

Minutes later RCA showed greater desire and after an attack down the right the ball was switched to the left, where Joseph raced into the box beating the left back who brought the attacker down; an obvious penalty and the referee had no hesitation blowing the whistle. Davison stepped up and calmly slotted home. 1 - 0 to RCA and loud cheers from the home supporters! However Norton pushed on immediately and successive throw-ins were conceded after good challenges by Stewart and Jones near the half way line. A moment's lapse in concentration allowed the left winger to make ground and he hit a great cross to the far post where Joseph racing back, headed out but right at the spot where centre forward Michael Dunwell was waiting and he despatched a terrific volley straight into the bottom corner of the net. 1 - 1.

The last ten minutes were very open and RCA pushed on knowing a point would not really help the promotion challenge and Halliday, Richards and Jennings all had half chances. Norton responded again and the centre forward also had a great chance when put through, but that was wasted. With time running out McGuinness again launched a long cross into the box, Davison beat the keeper in the aerial challenge, but the ball went over the bar before the referee blew to conclude the game.

Sunderland RCA 2 Washington 0

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skilltraining Northern League

21 March 2009

Manager Neil Hixon faced selection problems for the second time in a week with three central defenders unavailable for today's match against Washington. Wardle and Reay, who missed the match against Norton, were out again and they were joined by Wayne Henderson who failed an early fitness test. Glenn Moan kept his place at the back and his brother Neil was drafted in to make his first start in a few months, alongside him. David Lee replaced Adam McGuinness at left back and Anth Laidler was brought into central midfield for Scott Richards. Manager Hixon again had no hesitation in looking to the Youth squads to boost numbers and Liam Gill from our Under 21 side was added to the squad again, whilst defender Marc Moon was called in for the first time from SRCA U18s

Washington won the toss and although defending the slope they quickly showed attacking intent and took the game to RCA. The approach appeared to surprise the home team who had to defend well in the early stages. In fact, ten minutes had passed before RCA made their first approach into the opposition box with Davison finding Shields on the right who hit an excellent cross to the back post from which Stewart got an effort on goal and won a corner. However the visitors were unruffled and again were running the ball to make progress, with former RCA winger Andy Middleton moving well, dribbling forward from the half way line only to see moves break down at the edge of the box. A couple of free kicks won in decent positions were generally wasted with poor delivery. After 25 minutes some very good midfield play allowed Halliday to play in Jennings who after beating the offside trap found the referee blowing for an infringement against a Washington player when he could have allowed the advantage.

Washington controlled the next period of play with their number 11 picking up the ball after a good move, but on breaking into the box he pulled his effort across the face of the goal. RCA upped the ante though and after their best period it was no surprise when the breakthrough was made and what an excellent goal it was. After a couple of passes were made in central midfield the ball was played to Davison in the centre circle and he hit a great through ball to the advancing Jennings who, moving towards goal, played a brilliant reverse sweeping pass to Stewart who had ran behind him. Stewart, disguising to hit with his left foot to get both defender and goalkeeper changing direction, moved the ball to his right side to hit a cracking 25 yarder which the keeper could do nothing with. 1 - 0! Much more like it now and before celebrations had quietened RCA were in again when Stewart moving down the left got near the corner flag, but on losing the ball, the defender then bounced it back to him allowing only a couple of yards of space and the winger took advantage, hitting a great early ball with his left foot into the six yard area where Jennings had raced to the front post glancing the finest of headers which hit the inside of the back post and nestled in the net. 2 - 0 and looking good! All the home side now with Jennings having the ball in the net again from a corner yet again the referee unbelievably disallowed for pushing by Stewart who if anything was being held by the defender and at least eight yards away from Jennings who was totally in the clear when rising high in the air, but this was disallowed. Two further chances came RCA's way and in a near replication of the first goal, Stewart crossed in and in the same spot Jennings headed the ball, but this time it went a foot wide of the back post. Shields got in down the right moments after, hitting a great cross in to Davison who headed just over the bar. Great chances gone begging, but definitely looking more like it from RCA.

Whilst it was backs to the wall for Washington in the last 15 minutes of the half they certainly shrugged it off quickly and started the second half at a very fast pace. All RCA defenders were brought into action and the Moan brothers were doing well in central defence with clearing headers on successive occasions. Washington central midfielder Jamie Elrington began to move the ball quickly forward receiving balls back to feet quickly from no 12 Ray Oshin. On a couple of occasions the same player broke into the box, but weak attempts were fired at goal. Although a couple of corners and free kicks were conceded by the home side Hoggeth in goal was very commanding and grabbing well in the air on all occasions. After another Washington attack was broken down after an interception by full back Jones, Halliday and Laidler linked to get the ball forward, but Shields and Davison could not break down a resolute Washington line. However for all their endeavour Washington began to run out of ideas and good play was not rewarded with a final good finish. SRCA brought on Michael Coghlan as a replacement for Davison on 80 minutes to bolster the midfield, Sean Joseph came on for Steven Stewart and Marc Moon was brought on to make his debut a few minutes later replacing Shields. The clock ran down with Hoggeth called into action in the 90th minute, collecting a decent long range effort. Final score: 2 - 0 and another 3 points collected. SRCA are certainly on course to beat last year's effort of gathering 70 points. While we are certainly promotion chance outsiders we are by no means out of the race yet!

Whitehaven Amateurs 5 Sunderland RCA 3

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skilltraining Northern League

24 March 2009

Supporters, players and committee gathered at 3.30pm on Tuesday showing enthusiasm for the historic midweek journey to Whitehaven. No spare capacity on the buses, so Will Frater keen RCA supporter and season ticket holder had good foresight in turning down the offer of a possible lift and making his own way on the train (maybe he knew something we did not. The early departure caused disruption to the manager's squad plans as a couple of players could not get out of work on time. A squad of 16 travelled, including Liam Gill from the U21 team with Marc Moon and Anthony Ashman from our U18s.

Neil Hixon had plenty of time to consider his options and without three main central defenders again, decided to hand the team sheet in showing four changes from Saturday's line up. Steve Jones was swapped to central defence, Gary Shields moving to right back from midfield and Glenn Moan moving to central midfield. Adam McGuiness reverted to left back with Sean Joseph in front of him on the left side. Whitehaven kicked off appearing to sense the squad changes and attacked at a ferocious pace. Winning possession immediately down the left the ball was crossed to where McGuinness cleared for a throw in, level with the edge of the box. The ball was quickly knocked back to the left wing to David Dustin where the attacker beat the offside trap, knocked the ball to the back post where Robert Fowler for Whitehaven raced in to easily slot home. SRCA one down after two minutes. Definitely unsettling and there was no relenting in the early stages. Losing possession again the home side were clearly up for it and moving the ball again quickly down the left they won a free kick, then consecutive throw ins. After some neat passing the ball arrived to the feet of David Dunstin and he pushed forward with plenty of defenders in front of him. Moving down the wing on an inside left position he beat the first defender before cutting inside. Showing real skill now he beat another defender moving into centre and when a pass looked the best option he hit a terrific 25 yarder, which flew in along the wet surface past Hoggeth's right hand giving him no chance. 2 - 0 down and barely six minutes on the clock. SRCA clearly in for a long night. The pattern of play did not change much in the first 20 minutes as RCA could not settle down and Whitehaven were not changing their game plan of hitting the ball from anywhere in their own half to the pacey wing forwards. However when the visitors did settle down it was much more like it.

Joseph on the left began beating his markers on every occasion, but was pulled down (not with malicious fouls but clumsy challenges). Stewart out wide started to play very well down the right. One direction now with RCA winning corners and free kicks consistently. Davison and Jennings were dominating in the air from crosses, Glenn Moan and Anth Laidler were winning second balls in midfield …surely a goal was on its way. When Joseph was pulled down again on the left, time for the referee to have words with the culprit. No. Whitehaven broke away down the left again full back Shields did commit a bad foul first one and booked. Good times indeed!

However no stopping our forward momentum. A goal had to come and it did. Winning a corner again the home defenders made three blocks before the ball landed at the feet of Davison who did well in keeping the ball down and fired through a massive cluster of players into the net. 1 - 2 and back in it at last. Full steam ahead and Whitehaven definitely backs to the wall. Wave after wave of attacks before the key moment of the game on 43 minutes. The ball played down the right to Stewart who beat his man before moving the ball to Davison in the box. Taking the ball down on his chest he turned onto his left foot hitting a decent effort that the keeper palmed out to the feet of Laidler who gleefully hit home. 2 - 2 and real celebrations! No, a linesman has seen an infringement and unbelievably it's offside. Whitehaven taking advantage of the chaos moved the ball quickly down the left which number 9 Craig Robson sprinted on to. Running close to the bye line and into the box he hit a tremendous shot into the bottom corner of the net. Great goal and louder celebrations than before. The referee blew for half-time and SRCA players and supporters were shell shocked. 3 - 1 down was very hard to take.

The second half kicked off with Hixon making a tactical change for RCA switching Jones back to right back, Glenn Moan back to central defence and Mick Coghlan coming into the centre of midfield. If RCA were lively in the latter part of the second half then they really upped the ante know and Whitehaven set their stall out to defend the lead. The good surface suited RCA's style and some slick passing and movement even had coach George Herd applauding from the sidelines. Both wingers were getting used, but unfortunately the forwards could not get close enough on goal to make the efforts count. But after the hour a fantastic swift move involving seven players, Jones moving the ball quickly to Stewart, switching inwards finding Moan, then Coghlan, Laidler involved before the ball was switched to the left where Joseph racing forward hit a fantastic cross into the box where Jennings racing in at the penalty spot position rifled a header into the roof of the net: Goal of the Month and possibly a contender for Goal of the Season. Even the Whitehaven supporters applauded. 3 - 2 to the home side and game on. Real one way traffic now and RCA piled bodies forward in search of the equaliser.

Whitehaven were on the ropes and defending numerous corners. However it was only a matter of time and after 75 minutes RCA drew level again ... No! A cross was fired into the box and Jennings spotting the keeper off his line headed firmly from distance, the keeper racing back grabbed the ball which looked well over the line, he spun to push the ball back onto the goal-line as he landed and at this point, RCA celebrated, the referee looked at his linesman …again…. No …Linesman unbelievably did not flag for the goal. The match reporter who was one yard from the linesman's position was shell shocked……and still is. However no feeling sorry for ourselves as the attacking play continued and got its just rewards minutes later. Another corner was won on the right and Joseph hit in a great curler to the back post where McGuinness got up well to head home. 3 - 3 and real celebrations now, better than all previous! Only one winner now surely? No! Whitehaven were re-ignited and they now threw men forward quickly. In one of their few attacks of the half they also won a corner on the right and when this was hit to the front post Karl McGrady met with a firm header that flew into the net. 4 - 3 to the home side…..and you can imagine the scene. Minutes left and RCA again chasing an equaliser were caught again on the break and the home side won another corner on the right. Hit in to the same area, this time it was met with a half volley by Kevin Law. 5 - 3. What can you say! For the neutral a great game. For RCA a real dent to our promotion hopes. Life's tough!

Brandon United 1 Sunderland RCA 5

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skilltraining Northern League

28 March 2009

A cold and windy day on top of the hill at Brandon, for what promised to be a real tough game against the current form team in the division.

After Tuesday night's defeat at Whitehaven, Hicker made a few changes with Andy Reay returning at centre half, Steve Jones reverting to right back, Mark McLeod returning from university and gaining a midfield spot in the continuing absence of Scott Richards, and Buddy coming back into the side as captain. Glenn Moan, Gaz Shields and Anth Laidler had to be content with a spot on the bench, alongside Micky Coghlan, and young striker Liam Gill.

We had the advantage of the strong wind in the first half, and it looked like we would need to make full use of it. We started brightly, pushing hard and pressing the young Brandon keeper, whose kicking was not able to handle the wind at all. Brandon looked sharp on the occasional break with leading scorer Dixon, Foley Shekoni and Billy Greulich Smith all looking dangerous for our hosts. The pressure told in the 18th minute however as Sean - Taz - Joseph scored direct from a free kick which the keeper could only parry into the roof of the net. The pattern of the half was set now, with Brandon hoping to hold out until it was their turn to enjoy the breeze and RCA pushing hard, having a succession of corners and hoping to build a good lead.

Brandon held until the 35th minute when Steve Stewart got his head to a corner which had bounced at least twice - Brandon were not happy with the defending, or the keeper - and made it 2-0 from a yard out. And three minutes later it was 3-0 as Sparky Davison drove a powerful shot off all parts of the woodwork as the keeper was left helpless. It should have been four a few minutes on, when AJ had yet another goal disallowed for a dubious off side, at least the tenth this season.

3-0 at HT.

Would it be enough? It certainly seemed so as the second half opened with RCA much better into the wind than Brandon had been, looking confident, holding the ball well and using both wingers to great effect to carry the ball forward. Andy should have increased the lead with a couple of good chances in the first five minutes of the half, created by good passing and crosses, before Shekoni showed Brandon could still trouble us as he netted only for it to be ruled out, rightly, for an earlier infringement. And on 64 minutes that was it, as AJ made amends for his earlier misses, cracking home a fierce shot after his header had come back off the post and Steve Stewart, who was excellent all day, put the resulting cross back into the danger zone.

After 74 minutes Brandon got a penalty which Hoggy could have saved with his cap as a poor effort barely reached his goal line, then in 81 minutes Sparky got his second, and probably the goal of the game, as he screamed home a super volley from 15 yards. A late Billy Greulich Smith goal - what a cracking name - gave Brandon a little consolation, but the 5-1 final scoreline was no more than we deserved for a super performance, particularly in the second half into the wind, when our control, passing and movement was a joy to watch. The season is still alive!


Stokesley SC 3 Sunderland RCA 3

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skilltraining Northern League

1 April 2009

Another funny old night on our travels in North Yorkshire, as RCA took their goal scoring in our last four away games to an astonishing 17; astonishing because we have won only two of those games! Hicker had to make a couple of changes again as the problems of mid-week cropped up. Glenn Moan came into right back for the missing Steve Jones, and Paul Wardle returned after injury to replace Andy Reay, also unavailable. Neil Moan and Adsy McGuiness made up the back four, with the rest of the team unchanged.

The game kicked off in perfect conditions and RCA were immediately all over Stokesley with both wingers seeing the ball early and chances being created from the off. So it came as something of a surprise when Stokesley won a free kick on half way in the eleventh minute, about as far forward as they had been in the game so far, knocked it into the box for an unmarked forward to head home. We appealed for offside but in vain, 1 - 0. We pushed forward again, won a couple of corners from which Andy headed over, then in the 14th minute they wandered down our end again and made it 2 - 0 from their second attack. They looked nearly as surprised as we were.

Was this going to be Whitehaven again? We were shocked and Stokesley were lifted, and had their best spell of the game with decent possession in midfield. But we re-asserted, pushed on and started to dominate again around the half hour. A series of chances and corners were created, Adsy had a great shot from distance saved, Andy, who looked very lively, fired just wide and just over, the keeper pushed a couple round for corners, which came to nothing, both wingers had the beating of their men all day, until in the 30th minute AJ forced another save, the corner came over and the big fella made no mistake with the header, 2 - 1 and game on. The next quarter was all us but we could not force the equaliser, 2 - 1 at the break, a travesty in terms of the balance of play and chances, but no good moaning, a lot still to do.

The second half started as the first had ended and it looked impossible for Stokesley to hold out for long. After 54 minutes the chance came as Stewy played AJ in. He took it wide as the keeper came out and slotted past for a cool strike and his second of the game, 2 - 2. At this point, completely on top and 35 minutes to play, RCA looked certain to take the points, until two minutes later, and with their first attack of the half, Stokesley regained the lead as their striker ran onto a long ball, took the central defenders on for pace, and lifted the ball past Hoggy as he came out. A very good finish, but the scoreline was unbelievable! 3 - 2 and the locals jubilant. Stokesley then set up camp on the edge of their box, although to be fair, the quick lad up front always looked to get onto any chance to run at us and lift the siege and was a good outlet for his team. He probably thought he was going to get a hat trick. We battered away, but the fluency had gone a little now, although the chances still came every couple of minutes. Andy hit the post when he looked certain to score, Taz blasted wide from a good opportunity, and Sparky likewise from a good cross to the near post, but Stokesley stayed calm and battled away. It got a bit fractious in midfield with even Buddy squaring up to people as they tried to niggle and slow it down at every opportunity.

Hicker introduced Micky Coghlan into midfield and sacrificed a winger by withdrawing Stewy. Not everyone on the RCA line agreed with this move, but the manager was proved right and me wrong again as Micky saved the point in the last minute with a brilliant goal, picking up in midfield, exchanging passes as he ran into the box, beating his man and pushing past the keeper, a finish of a player of the highest class, and a sign of what he could bring to the team if he seizes his opportunities. A fantastic goal to end the game, a six goal thriller, but points dropped against a side not as good as the Crook or Brandon teams we have murdered on our travels recently. It's a funny game! Still alive!

Sunderland RCA 3 Whickham 0

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skilltraining Northern League

4 April 2009

A very dry hard pitch, mixed with a blustery wind meant that conditions were far from ideal at Meadow Park for today's must win game against Whickham. Having lost the toss RCA kicked off with wind and slope advantage, winning an immediate free kick on the half way line, centre half Wardle fired into the box and Jennings put the defence under early pressure winning a corner. Shields crossed in an excellent delivery, which found Henderson who was unlucky when heading just over the bar.

A very bright start by RCA continued with attacks down both flanks with Shields creating half chances for Jennings and Davison before Joseph on the left also found room coming in at the back post; he beat the full back but screwed his shot wide of the when a cross shot may have been the best option. Whickham were looking nervous in the early exchanges moving the ball long at all opportunities. However after 15 minutes they did get the ball down well through captain Cavanagh who played in his right-winger resulting in a first corner win which was well gathered by Hoggeth. RCA then began to increase the pace. Halliday and McLeod in central midfield, playing some good football, were finding the forwards quickly and after 25 minutes RCA won three successive corners. Shields was delivering well, but each time the central defenders made good headed clearances. After the third corner the ball was half cleared to the edge of the box and when launched back in, Davison rose well but headed over from eight yards.

The strong wind was making it difficult for the visitors to make any headway whilst RCA players found the ball running away from forwards, meaning the Whickham goalkeeper was being overworked in taking goal kicks, but not having to make any real saves. A scrappy period was livened when Jones intercepted one of Whickham's few attacks and when the ball was hit long from a wide position Halliday brought the ball down well and played in Joseph inside the penalty area who spun to fire in a good early shot which the keeper was relieved to see travel wide. There was frantic defending by the visitors in the final period before half-time, but RCA could not find a way through and when the referee blew to conclude the half the Whickham defenders shouted encouragement to one another for a defending job well executed, whilst RCA forwards looked on at what might have been. 0 - 0 at half time and RCA with it all to do.

The second half kicked off with Whickham pushing forward more but it was RCA who created the first attack when McGuinness won the ball on the left and switching it to midfield play was switched to the right where Shields ran free and, after getting behind the defence, he raced into the box but over hit his cross which cleared all and ran out of play.

RCA were upping the pace now and on 60 minutes a real chance was created when, after good midfield play between McLeod and Halliday, a through ball split the defence and Jennings beating the offside trap raced on. When pulling the trigger at the edge of the box he was fouled by a last ditch challenge. The referee immediately blew for the free kick then raced to his linesman for a long discussion. On return no card and a free kick only, right on the edge of the box.

Davison hit the resulting free kick with great venom past the wall, the keeper saved spectacularly and did well to keep out at all, but the ball rebounded to McLeod who following in poked home. 1 - 0 and the breakthrough at last.

The visitors were rattled now and minutes later things got a lot better for RCA when a great ball up the left found Joseph who raced past the covering right back and on breaking into the box drilled a terrific 20 yard cross shot past the keeper and just inside the far post. Real celebrations now by the home supporters with Whickham hit with a double whammy!

Whickham really pushed forward now with one long ball nearly deceiving Hoggeth and then their good play nearly resulted in a goal on 75 minutes. After a free kick was won 25 yards out Cavanagh hit a brilliant effort round the wall and Hoggeth was relieved when it hit the outside of the post. Coghlan was introduced by the RCA management as a replacement for Joseph on 80 minutes. The home side pushed forward now and Jennings was on the end of two successive crosses from the left diving to head one that was saved and one just wide. On 85 minutes this good attacking play ensured the game was sown up. After Shields won a free kick on the right McLeod hit a great cross into the box, which fell to the feet of Davison who fired home, to get the rewards that his efforts had fully deserved. 3 - 0 and game over. The referee blew a few minutes later to conclude a match that RCA easily deserved to win and another three points on the board. The promotion challenge is still not all over!

Marske United 2 Sunderland RCA 2

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skilltraining Northern League

8 April 2009

This was another of those games which we needed to win, should have won, but didn't.

RCA came under a lot of pressure from a lively Norton in the first ten minutes of this match, but on our first attack we won a corner and scored from it. Sean Joseph swung it and Scott Richards was on hand to tap it in at the near post. That goal was a real tonic for we were then on top. Andy Jennings hit the post on thirty minutes and Mark Davison hit over from a good position. We went in 1 - 0 up at half time.

Four minutes after the beak Norton equalized. RCA cleared the ball from a corner, but the Marske number 10 hit a good shot from distance. RCA took the lead again when Andy Jennings headed in from a free kick. On 83 minutes Marske equalized again. A long ball was hit up field and unfortunately Delta missed his back header and the Marske centre forward ran through to lob the ball over the advancing keeper.

Jarrow Roofing 0 Sunderland RCA 4

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skilltraining Northern League

11 April 2009

Sunderland RCA took the field knowing that nothing less than victory could keep us in the hunt for a promotion place and that goals scored could be important. RCA keeper Gary Hoggeth was returning to his old club and Jarrow had two ex-RCA men in their side, Matty Hysen playing number nine up front and Dean Goodwin in central midfield.

Both sides made a lively start. On two minutes Gary Hoggeth released Sean - Taz - Joseph down the RCA left. Taz hit a very good ball to Andy Jennings, whose shot was blocked. The game was even-stevens with both sides attacking, although RCA were not pleased by the number of times they were giving the ball away. On 11 minutes Adam McGuinness, who has taken to the left back position very well, hit a great ball to Scott Richards who crossed to Andy Jennings, who hit a good shot.

On 17 minutes it looked as though the Roofers would take the lead. Gary Hoggeth came out of his area and lost the ball to Matty Hysen whose shot went over the cross bar for a let off for RCA.

On 30 minutes the RCA keeper was shouting for the ball again, but was always second favourite as he came out of the penalty area, this time bringing down a Jarrow player, who needed treatment, and getting a yellow card for his trouble. The free kick was hit hard and low and was gathered by Gary who hit a long ball down field which was quickly latched onto by Northern League Division 2 leading scorer Mark Davison who lashed it past the keeper to give RCA the lead - a bit of a sickner for the hosts.

Towards the end of the first half it was clear that Taz was struggling with an injury and Steven Stewart warmed up. After Andy Jennings was through on goal, but placed his shot across the keeper and wide of his post, he was called on to swap with Sean to cover the left hand side and see out the half.

In the second half Steven Stewart came on as a replacement for Sean Joseph. Immediately opening scorer Mark Davison was looking lively with a strong shot from the outside the area going past the post. On 50 minutes a good move down the right saw Gary Shields' cross cleared for a corner. Three minutes later Andy Jennings saw his header cleared off the line as he beat the keeper. Jarrow were attacking too and their pressure led to a long range shot clearing the crossbar. On 58 minutes there was another strong run from Mark Davison, who should perhaps have tried to play Andy Jennings in. Two minutes later AJ hit the bar with a header. It only took another two minutes for RCA to deservedly increase their lead, with the old Chester pairing doing the business: Gary Shields crossed from the right and Steven Stewart shot across the keeper. Three minutes later and Steven Stewart was in again placing his shot out of the Jarrow keeper's reach into the right corner.

On 65 minutes manager Neil Hixon took Gary Shields off and put Michael Coghlan on in central midfield with Mark McLeod moving to the right. On 72 minutes Glenn Moan came on for Paul Wardle, who had twisted his knee. (He should be OK for Tuesday.)

On 86 minutes Andy Jennings got his just rewards when running through and outpacing the Roofers' defence he hit the ball strongly past the keeper to make it 4 - 0 to RCA.

A job well done, but it was not long after people had gathered in the club house that the news came through that Horden had won 1 - 0 with a goal in the last minute. That's football!

Sunderland RCA 1 Whitehaven Amateurs 0

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skilltraining Northern League

14 April 2009

A miserable dark night night at Meadow Park as the incoming fog shrouded the ground in a Faustian gloom, only partly pierced by the flickering floodlights. RCA had Jon Minniss returning to the fold in place of the injured Gary Hoggeth in goal, and with Scott Richards and Steve Halliday as the preferred pairing in midfield.

The game started brightly with RCA playing up the slope, and chances were created almost immediately with Andy Jennings in the thick of the goal mouth action as he was to be all night. Our visit to Whitehaven a few weeks ago was an eight goal thriller and it had all the makings in the first ten tonight of being the same; Whitehaven were prepared to run down the bank whenever they could and looked quick up front, but with Gary Shields in particular looking sharp out wide the RCA strikeforce were seeing plenty of the ball in good positions. AJ had his usual one disallowed after 10 minutes for offside, knocked a great chance past the post with his head, turned superbly to fire straight at the keeper, Shieldsy missed a great chance at the back post when he delayed and Mark Davison was running well onto wide balls to look dangerous all night. Scott Richards had a couple of efforts and it was no surprise therefore when we finally took the lead after 35 minutes with a simple back post header from Andy Jennings from a raking free kick out wide left. The pattern continued the same, but no more goals followed and at the break it was 1- 0, with the slope to use in the second half, and surely more goals to come.

As often however, it was not that simple, as Whitehaven came out strong for the start of the second half and for 15 minutes were the better side, although without creating many real chances. RCA gradually got back on top, the game settled into a one of relentless pressure on the Cumbrian goal, and how it stayed 1- 0 is a mystery. Sparky hit the bar with a header, AJ fired across the face of the goal, not once but twice, Delta blasted a shot in from the edge of the box, chances came at about one minute intervals with all involved, the keeper made some good saves and rode his luck as well and the ball would not cross the line. This gave Whitehaven heart as the game went into the last ten and they had a couple of good breaks, although even so AJ could have had a hat trick in injury time as chances continued to be spurned with gay abandon. The whistle went on another win, the ref told a moaning Whitehaven player they were lucky it hadn't finished 8 - 0, and the chase goes on. Still alive!

Sunderland RCA 3 Team Northumbria 2

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skilltraining Northern League

18 April 2009

A tough game was in prospect at Meadow Park as the much-improved Team Northumbria came to visit Meadow Park.

Hoggy was still out so Jon Minniss continued in goal. Andy Reay came in to replace the injured Wayne Henderson, but otherwise it was the same team as we attempted to keep our good run going and our promotion hopes alive. It was a decent day and the game started brightly with both sides moving the ball quickly as RCA faced up the slope for the first period.

A colour clash meant RCA were playing in a quite revolting combination of kit with claret and blue tops, black shorts and red socks; it looked even worse than it sounds!

The Team North right winger was immediately lively and looking to take on Adsy at every opportunity, but the first decent chance fell to Buddy whose shot was saved by the keeper after good team work had put him in on the edge of the box. But after fifteen minutes it was Team North who took the lead when a long ball wide into the box was met by their striker, who hooked over Jon Minniss has he charged out. Maybe a little misjudgement from the keeper, but a well-taken goal. Jon didn't let it upset him and for the rest of the game his handling was impeccable. But RCA were rattled by the goal and got themselves agitated, whinging about decisions and allowing Team North to dictate the pace of play. After 21 minutes it could have got worse as the visitors hooked another good opportunity over the bar. RCA finally began to settle and Andy Jennings headed wide from a good cross, and a period of pressure lead to a handball shout in the box, which only the ref didn't see. But Team North had another good chance just on the break and still lead at the interval, 1-0.

Hicker had obviously had words because RCA meant business on the restart and within a minute were level as AJ turned and finished smartly. We continued on top and after 55 minutes it looked like the game had decisively turned our way as Mark Davison converted a clear penalty, 2 - 1 to RCA. A few minutes later Sparky should have put the game away when AJ created a great chance for him, but the keeper blocked. Team North, to their credit, battled away and always looked dangerous as the game swung from end to end. A quite beautiful move from RCA deserved a goal as half a dozen players were involved in a passing move down the right that ended with Gary Shields crossing from the goal line and the keeper saving from AJ. Andy also had a couple of decent half chances getting onto long balls and then after 70 minutes the game was levelled as an Andy Reay challenge in the box led to a TN penalty, which was crisply converted to make it 2 - 2.

Was this going to be the end of the road for the RCA promotion chase? No, because a couple of minutes later up pops Gary Shields to coolly finish a good move and we are back in front, 3 - 2. Hicker made a couple of subs as the game wound down, Team North looked like they had used their last efforts and the game was closed out, 3 - 2 and just, just, still alive!

Sunderland RCA 3 Brandon United 0

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup - Semi Final

21 April 2009

It was semi final time again at Meadow Park tonight for the second successive year, in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup. A bit like public buses you wait 27 years for one then two come in quick succession. There was a good atmosphere beforehand, with a lively contingent of visiting Brandon supporters helping set the stage. In fact approaching kick off time there were over 130 in attendance; not massive by any means, but enough to give a proper feel of what non-league football is all about. There were team selection problems for the SRCA management, with midfielders Stewart and Halliday unavailable, together with central defender Reay. Neil Hixon though, as with other matches this season, had no hesitation in making benefit of the club's good youth policy by adding Liam Gill and Lee Andrews to the squad from the U21 and U18 set ups.

In winning the toss, RCA captain Wardle surprisingly elected to take the half with slope advantage but only marginal wind at the home sides backs. Clearly the intention was to get at the visitors early and RCA were quickly on the attack and within minutes Andy Jennings did have the ball in the net, but the referee pulled the forward up for reversing into a Brandon defender. However the momentum had started and Brandon defenders were being tested early. After Jennings was fouled a couple of yards outside the penalty area, Davison stepped up to hit a ferocious direct free kick at the target which Brandon keeper Robert Joyce palmed firmly and confidently away for a corner. RCA were being very direct in the early stages with free kicks and corners won and half chances headed wide by both central forwards. However after the first quarter Brandon started to show good momentum with right full back Liam Bramley winning possession and linking well with Matty Hornsby, then Paul Dixon to make headway into the RCA box. At times the visiting side's football was a joy to watch with many successive passes as the visitors aimed to control the midfield area. Whilst enjoying the bulk of possession however the final pass was not finding forwards and RCA broke away twice to make direct attacks on the Brandon goal. Richards and Shields both created half chances, which were scrambled clear for corners. From one of the corners centre half Wardle could have done better when rising in the box unmarked he met the ball well but headed at least a yard over the bar. McGuiness also got on the end of another but glanced the ball wide.

Brandon captain Heslop was doing a very good job in playing a defensive midfield role resulting again in controlled possession by the Brandon side, who were keeping to their game plan of swift movement and passing, with the full backs on both flanks pressing more. Good opportunities in attack were wasted when any advancing forwards did not meet crosses fired in. Jones and Henderson at the back for RCA had to work overtime with some excellent defending. However the visitors had to re-organise when wide player Ian Pritchard had to be replaced having twisted his knee. After the substitution Brandon had to re-organise and after the half hour RCA increased momentum and winning possession at will a lot of crosses were fired into the box. On 35 minutes the breakthrough came when a corner on the right was fired into the front post where Jennings challenged well and although getting the slightest of touches a Brandon defender turned the ball into the net. 1 - 0 and RCA on their way! Not a great goal but massive relief now for home supporters who cheered loudly. Much more like it now and SRCA were pressing at all opportunities. Only minutes to go before half time and Brandon were defending admirably, however when good play freed Jennings in the box he held the ball well, turned out to the left and after sidestepping one defender he went wide again, feigned to shoot, wrong footing all and sundry, including the crowd, he pulled the ball back for his strike partner Davison who put the ball into the empty net, one of his easiest chances of the season. 2 - 0 and very hard on Brandon right on half time.

It was time now for RCA to reshape in the interval with Wardle unable to continue after pulling his hamstring and Glenn Moan eagerly entering the fray. Brandon really attacked now and wave after wave of attacks were met with a resilient home guard. Possibly the key moment of the game came on 60 minutes when two good chances were made for their forwards Fothergill and Dixon and the stop of the match by Hoggeth in the RCA goal when he saved at point blank range, forcing the ball away from six yards. A totally different game could gave been on offer if a breakthrough could have been made, but Brandon would live to regret the wasted chances. On 70 minutes Jennings, who was having an exceptional game, caused problems up front and racing with the ball he moved towards goal and again beating defenders with great ball control, he got into the box and at the point of pulling the trigger a last ditch challenge brought the forward down. Immediately the referee blew the whistle for the penalty. Davison stepped up with confidence and fired into the corner. 3 - 0 and Brandon definitely with it all to do. Hixon made further changes replacing Joseph with Coghlan and then Shields with Laidler, as RCA attempted to close the game down. Brandon to their credit went right until the end and if any player deserved something from the game it was their right back, Bramley, who worked and overlapped until the end crossing in twice from wide right only to see one chance hit over the bar from close range and one deceiving all in the box.

The referee finally blew and celebrations from the both sets of supporters who applauded what was a very competitive match and a proper advert for Northern League football. Another season drawing to a close and it is most likely that the final league placing will be fourth for RCA - the same as last, but our equal best position in 20 years.

Also as losing finalists in this same competition last year can we go one better and finally win some Northern League silverware? The final is at Chester-le-Street Wednesday, 6 May, kick off 7:00 PM. Let's hope supporters get behind the team like tonight. It's very good times and some great football at Meadow Park. Let's all savour the moment! The match reporter most certainly is; it might be time for a new role - this job was made for me!

Sunderland RCA 2 Stokesley 1

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skilltraining Northern League

25 April 2009

It was the last throw of the dice today at Meadow Park, as RCA fought to keep their slim promotion hopes alive, against a Stokelsey team that dented them considerably when they held us to a 3 - 3 draw at their place a couple of weeks ago. It was a strong RCA team that took the field, with Mick Coghlan in midfield for the delayed Scott Richards.

RCA started like a house on fire down the bank and had three good chances in the first few minutes as Steve Jones pushed forward and joined the attack and had a shot pushed wide for a corner, from which the keeper made a point blank save from a Mark Davison volley and Andy Jennings headed over the bar. Things settled and Stokesley got a foothold in the game, playing the ball about nicely and causing a few problems.

The game became a bit scrappy as the half wore on, with Stokesley holding the ball well when they could and RCA looking dangerous when they got the ball forward. AJ headed over and was beaten by the keeper to a long ball, Taz curled one past the post, before Gary Shields, who looked very lively, dropped one onto Andy's head for him to give us the lead on 39 minutes. That looked like being the half time, but with a minute left of the half Stokelsey broke for Dale Mendhum to bring them level, 1 - 1 at HT.

Stokesley fancied their chances playing down the bank in the second half and started strongly, but RCA play better football up the bank than down it nowadays and had a couple of good chances themselves. Sparky put a header past the post and a shot into the side netting, but Stokesley had a great chance to take the lead which Hoggy saved. Then up popped Steve Jones, having one of his most adventurous games to side foot home from eight yards and put us back in front, 2 - 1 on 62 minutes. Stokesley huffed and puffed, Taz hit the bar, but the game looked over and so it proved as we wound down the clock to win the game as needed, only to find Horden had tonked Crook, and that was that for another year.

2009-04-27 - Birtley Town 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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skilltraining Northern League

27 April 2009

With Horden securing their promotion and settling the race for the promotion places, manager Neil Hixon made changes of personnel and formation for this last league of the 2008/09 campaign against The Hoops on a damp evening at Birtley Sports Complex. Steven Stewart, Liam Gill and Mark Davidson were up front in a 4-3-3 formation, with Anth Laidler, Michael Coghlan and Scott Richards in the middle and Adam McGuinness, Wayne Henderson, Glenn Moan and Steve Jones at the back. Gary Hoggeth was the between the sticks.

Birtley kicked off but it was RCA who made the sharpest start as Scott Richards won the ball straight away. On four minutes Steven Stewart put a cross into Liam Gill but his header towards goal was from an offside position. Birtley too were looking sharp and when Adam McGuinness gave the ball away they made a good break, but the cross in was wasted. RCA replied with good work from Stewart on the left who put in a good cross for Mark Davidson to challenge, to his pain unfortunately. Two minutes later and Davidson put in good work again releasing a ball for Liam Gill to chase down the right. He held possession well, brining in Steve Jones whose first time cross was too close to the keeper.

On 13 minutes there was a great move from Birtley, using both sides of the pitch. It ended in a shot from the right which was pushed behind by Gary Hoggeth for a corner, from which a free header went past the post. This was a sign of Birtley's capability and intent and on 17 minutes the break through came when the tricky and pacey Birtley number 11 Kris Hughes broke through in the centre and ran through to shoot strongly. Keeper Hoggeth parried the shot but its pace took it over the keeper and it spun into the net.

From the kick off RCA were straight back in it with a corner, but the referee blew for a foul on the keeper. On 27 minutes more pressure from RCA ended with a Steve Jones cross, which Mark Davidson headed wide.

On 32 minutes the locals were far from happy when a late kick from Steven Stewart downed a Birtley player who needed treatment. The referee showed a yellow card.

On 44 minutes RCA got themselves back in the game when a good cross from full back Jones found Stewart at a narrow angle at the far post and he slotted neatly past the keeper to make it all square at half time.

RCA started the second half in determined mood. On 48 minutes another good ball from Michael Coghlan - a player who can consistently see and execute good passes and play one touch football - nearly had Steven Stewart in on goal, but a defender nipped in to deflect the ball for a corner. A minute later and Coghlan was repeating the play with a ball into the left corner for Stewart to cross.

On 55 minutes manager Hixon made a tactical switch, bringing off Glenn Moan, bringing Steve Halliday on, switching Anth Laidler to central defence and deploying a 4-4-1-1 with Gill moving to the right wing and Coghlan playing just behind Davidson at the front.

RCA continued with good possession and pressure, but it was not all the away side. On 65 minutes a very good cross from Birtley's first half scorer Kris Hughes led to a last ditch clearance from Steve Jones in the six yard box.

On 68 minutes Liam Gill came off, replaced by Andy Jennings, with Coghlan dropping back into a conventional 4-4-2. AJ's height came in to good use on 71 minutes when he headed on a long ball from Gary Hoggeth to Steven Stewart who shot across goal.

The match turned on the 75th minute. Scott Richards lost the ball in the middle and Birtley broke strongly down their right with the player moving into shoot on the urging of the Birtley bench. Keeper Hoggeth parried the powerful shot, but the ball broke to the middle of the 18-yard line and a Birtley player shot strongly into the net. After that RCA were a spent force. Ten minutes later and it looked certain that Birtley would make it three as they were through again, but shot weakly and wide.

This was a curate's egg of a performance from RCA and after Saturday's let down on the promotion campaign some flatness was to be expected. Fair play to Birtley though - they played well and deserved the points here. RCA will need to be sharper against Horden in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Final.


Horden 2 Sunderland RCA 1

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Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Final

6 May 2009

It was the last game of the season tonight for Sunderland RCA, against Division 2 Champions Horden in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Final. History was to be made as both sides had never won a Northern League Cup so the record books were to be updated for one of the clubs. As kick off approached there was a very healthy attendance at Chester-le-Street and all looked on in anticipation when Horden won the toss, electing to defend the slope with a strong wind in their faces.

RCA were quickly on the attack with centre forward Jennings quickly making his presence felt. Two early corners were won after some good play by Joseph down the left and one of the crosses was met by Jennings which James Winter in goal partially saved and was grateful for his fullback to scramble away the rebound. The wind was clearly proving to be an advantage and Horden were defending strongly with Mark Nicholson and Matty Taylor at the back making headed clearances to prevent RCA forwards Davison and Shields breaking away. Horden then hit back with their first main attack when after a midfield battle for possession the ball fell to left back Ian Clark who played a long pass upfield which cut the RCA defence in two leaving an opening for forward Craig Hubbard to run onto. Although 30 yards from goal he quickly noticed the RCA keeper Minnis racing out to cover the danger, he hit the ball first time up high over the keeper's head and the ball bounced once straight into the net. 1 - 0 to Horden and the RCA supporters were shellshocked. This lifted the Horden side who looked to push forward again with centre forward Chris I'Anson causing problems in the air for RCA defenders Wardle and Reay. The referee was allowing a lot of physical challenges to go unpunished and this disrupted the pattern of play for the next period. RCA regained composure and after 25 minutes a great move down the left involving midfielder Richards, Joseph and left back McGuinness resulted in a great long cross to Jennings just in front of the penalty spot. The forward met it perfectly and bulleted a header that look destined for the bottom corner, only to be met by a terrific flying save from Winter in goal.

Halliday and Richards started to control the passing in the midfield area and RCA pushed more bodies forward in search of the equaliser. Again early balls were played into the box and Jennings again was denied on the half hour when the keeper saved well again with the rebound falling to RCA full back Jones who hit a decent effort, again saved. Buoyant now, RCA were looking to attack at every opportunity and were winning many free kicks. Richards was fouled 35 yards out and Davison stepped up to hit a good effort but this was well clear of the Horden bar. The final few minutes were fast and furious and corners were won at both ends and a goal could have been scored by either side but resilient goal-line clearances were made. The referee blew and the Horden lads had their tails up looking forward to having the wind at their backs in the second half whilst RCA players were scratching heads, not believing that they had registered a goal having controlled most of the game.

The second half kicked off and followed a similar pattern to the first but now it was Horden quickly moving the ball forward and RCA defenders now having to deal with an awkward wind. But just like the opposition in the first, RCA now made use of their first proper attack and although Horden defenders half dealt with the situation the bal l fell to McGuinness and from a good distance he hit a cross shot and although not catching it sweetly the slice deceived the keeper and the ball found the bottom right corner of the net. Just the lift RCA needed and loud cheers from supporters. 1 - 1 and game back on. The game closed up now with space being at a premium and it was Horden who nearly made a breakthrough when a shot from the halfway line had Minnis chasing back to goal and he done exceptionally well to get a touch on to the ball which also glanced off the top of the bar. Stewart who brought extra pace into the RCA midfield replaced Joseph and this lifted the team for a short period. In general though no clear chances were being created and the game look destined for extra time with supporters appearing to get further refreshments in readiness.

Out of nothing though with normal time up, the ball broke lose in central midfield and travelling through to McGuinness he appeared to get control but was dispossessed by I'Anson who raced clear and clipped the ball coolly over the advancing Minnis. 2 - 1 and no time left to recover for RCA. McGuinness who was possibly in the running for the MoM award was punished for his one mistake of the night. The referee blew, Horden the victors, well done to them for a league and cup double in their centenary year. Deja vu for RCA an exact repeat of last year's league finish of fourth and losing finalists. Well stiff upper lip needed, but the club is till moving forward and RCA will grow stronger together. After lean times in the last 20 years the club has had two fantastic seasons. Neil Hixon's men have gathered 70 then 71 points, so if we keep on progressing at that rate one day we will go up. Roll on next season the supporters can't wait!


2008-09 First Team statistics

Club news

Sunderland RCA The Barnes

Back row, left to right: Ian Ferguson (Hon Sec), Gary Carr, Jonathon Winlow, Paul Hartley, Ross Hughes, Michael Curtis,
Chris Errington, Willie Crew, Philip Hall, Ray Hartley (Manager)
Front row, left to right: Matty Stevens, Alan Surtees, Martin Metcalfe, Gary Tyzack, Mark Robinson
Missing from photo: Scott Butler, Joe Clark, Paul Cooke, Jonathon Dimmock, Liam Dunn, Andrew Gilbert,
Mark McLeod, Martin Mowbray, Andrew Place and Anthony Teasdale.

Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC play in the Sunderland Sunday League.

Ian 'Fergie' Ferguson, Hon Secretary Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC introduces the 2008-09 season

The season kicks off on 17 August

11 August 2008

RCA's Sunday team start the new season with a home fixture against Silksworth Paragon on Sunday 17th August and are looking forward to the coming season competing in the Premier League of the Solex Manufacturing Sunderland Sunday League. They will also be representing RCA in the All England FA Sunday Cup and the Durham FA Sunday Cup, as well as the league's
cup competitions.

The team have also changed their base camp (boozer) back to their spiritual home at The Barnes, after a brief (but nevertheless enjoyable) year at The Wavendon and will be known as Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC for the coming season.

As usual we are very much appreciative of the help and assistance given by RCA's many officials and hope to reward them with a successful campaign.

Match reports will be posted on this site on a regular basis for everyone's information as well as a squad photo and player profiles, which will appear shortly.

If anyone wants to watch any footy on Sunday mornings all support will be welcome and fixtures (+ venues) will also be posted on this site.

Hope to see you along for the games.

Ian 'Fergie' Ferguson
Hon Secretary Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC


Sunderland RCA The Barnes match reports for 2008-09

RCA The Barnes 4 St Johns Chapel 1

Durham FA Avec Sunday Cup

31 August 2008

RCA The Barnes finally got their season of and running with a comfortable 4-1 victory over St Johns Chapel, in the Durham FA Avec Sunday Cup Preliminary Round tie.

RCA started strongly kicking down the slope and were rwarded for their dominance after 15 minutes when Willie Crew headed home after good work down the left from Teasdale and Surtees. St Johns then had a spell of possesion which brought about a couple of half chances and a strong appeal for a penalty when RCA keeper Errington went down at a forward's feet.

RCA then picked up the pace and should have added to their score but for some wastefull finishing and a couple of decent saves from the St Johns keeper, but eventually their pressure paid off with industrious midfielder Martin Metcalfe adding a second goal on 35 minutes.

HT 2 - 0

The second half started in similar vein and Metcalfe added a third goal for RCA on 55 minutes to effectively kill the tie, and enable manager Hartley to bring on his three subs.

St. Johns got a consolation goal on 80 minutes when a fiercely struck free kick took a slight deflection to leave keeper Errington stranded, but substitute Ross Hughes struck home from 10 yards minutes later to seal a thoroughly hard working victory and progrees to round 2.

Outstanding displays from Metcalfe, RCA's Phil Hall and Anthony Teasdale auger well for the coming weeks.

Humbledon & Plains Farm GI FC 3 RCA The Barnes 2

Sunderland Sunday League

Humbledon & Plains Farm GI FC 3 RCA The Barnes 2

14 September 2008

RCA The Barnes suffered an undeserved defeat by 3 goals to 2, at the hands of current league champions Humbledon & Plains Farm. The game, played in perfect conditions thankfully, was a closely fought contest with the first half being fairly even apart from one good save from RCA's stand in keeper Lee 'Zico' Austin. The only other chances were half chances which both defences coped with comfotably, until slack play in midfield by RCA resulted in the ball being played out to the Humbledon & Plains forward Gary Shields (an RCA player on Saturdays) who played a perfect ball across the face of goal to present Rob McClean with a free header to give the home side a 1-0 lead. The timing of the goal could not have been worse as half time was blown for straight away.

Worse was to follow within minutes of the restart as a defensive header was deflected to Rob McClean who mishit his attempted volley, which completely fooled the keeper and bobbled into the corner of the net to make it 2-0 to Humbledon & Plains.

RCA heads refused to be bowed though and they got back into the game with a tremendous 25 yard strike from Mark McLeod, which lifted the spirits. Better was to follow as Philip Hall threaded a ball through the inside left channel for Willie Crew to hold off a defender and round the keeper to make it 2-2.

The game was there for the taking now, but it was Humbledon & Plains who came up with the killer third goal with 15 mins left when Joe Holbourn challenged RCA defender Michael Curtis at the far post and both players got to the ball with headers, but the ball then richoched off Holbourn's shoulder and looped over a stranded keeper.

RCA then pressurised the Humbledon & Plains defence for the remaining time but could not get what would have been a deserved equaliser, despite creating a couple of half chances.

All in all a decent contest, which on another day could have been more positive, but congratulations to both sets of players for a sporting match.

Washington Arms FC 0 RCA The Barnes 3

Sunderland Sunday League

28 September 2008

RCA The Barnes went through to the Third Preliminary Round of the Durham FA Avec Sunday Cup with a comfortable (eventually) 3-0 victory over Durham Sunday League Premier Division Washington Arms at Glebe Welfare ground Washington.

RCA started slowly for the first 10 minutes and then got their passing game going. They should have gone in at half time with the tie won, but wastefull finishing combined with some good goalkeeping kept the score to 1-0 courtesy of a Willie Crew strike after 35 minutes.

RCA then completely dominated the game in the second half without ever producing the effective passing of the first, but still should have put the tie to bed with good chances being wasted by both Willie Crew and Paul Hartley, before substitute Andy Gilbert converted, benefiting from Matin Metcalfe's cut back and a goalkeeping error in the 85th minute. Willie Crew sealed a comprehensive victory in the last minute converting a Ross Hughes cross to give the final scoreline a touch of reality.

Redhouse WMC FC 1 RCA The Barnes 6

Sunderland Sunday League

5 October 2008

An understrength (due to Great North Run) RCA The Barnes comfortably got their League season off and running with a 6-1 defeat over Redhouse WMC.

RCA were missing several key players due to their involvement in the Great North Run and had to draft in the ever dependable veteran Joe Clark - 47 years young) at centre half. The first half was fairly scrappy, but RCA turned the game their way with two goals in the final 5 minutes of the half through Andy Gilbert and Willie Crew.

The result was virtually decided within ten minutes of the second half when further goals from Anthony Teasdale and Willie Crew saw RCA 4-0 up. Credit to Redhouse who didn't let their heads drop, but were unable to stem the tide as RCA grew in confidence with Mark McLeod running the show from midfield and he was rewarded for his outstanding performance when he finished of a fine passing move with a cool finish from six yards. Willie Crew then completed his hat trick and maybe should have added to that, before Redhouse were rewarded for their endevours with a late consolation from Steve Jones, to leave a final scoreline of 6-1 to RCA.

RCA The Barnes 2 Grangetown Florists 1

Total Sport Challenge Trophy - First Round

Sunday, 12 October 2008

RCA The Barnes progressed to the Second Round of the Total Sport Challenge Trophy with a hard earned 2-1 victory against their previously undefeated 'derby' rivals Grangetown Florists.

The first half produced few chances for either side in what was a typically physical match up, with neither side willing to concede ground, RCA Northern League player, Lee Owens had the first chance for Grangetown, but put his effort wide of the post after a cut back from Peter Benson. Then Anthony Teasdale had a good effort well saved after being released by Willie Crew.

After 40 minutes however the deadlock was broken when RCA were awarded a free kick on the left hand corner of the Grangetown box and when the ball was delivered into the six yard box Paul Hartley got the final touch to give RCA the lead. As so often happen though, in tight matches, once a team score the other side always seem to strike back immediately, and this game was no exception, when just about straight from the kick off Grangetown's right back Keith Churchill surged forward well into the RCA half before releasing to the left wing and continued his run into the penalty area to receive the return ball and easily slot home to give a half time score of 1-1.

The second half saw half chances for both sides without ever producing a clear cut chance untill Willie Crew produced a clinical finish after receiving the ball with his back to goal in the inside left position. He turned the defender and sent a curling shot into the net via the far post to regain the lead for RCA.

Grangetown pressed for an equaliser and left gaps at the back which Anthony Teasdale should have exploited to put the tie to bed after being released again by Crew, but RCA comfortably held out to secure the win, which in the end they just about deserved, and now look forward to the visit of Liverpool Lee Jones F.C. next Sunday (19 October) for the first round tie in the FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup, at Meadow Park - 2:00 PM KO.

RCA The Barnes 4 Liverpool Lee Jones 0

FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup - First Round

Sunday 19 October 2008

RCA The Barnes stormed through to the Second Round of the National Sunday FA Cup with a resounding 4-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Liverpool outfit Lee Jones FC.

RCA started the match on the front foot, pressurised from the first minute and were rewarded for their positive start when Martin Metcalfe crossed into a crowded box where Gary Tyzack found space for a powerful header into the bottom left hand corner to give RCA a fifth minute lead. RCA continued in much the same vein with Paul Hartley and Matty Stevens bossing the midfield and creating good chances which were spurned by profligate finishing.

After 30 minutes Matty Stevens chased down a hopeful ball to the left edge of the goal line and sent a curling cross towards goal, which the goalkeeper and his defender conspired to make a mess of, resulting in the defender putting into his own goal to give RCA a 2-0 lead. RCA should have increased this lead before half time, but a couple of decent saves from Lee Jones's keeper kept the score to 2-0.

Lee Jones started the second half with the slope and the wind in their favour and RCA were expecting a tough time of it, but the next goal was going to be the important one and it was RCA who killed the tie when good work down the right hand side from Alan Surtees and Gary Tyzack released Willie Crew through the inside right channel; he then side stepped a defender and cooly slotted home to give RCA a 3-0 lead after 50 minutes.

Lee Jones then applied the first real presure on the home defence, but with Philly Hall and Micky Curtis both standing firm it came to nought, before the best move of the game, which started when RCA worked their way out of their right back corner flag position with quick incisive passing from Surtees and Tyzack. This resulted in Paul Hartley cleverly releasing Wille Crew through on goal and he easily rounded the keeper to slot home - 4-0 to RCA.

Lee Jones then had two players dismissed over the same incident, when their keeper brought down RCA's Martin Metcalfe, who had knocked the ball past him and was through on goal for what would have been RCA's fifth and was correctly shown the red card. A further player showed dissent at this decision and was given his second yellow.

RCA then played out the last 15 minutes avoiding any possible injuries and now look forward to the second round draw and next week's Durham County Sunday Cup match against South Moor Sports in Stanley.

South Moor 1 RCA The Barnes 3

Durham FA Sunday Cup

Sunday 26 October 2008

RCA The Barnes progressed to the first round proper of the Durham FA Sunday Cup with a scrappy 3-1 victory over South Moor Sports, at a windswept Stanley.

RCA were always in control of the match, without ever reaching the standards of the last few weeks and on a small, bobbly pitch with a strong wind, were made to struggle. Chances were missed in a disjointed first half before Martin Metcalfe pounced on a misplaced pass from a South Moor defender to drill a superb shot into the bottom left hand corner to give RCA a 1-0 half time lead.

Kicking with the wind in the second half, RCA effectively killed the tie within five minutes as Willie Crew continued his scoring form by slotting home goals two and three, to take his tally to 12 from only seven games). The match then became a bit edgy with South Moor putting in some iffy tackles and the referee not doing much about them. Ray Hartley the manager then decided to just get the game done with and used his three allowed substitutes to give Crew, Teasdale and skipper Curtis a rest and see out the remaining time. South Moor applied some pressure and were rewarded for their endeavours with a last minute penalty to give the scoreline 3-1 to RCA.

RCA now travel to Hartlepool WHTOSOB for a First Round Proper tie on Sunday, 9 November.

RCA The Barnes 2 Myers FC 0

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 2 November 2008

RCA The Barnes overcame Myers FC 2-0 in their third league fixture in a closely fought match at Meadow Park.

Kicking up the slope in the first half, RCA found Myers small nippy forwards a handful for the first 20 minutes and Myers probably should have capitalised, but for some resolute defending and good goalkeeping. RCA then slightly changed formation and started to create chances themselves with Mark Robinson hitting the crossbar and Willie Crew just failing to connect with another good cross from Mark Robinson, who was beginning to cause Myers problems down the left flank.

The best chance for RCA to take the lead was when Willie Crew got free in the inside right channel to force a good blocked save from Myers keeper Ryan Graham with the ball rebounding to an unmarked Andy Gilbert six yards out, but he headed over the bar when it looked easier to score and the half finished 0-0.

The second half saw Myers open strongly again with a good chance falling their way after 50 minutes. But from then on it was RCA who took control and with both wide men, Martin Metcalfe and Mark Robinson finding acres of space they began creating chances, but could not quite finish them off due to good defending and especially some excellent goalkeeping from Ryan Graham in the Myers goal. Eventually though, as the game entered the final ten minutes, RCA made the breakthrough when Martin Metcalfe broke into the box and avoided two desperate challenges only to be felled by the third, resulting in a penalty, which skipper Michael Curtis duly despatched to give RCA the lead.

The game then went end to end until in the final minute Myers were awarded a corner, from which they thought they had equalised when they claimed the ball had crossed the line prior to goalkeeper Chris Errington gathering. While they appealed in vain to the referee Errington released substitute Gary Tyzack down the right wing and he squared to the waiting Willie Crew in the box who slotted home to give a final score of 2-0 to RCA The Barnes, which over the ninety minutes they just about deserved, but credit to a spirited and commited Myers outfit which resuted in an entertaining game.

RCA The Barnes 5 Harlepool WHTDSOB 1

Durham FA Avec Sunday Cup

9 November 2008

RCA The Barnes ensured a place in the Second Round Proper of the Durham FA Avec Sunday Cup - and exemption from the First Round Proper for next season - with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Harlepool WHTDSOB at Greyfields.

Kicking against a strong blustery wind, on a surprisingly good pitch given the overnight rain, RCA opened strongly and established a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes with Willie Crew continuing his recent good form with both goals. Complacency then set in and RCA became negligent with their passing and presented Hartlepool with some decent chances, which thankfully they did not capitalise on initially. The inevitable happened after 35 minutes when Hartlepool took advantage of slack play to reduce the deficit to give a half time score of 2-1 to RCA.

Hartlepool then had a great opportunity to equalise, but Chris Errington in the RCA goal kept them at bay. RCA then got their game back in some sort of shape. Paul Hartley struck a third goal, turning the defence and placing a curling left foot shot into the far corner from the edge of the penalty area in the inside right position. RCA then put on two subs to rest Teasdale and Metcalfe. Within another five minutes Willie Crew completed his hat trick when Errington released a long kick downfield that Andrew Gilbert contested. The ball ran for Willie to round the keeper to make it 4-1. Gilbert was then replaced by recent signing Gary McDonald who struck home number five five minutes before the end, to give a final scoreline of 5-1.

RCA now look forward to their difficult second round tie in the FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup against a strong Dawdon CW outfit at Seaham Red Star's ground next Sunday, the 16 November, with a 1.00 PM KO. Any support would be greatly appreciated. Ten free entry tickets are available on a first come basis and will be available from Colin Wilson next Saturday at RCA's home game against Brandon.

Dawdon CW FC 1 Sunderland RCA The Barnes FC 2

FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup

16 November 2008 at Seaham Red Star

RCA The Barnes progressed into the last 32 of the National Sunday FA Cup competition with a hard fought and battling 2-1 victory over a very strong Dawdon CW team at Seaham Red Star's ground on Sunday.

The match took place in almost perfect conditions on an excellent playing surface. RCA started strongly keeping possession early on and gaining confidence. As the half progressed Dawdon began to gain more control and kept the ball whilst not creating any definite openings until RCA keeper Chris Errington had to save smartly from a long range effort. RCA central defenders Curtis and Hall were in excellent form and consistently snuffed out any half chances created by Dawdon, whilst being ably supported by full backs Surtees and Hughes.

After 30 minutes RCA started to get a bit more ball and a good move started down the right flank by Surtees was carried on by Willie Crew who passed the ball across the area to the far corner were Andy Gilbert laid it off for the late arriving Martin Metcalfe to control and strike a perfect low shot into the keeper's right hand corner giving him no chance of saving. 1-0 to RCA.

The rest of the first half ran its course with neither side being able to create any more worthwhile chances, to give a ht score of 1-0 to RCA.

Dawdon started the second half on the front foot and pressurised RCA from the off with the midfield of Metcalfe, Hartley, Teasdale and young Mark Robinson having to put in double shifts to compete with the increasingly dominant Dawdon. Chris Errington then produced another top drawer save after an hour, tipping over a powerfull close range header and again Curtis and Hall had to be at their best to keep the sprightly Dawdon forwards at bay. RCA were now restricted to playing on the break and with Robinson now pushed up front after the substitution of an injured Gilbert by Gary Tyzack, they kept Dawdon's back line on their toes whilst having the odd half chance. However with the increasing pressure the RCA defence were for once found wanting on 83 minutes when a long diagonal ball from right back cleared the right hand side of the RCA back line and Chapman took the ball down expertly on his chest to rifle in from 15 yards: an excellent goal.

RCA then sent on Matty Stevens for Teasdale. The home crowd were expecting Dawdon to carry on and no doubt get a winner, but that was forgetting the indomitable spirit of this young, committed RCA outfit who never know when to quit. On 87 minutes they broke through the inside right channel and top scorer Willie Crew advanced on goal only for the Dawdon keeper to make a good block. However the ball rebounded out to 25 yards from goal in a central position and 16 year old Mark Robinson became the match winner when he picked his spot and stroked the ball home into the top left hand corner of the net despite the efforts of Dawdon's last in line defender.

Silksworth Paragon 4 RCA The Barnes 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 23 November 2008

Sunday Secretary Ian Ferguson gives his take on defeat.

Blooming heck, I go away for a weekend and what happens? It all goes pear-shaped.

According to my independent reports, RCA got their noses bloodied by a much more committed and determined Siksworth Paragon on Sunday. RCA apparently forgot that their game is based around hard work and helping each other out, something which was sadly lacking on ths occasion.

Paragon made great efforts to get the match played and were rewarded with an emphatic victory, scoring after half an hour and then crucially increasing the score to 2-0 at half time with a penalty after 43 minutes.

RCA then came out slightly better after half time and clawed their way back into the match when Anthony Teasdale scored after 55 minutes, but RCA then sloppily conceded from a corner five minutes later. To make matters worse Phily Hall had to leave the field with a recurrence of his knee injury after 75 minutes - surgery awaiting in December and we hope he will be back fit by early new year - and with RCA committed to attack they conceded again after 85 minutes to make the final score 4-1 to Silksworth.

Time for a reality check, me thinks, before more difficult games coming up.

RCA The Barnes 0 Heywood Irish Centre 4

FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup - Third Round

Sunday 14 December 2008

RCA's run in the F.A. Carlsberg Sunday Cup came to an end with a dissappointing home defeat to Heywood Irish Centre (Huddersfield) by four goals to nil.

The pitch was passed playable by match referee Neil Sharp, but the surface was very wet and would no doubt cause problems for both sides. It was RCA who started the brighter with a Willie Crew header being cleared off the line after five mins and a couple of half chances which were comfotably dealt with by Heywood keeper Ashe. Heywood then began to get a grip and their midfield were winning all the important battles and releasing their extremely fast forwards. After a couple of scares, when centre forward Ashley Flynn latched on to quickly released passes only to be denied by resolute defending and goalkeeping, it was no real surprise when he was again released early to control and round home keeper Errington to slot home for the opener after 20 minutes. His partner in crime, Darren Hennighan, was put through not long after, but was forced wide by Errington and put his effort into the side netting.

It was becoming clear that RCA needed to get to half time only one goal down, so as to re-organise for the second half kicking with the slope, but their hopes were dashed after 35 minutes when, after clearing a corner, Heywood were given the ball back and a cross from the left eluded a static RCA defence and keeper to allow Adam Bell to head in from virtually on the line.

2-0 to Heywood at half time and they probably deserved if the truth be known.

RCA come out determinedly in the second half and pressurised for prolonged periods, but without ever producing the quality needed to breach a resolute Heywood back line. An unfortunate slip by home keeper Errington, whose feet just went from underneath him as he came out to collect a simple through ball under no pressure, presented Darren Hennighan with the simple task of walking the ball into the net and effectively kill the tie after 75 minutes.

RCA stuck to their task until the end but conceded a fourth when Ashley Flynn was again released through the inside right channel to finish with aplomb. Things went totally pear shaped when RCA's Phil Hall was shown an inexplicable red card near the end for something said to the referee.

Never mind though, in the end the best team won and we wish Heywood all the best for the further rounds in the competition, thank them for a sporting contest and hope they enjoyed our hospitality.

Bring it on for next year!!

Houghton Glendale SCFC 1 RCA The Barnes 0

Durham Avec County Sunday Cup - Second Round

Sunday 21 December 2008

1-0 down at half time, but controlled most of second half without much penetration and could not find a deserved equaliser.

RCA The Barnes 2 Silksworth Paragon 0

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 4 January 2009

RCA The Barnes got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory in a close fought encounter with Silksworth Paragon.

The match got the go-ahead from referee Gary Hargraves after long deliberation regarding the safety of the players on a half frosted surface, a decision which proved to be correct and credit must be given to both sets of players for producing such a good game on a suspect surface.

Silksworth Paragon started the brighter and kept the ball and control for the first 10 minutes, without ever troubling the RCA defence. RCA came on stronger as the half progressed and following fine interpassing in midfield Andy Place was released through the inside left channel. He drew the keeper and then unselfishly squared for Willie Crew to slot home easily after 20 minutes to give RCA the lead.

RCA continued to press down the slope and a fine cross from the left by Ross Hughes evaded the Paragon centre half. Willie Crew brought the ball down expertly on his chest and volleyed home left footed from 10 yards to extend the RCA lead to 2-0 after 35 minutes.

Defending against the slope in the second half RCA started brightly in a similar vein to Paragon in the first half and had a couple of half chances to kill the game off, but having failed to do so, Paragon then gained more and more control as the half progressed and created a number of opportunities, which were thwarted by some excellent goalkeeping from Chris Errington, ably assisted by resoloute defending from Alan Surtees and man of the match, 16 year old Liam Dunn, who took to playing left side of a back three like a duck to water.

As the final whistle approached it was becoming apparent that it was not going to be Paragon's day and RCA held out to record a welcome victory and get their season back on track after a dissappointing December.

Redhouse CIU FC 1 RCA The Barnes 2

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 11 January 2009

RCA The Barnes had to make changes for their game against League leaders Redhouse CIU. With both Anthony Teasdale and Mark Robinson injured, manager Ray Hartley drafted in Ross Hughes and Matty Stevens into his midfield five and retained a back three of Surtees, Curtis and young Dunn with Crew and Place up front.

The game started with Redhouse on the front foot from the off with RCA struggling to get a hold of the ball and Stephen Lewis in Redhouse's midfield running the show. It was no surprise when his free kick was easily headed back across goal for Redhouse's centre half to tap home from close range to give them a 20th minute lead. This seemed to shake off the lethargy that RCA seemed to be carrying and slowly they came more into the game, despite having to re-organise when Alan Surtees had to come off shortly afterwards with a groin strain and Gary Tyzack coming on to go to right back in a re-shaped formation that saw Paul Hartley move to left back in a flat back four.

Mark McLeod started to see more of the ball in midfield and when Willie Crew was fed a through ball in the inside right channel, he held off strong Redhouse challenges to fire across the keeper into the far left corner to equalise for RCA after 35 minutes.

H-T: 1-1

RCA then had to defend against the strong wind in the second half and worked their socks off against a strong Redhouse offensive with keeper Chris Errington again showing why he is probably regarded as the best in the division with a string of fine saves. RCA where still a threat on the break and from one such when the ball broke to Martin 'Marni' Metcalfe, 25 yards out in a central position, he bought a ticket and rifled in an unstoppable shot to put RCA 2-1 ahead after 65 minutes.

Redhouse reacted by throwing on more offensive subs and pressed for an equaliser, but RCA defenders amnd keeper held firm. Indeed,they should have wrapped it all up when Andy Place fired over the bar when he should have done better and then Willie Crew broke free with only the keeper to beat, but was indicisive and allowed the keeper and a defender to block him out. As the final whistle was approaching Redhouse had one more chance from a free kick 25 yards out that was perfectly hit only for Chris Errington to fling himself to his right and palm away to keep the 2-1 lead intact and record an excellent victory for RCA.

2009-04-05 - RCA The Barnes 0 Humbledon and Plains Farm WMC 6

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 5 April 2009

RCA The Barnes crashed to a heavy defeat against a very strong Plains Farm by six goals to nil.

RCA were hit by withdrawals from the spine of their side when keeper Errington reported with a broken rib, centre half was Phil Hall missing at Wembley, midfield playmaker McLeod suffering a groin problem from Saturday's RCA game against Whickam and centre forward Andy Place going down with flu. Plains Farm had a full strength squad to call on, bar a goalkeeper, and fielded RCA centre half Paul Wardle between the sticks (to be honest they could have put a cardboard cutout there given the total lack of efforts on goal he had to field) and also included Wayne Henderson, Michael Coghlan and Gary Shields in their starting eleven.

RCA never got started and Plains Farm dominated from the off. They were quickly into their stride against a pitifull RCA who found themselves very quickly 4-0 down at half time with strikes from Anthony Holmes (2), Gary Shields (1) and David Anderson (1).

The second half was a cakewalk for Plains Farm and to be honest they could have scored at will if they had wanted to, but contented themselves to two further strikes, both from MOM Michael Coghlan, to give a final score of 6-0 to Plains Farm.

All in all, a very dissappointing effort from RCA, which showed up our lack of depth and quality within the squad, a position that will need addressing for next season.

Still a quarter final on Sunday, 12 April against Colonel Prior at Ryhope CW to come though and here's hoping that our performance then is stepped up by at least 100%.

2009-04-07 - RCA The Barnes 1 Hastings Athletic 7

Sunderland Sunday League

Tuesday 7 April 2009

RCA The Barnes' season continued its depressingly familiar downward spiral as they were completely humiliated by a slick Hastings outfit by sevn goals to one.

Without regular keeper Errington (busted ribs), Willie Crew (work) and resting Phil Hall and Mark McLeod ahead of their cup tie on Sunday coming, the players charged with representing the club fell way way short of acceptable standards. Stand in keeper Austin was left exposed time and time again as the overworked defence were left open on a regular basis by a midfield quartet of Hartley, Tyzack, Stevens and Metcalfe, who was the only one of the four who came out with any credit as he tried to do the other three's running for them. The front two of Place and Gilbert were totally ineffective (not surprising given the paucity of decent ball) whilst centre half and skipper Curtis had some excuse given this was his fifth game in six days. Of the other defenders both Alan Surtees and Liam Dunn performed manfully against wave after wave of Hastings attacks with no protection whatsoever from those in front of them.

Goals were scored on a regular basis throughout the 90 mins and only Martin Metcalfe's headed effort from McLeod's (on as a sub with 25 to go) free kick gave some relief.

All in all a pathetic effort which needs addressing or the whole season could fall away into complete humiliation.

Apologies for the negative aspect of this report, but this is the harsh reality of the situation and players and officials need to grasp the nettle and do something about it, quickly.

Hopefully we will be much much improved on Sunday coming in our last chance for honours against Colonel Prior at Ryhope CW, so if feel like risking it please come along and support, what we all hope will be a better performance.

RCA The Barnes 6 Redhouse WMC 0

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 22 March 2009

RCA Barnes ran out comfortable 6-0 victors in their game against bottom club Redhouse WMC. Redhouse won the toss and elected to take advantage of a strong wind by kicking down the slope taking a grip on the match early on with RCA being unable to get their passing game going. However Redhouse failed to capitalise and RCA duly got their game together taking the lead on 25 minutes when Gary Tyzack broke down the right flank and drilled a shot-cum-cross from near the goal line which evaded the keeper. A defender then completely miskicked his attempted clearance - twice - and sliced into his own net. A second goal was not long in coming as Willie Crew got into the box and was clumsily brought down for a penalty, which was duly despatched by skipper Curtis.

H-T 2 - 0

The second half was completely dominated by RCA and they went on to score another four goals, all netted by the in-form Andrew Place - two good headers, an opportunist close range effort and a clean strike across the keeper) - to bring his tally to nine in the last four games.

The result means that RCA have secured their place in the Premier Division for next year with ten games still to play to go. We can look forward to the rest of the season and hopefully some Cup success. It also means we can now start building up our squad for next season and can offer a tremendous club set up, A1 facilities and the continued, appreciated, backing of the mother club & their oficials, to any new players who would like to join or continued improvement, not to mention our involvement in both County and National Cup competitions.

RCA The Barnes 6 Washington 'F' Pit 1

Kitchen Magic Cup First Round

Sunday 22 February 2009

RCA comfortably came through this tie against First Division opponents Washington 'F' Pit. Fielding a weakened team due to various circumstances and having to play right back Alan Surtees in goal - he volunteered and had an excellent match - RCA took a 2-0 lead into half time after kicking against a strong wind and up the slope, goals coming from the strike pairing of Willie Crew and Andy Place.

The second half took on the same pattern as the first with RCA extending their lead to 4-0 with further strikes by the said deadly duo, before Washington's spirited performance saw them pull a goal back after 70 minutes.

RCA then replied with a further two goals, again from the terrible twins, to give a final scoreline of 6-1, with both leading goalscorers, 23 goals now, Willie Crew and Andy Place grabbing a hat-trick each.

RCA Barnes 3 Grangetown Florists 6

Sunderland Sunday League

Thursday 26 February 2009

RCA suffered a heavy, if somewhat flattering, defeat at the hands of the in form Florists side who look to be heading for a possible championship winning season. Florists led early on through Lee Owens, whose cross took a wicked deflection and looped over keeper Errington's head only for Anthony Teasdale to bring RCA level minutes later, getting on the end of a deep cross to volley home at the far post. Florists again took the lead when a long throw into the box was not dealt with by the RCA defense allowing Lee Owens to stab home from close range. However RCA clawed their way back when Willie Crew was released in the inside left channel to shhot home across the keeper into the far corner.

H-T 2-2

The second half started with RCA on the offensive and oly smart keeping from Florists' keeper stopped them falling behind, but a double wammy was soon to follow when Lee Owens was released through the inside right channel and, despite being a good two yards offside, was allowed to go on by the referee to round the keeper and fire home to complete his hat trick. Worse was to follow when the ball broke free in the box two minutes later and Florist centre forward Gareth Hill fired home to make it 4 - 2 to the aways side. Hill then found space to fire home a fifth and despite Gary McDonalds third for RCA, Gareth Hill completed his hat trick near the end with a far post header.

RCA Barnes 1 Redhouse CIU 2

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 1 March 2009

RCA were forced to field a weakened team, with veteran Paul Cooke having to make his first start at centre half and only one sub available. Despite this RCA started brightly, going in at half time with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Willie Crew strike after 25 mins.

The second half saw Redhouse kicking down the slope and exerting pressure without ever looking as if they would break RCA down, with the outstanding Phil Hall, playing just in front of a back three, not allowing anything to get to their nippy forwards. However Phil, just returned fron major knee surgery, suffered a dead leg with 15 minutes remaining and had to come off. This led to major re-organisation, which disrupted RCA for a while. Redhouse took advantage to score twice in a minute to take the lead 2-1. RCA tried in vain to respond, but just did not have the manpower or luck to grab what would have been a deserved equaliser.

Colonel Prior 1 RCA Barnes 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Thursday 5 March 2009

Nothing much to report on this 1-1 draw, but to say if ever the cliché 'a game of 2 halves' was applicable it concerned this encounter. Colonel Prior completely ran the first half and went in 1-0 up through a Steven Rocester strike after 25 minutes. However the second half was completely dominated by RCA and after Andy Place wasted a one-on-one, substiutue Phil Hall headed the equaliser five minutes from time to give both sides a deserved share of the points.

Catholic Club 2 RCA Barnes 3

Kitchen Magic Cup - Second Round

Sunday 8 March 2009

Played on a horrible pitch at Hillview with a howling gale blowing from end to end RCA progressed to the Third Round of the Kitchen Magic Cup courtesy of three first half goals, kicking with the wind and slope, scored by Andy Place (2) and RCA's oustanding young defender Liam Dunn with a long range strike - his first of what we hope will be many. Catholic Club had equalised earlier but half time saw RCA with a 3-1 lead.

The second half was always going to be backs against the wall and thus it proved, but with skipper Curtis and young Dunn, ably assisted by Alan Surtees at the back and a battling display all the way from the forwards, RCA hung on for a 3 - 2 victory, with the only goal of the second half coming when a long range shot, after a corner had been cleared, took a wicked deflection off the pitch and reared up to decieve keeper Errington.

2009-03-12 - RCA Barnes 3 SRM Hylton Castle 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Thursday 12 March 2009

RCA came out on top 3-1 in a very competitive match with first half strike from Martin Metcalfe, cancelled out with a deflected, headed OG from home skipper Curtis and further first half goals from a superb Ross Hughes free kick and a close range strike from Andy Place.

Kicking up the slope in the second half and against a blustery wind, RCA could have increased their lead several times but for competent keeping from SRM's keeper Brown. However SRM did have chances of their own and Alan Surtees produced two goal line clearances to enable RCA to secure a 3-1 victory.

SRM Hylton Castle 4 RCA The Barnes 3 (AET)

Total Sport Challenge Trophy: Second Round

Sunday 15 March 2009

RCA The Barnes exited the Total Sport Challenge Trophy when having to field an under strength side due to a 'birthday weekend' and a 'christening', at the hands of SRM Hylton Castle, whom RCA had beaten the previous Thursday night.

RCA started as if they had never played together and found themselves deservedly 2-0 down after 20 minutes, the result of first an uncharacteristic defensive error from Liam Dunn and then woeful defending against a quick counter attack.

RCA then seemed to be shaken out of their complacency and after a tremendous first time strike by the in form Andy Place dragged them back into the tie they equalised when the same player stooped to head home a corner after 35 minutes.

HT: 2-2

The second half failed to produce much decent football, other than a competent save from Brown in the SRM goal from, again, Place, but shambolic defending again from the RCA defence from a corner resulted in the ball being toe poked home from eight yards, and an uphill battle resulted.

Throwing caution to the wind RCA pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded somewhat fortuitously when an SRM defender unluckily deflected a Ross Hughes low cross into his own net after 88 minutes.

RCA should then have won the tie when Andrew Gilbert escaped down the left wing and squared to Anthony Teasdale at the near post, but with nobody near him and the keeper stranded he failed to bring the ball under control and the chance was gone.

FT: 3-3

Extra time commenced with RCA the more likely side, but as is their way they again failed to cut out a hopeful long ball over the top and man of the match Barry Cook just beat keeper Errington to the ball to lob it goal wards, the two of them then colliding as Alan Surtees was in the process of hooking the ball from the line. A penalty was probably the correct decision given the collision, but the ref then compounded the decision by dismissing keeper Errington for 'preventing a goalscoring opportunity', when in fact the goal was very nearly scored (a booking would surely have sufficed and SRM players were of the same opinion). Alan Surtees took over in goal, but Barry Cook confidently despatched it to give SRM a 4-3 extra time HT lead.

The second period of extra time still saw RCA on top but the lack of the extra man proved too much despite one or two decent opportunities which were again wasted due to lack of ball control, so the game went to SRM 4-3, and good luck to them in the quarter final.

Disappointing given our best chance for silverware is in the cups, so we just have The Kitchen Magic Cup to focus on with an away draw to Colonel Prior coming up shortly.

Grangetown Florists 3 RCA The Barnes 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Thursday 26 March 2009

Grangetown Florists strengthened their championship challenge with a 3-1 victory over RCA Barnes on a blustery night.

Kicking with the wind and down the slope in the first half RCA were more than a match for their opponents and should have taken the lead on at least one occasion when in form striker Andy Place beat the offside trap, but then dragged his shot wide of the left hand post from inside the box. As so often happens RCA were made to pay just a minute before half time when a strong run down the right resulted in a deep cross that split RCA's two centre halves and was despatched by the head of Peter Benson.

H-T 0-1 to Florists

RCA were then caught completely cold from the restart as a long crossfield ball from wide left found Lee Owens in acres of space in the inside left channel (where were the RCA left side defence? Asleep, me thinks!) Owens duly smashed an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the left corner of the net. Uphill for RCA now, but credit they kept going and created a couple of half chances, but the game then turned against them again when a ball into the near post, from Florists left was met by a Florist forward, a RCA defender and the RCA keeper, all arriving at the same time, resulting in the ball going over the goal line, goal kick or corner was the only debate, but the referee decided a penalty was the decision, much to the amazement of both sides, and Florists duly scored.

RCA replied almost immediately when good work down the left wing from Willie Crew sent over a deep cross. Andy Place rose at the far post to float a header into the angle to make it 3-1 to Florists and still time to make a game of it. Florists decided to defend their lead and Willie Crew should have added a second for RCA minutes before time when Andy Gilberts shot was blocked by the keeper, but Willie headed over from directly in front of goal and only five yards out - hey ho, what might have been.

Florists saw out the remaining five minutes and now appear to be on course for their first championship since the heady days of the late eighties when they were the team to beat. And the best of luck to them.

RCA The Barnes 3 Roker FC 1

Sunderland Sunday League

Sunday 29 March 2009

On a perfect morning for football RCA Barnes took on promoted Roker for the first time. The visitors started like a house on fire, taking the leadafter only two minutes with a cracking volley from Chapman. They continued to play good controlled football, passing, moving and keeping the ball, but ultimately not really penetrating or creating chances. They were also playing a dangerous offside game and were undone when Willie Crew was released in the inside left channel; he went on to beat the keeper comfortably to draw RCA level after 25 minutes. The game was now more even, with half chances at both ends, but Roker should have regained the lead just before half time when a midfielder broke into the box unchallenged to meet a free kick on the volley, but saw his effort strike the cross bar and cleared.

H-T 1-1

The second half continued in much the same vein untill Andy Place dispossessed a Roker defender in his own half and released Marni Metcalfe who cooly slotted home after 60 minutes. This seamed to deflate Roker's spirits and they were completely undone ten minutes later when Gary Tyzack ran strongly onto a through ball and was clumsily brought down from behind for a penalty, which the ever reliable skipper Curtis put away with aplomb. 3-1 to RCA now and Roker were visibly rocking. RCA then had numerous opportunities to add to their score as they totally dominated the final 15 minutes. But they settled for a 3-1 victory in the end and now look forward to getting as many points on the board as they can to try to secure a top 4 or 5 finish and there is still a cup quarter final to come against Colonel Prior at Ryhope CW on Sunday 12 April - some local support would be very much appreciated!

SRM Hylton Castle 2 RCA The Barnes 3

Sunderland Sunday League

Thursday 2 April 2009

RCA The Barnes completed a league double over SRM Hylton Castle with a 3-2 victory at the Billy Hardy Centre, Castletown.

RCA started slowly again and found themselves behind after 15 minutes when SRM scored a very unsportsmanlike goal after RCA keeper had kept out an effort that was followed up by a SRM forward resulting in both of them and an RCA defender ending up in a heap on the goal line, the ball having been hooked clear by the said defender. As the ball was half cleared the SRM forward then impeded keeper Errington from getting to his feet by deliberately kneeling on him, resulting in the keeper being injured and despite Errington lying on the ground, obviously in some pain, SRM proceded to regain possession and shoot home from 30 yards. The referee had followed the ball out and had apparently not seen the blatant impedement and so had to award the goal - not particularly sportsmanlike behaviour from SRM, but RCA had to accept it and carry on.

This incident only served to galvanise RCA and they then dominated the remainder of the half, having numerous half-decent opportunities to equalise, but could not quite find the killer ball.

H-T 1 - 0 to SRM

RCA came out of blocks at the start of the second half and equalised more or less from the kick off when Andy Place received the ball on the edge of the box to the right of goal, dropped a shoulder, lost his man and rifled a shot across the keeper into the far left corner: game on. Minutes later the same player found himself free in a similar position and repeated the dose with a similar finish, only this time high into the same corner. RCA were now well on top with playmaker McLeod dictating things from the centre of midfield and it was he who played a perfect ball down the inside right channel in the 70th minute to release leading scorer Willie Crew, who again shot across the keeper into the far left corner, a great finish from a great ball.

RCA then made three quickfire substitutions with Phill Hall (still not back to full fitness and needing to be treated gently), Mark McLeod (played on Tuesday night for RCA firsts) and Gary Tyzack making way for Martin Mowbray (just back in the fold after season long knee problems), Matty Stevens and the manager's youngest son Chris Hartley.

SRM, needing points for premiership survival, pushed on, but without really troubling the RCA defence, superbly marshalled by skipper Curtis alongside the ever dependable Surtees and the find of the season in young Liam Dunn - what a player he is going to be. However in the deepening gloom a speculative half hit shot from the edge of the box somehow found its way through and caught out everybody, including the keeper, who either could not see in the darkness or thought it was going wide, but it crept into the net to give a nervous last two mins, but RCA held out to record another fine comeback victory and keep themselves on course for their best league finish since the mid-90s.


Date Opposition Competition KO Ground F - A
Sunday, 31 August St John's Chapel FC Durham FA Sunday Cup Preliminary Round
10:30 AM
4 - 1
Sunday, 14 September Humbledon and Plains Farm FC League
10:30 AM
Murton CW 2 - 3
Sunday, 28 September Washington Arms Durham FA Sunday Cup Second Preliminary Round
Away 3 - 0
Sunday, 5 October Redhouse WMC League
10:30 AM
Downhill Complex 6 - 1
Sunday, 12 October Grangetown Florists FC Total Sport Challenge Cup - first round
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 2 - 1
Sunday, 19 October Liverpool Lee Jones FC The FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup
2.00 PM
Meadow Park 4 - 0
Sunday, 26 October South Moor Sports Durham Avec County Sunday Cup: Third Preliminary Round
10:30 AM
South Moor Sports 3 - 1
Sunday, 2 November Myers FC League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 2 - 0
Sunday, 9 November Hartlepool WHTDSOB Durham FA Sunday Cup First Round Proper
10:30 AM
Grayfields Playing Fields, Hartlepool 5 - 1
Sunday, 16 November Dawdon CW The FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup
1:00 PM
Seaham Red Star 2 - 1
Sunday, 23 November Silksworth Paragon FC League
10:30 AM
Silksworth Welfare Park 1 - 4

Sunday, 14 December

Heywood Irish Centre FC (Huddersfield) The FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup - Third Round
1:00 PM
Meadow Park 0 - 4
Sunday, 21 December Houghton Glendale SCFC Durham Avec County Sunday Cup : Second Round
10:30 PM
Houghton Complex 0 - 1
Sunday, 4 January Silksworth Paragon League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 2 - 0
Sunday, 11 January Redhouse CIU FC League
10:30 AM
Downhill Complex 2 - 1
Sunday, 1 February Silksworth Golden Fleece League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 2 - 2
Sunday, 22 February Washington F Pit Kitchen Magic Cup - R1
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 6 - 1
Thursday, 26 February Grangetown Florists League
7:00 PM
Meadow Park 3 - 6
Sunday, 1 March Redhouse CIU FC League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 1 - 2
Thursday, 5 March Colonel Prior League
7:00 PM
Away 1 - 1
Sunday, 8 March Catholic Club Kitchen Magic Cup - R2
10:30 AM
Hillview 3 - 2
Thursday, 12 March SRM Hylton Castle League
7:00 PM
Meadow Park 3 - 1
Sunday, 15 March SRM Hylton Castle Total Sport Challenge Trophy Second Round
10:30 AM
Billy Hardy Centre, Castletown 3 - 4
Sunday, 22 March Redhouse WMC League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 6 - 0
Thursday, 26 March Grangetown Florists League
7:00 PM
Meadow Park - away fixture being played at Meadow Park 1 - 3
Sunday, 29 March Roker League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 3 - 1
Thursday, 2 April SRM Hylton Castle League
6:30 PM
Billy Hardy Complex, Castletown 3 - 2
Sunday, 5 April Humbledon and Plains Farm League
10:30 AM
Meadow Park 0 - 6
Tuesday. 7 April Hastings Athletic League
7:00 PM
Meadow Park 1 - 7
Sunday, 12 April Colonel Prior Kitchen Magic Cup Quarter Final
10:30 AM
Ryhope CW 1 - 2
Sunday, 19 April Golden Fleece League
10:30 AM
Siksworth CW 0 - 2
Thursday, 23 April Colonel Prior League
7:00 PM
Ryhope CW 1 - 1
Sunday, 26 April Hastings Athletic League
10:30 AM
Barnes Park extension, Tay Road, Thorney Close 2 - 4
Tuesday, 28 April Myers League
6:15 PM
Billy Hardy Complex, Castletown 2 - 4
Sunday, 3 May Roker League
10:30 AM
Thompson Park, Southwick 2 - 1

Under 18s

Under 18s


Under 18s 2008-09 match reports

York City 5 Sunderland RCA 0

FA Youth Cup

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A coach party of 50 plus four cars travelled to York City on Tuesday for the eagerly awaited FA Youth Cup Tie. As 28 players had declared themselves fully fit and available, the management team most definitely had selection problems, albeit good ones!

Training preparation in the last few weeks had been good, but three consecutive U18 games had been called off for SRCA. In fact only one competitive game - four weeks ago - had been played. York have a youth squad of full time apprentices and had beaten Mansfield and Scunthorpe in the last week.

It was the intention for all players to gather experience of what its like to play at a professional stadium and all enjoyed the pre-match build up standing on the pitch at Kit Kat Crescent. The changing rooms however could not accommodate 32 bodies and I had to make one of my hardest decisions to date, trimming the squad down just to fit in the changing room.

The SRCA team selection was finally:

1 Ryan Graham, 2 Marc Moon, 3 Luke Wilson, 4 Alan Tench, 5 Liam Dunn, 6 Chris Bailey, 7 Chris Youldon, 8 Jordan Hardy, 9 Luke Page, 10 Nat Crinson, 11 Mark Robinson

Substitutes used were Anthony Gamble (30 minutess for 5), Jordan Robson (60 minutes for 10) and Michael Jacob (75 minutes for 8).

The York City side was:

1 Josh Leader, 2 Michael Duckworth, 3 Callum Brown, 4 Sam Burns, 5 Luke Woodall, 6 Dean Lysles, 7 Joe Knowlson, 8 Michael Emerson, 9 Nathan Parker, 10 Adam Boyse, 11 Nick Thompson

Substitutes used were Ryan Qualter, Kingsley Weatherall and Adam Shorfield.

After kick off it was clear that the main threat to the SRCA goal was going to be that of number 10 Adam Boyes. At 17 years of age having already made his first team debut for York, the lad has already been linked with Manchester United and is due to have a trial with Middlesbrough. In the early stages our defenders Tench and Dunn coped well with the fast running forwards, but York opened with excellent movement all over the pitch.

After an opening against 15 minutes of intense York pressure RCA began to get forward and both Page and Youldon were involved in winning corners with two half chances fired at goal. However York were breaking with intense pace from their own box and after 22 minutes it was no surprise when Parker fired in from inside the box.

After 30 minutes there was real hurt for RCA when attempting to attack. A ball seemed to be handled by a York midfielder who hit the ball forward to Boyes who in a flick and turn Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud of, raced into the box and meeting the oncoming keeper … well the inevitable penalty.

We were gutted and Ryan Graham is still, as he felt there was no contact. Boyes stepped up and gleefully slotted home to make it 2 - 0 to York.

There was no time to feel sorry for ourselves as Liam Dunn pulled up with a calf injury and had to be replaced by Gamble.
However as the defence was re-shuffled Boyes again found room to get a second on 42 minutes and to be honest this was an exceptional finish. 0 - 3 and half time.

Second half, I can only say how proud the management team were to see the whole team fight until the final whistle. York were most definitely faster in most areas and were very well drilled in all set pieces. However the SRCA players were not overwhelmed and actually had two goal bound efforts cleared from the York goal-line. Gamble was doing very well at the back, whilst Bailey and Hardy battled hard in the middle of the park. Moon was showing how he enjoys playing at this level, whilst Wilson and Robinson appeared to get stronger in the second half. York are a very strong youth side and finished the game off clinically via Joe Knowlson on 70 minutes and Luke Woodhall on 84. A 5 - 0 reversal but well worth the visit and we will see which of our youth players look back on this life experience.

I will be keeping an eye on the progress of Adam Boyes and what he is sold for in the future!

Sunderland RCA Under 18s player Lee Andrews gives an insight on the York City match from the bench

Some good individual performances from the likes of Ryan Graham, who picked up the Man of the Match Award, and Alan Tench. I think maybe the occasion got to a few people and nerves crept in, but saying that it was some people's first experience of playing at a ground like York City's. It was a decent set up there and also a pretty decent crowd for an under 18s match - 130 was the actual attendance.

There was some good craic going on and people will learn a lot from the experience not just about themselves but about the team, as Owen said on the touchline it is a learning curve for him and the staff and not just the players.

Compared to them we train twice a week and they train around five days a week and are a settled team that have had more time to gel. The effort was there last night but they were more sharper in certain areas due to plenty of game time, we haven't had a game for four weeks so that was understandable.

Overall it was a good effort and a decent performance against a well organised York City side.

Newcastle East End 2 Sunderland RCA 6

Under 18s - League Cup

Saturday, 15 November 2008

After the East End had beaten us 2-1 at Meadow Park in the Lady Eden Cup last week changes were made as SRCA looked for their first ever away win against the strong Newcastle outfit. The stakes were a little higher this week as a semi final spot in the League Cup was up for grabs.

Sweeper Alan Tench was moved from his customary sweeper role into centre midfield, while Luke Page was pushed up front so that his physical presence might unsettle the home side. Well the RCA boys showed their intentions from the off and were out of the traps quickly closing down the opposition in all areas with fast flowing football that set the style for the day. After winning a succession of corners and free kicks it was no surprise on 15 minutes when the ball was crossed, cleared to just outside the box when Alan Tench stuck the ball sweetly which the keeper got fingertips to but could not stop. 1 - 0: Tench's first for the club ... and what a smile.

East End now knew they were in for a real match and having raised their game they equalised on 25 minutes, a ball down the left crossed in and despatched in style from 10 yards. However this did not slow down the RCA impetus and the domination continued when Luke Page cut in down the right, raced in to the box and fired a cross-cum-shot, which the covering defender could do nothing about. 2-1. Again no sitting back as the lads hunted the ball down and then came the goal of the season so far. Every RCA player seemed to be involved before Chris Bailey and Tench exchanged passes to Page; the ball was hit out to the left and Mark Robinson whipped the cross from the left to the far side where Page who had raced in volleyed from 15 yards, the ball rocketing off the underside of the bar, over the line before bouncing upwards to still bulge the net. Well the celebrations said it all. 3 - 1 to RCA. The game was nearly all over when Lee Andrews right on half time, closed defenders down then raced to close the keeper down, winning the ball then spinning to shoot towards the goal, but the ball went agonisingly into the side netting.

No team talk at half time was necessary and the away side lined up ready to kick off with the East End lads looking on, still shell-shocked. The second half was little different to the first: no sitting back and at them again. Lee Andrews in an identical situation to the one before half time chased the ball down, stopped the keeper's clearance and spun with aplomb despatching the ball to make it 4-1 on 55 minutes. No way back for the East End now and definitely game over. The back four of Dunn, Ashman, Jacobs and Gamble were strong, feeding the wide midfielders, Robinson and Nicholson, with plenty of the ball. Tench and captain Bailey then raised the bar further with quality central midfield interplay and good moves were finished off twice by Bailey on 75 and 80 minutes, registering his first goals for the club. 6 - 1.

Although East End registered a late consolation to make the final score 6 - 2, nothing could spoil our day: an outstanding performance. All the players would have scored 8.5 from 10, all men of the match, but captain Chris Bailey edged it. A league cup semi-final to look forward to, but I can tell you now this first ever win at East End is definitely one to remember.

Looks like Walker Central or Gateshead Redheugh away in the semi but on today's performance,they are in for what should be a terrific cup tie.


1 Ryan Graham
2 Anthony Gamble
3 Liam Dunn
4 Mick Jacob
5 Anthony Ashman
6 Alan Tench
7 Mick Nicholson
8 Chris Bailey
9 Luke Page
10 Lee Andrews
11 Mark Robinson
12 Damien Knight - 80 mins for 10
13 Marc Moon - 70 mins for 7
14 Matty Reynolds - 85 mins for 11
15 Billy Hedgley
16 Graeme Pickering

Sunderland RCA 2 Walker Central 1

Under 18s - County Cup

20 November 2008

Well for SRCA's very young side to play both of the undefeated teams from the North Division in the same week was always going to be a tough ask. Buoyed by Saturday's win at Newcastle East End though it was a case of rolling up the sleeves again for tonight's County Cup tie against Walker Central. Only one change was made to the Saturday eleven, Marc Moon coming in at right back for Anthony Gamble who was switched to the centre of defence for Michael Jacob who was unavailable.

Walker won the toss and elected to play against the slope with a reasonable wind in their faces. SRCA kicked off with optimism, but were quickly closed down as the visitors seemed unperturbed about the conditions and were looking to get forward quickly and make their clear physical and height difference count. After winning a couple of throw-ins and then a free kick it was disaster from RCA's point of view in the third minute when great skill from right winger Adrian Watson saw him beat a couple of defenders, cut into the box and fire an early shot which deceived keeper Ryan Graham, the ball bouncing out to centre forward Dean Wear who drilled home from 10 yards. 1 - 0 to the visitors and a real awakening for RCA.

Walker were full of confidence and the home side were flustered in the first 20 minutes, struggling to get their passing game going. Hurried clearances were the norm. However after 25 minutes Robinson, Tench and Bailey were getting more on the ball, looking to release Page and Andrews up front with early balls. The confidence and shape were now improving and a couple of half chances were scrambled clear by the Walker defence who were not showing the same composure as in the early stages. Both RCA fullbacks were also pushing forward, then on 30 minutes right back Moon was confident enough to break forward hitting a speculative 35 yard effort which was half cleared out to Tench on the right. He wasted no time hoisting the ball back in to the edge of the box which Page flicked on, the ball landing at the feet of Andrews who cleverly shifted feet to hit across the goal and into the bottom corner of thenet. 1 -1 and much more like it from the home side.

Moments after Nicholson in the RCA midfield split the defence with a great through ball for Page who with the keeper to beat was pulled up for offside.

Walker rallied again but Ashman, Gamble and Dunn were very comfortable at the back, with very strong headed clearances. Half time approached with the game swinging the way of the home side, but no one could predict which way this one was going to go.

The second half started in the same vein as the first, Walker out of the traps quickly again and hoping to take advantage of the stronger wind. However the back four for RCA were looking much more assured and goalkeeper Graham dealt easily with long-range efforts. After a substitution change on 65 minutes with Jordan Hardy replacing Nicholson the game was beginning to edge the way of the home side. Walker were playing longer balls and RCA were getting a lot more possession. A great midfield move pushed the ball out to right full back Moon who hit a great ball up the right wing. Page, running to meet the ball, feigned to go inside but flicked the ball on in the same direction. Leaving the full back for dead he raced on. However instead of going for goal, he hit a raking pass across the box, which the last defender got a last ditch clearance to with Andrews pressing hard.

The Walker defence was split twice in the next five minutes both chances falling to Andrews. In the one-on-one with the keeper situations hesitation allowed the keeper to gather when a sidestep looked on the cards. The second a more difficult chance the forward hit early and the keeper Mark Dawson pulled off the save of the match.

However RCA dominance paid off in the 82 minute when Robinson and Page interplayed feeding Andrews again who had an effort cleared before the ball fell to him again on the six yard box. He flicked towards goal and the goalkeeper and defender raced back but could not stop the goal. 2 - 1 to RCA.

The game petered out now with RCA keeping possession and winning successive free kicks. The referee then blew to conclude the game, a very good win which will see the team fighting on three cup fronts when ties recommence in January.

A very good week so far with a game in the Eye Infirmary Cup against Witton Park this Saturday. Let's see(!) what happens next.


1 Ryan Graham
2 Marc Moon
3 Liam Dunn
4 Anthony Gamble
5 Anthony Ashman
6 Alan Tench
7 Mick Nicholson
8 Chris Bailey
9 Luke Page
10 Lee Andrews
11 Mark Robinson
12 Jordan Hardy - 65 for 7
13 Chris Hartley
14 Matty Reynolds
15 Damien Knight
16 Graeme Pickering - GK
17 Rhys Tench

Sunderland RCA 5 Witton Park 0

Under 18s - Eye Infirmary Cup

22 November 2008

As it was SRCA's third game in a week management decided to make use of the strong squad and the side was picked with the following changes. Graeme Pickering was selected in goal to make his full starting debut, Michael Jacob was chosen in central midfield, Damien Knight brought into the fray in right midfield and Matthew Reynolds was also selected up front.

RCA kicked off and took the game straight to Witton who could not hold the ball at all in the opening minutes. After a couple of rushed clearances it was no surprise at all when after good midfield play the ball was pushed wide right after passes were exchanged between Andrews, Bailey and Knight, this created space for Reynolds who on meeting the ball that was delivered next to the penalty spot calmly slotted home to make it 1 - 0 after four minutes. Well if that was a good start it got quickly better on 10 minutes when in almost identical style the ball was wide right again, played in quickly with precision and Reynolds was there just outside the six yard box to slot in with ease 2 - 0.

Well, great start, but the ease of the goals quickly brought about complacency and the next fifteen minutes brought a sloppiness from the young RCA side that had not been witnessed in recent weeks. The midfield stopped playing simple football and it was against the run of play when Michael Jacob, out of nothing, hit a shot which eluded the keeper to make it 3-0. His first goal of the season but after his early touches, many of which were wayward, he must still be wondering how he managed to do what he did.

Well if it is or is not going to be your day in football the next ten-minute spell really proved it. The game was held up with both Jacob and Tench going down with injuries after a spell when Witton were getting more in the game and creating good half chances through the central forwards. On 35 minutes sweeper Tench could not continue with his hamstring so Jacob swapped places with him and sub Chris Hartley came into central midfield. Moments later after only a couple of touches of the ball Hartley found space on the left side ran forward and hit the ball with his right foot from 25 yards, curling straight into the top right hand corner. 4 - 0 and Hartley's first goal for the club. Who could believe it

Half time - lets settle it all down. Not likely! Captain Chris Bailey is also injured and has to be replaced with Mick Nicholson coming into centre midfield. A strange day indeed and it was no surprise after a succession of corners that Damien Knight converted with a header on 70 minutes: 5 - 0 and definitely game over.

Witton Park won a penalty on 80 minutes, which unfortunately for them, number 10 Fairweather, who had been the away side's main threat, pulled wide. Pickering on his debut was going to get the clean sheet that his performance and the strong defence deserved.

Not the U18s best performance of the season but the fifth win in the last six games, four of which have been cup games.

Need some League points now and it's a big away derby match at Ryhope CW this Saturday. They, like us, have also reached the last four of the League Cup and a good match is expected.


1 Graeme Pickering
2 Marc Moon
3 Liam Dunn
4 Alan Tench
5 Anthony Gamble
6 Mick Jacob
7 Damien Knight
8 Chris Bailey
9 Luke Page
10 Mathew Reynolds
11 Luke Page
12 Chris Hartley - 35 minutes for 4
13 Mick Nicholson - 45 minutes for 8
14 Rhys Tench - 75 minutes for 6
15 Anthony Ashman
16 Mark Robinson
17 Ryan Graham (GK)
18 Billy Hedgley (GK)

Ryhope CW 1 Sunderland RCA 2

Under 18s - League

29 November 2008

The eagerly awaited local youth derby was in doubt early morning, but with a 1:30 PM kick off the strong sunshine had time to melt the surface frost and the referee Des Coulson passed the pitch fit without hesitation. Sunderland RCA buoyed by three successive cup victories were up for what was their first league fixture since 11 October. With both teams through to the semi-finals of the League Cup and a chance of a dream final against each other, all players were keen to show their mettle.

The game kicked off in lively fashion and it was no holds barred from either side. There were competitive tackles in all areas with both sides allowing little freedom to play football. Strong challenges resulted in physio attention for both teams with SRCA central defender Gamble suffering slight concussion from a well-won aerial challenge. Michael Charlton also received treatment for the home side and had to be replaced on 25 minutes.

In fact it wasn't until after 25 minutes that the home side found sufficient room up the left wing to create a half chance which keeper Ryan Graham kept out well at the near post to concede a corner. After the half hour though it was the visitors who were making clear progress and Robinson on the left side of midfield was supplying RCA's forwards Reynolds and Andrews with a lot of the ball. However due to the pitch having a crisp covering in areas the ball was generally running away to safety. On 30 minutes SRCA right full back Marc Moon overlapped and beat a couple of RCW players, but after all his hard work he cut into the box and lost his footing with only the keeper to beat. RCA ended the half the strongest winning successive corners, but both sides were lacking final penetration. HT: 0 - 0.

The second half commenced with RCA showing more rhythm, central midfielders Page and Bailey getting more passes and playing in wide men on both sides. Robinson from the left fired in two excellent crosses, which flew past on-running RCA forwards. Moon on the right also was creating opportunities, but again there was no end product. On 65 minutes though the breakthrough came when Page from inside the opposition half hit a free kick quickly out to the right and after a couple of attempts Moon fired in again and the onrushing defender could only deflect the ball into the net. After all the good play a goal was unexpected in this way but the celebrations by the RCA players showed they did not care how. Being ahead was what mattered. 1 - 0. The next ten minutes it was generally one way traffic with SRCA playing good football. After some good play Reynolds was put through the middle for RCA, racing on against the keeper he got his shot in, which went wide, but after colliding with the keeper the referee also gave a free kick. Could have been game over, but no and SRCA also wasted the free kick, which was hit over the bar.

However no further breakthrough meant that RCW lifted their game and quick passes from the back to middle found the centre forward who raced on to hit a powerful shot past the keeper. 1 -1 and game back on. However it was RCW who sat back again and it was no surprise when on 78 minutes page found Moon on the right who hit a searching 40 yard ball over the central defenders finding Lee Andrews who at the second attempt fired past the keeper from six yards. 2 - 1 to the visitors and real celebrations now.

In the last five minutes RCW threw everything forward, hitting the bar in the dying minutes - the rebound was pushed wide. However RCA chased the clock down holding the ball until the final minutes. Three points collected away from home, but it meant a lot more!


Ryan Graham
Marc Moon
Liam Dunn
Anthony Ashman
Anthony Gamble
Jordan Hardy
Luke Page
Chris Bailey (capt)
Lee Andrews
Mathew Reynolds
Mark Robinson

Subs used

Damien Knight 70 mins for 10


Graeme Pickering (gk)
Billy Hedgeley (gk)
Mick Nicholson
Greg Bradley
Rhys Tench
Mick Jacob

Blackhall CW 1 Sunderland RCA 5

Under 18s - League

Saturday 19 December 2008

Owen Haley reports on another win for the RCA Under 18s.

The only bad blemish on our season to date was when the Youth side faced Blackhall at home in October. Winning a game 5 - 1 with 25 minutes to go we then proceeded to lose the game 7 - 5. Today's team talk was therefore a simple one!

Earlier in the day I agreed with Neil Hixon to allow Anthony Ashman to step up and make his debut for the first team. Unfortunately I could not convince Mark Robinson to see the Season out with our Youth side and he has decided to give Senior football a go with Bishop Auckland (he made his Northern League debut on Saturday as well). Late withdrawals through illness from Chris Bailey and Jordan Hardy meant the squad was massively depleted and only 13 players travelled for today's game. Chris Hartley was picked in midfield to make his starting debut.

As expected the game was lively from the off and the first quarter saw action in both penalty areas whilst there were crisp tackles exchanged in all areas. The referee was controlling the game well, but RCA were very unlucky when a penalty was awarded against them in the 20th minute. The centre forward drilled the penalty hard down the middle, Ryan Graham saved but the rebound fell at the same player's feet and he fired home at the second attempt. RCA upped the pace now with Mick Nicholson and Luke Page starting to control the midfield. It was no surprise when, after a good move on 30 minutes, Mick Nicholson received the ball just outside the box and he split the defence finding Lee Andrews who made no mistake firing the ball into the bottom corner. 1 - 1.

RCA were definitely in the ascendancy now and on 35 minutes had the ball in the net again when Andrews followed in a shot which the keeper could not hold, the ball falling to Matty Reynolds who slotted home. However the referee disallowed what appeared to be a legitimate goal. Half time 1 - 1.

The team had to be re-shuffled early in the second half when central defender Gamble left the pitch through injury. Damien Knight entered the fray in right midfield with Michael Jacob moved to central defence. Although the football played by RCA was not to the standard of the first half, a lot of space was being found by the forwards. Andrews became provider with great passes to split the defence, setting up Reynolds on 60 minutes and then for Knight on 70, to make the score 3 - 1. Andrews again got in the box on 80 minutes to finish the game off with a well-taken goal - his ninth of the season. Billy Hedgely was then thrown on up front (normally a goalkeeper) and he finished off another great move on 85 minutes turning on a sixpence to fire in from six yards. 5 - 1 to the lads and setting us all up for a good Christmas. Keep it quiet but that's five straight wins and seven from our last eight.

I have told the lads that they have got to work hard and take good memories from their Youth League games and so far they are doing so. Still playing on four cup fronts, with a League semi final coming up in 2009 and in the last eight of the County Cup. Roll on the new year and lets see how close we can get.

Sunderland RCA 4 Witton Park 1

Under 18s League

21 February 2009

The SRCA youth side were desperately looking forward to playing football today, given that it was only the side's second competitive football match of 2009 and the first in four weeks. Although three members of the squad were on DFA county duty the management stuck with the policy of playing the scheduled fixture instead of postponing, unlike some other teams in the League appear to do when lads are called up for representative duty.

The squad is lucky in that when goalkeeper Ryan Graham has been selected for County duty, there are still two quality keepers available in Graeme Pickering and Billy Hedgley. The management made a bold decision in agreeing that both would each get a half in today's league fixture and it was Graeme who started between the sticks at kick off. It was also very pleasing to have Mark Robinson on the bench - back in the fold after playing first team matches with Bishop Auckland in the First Division of the Northern League - with us again in the week of his 17th birthday. Mark is chomping at the bit to play senior football so the temporary spell away from Meadow Park will have helped his football education. Who knows it might not be too far off the chance to play first team football with SRCA … in the first division!

In the opening exchanges both teams were intent on attack. Lee Andrew hitting RCA's best effort just wide with his left foot, from the edge of the 18 yard box. Chances were created at both ends, both keepers making terrific saves with RCA's Pickering racing out and saving a strong shot destined for the net. SRCA got the breakthrough though on 35 minutes when Luke Page, receiving the ball just inside the box, calmly slotted the ball out of the keeper's reach into the bottom corner of the net to give the home side a 1- 0 lead. The breakthrough lifted the whole team and was followed with a wave of home attacks, midfielder Chris Bailey rounding off a great move, but crashing a great effort against the bar. A very competitive game was being handled well by referee Gary Cole who kept the game going at fast pace.

At half time Billy Hedgley took over the goalie's berth and Mark Robinson came off the bench replacing Chris Bailey, who was injured, on the left side of midfield. The second half continued like the first with Witton Park going close via Dale Bennett. However the goal of the game came on 60 minutes with SRCA centre midfielder Mick Nicholson spotting the keeper off his line hit a tremendous 30 yard shot over his head. RCA increased the lead via Jordan Hardy on 65 minutes before Witton Park immediately pulled a goal back after excellent counter attacking play saw a move finished off by Ben Ord. Game on again with both sides still continuing to attack. Marc Moon playing at sweeper was outstanding at central defence for SRCA heading clear on all occasions when threats arrived.

However the final substitution appeared to reignite the team when Rhys Tench came on at left back replacing Hardy on 70 minutes. Liam Dunn was pushed up from his regular position at left back to left midfield and immediately linked up with the forwards to create a chance for himself which brought a great save from the keeper. However the same player having already showed his attacking intent was not to be beaten when he got in the box again and fired home to get his first ever goal for SRCA on 80 minutes. 4 - 1 and game over.

The win created a new club youth record of seven straight wins - in all competitions - and sets us up well for the eagerly awaited home County Cup quarter final tie against Gateshead Leam Rangers on 27 February. A real test ahead but our young lads at SRCA have sneaked up to second in the League and are proving to be a match for anyone on their day.

Team 1 Graeme Pickering, 2 Michael Jacob 3 Liam Dunn 4 Marc Moon 5 Anth Gamble 6 Mick Nicholson 7 Luke Page 8 Chris Bailey 9 Lee Andrews 10 Jordon Hardy 11 Damien Knight

Subs used Billy Hedgley 45, Mark Robinson 45, Rhys Tench 70. Unused: Matty Reynolds, Greg Bradley

Certainly gong to be management selection problems when the county lads return!

Finally, did you know that the youth side have used 26 different players in 14 games this season. After not scoring in their first two matches of the season the team went on to score 43 goals in their next 10 games. The really impressive bit is that 16 different players have scored in that run showing goals are spread out and football is not a team, but a squad game!

Sunderland RCA 2 Gateshead Leam Rangers 1 (AET)

Under 18s County Cup

28 February 2009

A good crowd on Saturday for SRCA U18s most important fixture to date and all at the club were prepared for a very hard test against high flying and formidable opposition in Gateshead Leam Rangers. Although the squad was boosted with the return of goalkeeper Ryan Graham and central defender Anthony Ashman back from County duty, bad pre-match news was received when midfield club captain Chris Bailey was made unavailable due to a serious work injury the previous day. However SRCA were lifted by the team captain's presence in the dug out after release from hospital on the Saturday morning. Alan Tench took up the vacant place in midfield instead of his normal position at sweeper.

Ashman took the captain's armband and it was Gateshead who won the toss electing to defend against the slope and medium breeze. After kick off, both sides moved the ball around swiftly attempting to gain ground, but the main threat was from long throws towards both penalty boxes. SRCA conceded the first corners and Leam Rangers immediately showed their hand, placing very tall defenders at the back post and attacking in tandem with excellent crosses hit right on the spot. SRCA were conceding height in all areas, but the lads were up to the test and defending well. As the game started to settle the home side were getting more possession with Robinson getting a lot of the ball and Andrews troubling the defenders with his pace and hitting a good effort just wide of the goal after 20 minutes.

The game then really came to life after the half hour when an excellent RCA through ball from midfield split the defence and in a 50-50 race to the ball between Gateshead keeper Ryan Docherty and Lee Andrews, it was the forward who reached the ball first to lift it up and into the top corner of the net from eight yards to score his tenth goal of the season. In a game that was clearly going to be tight, the jubilation from players and the home supporters said it all. However from the kick off Gateshead upped their momentum, winning a corner after a forward barged the ball out of the hand of keeper Graham. The visitors equalising when the cross was headed against the bar and the rebound found number eleven, Adam Thompson, following in to fire off the underside of the bar. After this frenzy the game settled down again as both teams packed the midfield area with SRCA's Page, Hardy and Tench more than holding their own.

In the second half both teams were proving to be well organised and few chances were being created.

Gateshead were still proving dangerous at set pieces while SRCA were attempting to keep the ball down to avoid losing position in aerial challenges. The management had to make an enforced change on 85 minutes when Jordan Hardy had to leave the field (one of the joys of youth football - the midfielder having to leave early to get to work for his part time job. Not joking, but the lad also was to face a work disciplinary today for turning up last week with dirty arms. The management told him to get to work quick and wear a hat and long sleeves if he couldn't find time for the shower. Then the moment of the second half on 90 minutes when substitute Damien Knight from the right played in Lee Andrews on the left, with the keeper and defender in the six yard box, he cracked a shot which the keeper forced out to the same spot; he hit it again from eight yards this time and a lot firmer, past the keeper and the defender spread-eagled in attempting to stop, wedged the ball between his body and the goal-line, the home players celebrated, the ball cleared out for a throw, the ref, right up with play, waved his hands saying no goal and then blew the final whistle. 1 - 1 and extra time to be played. A real dogfight this one, with no-one predicting the outcome.

However SRCA kept their heads and on 98 minutes won a free-kick just inside Leam Rangers half which was crossed in to the front post with aplomb by Mick Nicholson and Knight met it with a firm header into the net giving the keeper no chance. Well, real joy now and the goal really gave SRCA a much needed lift.

The second half of extra time was not for the purists. Gateshead pushing forward, but SRCA refusing to bow down. The back four of Gamble, Dunn, Moon and Ashman (who was battered and bruised) were standing up to everything. Then on 105 minutes the best chance of the game came when Andrews played in Knight on the right racing through from inside our half he only had the keeper to beat, but on attempting to round him pushed the ball too far. The lads kept possession and then unfortunately a great game was spoilt. With RCA keeping possession, a Gateshead defender took exception and threw a haymaker onto Mark Robinson, splitting his eye. Well, uproar now and even more when the ref felt it necessary to send the culprit defender and Robbo from the field. I wish we had video evidence of this one because we have been massively hard done by here. As a team we have not had a booking in our last eight games and only two all season. We are a proper footballing side and will be absolutely gutted to lose a very good player at this stage of the season. Could be going to DFA about the sending off.

The final whistle was blown 2 - 1 to RCA - that's eight straight wins - and we are now in the U18 county cup semi-final draw for the first time. We should be celebrating, but are all subdued.

Team 1 Ryan Graham 2 Anthony Gamble 3 Liam Dunn 4 Marc Moon 5 Anthony Ashman 6 Mick Nicholson 7 Luke Page 8 Alan Tench 9 Lee Andrews 10 Jordon Hardy 11 Mark Robinson
Subs used Damien Knight 88 minutes

Bottom of the league this time last year, the club has moved forward. Now in the next two months can the U18s turn a good season into a great one?

Sunderland RCA 1 Chester le Street 1

Under 18s County Youth League

Saturday 14 March 2009

Well before today, only four league games left to play for SRCA youths and to stand any chance of winning the league the opposition, Chester-le-Street, had to be beaten. A very big ask, given that the visitors had not dropped a single point to date during 2008/09. However SRCA were buoyant on the back of eight straight wins and were definitely looking forward to the test.

With a decent crowd in attendance, SRCA won the toss and elected to defend the conditions with a very strong March wind in their faces. Chester-le-Street were quickly on the attack and the two central attackers, 9 and 10, were very lively; RCA central defenders Moon and Ashman had to make good challenges to control the early threat. Chester won the first corners, but they were well dealt with as RCA stood resolute. However it was difficult for the home attack to make any headway until the 20th minute when Andrews (who had made his first team debut during the week) hit a decent effort, which was a yard wide of the target. Minutes later though there was a goal on the counter when the central Chester midfielder played a through ball into the box and number 10, Joe Hughes, whilst looking in an offside position, flicked the ball over keeper Graham who had raced out, making it 1 - 0 to the visitors.

The midfield area was packed now with RCA reverting to five across the park to slow down the Chester momentum who were looking to get a second as the wind was proving to be a massive advantage. However they were restricted to long range efforts including a couple of direct free kicks well dealt with by Graham. However up front Robinson and Andrews were causing problems with their pace and RCA won corners as half time approached. Chester coped well with the threat having aerial advantage in many positions but were still relieved when the whistle blew, as RCA were unlucky not to register a goal.

RCA players remained on the pitch at half time eagerly awaiting the restart and Chester players, when leaving the changing rooms, knew they were in a real match. The home supporters were not to be disappointed as RCA quickly went for it, winning corners immediately. Then in the 50th minute a real surge on goal when Page, Jordan and Hardy, had half chances before the ball was cleared high to the edge of the box where supporting midfielder Bailey attacked the ball. Heading it perfectly from 18 yards and with the keeper beaten it crashed against the bar. Chester were doing all the defending now, particularly with Ashman's long throws which were causing major problems and winning RCA consecutive corners. The last was well crossed in by Robinson, but Ashman headed wide when finding space in the box. The pressure eventually paid off in the 75th minute when another corner was won on the right and when it was crossed in it was only half cleared to the edge of the box. Page hit it first time and Ashman redirected the shot into the bottom corner of the net. Real celebrations now as RCA drew level 1 - 1.

The game was fast and frantic now as the home side pushed forward at all times, needing a winner to keep possible title chances alive. However no breakthrough came and it was heart-in-mouths in the last minute when Chester-le Street in their best chance of the second half raced through, three on to one, only to waste the opportunity when the centre forward shot from distance instead of playing his attacking partner in. The full time whistle was blown and title aspirations look very unlikely now in that SRCA must win their last three matches whilst hoping Chester lose three of their last five - very unlikely indeed because they are an exceptional side. The record run of eight successive wins has been halted but as least our young lads are unbeaten since October. Definitely good times as this time last year we were bottom of the league. Three cups left to go for with two semi-finals coming up very soon. If the lads can keep the effort and commitment up together with a bit of luck who knows we might reach a final. Still a great season whatever happens and we are still the only team to have beaten North League leaders, Walker Central, and the first to take a point off the South League champions elect!

Ryhope CW 1 Sunderland RCA 3

Durham County Cup Youth Semi Final - Under 18s

Saturday 28 March 2009

History was made today with the first ever meeting of two clubs with home grounds based in Ryhope (less than a mile apart) competing in a Durham County Cup Semi Final tie. Whilst the players themselves were eagerly looking forward to the match, local supporters arrived in numbers as the kick off approached and were not put off by the cold, wind and dampness that prevailed. SRCA had a clean bill of health other than for Graeme Pickering one of the club's three goalkeepers being unavailable. Ironic that generally having three keepers for most games, that the only defeat in the last 12 was back in October in a game that we did not have a keeper. The management had some big decisions to make in team selection still with a good squad of seventeen available for the tie.

At kick off the wind was very strong and with RCW winning the toss and electing to defend the conditions, SRCA had to make use of the advantage and get something from the first half. Luke Page who has played most of his games in the centre of midfield played up front whilst left sider Mark Robinson was asked to play higher up the field. In the first ten minutes the play was congested in the midfield area with RCW closing down quickly and clearly showing strong determination in the tackle. However SRCA were making use of the strong wind at their backs and began winning throw-ins inside the RCW half and Anthony Ashman was throwing well into the penalty area. A couple of corners were won, but scrambled away as the home side defended well. As the game progressed RCA in having more possession were drawing many fouls for minor infringements. RCA midfielder Chris Bailey needed prolonged treatment after a rash tackle on him after 20 minutes. However the next challenge by Callum Charlton from RCW on Alan Tench was a very bad one. The referee had a long look and on going to his pocket produced yellow. Debatable, but RCA were not ruffled. The decisions pushed the team forward invigorated and after a further throw was won on the left a breakthrough was made. Launched into the box Luke Page won possession on the penalty spot his first effort with his left foot was blocked and when the rebound fell to him again he hit it immediately with his right and it flew in along the wet surface to make it one-nil to the away side. The large contingent of home supporters were silenced, whilst the RCA players were in high spirits now.

Ten minutes later things got better for RCA when a corner was won down the left side again. Mark Robinson hit a sweet curler into the box where sweeper Marc Moon rose unchallenged and planted a header right in the top corner of the net to make it 2 - 0 to the visitors. RCW responded by pushing more players forward and Ryan Graham had to be on his toes to keep out to long-range efforts. However the back four of Gamble, Moon, Ashman and Dunn were proving very capable. Andrews and Page worked hard up font closing the space down whilst wide midfielders Robinson on the left and Hardy on the right tightened up the midfield. The referee blew for half-time RCA worthy leaders in 2 - 0, but the game was not over by a long way as a severe test, with the wind unrelenting, was ahead of us. The main concern at half time was that treatment was needed for the knocks that central midfielders Tench and Bailey had taken. Although both had treatment it was decided to withdraw Bailey. Damien Knight was brought into the fray up front with Luke Page moved back to centre midfield.

The second half kicked off with the changes not affecting the general play and RCA still showing composure in all areas. RCW though were giving it their all and also making use of long throws which resulted in winning corner advantage. On 60 minutes though, they nearly made the breakthrough when Trewick created a chance for a RCW forward to break into the box and after beating a defender he hit the ball immediately across keeper Graham who pushed it away for a corner. However the RCA tactics of moving the ball quickly wide paid off and on 65 minutes when the ball was switched forward to Damien Knight on the right who running from the half way line out-sprinted the defence and from all of 30 yards spotted the advancing keeper and lifted the ball spectacularly over his head, the ball landing right in the bottom right corner of the net: 3 - 0.

RCW really had to push forward now and it was backs to the wall as RCA defenders were working overtime pushing the ball out for throw-ins and corners. Very resolute, but the pressure eventually paid off when a free kick was won down the right on 75 minutes. From all of 30 yards Greener ran in to hit a strong left foot curler over the wall and right into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. The home supporters celebrated whilst the RCW players raced back to kick off, buoyed by the breakthrough. Backs to the wall stuff for the next five minutes for RCA! RCW began leaving gaps at the back. The wide forwards Robinson and Knight both had chances for RCA with the former beating the full back on the left wing and racing into the box firing wide. Lee Andrews who had worked tirelessly up front then hit an excellent effort from 30 yards, which the home keeper dealt with well. The game was shut down with RCW going until the end. Actually eight additional minutes played not that the reporter was counting, before the referee blew and the tie won 3- 1 by RCA. A County Cup final for the first time in the club's history! Good banter in the home team's clubhouse after the game when both committees and management discussing the progression of some of the tadpoles into the larger senior football pond of Wearside League or Northern League football. A few of the lads playing today definitely have good futures in the game.

Sunderland RCA 5 Willington 2

Eye Infirmary Cup

6 April 2009

Welcome showers before kick off and very little wind, meant conditions were ideal for tonight's cup tie against Willington, with a semi final place at stake. Facing three games in six days, the management made good use of the squad and four changes were made from the last match. Billy Hedgley got his chance in goal, Mick Jacob brought in at right back, Damien Knight on the right side of midfield, with Matty Reynonds up front for his first game since his minor operation. Difficult decisions indeed given that from the last ten games, nine had been won by SRCA with one draw.

If the team changes were going to affect the good run it certainly didn't show and RCA started at a phenomenal pace. Kicking off with the slope advantage, possession was retained as the ball was passed between midfielders with captain Chris Bailey exchanging passes with Luke Page in the centre before feeding Lee Andrews up front. He held well before rolling the ball back to Page who, 25 yards from goal, took one touch then hit a curled drive over the outstretched keeper and into the top corner. 1 - 0. The players were jubilant, a large crowd applauded and the Willington defenders were shell-shocked. All one way traffic in the first ten and the passing and movement was better than it has been all season: not like watching Brazil; this was better! A further seven man move even had sweeper Marc Moon piling forward and he hit a tremendous drive which finished wide. Every home player seemed to be getting in on the act and Page and Bailey in the centre were running the show. Willington could not get hold of the ball at all and after 20 minutes the next breakthrough. Page again taking the pass he beat two men, before slicing the defence in two freeing Reynolds, who racing on to beat the keeper in attempting to lob, sliced the ball, but this totally confused the keeper leaving the forward to follow up and fire home 2 -0.

Willington had not settled and were moving the ball long in attempting to get some respite. Although they did win a couple of corners and a free kick they were finding little room in the RCA end with Tench and Jacobs at the back, not only winning balls, but starting attacking moves at the same time. The amount of home possession though was frightening and no surprise when a further breakthrough was made. Page was again involved when getting the ball and on 35 minutes. If the first goal was top drawer this one also took some beating. Page receiving from Bailey, hit a great ball out to the left, Robinson raced on beating his man then cutting into the box took out another defender, switching the ball left to right foot he hit a 22 yarder straight into the bottom corner. 3 - 0 and great celebrations. Robbo's first of the season and was he pleased! The visitors needed half time, but there was still no relenting. Ball played from the back again with Dunn and Moon involved, Tench moved it out to the right and this time Damien Knight fired in a terrific cross to the back post, Robinson right in the mood now, raced in to hit a terrific volley which Howarth, in goal, tipped onto the bar, but who was waiting for the rebound?

Matty Reynolds again, thank you very much. He despatched the ball for his tenth of the season. 4 - 0 and easily our best 45 minutes of the season to date.

Not wanting half time, but the referee blew the whistle.

The opposition and current league leaders now knew what they were up against and tightened up in all areas. Clearly they were not going to throw the towel in and responding to the challenge they upped the ante and pulled a goal back for their efforts. Although their passing and movement was excellent the goal came from sloppy defensive play when the ball played into the box caused hesitancy between Moon and goalkeeper Hedgley, allowing Josh Clark to intercept and fire into the corner on 50 minutes. Both teams clearly set the stall out to attack resulting in some excellent, fast-paced football, well appreciated by the crowd. Chances were created from both sides before RCA increased their lead on 70 minutes. A free kick on the halfway line was hit long to the right side of the box where Liam Dunn climbed high to head over all the defence into space and Lee Andrews reacted first to half volley in from 8 yards. 5 - 1 and surely game over. Well fair play to Willington they came back again and after a good passing period the ball was crossed in from the left where Evan Graham ran in between defence and goalkeeper to plant a firm header over the advancing keeper. 5 - 2 and what a cracking game and the quality of the football was commented on by referee Bob Robson at the end of the match.

On Saturday SRCA play Willington again in the league and all will be looking forward to the game involving teams with similar attacking styles playing the game of football in the proper way. A great advert for the Saturday County League. A further league match against our neighbours RCW on Wednesday and the question is can SRCA keep the unbeaten run going? Good that the team has reached the County Final and now a further two semis, in the League and Eye

Infirmary cups, but the most important thing is the progress that our youth side is making and in the style they are aiming to play the game. The future is good and a lot of club scouts are starting to take notice!

Sunderland RCA 2 Ryhope CW 1

Under 18s League

8 April 2009

With the first team at Marske there was a subdued atmosphere at Meadow Park for a local derby with the crowd mainly consisting of support for the visitors. Given the hectic week of games the SRCA management made good use of the strong squad and Graeme Pickering was picked to play in goal whilst Greg Bradley was selected up front for his first start in a couple of months.

RCW won the toss and opted to kick with the slope advantage and a reasonable wind at their backs. A brave decision and one that suited their intentions as they were quickly in the SRCA goal area and half chances were created for both central forwards, Greener and Rogerson. Chris Trewick in central midfield for RCW was dictating the early play and created openings that could have been made better use of but whilst in good possession, players were choosing to shoot from distance and Pickering in goal gathered with confidence. SRCA responded winning a couple of corners, but in the first half hour little headway could be made. It was no surprise that RCW took the lead on 35 minutes, but after previous good play it came from the direct route. An RCW defender threw the ball Rory Delap-style into the box, where it hit Mick Nicholson on the arm and although there was not full intention the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Rogerson stepped up and drilled low into the corner giving the keeper little chance. 1 - 0 to the visitors. SRCA had one further chance, which was delivered onto the head of Damien Knight, but he headed wide. The game closed up thereafter until half time with little room being found by either side.

The second half commenced with SRCA upping the ante, but RCW were proving to be a tough nut to crack and capable when counter attacking. However the endeavour paid off after 70 minutes when after successive corners a ball was not fully cleared in the box and it fell to Greg Bradley who hit home the equaliser. Shortly after, RCA management made further changes with Tench, Reynolds and Andrews being introduced for Nicholson, Bradley and Knight. The momentum was increased and resulted in the best period of play for RCA, but no clear-cut chances were created. However with a draw looking very likely a long clearance from the right on 82 minutes arrived just inside the box where Robinson running in from the left chased past the last defender and gleefully struck into the net. Loud celebrations from the home players having grounded out another win which means at least a top three finish and a chance of runners up spot if results can be gathered against Willington. The unbeaten run now stretches to 12 games.

Sunderland RCA 2 Willington 2

Under 18s League

11 April 2009

The opposition knew what to expect at Meadow Park today and made a number of changes from the starting line up that had turned out in the cup match the previous Monday. SRCA made a couple of changes from the previous two games with Ryan Graham returning in goal and Anthony Gamble back in the back four.

The visitors were clearly up for it and if Monday's start by SRCA was impressive Willington's was equally as good, attacking from the off. After good midfield play between Richard Suddes and Lewis Brown in midfield, a great ball was played over the head of SRCA's central defenders and centre forward Barry Thompson raced onto it, despatching the ball over the head of advancing Graham in goal. 1 - 0 to Willington and only six minutes played. If this was a wake-up call for RCA it was ignored as moments after a ball was played in from the right wing and again missed by SRCA defenders; it fell to the feet of Thompson who in a great position hammered the ball over the bar from only eight yards. The home side could not settle down in the first half hour, but did create a good chance from a corner, which Luke Page headed over. A strong penalty claim was also turned down when a Willington defender, who did not make any contact with the ball, challenged Knight, racing into the box. The increased pressure paid off though; on 40 minutes with Alan Tench instrumental in playing one-twos down the right before delivering a great ball to Knight in the box, who raced on and made no mistake hitting the ball right into the corner of the net. SRCA were very alive know and right on half time they beat the offside trap and with Knight in again with the keeper to beat the referee blew for half time.

SRCA commenced the second half like they finished the first with Lee Andrews hitting a good tester for the keeper and left back Liam Dunn also getting into the box after a terrific solo run with the final effort drilled over the bar. However Willington dusted themselves down and after winning a corner they took the lead after 60 minutes. The corner hit in well from the right had keeper Graham coming off his line however after a challenge the ball spilt free and number eight, Evan Graham wasted no time in dispatching the ball home. 2 - 1 to Willington. The visitors then invited pressure on themselves opting to play one up front and it was generally one-way traffic after that. Nicholson, Reynolds and Bradley were brought on in quick succession to mix things up as Willington were closing all the doors just in front of goal. Robinson on the left was beating his markers at will, but there was no final finish by the SRCA attackers. However when a long ball was played through the middle on 88 minutes, Mathew Reynolds ran onto it and in a race with the keeper he got to the ball first and from 25 yards and a very tight angle hit it high over the keeper's head, bouncing once and then hitting the roof of the net. Big celebrations as the SRCA lads were ecstatic in hitting the equaliser and getting their rewards for the long period of domination. Final whistle 2 - 2 and the unbeaten run continues. It's a long break now after the quick rush of games, with no fixtures for two weeks. Not a good time to have a break but big games to look forward to with two semis, a County Cup Final and one league game left against Willington with the runners up spot still possible.

Gateshead Redheugh 3 Sunderland RCA 2

Under 18s League Cup Semi Final

Wednesday 29 April 2009

It was a very long and lively night in the centre of Gateshead for tonight's League Cup Semi. The game scheduled to kick off at 6:30 finally kicked off at 6:45, the delay being caused by the request of an assistant referee that all supporters stand at least five yards away from the byeline. Could have been all sorted if the adjacent pitch with a perimeter barrier was used.

The opening 20 minutes were dominated by Redheugh who, adapting better to the conditions, were very direct and they were well worth the lead scored by Bragnell who followed up after a shot was pushed out by Graham in goal. RCA were struggling to play their normal football, but half chances were created for Reynolds and Knight who both hit efforts wide of the target. However improvements were showing and it was no surprise when the equaliser arrived when Reynolds hit home after a great through ball by Andrews. However immediately from the kick off the home side put four passes together before a ball pierced the RCA back four and Bloomfield ran on to hit a great shot from 22 yards. To make matters worse for RCA right before half time a corner kick was conceded on the left and when this was hit to the back post an unmarked Bragnell volleyed home from 6 yards. RCA 3 - 1 down and with it all to do.

Redheugh decided to adjust their game plan to defend only after the break and this enabled RCA to dominate from the off. Wave after wave of attack, but no end product until 70 minutes. Moon fed Page down the right who raced into the box hitting a good effort which the keeper pushed out to the onrushing Knight who hit home to reduce the deficit. All one way traffic and the home side were defending as if their lives depended on it. Numerous stoppages were now the call, the referee and his assistants meeting every few minutes to discuss the bad light, objects found on the pitch and other problems. However RCA were not going to surrender their unbeaten run lightly and on 80 minutes Ashman threw a long throw special into the box, defenders and attackers missed the ball and although the keeper appeared to touch when the ball went into the net, no goal was the call. Minutes later Moon hit a 25 yard screamer against the bar the ball falling agonisingly short of Knight following up. Free kick after free kick was conceded by the home side and on 85 minutes a terrific effort was hit on goal by RCA's Page and this was handled by a defender what looked like just inside the penalty area. The referee blew then again exchanged words with his assistant, on return though, a free kick was awarded right on the edge of the box. The drilled effort blocked again. Ashman was then sent off for a second bookable offence for disputing the previous decision.

The referee blew as Gateshead booked their place in the League Cup Final. If an equaliser had happened the game would have gone straight to penalties as there was no light now available to view. A controversial game, but fair play to the endeavour of the home side for going until the end. Unfortunately RCA's unbeaten 14 game run, started in November, is now over. Time to dust ourselves down for a very big Semi Final away to Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

Willington 1 Sunderland RCA 3

Under 18s League

25 April 2009

The league runners up spot was at stake today with Willington needing a draw to secure second position, whilst RCA had to ensure victory to overtake them. Both teams were well up for it, with Willington edging possession in the first quarter of an hour and looking very dangerous from set pieces. Pickering in goal for RCA had to be alert and saved well in a one-on-one with the Willington number 10.

RCA began to get into their stride after 20 minutes with Andrews breaking into the box and after getting past the keeper he shot into the side netting from a very acute angle. Minutes later Ashman fired in a free kick towards goal for RCA and Tench did very well in reaching the ball just inside the six-yard box, but hit his shot against the bar. However the good period of dominance was disturbed when Willington gained advantage from a corner on 25 minutes, the centre half heading home well to make it 1 - 0 to the home side. RCA upped the ante and really went at the home side and it was no surprise when Luke Page fired home a great volley from 25 yards to make it 1 - 1. Minutes later Ashman threw one of his specials into the box, Page flicked on into the six-yard box where Andrews, with his back to goal back, heeled the ball into the net. Massive celebrations and much more like it from RCA who held the 2 - 1 advantage at half time.

Willington pushed all out in the second half, looking to secure that important point, but RCA were not flustered and when the defence was breached Pickering was looking very assured in goal to deny the home side. RCA were looking more confident as the game wore on with Dunn at left back starting to get forward and support the attack. After 60 minutes RCA made possession and pressure count, winning successive corners one of which was delivered well to the back post by Robinson, where Tench headed back towards goal and this was met by Knight who put the ball past the keeper heading in from three yards. 3 - 1 to RCA and it was looking like runners up spot in the bag.

A few players' heads dropped in the Willington side and RCA had further great chances to extend the league both falling to Knight who hit over the bar in a one to one with the keeper. The same player should easily have done better when put through on 80 minutes when with the keeper to beat he shot weakly and this was smothered easily. RCA controlled the ball for the remainder of the game until the referee blew the final whistle. Celebrations from RCA and runners up spot achieved. After collecting only one point from the first three league games of the season the team has gone on to be undefeated in the next nine league matches. The undefeated run now stretches to 14 matches, which also includes 12 wins. Good times and good progress by RCA Youths with two semi finals and the County Cup final soon upon them!

Chester-le-Street 3 Sunderland RCA 2

Under 18 Eye Infirmary Cup Semi Final

Saturday 2 May 2009

Well the busy schedule caught up with the U18 squad and only 13 players were available for today's Eye Infirmary Cup Semi Final against League Champions Chester-le-Street.

In a very tight first half it was possibly RCA who shaded possession with both forward lines very alive and some excellent attacking football on offer.

Chester-le-Street took the lead through a cool finish by Aiston after 25 mins.

After 35 minutes RCA were pushing to equalise, but then one of the bizarre incidents of the season occurred. After a stoppage through a player injury the referee awarded a bounce ball on the edge of the Chester-le-Street box. Lee Andrews standing opposite a Chester-le-Street defender must have thought his opponent was going to challenge and instead of passing to the keeper overhit the ball which flew straight into the back of the net. The referee awarded the goal and immediately booked Andrews. 1 - 1 and real confusion. From the kick off RCA allowed Aiston to walk through from centre circle to goal to restore the balance and common sense to the game. 2 - 1 to Chester at half time.

The second half continued at a fast pace and on 65 minutes it was Aiston again who finished off a great five man move to despatch the ball well from just inside the RCA box. RCA upped the ante and had plenty of opportunities before Andrews scored the goal of the game on 80 minutes. Chester shut up shop and it was they that booked their place in the Final.

Two semis lost by RCA in a week and only the big one left the County Cup Final on Tuesday 5 May. A nostalgic date in that being the famous SAFC 1973 FA Cup win. Let's hope it's our night!

New Hartley 1 Sunderland RCA 3

Under 18 Durham County Youth Cup Final

Tuesday 5 May 2009

All the photos

Well the final game of the season for Sunderland RCA Under 18s and a very big one in the Durham Youth Cup Final. The whole squad (19 in total that has been utilised for the last few months) were available for selection and the management had the toughest decision of the season to make with only 16 allowed to make the team sheet and then picking the starting eleven. Whatever lay ahead all squad members were congratulated on what has been a great squad effort and an excellent season in finishing County South League runners up. No one will forget that 14 game unbeaten run, starting early November and lasting until the last week of April. The record will take some beating! Behind us now though and one final push tonight with the major prize of the County Youth Cup up for grabs.

The Harton and Westoe arena was idyllic other than for an increasing breeze, which RCA captain Chris Bailey on winning the toss elected to defend. However it was RCA who opened with attacking intentions and clearly they were up for what was going to be a tough encounter. The early exchanges saw commitment in all areas as both teams looked to stamp authority. On eight minutes some great passing between Bailey and Page in the centre allowed space for Tench wide right who played an excellent ball up the line to Page again. He showed great acceleration racing into the box and deceiving the left back in feigning a cross with his right foot he turned inside and hit a great shot with his left into the far corner past the despairing New Hartley goalkeeper Zak Douglas. 1 - 0 to RCA with less than 10 minutes played. What a fantastic start.

New Hartley were most definitely unsettled now and RCA top scorer Andrews, when played in by his forward partner Robinson, could have made it two when put clear after quarter of an hour, however he lifted the ball over the bar with only the keeper to beat. New Hartley weathered the storm and started to apply good pressure with their central midfielder Chris Moffet influencing some good forward movement. After winning successive corners the Hartley central defender Joe Berry headed strongly towards goal and Pickering in goal for RCA was relieved to see this clear the bar. After the half hour New Hartley were really making progress and utilising the strong breeze at their backs. RCA were defending strongly though and it was a real surprise when there seemed little on, when New Hartley number 10 Alex Mathieson hit a real screamer from 30 yards which flew into the top corner of the net giving the keeper no chance. 1 - 1 and game on. New Hartley upped the ante and Pickering had to make an excellent stop from centre forward Jamie Heathcote minutes later . However RCA showed no signs of dejection and took the game again back to New Hartley and Robinson and Andrews created half chances again which kept the New Hartley keeper on his toes. The referee blew for half time with RCA after defending strong wind conditions still having a spring in their stride as they left the field.

RCA went straight at New Hartley after the second half kicked off and New Hartley were tested at the back conceding throw ins in quick succession. Ashman who had proved a threat to Hartley many times in the first half, then threw one of his specials right into the 6 yard box and the flight of the ball deceived the keeper who finger tipped the ball before a covering defender headed into the goal right on the line. Unspectacular, but 2-1 to RCA and real wind in the sails. New Hartley pushed again, but the RCA back four of Dunn, Moon, Ashman and Gamble were very resilient and they were eliminating danger very quickly. After 60 minutes RCA were making the most of counter attack opportunities and after some good play down the right Tench hit an excellent effort from 16 yards just over the bar. Jordan Hardy was providing good midfield cover to the RCA defence allowing Page and Bailey more chances to move forward. The game could have been sown up when Andrews was freed and the keeper pulled off an excellent save from him on 75 minutes. New Hartley gave a final push in the latter stages, but it was RCA who counter attacked down the right, Tench freeing Robinson down the right who raced into the box and although challenged he hit a great effort across the keeper to make it 3- 1 and game over on 85 minutes.

Reynolds and Knight came on to replace Andrews and Robinson on 86 minutes. The clock was run down and the referee blew. Joy from the RCA players as they gathered to congratulate one another. The first ever County Cup win that the club has had at any level and just rewards for some great efforts during 2008/09. Good prospects on show, six of the squad being eligible for next year's Youth side whilst a few of the older lads will be joining the first team camp for next season . A good base is in place for the SRCA project.



CC - County Cup
EIC - Eye Infirmary Cup
FAYC - FA Youth Cup
LEHC - Lady Eden Hospitals Cup
L - League
LC - League Cup


Opposition Fixture F - A Result Scorers
Saturday 16 August
Chester-le-Street L 0 - 3 Lose  
Tuesday 09 September
York City FAYC 0 - 5 Lose  
Saturday 20 September
Lumley L 3 - 3 Draw Andrews, Crinson, Hardy (pen)
Wednesday 24 September
Blackhall L 5 - 7 Lose Andrews, Bradley, Crinson, Moon, Reynolds
Saturday 27 September
Lumley LC 5 - 1 Win Andrews, Crinson, Knight, Reynolds, Wilson
Saturday 11 October
Witton Park L 2 - 0 Win Moon, Reynolds
Saturday 25 October
Newcastle East End LEHC 1 - 2 Lose Nicholson
Saturday 15 November
Newcastle East End LC 6 - 2 Win Andrews, Bailey (2), Page (2) , Tench
Thursday 20 November
Walker Central CC 2 - 1 Win Andrews (2)
Saturday 22 November
Witton Park EIC 5 - 0 Win Hartley, Jacob, Knight, Reynolds (2)
Saturday 29 November
Ryhope CW L 2 - 1 Win Andrews, Moon
Friday 19 December 08
Blackhall L 5 - 1 Win Andrews (2), Hegdley, Knight, Reynolds
Saturday 10 January
Lumley L 3 - 2 Win Moon, Reynolds (2)
Saturday 21 February
Witton Park L 4 - 1 Win Dunn, Hardy, Nicholson, Page
Saturday 28 February
Gateshead LR CC 2 - 1 aet Win Andrews, Knight
Saturday 14 March
Chester le Street L 1 - 1 Draw Ashman
Saturday 28 March
Ryhope CW CC 3 - 1 Win Knight, Moon, Page
Monday 6 April
Willington EIC 5 - 2 Win Andrews, Page, Reynolds (2), Robinson
Wednesday 8 April
Ryhope CW L 2 - 1 Win Bradley, Robinson
Saturday 11 April
Willington L 2 - 2 Draw Knight, Reynolds
Saturday 25 April
Willington L 3 - 1 Win Andrews, Knight, Page
Wednesday 29 April
Gateshead Redheugh LC - SF 2 - 3 Lose Reynolds, Knight
Saturday 2 May
Chester-le-Street EIC 2 - 3 Lose Andrews (2)
Tuesday 05 May
New Hartley CC - Final 3 - 1 Win Page, OG, Robinson


Back row, left to right: John Anderson, Physio, Dave Anderson, Steve Jones, Sean Davies, Gary Hoggeth, Scott Richards, Matty Noble, Mark Davison, Matty Hyson, Daryll Hall, Wayne Henderson
Front row, left to right: Liam McBryde, Gary Shields, Martin O'Riordan, Steven Stewart, Steve Halliday, Ash Davis, Darren Kokes, Glen McCartney, Assistant Manager, mascot.

The lads line up before the game against against Whitehaven on 27 March 2010.

The First Team

Mike Amos, skilltrainingltd Northern League Chairman, making a presentation to RCA captain Paul Wardle before the 8 -1 win at Hebburn, to mark our 1,000th game in the Northern League.


External link to the final 2009-10 sNL Division 2 Table

Competition Date Home     Away
Pre-season friendly 14 July 2009 South Shields FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 23 July 2009 Dunston UTS FC 1 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 25 July 2009 Bedale Town FC 2 7 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 28 July 2009 Tow Law Town AFC 3 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 30 July 2009 Silksworth FC 0 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Pre-season friendly 1 August 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 10 0 Atherton Collieries FC
Northern League 2 8 August 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 5 2 Gillford Park FC
Northern League 2 12 August 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 5 0 Darlington RA FC
FA Cup 15 August 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 1 3 Ryton FC
Northern League 2 22 August 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 1 0 Marske United FC
Northern League 2 26 August 2009 Hebburn Town FC 1 8 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 29 August 2009 Birtley Town FC 0 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 31 August 2009 Seaham Red Star FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
FA Vase 5 September 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 0 2 Armthorpe Welfare FC
Northern League 2 12 September 2009 Thornaby FC 1 5 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 16 September 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 0 0 Crook Town FC
Northern League 2 19 September 2009 Washington FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 26 September 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 3 0 Whickham FC
Northern League 2 3 October 2009 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 1 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 10 October 2009 Guisborough Town FC 1 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 17 October 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 0 2 Newton Aycliffe FC
Durham County Challenge Cup 20 October 2009 Ryton FC 3 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 24 October 2009 Brandon United FC 1 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 31 October 2009 Stokesley Sports Club FC 1 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 7 November 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 3 3 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC
Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup 18 November 2009 Hebburn Town FC 2 3 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 21 November 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 2 0 Washington FC
League Cup 25 November 2009 Sunderland RCA FC 0 4 Shildon AFC
Northern League 2 28 November 2009 Northallerton Town FC 1 1 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 5 December 2009 North Shields FC 0 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 12 December 2009 Team Northumbria FC 0 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 23 January 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 8 0 Hebburn Town FC
Northern League 2 26 January 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 1 0 Seaham Red Star FC
Friendly 28 January 2010 Silksworth FC 1 5 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 6 February 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 1 0 Thornaby FC
Northern League 2 10 February 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 3 0 Birtley Town FC
Northern League 2 13 February 2010 Whickham FC 1 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 20 February 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 3 0 Guisborough Town FC
Northern League 2 3 March 2010 Marske United FC 0 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 6 March 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 1 0 Brandon United FC
Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup 10 March 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 0 4 North Shields FC
Northern League 2 13 March 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 3 2 Stokesley Sports Club FC
Northern League 2 20 March 2010 Whitehaven FC 2 2 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 27 March 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 0 0 Whitehaven FC
Northern League 2 3 April 2010 Darlington RA FC 1 4 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 7 April 2010 Crook Town FC 0 5 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 10 April 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 2 0 Northallerton Town FC
Northern League 2 14 April 2010 Newton Aycliffe FC 1 0 Sunderland RCA FC
Northern League 2 17 April 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 3 1 North Shields FC
Northern League 2 24 April 2010 Sunderland RCA FC 0 4 Team Northumbria FC
Northern League 2 1 May 2010 Gillford Park FC 1 0 Sunderland RCA FC




South Shields 1 Sunderland RCA 2

14 July 2010

Pre-season friendly

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match

The team sheet showed pleasing continuity from last season, but also included a number of faces who are returning to the club, as well as new signings Harrison Davies and Rob McLean.

RCA created good movement and cohesion, in the first half in particular. This is promising for the new campaign. With more firendlies coming up there should be ample opportunity for players to improve and prove their fitness and to stake their claim for a starting place for the first competitive match: home to new boys Gillford Park on Saturday, 8 August.

The team sheet:

Starting 11
Gary Hoggeth, Steve Jones, Paul Wardle, Dave Anderson, Adam McGuinness, Steven Stewart, Michael Coghlan, Mark McLeod, Harrison Davies, Gary Sheilds, Paul Taylor

Came on during match
Chris Curtis, Lee Andrews, Adam Forrest, Rob McLean (GK), wayne Henderson, Andy Reay, Scott Richards, Chris Lumsden, Anth Laidler, Lee Smith

Dunston 1 Sunderland RCA 3

Sunderland RCA outshine Dunston in Pre-Season Match

Pre-season friendly

23 July 2009

Sunderland RCA travelled to Northern League Div I Dunston UTS for their second pre season friendly and came away with an emphatic 3 - 1 win. On a lovely summer evening the crowd were entertained by some good football by both teams but it was RCA who took the spoils.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the match

A cagey opening spell by both teams suddenly burst into life when a screamer of a shot from Dunston full back Taylor was brilliantly saved by Hoggeth after 10 minutes. This spurred RCA into action and a jinxy run from Stewart ended in him crossing for Davison to beat Connell to make it 1-0. It could have been 2 -0 moments later when the same two players combined but this time Davison headed wide.
Dunston's only reply was a cross cum shot from Sheeran which was easily dealt with by Hoggeth.
RCA were easily the better team and defensively gave little away, even when temporarily down to ten men when trialist Noble was receiving treatment for a nose bleed.

Taylor shot wide after some good work by Halliday had set him up and Davison, who was causing major problems for the Dunston defence, was again unlucky shooting narrowly wide.

It was not unexpected when RCA increased their lead on the half hour with a slick passing movement started by McGuinness and ending with a low shot from Stewart which left the keeper stranded.
RCA had further chances to wrap the game up with Stewart firing wide, Davison having a 25 yard shot well saved by Connell and Taylor missing the target when clean through.

Dunston came back strong in the final minutes of the half and Preen wouild have scored but for a reaction save from Hoggett sending the ball round the post for a corner. The ball was then cleared off the line by Noble from a Sheeran header and RCA were able to clear.

The Managers of both teams made changes at half time to give everyone a chance but, unlike the Shields game when RCA fell away after the break, this time the momentum was maintained.
Dunston did start the better in the second half and it was only some stout defending by Wardle and Reay that denied Bulford on three seperate occassion in the first 5 minutes.

Having whethered the storm RCA reverted to the passing game that they had used to great effect in the first half and Stewart, now operating on the right wing, crossed for Davison but his flick on was well saved.

McLean was brought into action, having to punch clear from a corner with Collins threatening at the near post.

An injury to Coghlan meant a reshuffle in defence and this gave Dunston a slight lift and they got on top for the first time in the match. However, RCA managed to hang on until the 85th minute when during a goalmouth scamble Laws blasted the ball home. RCA's response was emphatic Stewart burst forward, beat two player before sending his shot narrowly wide.

Two minutes later a supurb crossfield ball from McGuinness found Stewart on the right wing, again he cut inside and this time found the bottom corner to finish the scoring.

A resounding victory and an all round excellent team performance which proves that there is strength in depth in the team.

Bedale 2 Sunderland RCA 7

25 July 2009

Pre season friendly

RCA Blast 7 past Bedale

The team travelled to Bedale FC in North Yorkshire for the 3rd of their pre season friendlies.

The game started in glorious sunshine with both teams playing open attacking football.

Taylor had RCA's first chance after 10 minutes when he was sent clean through by Coghlan but he fired narrowly wide.

Bedale's Parkinson was causing problems down the right and had an effort on goal which was easily saved by McLean.

Taylor squandered two further one on one chances sending the ball high and wide on both occassions. However the general play was promising and we were creating a lot of chances, especially from the left wing where Davies was getting a lot of the ball. Bedale persisted with their policy of counter attacking football and were a constant threat.

However it was against the run of play when they scored from freekick. Parry floated the ball into the box and Turner headed the ball into his own goal.

Within minutes RCA had two more chances firstly Davies crossed but nobody could get on the end of it and then Davison burst into the box and fired wide.

With 2 minutes remaining to half time Anderson was dispossessed on the edge of his own box and Parkinson cleverly chipped the ball over McLean's head into the net.

The second half opened with RCA attacking from the off and it was no surprise to see Taylor score after 47 minutes volleying in a headed pass from Davison.

Bedale defended well and denied RCA with some good tackling and blocks but it looked like it was only a matter of time before the equaliser came. On the hour mark, after a succession of corners, Davison rose unmarked at the back post and powered in a header past the helpless Heugh. This opened the floodgates and 2 minutes later Coghlan fired in a shot from 35yards which Heugh could only parry into the goal.

The manager introduced Wardle up front after 75 minutes and he tapped in from close range with his first touch of the match. Minutes later and Curtis had made it 5-2 within a minute Jones burst into the box and fired home to make it 6 and the final nail in the coffin was administed with 5 minutes remaining when Wardle scored his second.

Tow Law Town 3 Sunderland RCA 4

28 July 2009

Pre season friendly

Sunderland RCA continued their pre season build up with a good competitive friendly at Tow Law.

A good move in first minute saw Mark Davison give RCA the lead. Matty Moffet equalised for Tow Law on four minutes.

On 20 minutes a clever Mick Coghlan free kick saw Harrison Davies slide past the keeper.

HT 1 - 2

On 55 minutes RCA centre half Wayne Henderson headed home from a corner to make it 3 - 1 to RCA. And on 68 minutes Wayne got his second in identical fashion to make it 4 - 1 to RCA. But three minutes later Andrew Thompson scored with a top class free kick from 25 yards, which gave Gary Hoggeth no chance. 4 - 2. A deflected Moffet effort brought Tow Law back to 4 - 3 on 75 minutes and made it for a hectic last 15, but RCA held on well.

Silksworth FC 0 Sunderland RCA 3

30 July 2009

Pre Season Friendly

Sunderland RCA continued their impressive pre season with a workmanlike 3 - 0 win against Wearside league Silksworth FC. However, the real winner on the night was Cancer Research, the charity that the night was all about.

The match itself was very competative with Silksworth proving that they are not to far away from being a very good team. In the first 20 minutes, they matched RCA and had one effort which hit the crossbar.

In the 22 minute Taylor burst into the box and was fouled by the keeper. The penalty was sucessfully converted by Davison.

Silksworth responded with two good opportunities and were unlucky not to equalise when a long throw in from N Jones found Thopmpson inside the box but he fired wide.

RCA went two up when a long ball from Mcleod found Turner on the edge of the box and he deftly lobbed the advancing keeper.

ther second half was as competative as the first with both teams playing some good football but RCA proved that they were stronger and fitter than the Wearside league team and the final goal came through a piece of sheer brilliance. Coghlan picked the ball up in Midfield and threaded a ball through 5 defenders into the path of Davies who dummied the keeper before curling the ball into the net.

With 5 minutes remaining Coghlan showed another piece of skill which will be remembered for years to come by everyone who was there. he brought down a high kick from the keeper with his right foot, kept the ball up with alternative feet six times before despatching an inch perfect, 30 yard pass, to Davies on the left wing, the subsequent header from Davison went narrowly wide.

This match was a good work out for both teams and we wish Steve Smith and his team every success in the coming season.


Sunderland RCA FC 10 Atherton Collieries FC 0

1 August 2009

Pre Season Friendly

Mancunians get shock treatment

“From South Shields onwards we've been consistently good in our build up.”

- Neil Hixon

“The passing and movement in the first half were excellent and we've carried on.”

- George Herd

Sunderland RCA comprehensively outplayed and out fought a visibly shocked Atherton Collieries in their first home friendly in the pre-season build up to the 2009-10 campaign.

Mark – Sparky – Davison went nap, there were braces for Mickey Coghlan and Mark McLeod and Paul Taylor slotted home a penalty.

RCA kicked off down the slope and were instantly pressuring the Atherton defence. There was little waiting for the first breakthrough: a classy 25 yard strike from Mickey Coghlan in the centre of the park soared past the keeper.

RCA mustered more attacks. On 10 minutes a great cross from Gary Shields from RCA's right led to a corner, but the referee blew for a foul in the six yard box when the ball was played in. On 15 minutes a direct free kick from the corner of the box was curled over the cross bar. On 16 minutes a Harrison Davies cross from the left was met first time by Mark Davison, whose shot hit the near post. Moments later another cross from Gary Shields led to Sparky heading just wide. Five minutes later and it was Harrison Davies' turn to have a direct shot from 28 yards, which the keeper parried. There was no one from RCA on hand to follow up.

On 25 minutes RCA went two up following excellent work from Harrison Davies. Under pressure from two Atherton defenders he twisted, turned and crossed perfectly for Mark Davison to rifle home from 12 yards.

Two minutes later and RCA went three up. Through his usual combination of skill and determination Gary Shields won a 30:70 ball on the left, ran forward and fed Mark Davison who turned to avoid defenders and pick his spot.

On 35 minutes Sparky got his hat trick, holding the ball up, passing, getting it back again in the right channel to turn and shoot across the keeper into the far corner. Cue celebrations!

On 39 minutes RCA went five nil up, Paul Taylor converting a penalty after the referee judged that Scott Richards had been brought down unfairly in the area.

On 42 minutes Wayne Henderson went down after a knock to his knee and needed treatment. Minutes later through he had to come off and was replaced by Dave Anderson. (A few minutes into the second half, Dave was to go over on his ankle and had to come off. Neil, George and Glen will be wrapping Andy Reay and Paul Wardle in cotton wool.)

If spectators thought that was effectively the end of the first half they were wrong. On 44 minutes short interplay passing down the left ended with Michael Coghlan's second from six yards. Well into added time, a Gary Shields cross was met by hit man Mark Davison who headed home from 12 yards.

HT: Sunderland RCA 7 Atherton Collieries 0

For the second half, Rob McLean came on for Gary Hoggeth in goal and new signing Matthew Noble replaced Steve Jones at right back. Shortly into the half Adam McGuinness gave way for Dave Turner and Mark McLeod came on with Scott Richards moving into the back four for Dave Anderson following his ankle twist.

With wind and the slope and no doubt stung by their first half experience Atherton showed much more of their game, putting the RCA defence under some pressure, none of it telling though.

On 70 minutes, Mark Davison headed on a through ball. It looked unfortunate when the turning Paul Taylor slipped, but he still went on to win an RCA corner. The ball was played short to Gary Shields, whose cross shot was turned in by Mark McLeod at the far post.

Three minutes later and Mark Davison was back in on the scoring act. Clean through he looked to have taken the ball too far wide as he rounded the keeper, but he cut back in and knocked the ball home to make it 9 – 0 to the home side.

Atherton had not given up. On 74 minutes RCA keeper Rob McLean had to rush from his area and head clear to avoid being one-on-one with an Atherton forward. Two minutes later Mickey Coghlan nearly hit a deserved hat trick from a header following a Harrison Davies cross.

Mark McLeod wrapped up the scoring with his second and RCA's tenth, when following more RCA pressure, he ran in to score from a tight angle on the left.

SRCA team: Gary Hoggeth, Steve Jones, Adam McGuinness, Wayne Henderson, Paul Wardle, Scott Richards, Gary Shields, Michael Coghlan, Mark Davison, Paul Taylor, Harrison Davies, Dave Anderson, Dave Turner, Matthew Noble, Mark McLeod, Chris Curtis, Adam Forest.

Ryhope CW 2 Sunderland RCA 1

5 August 2009

Alan Thompson Memorial Cup

The 2009 Alan Thompson Memorial Cup match between Ryhope CW and Sunderland RCA ended with a deserved 2 - 0 win to the home side Ryhope Colliery Welfare.

The match raised £280 for charity.

There has been some criticism of the visitors for fielding a compostite team, consisting mostly of RCA's Under 18 team, but the scoreline and much more importantly the keen contest on the night are more than an answer to such grumbles. Both sides played out a whole hearted contest.

The two goals came in the 59th and 89th minutes, both from Anthony Ross, following good work on the left wing from Martin Swales. RCA fielded a side consisting mainly of their Under 18s and they put on a good, well organised show, in a competitive match, but it was a fair result.

CW captain and centre half, Phil Hall lifted the cup for the home side. Phil was one of many players on the night who have played for both Ryhope clubs.

Sunderland RCA FC 5 Gillford Park 2

8th August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2: Attendance 78

The opening day of the new season saw Sunderland RCA FC matched against skilltrainingltd Northern League newcomers Gillford Park FC. A silver salver was presented by RCA's captain Gary Shields, to the Gillford captain Mark Butler, to mark the occasion.

The game started in glorious sunshine with RCA taking advanatage of the slope and it was they who had the first opportunity after 7 minutes when a cross from Davies was tipped away for a corner. Stewart sent in the corner for Davison to powerfully head home.

Dickinson had a chance to level 2 mninutes later but his shot went well wide. RCA took control of the game in a scintillating period of play which saw Coghlan burst into the box and although his shot was blocked Davies was there to volley home from 10 yards out. Within a minute it was 3 - 0 when a crossfield ball from Davies found the unmarked Shields who cracked the ball home from 15 yards out.

The crowd were being well entertained with fast attacking football and it was no surprise when Gillford pulled a goal back in the 18 minute when a corner was swung into the box by Butler and the ball was stabbed home from close range by Ian Johnstone.

Davison restored the 3 goal difference after 24 minutes when Sheilds sent in an inch perfect cross for him to head home his second of the match.

Gillford to their credit continued to battle and were rewarded with a breakaway goal when Bead sent the ball clear of his defence to Dickinson who's crossfield pass found Addison free and he finished superbly past the advancing Hoggeth.

At half time Andy Reay replaced Paul Wardle who was struggling with a hamstring problem.

The second half could never match up to the pace of the first and although both teams had chances to score, notably, Skinner and Dickinson, for Gillford Park, in the opening 3 minutes of the second half and Davison, RCA, after 50 minutes it was Stewart who sealed the victory with a well taken shot from an immaculate through ball from Richards.

As the game progressed both teams started to cancel each other out and although both teams had half chances to score niether keeper was really tested until the last 5 minutes when Hoggeth had to punch clear a wicked curling cross from Addison and than a shot from Davison from 40 yards caught Williams off his line but went narrowly wide.

File attachments: 

Sunderland RCA FC 5 Darlington RA FC 0

12th August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2: Attendance: 62

RCA went top of the skillstrainingltd Northern League Second division after thouroughly outplaying their opponents Darlington RA FC.

There was only one change to the team which started on Saturday, with Matty Noble coming in for Steve Jones who is on holiday.

RCA took the early initiative and where in control from the start. Darlington set out their stall to defend and try to counter attack. How it took until the 15 minute for RCA to test the keeper is a testament to Darlington's defensive line up.

Davies had two efforts on goal, but both failed to test Raine in the Darlington goal.

In the 22 minute Davison rounded the keeper but fired into the side netting. It looked like RCA's shooting had deserted them and this was evident again when Stewart fired in a shot from 20 yards which went straight into Raine's hands.

The first goal when it eventually came in the 32 minute was a tremendous strike from Coghlan from 35 yards which took a deflection off Darlington midfielder Martin Smith.

Four minutes later they doubled their lead when a Shields shot was saved by Raine but the loose ball was headed home by Stewart. Within minutes the same player was guilty of the miss of the season when he blazed over the bar from 2 yards out.

It did not take long for him to redeem himself when he took a pass from Coghlan, beat two defenders with a blistering turn of pace before cutting the ball back into the path of Davison who guided the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Darlington's only effort in a poor first half or them was in the 46 minute when McKie fired wide from 30 yards out.

The second half was only a minute old when Davies produced a piece of brilliance, receiving a 40 yard pass from Wardle on the left wing, he cut inside before delicately chipping the ball over Raine's head and into the net.

In the space of two minutes Raine was called upon to save from Davies and Coghlan but was unable to do anything when Davies crossed for substitute Taylor to ram home the fifth. Within a minute it could have been six, but Davison's powerful header rebounded off the post. This was to be his last action of the match as he made way for the debut of Liam McBryde who was playing only three weeks after knee surgery.

Darlington although well beaten did try to play some football and late in the game Jenkinson was unlucky with an effort, but the only save that Hoggeth had to make all game was in the 92 minute when he saved a 30 yard shot from Max Ripley.

File attachments: 

Sunderland RCA FC 1 Ryton FC 3

15 August 2009

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round: Attendance: 75

Sunderland RCA FC welcomed Ryton FC to Meadow Park for this Extra Preliminary FA Cup match.

RCA started the stronger and should have taken the lead as early as the 2 minute when a cross from Stewart found Davies in space at the back post, unfortunately, he volleyed high over the bar.

In the 13 minute RCA went in 1 - 0 up, courtesy of a howler from Ryton keeper Tony Davison, a cross from Davies was collected by Davison who then stumbled backwards into the net.

Ryton were visibly stunned by this and responded by starting to play some good football. Burrell was causing problems on the right and Barclay forced a good save from Hoggeth after 20 minutes.

Taylor had a great chance to make it 2 - 0 when he broke away from his marker and lobbed the ball over Davison’s head only to see his effort go agonisingly wide of the post. Within a minute of this RCA lost their captain Paul Wardle who suffered severe facial injuries after an unsavoury aerial challenge with Patton. This meant that RCA played for 8 minutes with 10 men and the impetus of the game swung to Ryton who utilised this spell to put pressure on the RCA defence. Halliday replaced Wardle and RCA got back into the game.

In the last minute of the first half Mark Davison almost scored when he made contact with a Stewart cross but could only guide it over the bar with the keeper beaten.

Ryton came out in the second half and started to dominate. Barclay was guilty of a miss after 50 minutes when he blasted wide from five yards.

In the 55 minute Ryton were awarded a penalty when Anderson pushed Patton inside the box and Marron converted. Ryton were in control and never took their foot of the pedal as they reduced RCA to breakaway attacks. A long range effort from Inness brought a good save from Hoggeth.

RCA held on until the 69 minute when Barclay volleyed home a cross from Burrell to make it 2 - 1 to the visitors.

RCA rallied for a spell as Ryton defended their lead and Halliday was unlucky to see a glancing header go wide. They then forced a succession of corners and only some superb defending by Preston kept the score at 2 - 1.

Man of the Match Dale Burrell finished off any hopes RCA had of a replay when he went on a solo run, beating two defenders before rounding the keeper to score from close range.

Ryton won this game with a disciplined second half performance and RCA will look back at the missed chances and a poor refereeing decision which changed the game.

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Sunderland RCA FC 1 Marske United FC 0

22 August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2: Attendance: 72

This match between two teams who are looking for promotion this season was always going to be a tense affair and so it turned out with a single goal enough to secure the points for Sunderland RCA.

Marske took the game to RCA From the off and could easily have been in the lead inside the first 10 minutes but for some resolute defending by Wardle and Reay at the heart of RCA's defensive line up.

Skelton was unlucky with a shot that went narrowly wide after 12 minutes as Marske continued to pile the pressure on. RCA could have gone 1 -0 up against the run of play when a cross from Shields found McGuinness unmarked at the far post but he headed straight at Ledgeway in the Marske goal.

In the 25 minute Gamble broke into the RCA box and only a well timed challenge from Wardle stopped him from scoring. Marske looked to be in control and it was only their final ball that was missing.

RCA started to halt the tide of pressure after half an hour and were unlucky as first Davison headed narrowly over the bar and then Davies was adjudged to be off side when put through by Coghlan.

In the 40th minute Blair had probably the best chance of the half for Marske but somehow managed to head over and two minutes later from a corner the same player headed over again. The half time score of 0-0 reflected how well both defences had coped.

The quiet first half was matched by an explosive second which saw referee Mr McMullen at the centre of a number of controversial decisions.

With 5 minutes of the second half gone Hoggett was called upon to save from Gamble and a minute later Bradley shot wide.

Once again RCA weathered the early pressure and came back at Marske. Davison saw a well placed header saved by Ledgeway. RCA were looking more composed now and looking to go forward with Shields and McBryde combining to set up Davison but his header went well wide. McGuinness almost broke the deadlock with an audacious shot from 35 yards out which only just went over the bar with the keeper beaten.

McBryde did break the deadlock in the 60 minute when he rose higher than everyone else to head home from six yards out.

From the kick off a clumsy challange by Richards had everyone off their seats and it is easy to say in hindsight that he should have been booked for the challenge but the referee chose only to speak to him. This backfired within minutes when a clash between Reay and Skelton resulted in punches being thrown and two red cards being issued. A further red card was issued when Swalwell was given a second yellow card for what appeared to be grabbing someone by the throat.

The game degenerated from that point on with the referee losing control and dishing out yellow cards like confetti.

Both RCA and Marske had penalty appeals turned down with the referee and assistants reluctant to make any sort of decision on the incidents. Within the last five minutes Halliday had a great chance to finish Marske off but fired wide.

Marske had plenty of chances to equalise late in the game but some good defending and poor finishing meant that RCA keep their unbeaten league run going.

As others see us

The bloggers from Around the Grounds were at this match. You can read their view here.

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Hebburn Town FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 8

26 August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA FC celebrated their 1,000th Northern League game with an emphatic win over Hebburn Town FC. Before the match Sunderland RCA's captain for the night, Paul Wardle, was presented with a silver salver from League Chairman Mike Amos MBE for reaching the milestone of playing 1,000 Northern League games.

RCA started the game in a determined mood and maintained a high tempo to their game that could not be matched by Hebburn. They took the lead after four minutes when a cross from Richards was headed home by McBryde. RCA for all their supremacy could not capitalise on some poor Hebburn defending and it was the home side who almost equalised when Myers burst into the box and rolled the ball to Armstrong who blasted the ball wide from five yards out.

This was the wake up call that RCA needed and they extended their lead when Stewart beat two players on the right wing before crossing for McBryde to score his second. RCA were in total control of the game now and when Coghlan found Davies on the left with a great ball he had time to beat the full back before crossing an inch perfect return pass to Coghlan who steered the ball past Donaldson from 8 yards out. 2 minutes later and Richards won the ball in midfield, passed the ball to Coghlan who unleashed a shot from 30 yards which hit the post with the keeper beaten.

RCA were making their aerial supremacy count and it was no suprise when Davison made it 4-0 when he headed in a cross from Davies. The same player then headed over the bar after some good work by Richards. He made amends a minute later when he received the ball from Richards on the 18 yard line with his back to goal, turned and fired a shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-0.

Hebburn scored in the 44th minute when a rare lapse in the RCA defence allowed Myers in and he passed to Gordon who fired into the net.

Hebburn started the second half a lot better than the first and had two goal attempts in as many minutes with McMann firing wide and then over the bar from 10 yards out. However, the difference in the finishing was highlighted when Davison completed his hat trick, rising above everybody else, to power a header into the net. Not to be outdone, McBryde picked up a through ball from Richards, burst between two players before burying the ball in the Hebburn net for his hat trick. The night was complete when yet another cross from the right was headed home from close range by Davison for his fourth and RCA's 8th.

A thoroughly impressive team performance on a special night for the club.

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Birtley Town FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 3

29 August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA kept up the 100% record in the second division with a hard fought victory over a spirited Birtley Town team.

Birtley Town without a number of key players started well and were unlucky not to score in the first 5 minutes when Brown had a shot deflected wide for a corner. Johnson then fired well wide when in a dangerous position.

RCA seemed to take an age to adjust to the pace of the opposition, but when they did a quick passing move between Coghlan and Richards resulted in a cross that brought a great save by Regan from a Davison header. Birtley counter attacked and only a great save from Hoggeth denied Terrell.

After 20 minutes Birtley were awarded a corner and when the ball came in the header by Armstrong hit Coghlan who was on the goal line and was cleared to Jones who found McBryde with an inch perfect ball and his finishing was clinical. RCA 1-0 up against the run of play.

Within a minute Davison had another header saved by Regan. RCA were starting to put some good moves together and were causing the Birtley defence problems with balls into the box. It was Birtley who almost equalised next when the ever dangerous Terrell fired in a shot which was turned round th epost by Hoggett.

Regan in the Birtley goal was called upon again after 30 minutes and saved with his feet from Davison. Stewart fired over the bar a minute later when in a good position. There was little Regan could do about the second goal when Davison rose high above the Birtley defence to powerfully head home a Coghlan freekick.

In the early part of the second half RCA took control of the midfield and started to play the sort of football we Know they are capable of. McBryde was unlucky with a shot that went wide and a Davison header flashed just over the bar. A surging run from Coghlan saw him almost score, but the final shot was straight at Regan.

It was however Birtley who came nearest to scoring when substitute Hughes went on a solo run, cutting in from the right wing he unleashed a terrific shot which struck the post before rebounding to safety. A minutes later and Brown shot tamely wide from a very promising position.

McLeod finally killed the game off when he headed in at the far post from a corner after 76 minutes.

Birtley responded with some good football, but RCA's defence, ably led by Wardle, coped with everything that was thrownn at them in the final 10 minutes.

The difference between the two teams today was the clinical finishing of RCA.

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Seaham Red Star FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 2

31 August 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA were looking to stretch their record start to the season with a sixth successive victory at local rivals Seaham Red Star FC. As local derbies go, this was not a classic, but it did produce a tension packed afternoon which saw both teams playing flowing attacking football.

Seaham Red Star, after their 2 -1 defeat last week, were looking for a return to winning ways and started this match playing some good attractive football. However it was RCA who had the first real chance of the game when Davison fired in a shot which was well saved by Thackeray.

Red Star were unlucky when Winspear broke down the right and his cross was met by Hugill but his shot was blocked by Wardle.

The game became bogged down in midfield and both defences seemed to be coping with any long balls into the box. There was also a strong gusty wind which spoiled some enterprising moves by both teams with the ball either running away from players or holding up in the wind.

RCA took the lead when Stewart was unceremoniously dragged to the ground by Linighan and Davison stepped up to blast the penalty home.

Hugill broke through in the 40th minute but fired his shot wide and Winspear and Hugil combined once again to trouble the RCA defence before Winspear fired straight at Hoggeth.

RCA almost went further ahead when a shot from McBryde was saved by Thackeray.

The second half saw RCA looking more composed and looking to pass the ball while Red Star continued to pressure the ball in an attempt to upset the play.

Red Star equalised when a long cross field ball from Winspear found Croft in acres of space and with Hoggeth out of position he crossed the ball for Hugill to ram home.

Minutes later and another cross from the same wing beat everyone and went out for a goal kick.

RCA came back into the game with Stewart now operating on the right and causing plenty of problems with a succession of crosses which were well dealt with by Laidler. Both McBryde and Davison had chances to score and only some brave goalkeeping stopped McBryde from scoring at the near post.

As the game entered the final minutes there was some frantic defending by Red Star as they repelled a succession of RCA attacks.

The deadlock was broken in the 92nd minute when a freekick was awarded 45 yards out, Jones crossed into the box and Davison rose above everyone to head home.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 Armthorpe Welfare FC 2

05 September 2009

FA Vase First round Qualifying

Sunderland RCA welcomed Armthorpe Welfare from Doncaster to Welfare Park for this first round Preliminary FA Vase match. Both teams are top of their respective divisions, both teams are unbeaten in the league and have only lost one cup match. So this should be an interesting match.

Armthorpe took advantage of the wind and the slope and were on the offensive from the off forcing a corner when an overhead kick by Holden was well saved by Hoggeth. When the corner was swung into the near post Nelthorpe was first to react steering the ball into the net from two yards out. 1-0 down inside two minutes was not the sort of start that RCA wanted.

In the 10th minute Coghlan beat two players on the right wing before crossing for Davison who missed the target with a free header from eight yards.

Armthorpe immediately went down the other end and RCA conceded another corner; this time when it was swung into the near post and the ball was cleared but only as far as Nelthorpe who this time hooked the ball into the net.

RCA were shocked by this second goal, but continued to play some good football and it was only the final ball that was letting them down.

RCA were awarded a penalty after 35 minutes when an Armthorpe player was adjudged to have handled inside the box. Davison stepped up but his spot kick was well saved by Murray.

Hoggeth was called into action again as the second half came to a close when Davis fired in a shot from 35 yards,

The second half saw RCA piling on the pressure as wave after wave of attacks were repelled by a well organised Armthorpe defence.

Davison had a header which went wide then a long range effort from Coghlan flew over the bar. McBryde and Davison combined in a one-two which resulted in a shot from McLeod going wide.

Armthorpe seemed happy to absorb the pressure and try to counter.

Whatever RCA did Armthope seemed able to cope with and James Walker was outstanding. For all their second half supremacy RCA did not test Murray in the Armthorpe goal.

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Thornaby FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 5

12 September 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division II

Sunderland RCA maintained their inpressive start to the season with a seventh successive league win at Thornaby. However the "Ryes" didn't have it all their own way as Thornaby showed plenty of fighting spirit in the first half.

RCA opened the scoring with the first real attack of the game when a through ball from McLeod found Taylor on the edge of the box where he beat the defender before blasting the ball into the back of the net.

A minute later and Thornaby were almost level when a shot from Livingstone rattled the post before being cleared by McGuinness. Davison saw an effort go wide and Taylor was also off target with a shot. At the other end Thornaby were causing a few problems of their own with McLean called upon to make a save from Winspear.

The equaliser came in the 24th minute when the quick thinking of Tomlinson caught the RCA defenders sleeping. While they were still arguing about the validity of a freekick, Tomlinson stepped up and passed the ball to Gibson who squared it to Garside who fired home.

RCA reacted with some good football down the right and when Stewart was fouled on the edge of the box it was an ideal situation for them to exploit the Thornaby defence; unfortumnately the well taken free kick went narrowly wide. Thornaby then suffered a major setback when Abdullah, auguably their best defender, was carried off the pitch with a pulled hamstring.

RCA took control of the game in a scintillating 15 minute period at the start of the second half. Davison had two efforts on goal in the opening four minutes of the half and when Stewart cut inside he was brought down inside the box by Reed and a penalty was awarded.

Coghlan took the penalty and his well struck shot rebounded off the post. Jones reacted the quickest and fired the ball home from an acute angle.

Stewart was starting to get at the Thornaby defence on the right and Davies was causing problems down the left. It was only a matter of time before they increased their lead - this time Stewart played a neat one two with Davison inside the box before beating Pisawi with a powerful shot.

Thornaby were unable to cope with the pace of the game and started to tire while RCA were starting to play some really good football. Stewart was the provider for the fourth goal when he burst past two defenders before firing in a shot which was weel saved by Pisawi, but the ball rebounded to Stewart who squared the ball to substitute Davis who sidefooted home from close range.

Thornaby tried to make a fight of it but could not get past the RCA defence and were for the most part kept at bay by a well-drilled RCA defence. When they did get into good positions their final ball let them down or they found McLean in the RCA goal hard to beat.

In the 85th minute Davison rounded off a good second half performance when a received a pass from Noble, controlled the ball with his right foot and turned a hit a thunderbolt of a right foot shot into the top corner of the net.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 Crook Town FC 0

16 September 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div II

Sunderland RCA lost their 100% league record to a very good Crook Town team who more than matched them in a very competitive 0-0 draw at Meadow Park.

How often have you heard it said that 0-0 draws were predictable? Well when these two teams met they had scored 45 goals between them so a no score draw was probably the most unpredictable score line imaginable.

The game started with Crook forcing the pace and a shot from Kokes going wide. It didn’t take long for RCA to respond and it was Davison who produced a cracking shot which was well saved by Lanning.

In the 18th minute Crook looked to have taken the lead when a cross into the box was met by Olusoga who scrambled it home, but he was adjudged to be offside. Crook were piling on the pressure and gained two corners in quick succession; however they were well dealt with by RCA defence.

In the 37th minute RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box and Coghlan passed the ball to Davies who crossed into the box only for Lanning to get to the ball just before the head of Davison.
Two minutes later and another Coghlan freekick went inches wide with the keeper beaten.

In the 42nd minute Taylor tried an audacious shot from 25 yards which rattled off the crossbar and was cleared by Hall.

The second half saw Crook well on top in the opening 10 minutes with Kokes going close with a snap shot and Hall heading against the crossbar. The two forwards were causing all sorts of problems and only some superb defending by Wardle and Anderson kept them at bay.

In the 70th minute a corner was awarded to Crook and when the ball was delivered into the box Hall powered a header downward into the bottom corner. Somehow Mclean got a hand to the ball and turned it over the bar. A great save to keep RCA in the game.

The introduction of Richards to the midfield added something to RCA as an attacking force and they came into the game a little more. Coghlan sent another freekick inches wide and when Davis crossed to the far post Taylor was on hand to volley the ball home only to be flagged for offside.

Both teams continued to attack and to try to win the game and as the match reached its conclusion a flare up between a number of players resulted in the dismissal of Davis.

RCA will probably not face a sterner test than this one and they came through with their unbeaten league form intact. Crook will be disappointed that they did not convert at least one of their chances.

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Washington FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 2

19 September 2009

skilltraining Northern League Division II

Sunderland RCA continued their unbeaten League run against a hard working Washington team. Another three points keep them clear at the top of Division II.

RCA were once again caught napping in the opening minutes of the game when a through ball from Lydon found Emmerson unmarked inside the box and he made no mistake from 12 yards out.

Within four minutes they had equalised when Stewart's supurb cross evaded the Washington defence and found Davies at the far post and he cooly slotted home.

Washington were unlucky when Reays cross was volleyed over the bar by Emmerson and Watling had a shot which flew wide. A quick Coghlan freekick to Davies almost punished Washington as the cross found Richards but his shot was deflected for a corner. From the corner Richards headed over.

Within a minute a cross from Taylor found Davies at the far post, but this time he volleyed the ball wide of the target.

A bizzare incident near the end of the half when Watling challenged McLean in the RCA goal and the ball ran free, Watling picked himself up and stabbed the ball home. The Assistant Referee disallowed the goal presumably for a foul on the keeper.

An even sillier incident occurred after six minutes of the second half when the whole Washington back four appealed for offside against Taylor as he ran past them; the keeper raced off his line and was favourite to get to the ball, but Taylor challenged him and won the ball and from near the touchline curled the ball into an empty net.

RCA started to dominate in the next 20 minutes with constant pressure on the Washington goal, Davison had a header fly over the bar, Davies should have killed the game off with shot that flew wide. A minute later and a Davison header found Richards who crossed for Coghlan, but he shot over. Within minutes Davies won a header in the box and the ball fell to Davison who chested it down before hitting a shot which Starford saved brilliantly. From the corner Anderson had a great header well saved by Starford.

Washington having survived this onslaught came back at RCA and some good work by Lydon and Oliver in the centre of the park saw the latter make a supurb pass which found Emmerson free and his shot beat Mclean but was cleared off the line by Jones.

In the 85 minute Davison received a pass from Richards, turned and fired in a shot which beat Starford, but rebounded off the upright; the ball fell to McBryde 12 yards out but he fired over the bar.

This seemed to spur Washington on and they finished the game putting pressure on the RCA defence without really testing McLean.

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Sunderland RCA FC 3 Whickham FC 0

26th September 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div II

RCA were forced to make three changes for the visit of Whickham for today's match. In came Club Captain Stephen Halliday for the injured Coghlan, Ashley Davis started in place of McGuinness who was on holiday and Liam Mcbryde took over at centre forward from the injured Taylor.

The game started in beautiful sunshine with RCA taking advantage of the slope in the first half and it was not long before they were on the attack with a crossfield ball from Halliday finding Davies on the left wing, his cross was met by Davison, but his header was saved by Cresswell.

In the 10th minute another good ball from midfield found McBryde on the right and his cross was headed over the bar by Davison.

RCA took the lead after 15 minutes when a surging run by Richards left the Whickham defence in disarray, his cross found McBryde at the far post and he headed goalwards, Stewart made sure nipping to head home from close range.

The Whickham response was immediate with Tait firing wide from 15 yards out and within a minute they put pressure on the RCA defence and a mistake was almost punished by Laws, but he fired straight at McLean.

RCA had the ball in the net when McBryde rose high above Andison and headed home only for the linesman to flag for an infringement.

Late in the half a lovely cross from Stewart found Davies inside the six yard box, but he could only guide the ball onto the bar and into the waiting arms of Cresswell and a minute later the same player shot across the face of goal. McBryde had another goal disallowed when he ghosted in at the back post to score from a well taken corner. The referee awarded a freekick for a foul on the keeper. However, on the hour mark McBryde got the goal that his efforts deserved when he latched onto a pass from Stewart and although Cresswell saved the first shot he followed up and slide the ball home.

Within a minute RCA were 3 - 0 up when Richards hit an unstoppable 25 yard screamer which the goalkeeper never saw.

Only some brilliant saves from Cresswell kept the score at 3 - 0, firstly a point blank save from Shields and then he saved with his feet from Stewart.

Chances were coming and being squandered by a rampant RCA and Whickham were struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.

To their credit they stuck at it and as the game entered the final five minutes they started to put pressure on the RCA defence. Swanston had probably the best chance when he went clear of the defence, but decided to shoot when there were two team mates in a better position in front of goal and his effort went wide.

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Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 2

3 October 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div. II

SRCA maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought win at Jarrow in atrocious conditions. The high winds made it almost impossible to play football and at times the game degenerated into a lottery.

Roofing took advantage of the strong wind in the first half but struggled to command. RCA counter attacked to great effect and were unlucky on five minutes when a clearance from Anderson fell into the path of McBryde, but his header went narrowly wide.

It wasn't until the 15th minute that Jarrow had a shot on target, a crossfield pass from Milner found Nelson free on the left and his well placed shot was superbly saved by Hoggeth. Five minutes later a through ball from Stewart found Halliday but with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot inches wide.

Jarrow were forced to make a substitution when Milner was injured in a collision with Richards and was taken to hospital for a precautionary check up.

In the 31st minute RCA took the lead when Stewart sent a lovely cross into the box and McBryde was on hand to steer it into the net.

The half ended in dramatic fashion when a penalty was awarded to Jarrow Roofing when Wardle pulled back Nelson. However, Hoggeth pulled off a spectacular save from Forster's spot kick.

Within two minutes of the restart RCA were 2 - 0 up when a free kick from Jones was flicked on by McBryde to Davies who made no mistake from 10 yards out. Back came Jarrow with a well worked move which saw Dixon cross for Nelson and he beat the keeper from 12 yards.

The miss of the season took place after 10 minutes when a Jarrow player was guilty of missing an empty net from two yards out.

A minute later and RCA were down to 10 men when Wardle was given a second yellow card for a foul on Nelson.

The rest of the game saw Jarrow pushing for the equaliser and RCA showing why they are undefeated in the league with a solid defensive display.

Davies was unlucky with a 25 yard lob which landed on the roof of the net and in the 88th minute Nelson was once again denied by Hoggeth in the RCA goal.

Overall it is fair to say the the weather won this game although given the condition both teams did try to play football.

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Guisborough Town FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 1

10 October 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division II

Sunderland RCA played their "get out of jail free" card today to maintain their unbeaten run. However it took a 82nd minute goal from top scorer Mark Davison to clinch a hard fought draw against a very good Guisborough team.

Guisborough started the game strongly and forced RCA to defend for the opening 10 minutes without creating a meaningful shot on target.

RCA responded through a quick counter attack which saw Davies deliver a lovely cross into the box which McBryde couldn’t quite get to. A minute later and Davies brought a fantastic fingertip save from Rafferty when he fired in a shot from 25 yards.

Guisborough almost took the lead after 20 minutes when Henry whipped in a freekick and Butterworth headed over the bar from six yards out.

In the 30th minute RCA had a penalty appeal when Stewart was sent sprawling in the box, but the referee waved play on. Within a minute Stewart burst through again, but his shot was easily saved by Rafferty. Portas sent Onions clear in the 40th minute but the “Boro” striker shot well wide. At the other end Halliday, in space on the edge of the box, fired high and wide. In the final minute of the half RCA were forced to make a substitution when Anderson fell awkwardly and was unable to continue.

Two minutes into the second half and McBryde set Davies up with a deft flick, but the winger fired wide with just the keeper to beat.

Guisborough started to take control of the match and RCA were forced on the defensive again. The influential Portas was picking everything up in midfield and driving them forward at every opportunity. Onions up front had two golden opportunities to open the scoring; in the 65th minute he headed over the bar and two minutes later fired straight at Hoggeth. He redeemed himself in the 68th minute when he was sent clear of the RCA defence with a pass from Portas, this time he rounded the keeper and slotted home.

RCA brought on Coghlan for Davies and this had an immediate effect, a freekick from Richards was misheaded by Davison into the waiting arms of Rafferty, a minute later and McBryde slipped the ball through to Coghlan and his measured cross was headed home by Davies. RCA for the first time in the match were looking the better team and looked to capitalise on some defensive errors, however Rafferty pulled off a superb save from Halliday and when a cross from Coghlan was met by Davison he shot wide.

Guisborough rallied in the last five minutes and Hoggeth was forced to punch a dangerous curling shot away.

This was a well earned point against a very strong Guisborough team who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 Newton Aycliffe FC 2

17 October 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div. II

Sunderland RCA's unbeaten run in the league came to sudden end when they were defeated 2 - 0 by Newton Aycliffe at home.

This was the first visit of Newton Aycliffe to Meadow Park and they became the first team to beat us in the League this season.

The game started with both teams looking to play attacking football and as early as the third minute a cross from Davies was headed narrowly over by Davison.

Hoggeth was forced into action when Broom fired in a shot from 25 yards, which he managed to tip over the bar.

With the midfields cancelling each other out both teams reverted to a more direct style and Renshaw was unlucky with a shot that went wide.

RCA started to get on top as the half hour mark approached and McBryde, Davies, Halliday and Stewart were all guilty of holding onto the ball too long when a simple pass or shot might have resulted in a goal. The Aycliffe defence held out and on a quick counter Renshaw crossed into the box and Gardner was on hand to steer the ball home from six yards.

After the break RCA put the Aycliffe goal under siege and it took a truly brilliant save from Richardson to deny a McBryde header. A minute later and a corner from Stewart was met by Wardle who thundered his header onto the cross bar.

Aycliffe reacted with a cross from Renshaw which found Gardner in space inside the box, but he fired wide.

In the 70th minute Coghlan burst into the box and shot, but once again Richardson in the Aycliffe goal was equal to it.

Within a minute Aycliffe were 2 - 0 up. Broom beat two defenders before rolling the ball into the path of Owen who made no mistake from 10 yards.

RCA tried hard to get something from the last 15 minutes, but were well held by a great defensive display with special mention going to Mitton and Close.

RCA were not at their best today, but Aycliffe to their credit made it difficult for us to play our usual game.

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Ryton FC 3 Sunderland RCA 0

20 October 2009

Durham Challenge Cup Competition

Sunderland RCA FC went out of the Durham Challenge Cup competition beaten 3-0 by Ryton FC. RCA’s manager Neil Hixon was forced through injury, suspensions and work commitments to make several changes to the team and he gave first team debuts to five youngsters, Graeme Pickering started in goal with Liam Dunn, and Jonathan Davis starting the match. He then brought on substitutes Ryan Mather and Peter Deary to end the match with 5 players under the age of 18.

The game started in in typical cup fashion with both teams pressing for an early advantage, but with both defences looking solid there were no chances until the 18th minute when a shot from Taylor was well saved by the keeper and when Taylor crossed the ball into the box from the rebound there were no RCA players to take advantage.

With the RCA youngsters showing great enthusiasm the Ryton team were unable to get the ball moving forward with any effect. Benjamin did have a shot which was easily saved by Pickering and Innes fired wide.

In the 32nd minute one stray pass led to the opening goal when Innes pounced on a loose defensive ball and fired goalward, the ball took a wicked deflection of a defender and sent Pickering the wrong way.

Stewart had a chance to level the score, but fired wide.

The second half saw RCA pressing for the equaliser and both Taylor and Stewart had chances but both fired wide.

Benjamin forced a save from Pickering before and Dunn made a great tackle on Innes to deny the striker a shot on goal.

A long ball out of defence caught Ryton napping and the quickness of Stewart had him clear of the defence, unfortunately at the vital moment he slipped and the chance was gone.

Benjamin scored the second Ryton goal when he received a long ball from Young and fired home.The same player put the game beyond doubt when he fired home from 25 yards.

This was a good opportunity to see the progress made by the youngsters of RCA and none of them let the team down.

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Brandon United FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 4

24 October 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div II

This game was billed as the clash of the league leaders against the current in form team. Brandon have made great strides in recent seasons and have looked a very decent team leading up to today's game. Everyone was looking to see how RCA would react to their first league defeat of the season.

My apologies for the less than informative first half report; unfortunately I didn't arrive until just before half time. I had to attend my granddaughter's 4th birthday party, which just proves that we do have a life outside of football.

The highlight of the first half was the goal scored by Taylor in the 15th minute. I was informed that we should have been 7 - 0 up by half time, but that information was given to me by an RCA supporter.

The second half started with RCA attacking up the slope and they immediately went close when a cross fromm Davies was headed wide by Davison. In the 52nd minute Davison scored to make it 2 - 0 when he controlled a long ball from McGuinness on his chest before slotting past Joyce in the Brandon goal.

Brandon got back to 2 - 1 in bizarre circumstances when an appeal for a penalty was initially turned down by the referee, but as the RCA defence cleared the ball he awarded a penalty. Fothergill converted the spot kick.

RCA piled on the pressure and were unlucky when Taylor broke into the box and looked odds on to score, but fired high and wide. Within a minutes he had another chance and again fired wide.

After a number of near misses RCA eventually got their third goal when a corner from Stewart to the far post was met by the unmarked Davison who volleyed home his 14th of the season.

The one way traffic continued and shots from Halliday, Sherwood and Stewart were all easily dealt with by Joyce.

RCA's goal did survive a mini onslaught when Dixon fired in a shot which was cleared off the line by Jones and the follow up was again cleared off the line by McGuinness.

RCA broke from this and substitute Davis was unlucky to see his shot go wide. Brandon looked to go forward after this slight break through, but were well and truly caught napping when a long ball out off defence from debutant McArdle was chased down by Davis and his delicate lob beat Joyce and nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

There were further chances for RCA to increase their lead, but they had to settle for a 4-1 win which keeps them six points clear at the top of Division Two.

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Stokesley FC 1 Sunderland RCA 0

31 October 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div. II

Sunderland RCA lost out to a workmanlike Stokesley team with the only goal of the match coming from ex RCA player Andy Jennings.

How RCA did not get something out of this game is a mystery. For long period of the match they dominated but they could not produce the finishing required on the day.

Within five minutes of the start Stewart raced clear of the Stokesly defence and his cross was met at the far post by Davies who fired wide from two yards out. Three minutes later and Taylor was unlucky with a snap shot. A cross into the box by Davies was dropped by the keeper, but Taylor and Davison did not react quickly enough and the danger was cleared by Andrew O'Shea. At this point Stokesley had not had a meaningful attack.

After 15 minutes a cross field ball from McGuinness found Stewart in acres of space as he moved into the box, but fired his effort wide with only the keeper to beat.

An injury to Taylor seemed to dispupt the attacking options of RCA and Stokesley started to get more into the game. A shot from Jennings was well aved by Hoggeth and minutes later a long range effort by Yalcin went well wide. RCA were struggling to create any chances during this period and it was only a superb save from a Radigan freekick by Hoggeth that kept the score at 0-0.

The deadlock was broken when Jones was caught in possession on the byline by Stewart and his cross found Jennings unmarked and he tapped home from four yards out.

At the start of the second half Jennings almost made it 2 - 0 when he beat two players before firing low into the corner, but Hoggeth was well placed to save easily.

RCA changed up a gear and forced Stokesley back and only some last ditch defending kept them in the game. A shot from Davison went narrowly over the bar. Minutes later and a cross from Noble found Davison who fired the ball at the goal, but it was cleared of the line. RCA continued to bombard the Stokesley goal and reduced them to breakaway attacks during one of these attacks a splendid effort from Yalcin was turned over the bar by Hoggeth. RCA then hit the post and the follow up was fired wide.

Good defensive work from Stokesley denied any further real chances and the game ended 1-0 in favour of stokesley.

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Sunderland RCA FC 3 Jarrow Roofing BCA FC 3

7 November 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

"Funny old game is football", 0-0 at half time and Jarrow could have been 3 - 1 up, with 15 minutes to go RCA are 3 - 1 up and look to be coasting and then Jarrow respond and the match ends 3 - 3. Take nothing away from both teams, if you were a neutral you would probably have enjoyed it. However this was a game that was thrown away by RCA and two valuable points dropped.

Sunderland RCA welcomed third placed Jarrow Roofing to Meadow Park in this top of the table clash.

Jarrow took advantage of the slope in the first half and were immediately on the attack with Nelson slipping a ball in to Houghton who fired wide.

RCA's first effort was a header by Taylor which went wide. The game was being played at a furious pace and both teams were looking to attack, however the defences of both teams were holding strong. A good run by Hepple found him clear of the RCA defence, but his shot flew over the bar. A minute later and Hughes jinxed into the box, but his cross shot went across the face of goal and narrowly wide.

RCA weathered the storm and came back at Jarrow a shot from Stewart was well saved by Frater two minutes later Taylor found himself free on the right, he cut inside but his effort went wide.

Hoggeth was called into action to save a Kevin Davison freekick and in the last minute of the half a Halliday cross was headed over the bar by Davison.

RCA started the second half on fire and looked to have caught Jarrow cold. A cross from Noble was headed home by Davison after 50 minutes and on 53 minutes a cross from Taylor caused a mix up in the box and Halliday was the quickest to react stabbing the ball into the net.

Jarrow fought back and were rewarded when Nelson found the net after some good work by Hughes.

RCA went 3 - 1 up when a shot from 20 yards out by Davison took a deflection and ended up in the net. Within two minutes the score was 3 - 2 when Jarrow were awarded a penalty and Kevin Davison converted, sending Hoggeth the wrong way. Immediately from the kick off RCA attacked and Mark Davison was unlucky not to deliver his hat trick, but his shot was saved by Frater.

In the 80th minute a cross from Hepplewhite was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Wardle.

The match ended 3 -3 but both Stewart and Noble will be added to RCA's long injury list.

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Hebburn Town 2 Sunderland RCA 3

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup Round Two

As other Northern League Cup fixtures fell by the wayside this evening, due to waterlogged pitches, we were very pleased to be at Hebburn Sports Club tonight on a pitch that showed up very well on arrival. Several members of the RCA squad were more than happy that the game was going ahead. U18 Youth players - goalkeeper Graeme Pickering plus defenders Liam Dunn, Marc Moon with midfielders Jonny Davis and Ryan Mather all being called up for their second taste of first team action in a month. New signing, forward Peter Benson was also selected to make his debut for the team. Club Captain Scott Richards was also back in the squad for the first time in over a month.

Pickering, Dunn and Davis made it to the starting eleven and it was pleasing to see Wayne Henderson also in the line up having been out of competitive action since August. Centre midfielder Michael Coghlan also started for the first time in a few weeks, having fully recovered from injury.

The level of buoyancy from RCA was transferred straight into the game and after kicking off, the visitors immediately made progress into the Hebburn half. In the second minute Wayne Henderson played a ball through the centre that split the Hebburn defence wide open and the league’s current top scorer Mark Davison was on it quick wasting no time, hitting a great 25 yard effort that Kevin Duncan in goal, dived to his left glancing the ball onto the post. RCA’s first corner and when Steven Stewart hit the centre in, the ball was half cleared to the same player this time he beat the full back then pulled the ball across for Benson who calmly swept the ball home. A real lively start continued as minutes later Dunn from right full back played Benson in again, beating the offside trap he hit an early shot from distance that went a yard past the post. Hebburn responded for the first time after 10 minutes, midfielder Keith Oliver linking with forward Shaun Carroll who running onto goal was only thwarted by a great last ditch tackle from Paul Wardle. Coghlan in midfield for RCA was showing great energy and after several passes were exchanged in midfield, the same player received the ball out wide right. Well even David Beckham couldn’t have hit a cross field pass like it, 60 yards at least over the head of the left fullback where Stewart took down superbly before playing Davison in on the edge of the box and he slotted home with aplomb. 2 – 0 to RCA and celebrations all round. Hebburn were fighting hard to keep in contention and minutes later a further cross was delivered into Davison who rose well but headed over. The home side regrouped and some good play down the right from Karl McMann ended up with a fine delivery that Graeme Matthewson hit on the volley just wide of the post. However after 25 minutes RCA moved downfield and again Stewart was the antagonist, turning defenders both ways before hitting a raking cross which Davison got up and despatched his header into the net. 3 – 0 and Hebburn supporters must have been thinking lightning could happen twice, with memories of the RCA 8 – 1 rout in August flooding back.

The game really opened up now and the end to end play really entertained the supporters. After Hebburn again moved down the right a further cross was met by Willie Crew who headed wide. In a counter attack on 35 minutes, Hebburn moved down the left where the fullback and winger appear to get in each others way forcing the ball out of play. The official flagged for a home throw and whilst the RCA players stopped to appeal, the full back threw the ball over the defence and Carroll raced into the box and coolly slotted home. Chaos for a short period and a couple of bookings ensued which were not in line with the general flow of the game. The game could have been put out of sight by RCA when Coghlan done all the hard work playing a one two to beat the last line of defence but racing through he slotted over with only keeper to beat. Davison headed wide minutes later. As half time approached though it was Hebburn who nearly scored again when out of nothing number 9 Michael Armstrong reached a loose ball on the edge of the box and stretching, he toe poked the ball goalwards and it spun off the turf, changing slight direction and Pickering threw up an arm to deflect onto the post. The referee blew the whistle to end a half that had management scratching heads, but was more than entertaining for the neutral.

RCA returned to the field with youth player Marc Moon taking over at right back with Dunn moving to centre back replacing Henderson. Again the end to end play was the format. RCA winning early corners before the home side attacked down the right, full back McMann exchanging passes with Crew before moving into the box and hitting a great effort that Pickering in goal blocked well. Niall McCardle at left back cut out consecutive attacks minutes after. RCA lifted their game again and a great 6 man move ended up freeing Noble who raced onto goal but hit his effort well clear of the bar. Richards came onto replace Davis for RCA on the hour mark as both teams looked to control play. Oliver was booked for Hebburn and then Richards appeared to be harshly treated with a yellow which was in fact his first challenge of the match. Ryan Mather replaced Stewart to take the tally to five U18 players on the pitch as RCA looked to finish off the game. The next attack was by RCA down the left and a great cross to the back post found Mather who headed well but wide of the target.

The last 10 minutes saw a period as open as any other part of the game and whilst goals looked likely at either end it was Hebburn who netted again, a ball from wide right was hit into the box and Carroll raced in to flick the ball over the keeper for his second goal. 2 – 3 and the cup tie alive again. Richards was still driving forward and had three efforts on goal in the final minutes the best of which curling and smashing the bar with the keeper well beaten. Not to be outdone though the home side rallied for a final time and substitute Gary Dadd nearly took the tie to extra time racing in to hit a cracking 20 yard effort that also hit the angle.

A good cup tie was ended after 95 minutes and the result sees RCA take their place in the last 8 of a competition that they have been losing finalists in the last two seasons. Manager Neil Hixon admits the main priority is Promotion this year and resources will be aimed at keeping the team at the top of the league. Neutrals will be looking forward to more open cup ties such as this – the next one at home in the League Cup against First Division Shildon on Nov 25th ko 7.30 ko. Get your ticket quick – it will certainly be value for money!

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Sunderland RCA FC 2 Washington FC 0

21 November 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Div II

Whilst this was not classic by any stretch of the imagination it was another workmanlike performance and three points well earned. The two goal inside the first 20 minutes killed the game off and for all their endeavours Washington could not break down a resolute RCA Defence.

The game started in dramatic fashion when RCA took the lead after just 45 seconds, Paul Taylor, marking his first game back after injury, with a well taken goal when he pounced on a through ball from Davison before sliding the ball past the advancing Starford.

Washington could have been 2 - 0 down inside five minutes if Davison had been able to get on the end of a cross from Stewart as the ball sailed across the six yard box.

In the eighth minutes Lee Smith intercepted a pass inside the RCA half and unleashed a terrific strike from 25 yards out which hit the post.

RCA were starting to make inroads into the heart of the Washington defence and only some good defending by Lowden denied Halliday after some good work from Noble. A cross from Stewart was turned over the bar by Coghlan, but the same player made amends a minute later when a long clearance from Hoggeth was headed on by Davison to Taylor who threaded a pass to Coghlan who proceeded to chip the ball over Starford and into the net.

RCA were rampant at this stage of the game and Starford was called into action to parry a shot from Stewart.

Washington came more into the game in the final five minutes of the half, but Hoggeth in the RCA goal never had a shot to save.

Within three minutes of the restart Micky Coghlan limped off with a rib injury, which will probably keep him out of the mid week match against Shildon.

Smith had a decent chance to reduce the lead when he went on a mazy run beating three players before a great covering tackle from McGuinness stopped him getting in a shot. At the other end RCA were awarded a freekick and Stewart found Davison at the far post but his header was well saved by Starford.

RCA were dominating the midfield and looked likely to score on any number of occassions only for the final pass or shot to go awry. With 70 minutes gone a pass from McGuinness found Noble who turned the ball infield for Davison who hit a terrific shot which was brilliantly saved by the keeper. Minutes later Halliday burst into the box and looked odds on to score, but fired wide. Washington rallied and as RCA looked to tire they hit them on the break and both Hodgson and Donnelly had good opportunities but fired wide.

Their first shot on target in the second half came when Donnelly fired straight at Hoggeth in the 85th minute.

Special mention should go to the ground staff for presenting the best Meadow Park surface for many a year; it looks in extremely good nick.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 Shildon AFC 4

25 November 2009

Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup

Sunderland RCA suffered their worst defeat of the season at home to Shildon in the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup last night. A slick Shildon outfit killed off this tie in the first half with a scintillating display of football and some clinical finishing which left RCA with a mountain to climb in the second half. RCA probably shaded an entertaining second half but once again the finishing of Shildon's Andrew Johnson, who completed his hattrick, was the difference between the two teams.

Shildon looked comfortable from the start of this match with some slick fast passing which had RCA at sixes and sevens. The only surprise was that it took 12 minutes for them to register their first shot at goal when Lee Chapman fired in a shot which went narrowly wide. It only took another minute for them to take the lead when Johnson drove the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards out. Within a minute they went 2 - 0 up when Johnson intercepted a defensive pass before finding Bell who hit another low shot into the same corner.

RCA were finding it difficult to create anything of note and there only shot on target was a header from Davison which looped into the arms of Finch. Stephen Halliday also had a half chance, but shot wide.

On 38 minutes Chris Bell, with a long ball from inside his own half set Andy Johnson free to run through and place the ball smoothly past Pickering to grab his second goal and make it 3 - 0 to Shildon.

In the second half RCA showed a lot more urgency and were unlucky not to pull one back when Shields crossed to the far post for Davison to power in a header which Finch did well to save at the second attempt.

RCA were, for the first time in the match, putting pressure on the back four of Shildon, but they were shaken in the 67 minute when Andy Johnson blasted home a right foot pile driver for Shildon's fourth goal and his hat-trick.

Both teams had further efforts on goal but none really trobled the respective goalkeepers until the 85th minute when Taylor was put through by Richards and the RCA sub sidefooted past Finch only to see the ball go narrowly wide of the far post.

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Northallerton Town FC 1 Sunderland RCA 1

28 November 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

RCA fielded a strong team for today's visit to Northallerton and a tremendously exciting game ended all square 1 - 1.

The early exchanges were even with both teams trying to get the ball down and play football. After 10 minutes the home side's centre back Grant Hickman had to be stretchered off with a badly damaged knee after a clash with Scott Richards.

The first real chance of the game saw Mark Davison fail to get enough power onto a header in the 19th minute.

Northallerton had a couple of good opportunities, first Chillingworth was thwarted by good tackle by Wardle before Thompson pounced on a loose ball to fire wide.

A long period of passing by RCA ended with a good cross from Davis being headed wide by Paul Taylor on 24 minutes.

Northallerton responded with two corners in quick succesion and exerted real pressure on the RCA Defence before Davis broke away on a great run, rounded Kell, the keeper, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Dacombe. The loose ball was crossed back in by Richards and Shields gave RCA the lead with a smart header at the back post with 32 minutes gone.

Taylor had the ball in the net on 36 minutes but was pullled up for offside. In 44 minutes RCA had a close shave as from a Northallerton corner the ball was volleyed in by Butterworth, crashed off a post and was scrambled clear. The ref allowed eight extra minutes for stoppages, but RCA got through to half time with their 1 0 lead intact.

The second half started with RCA mistakes giving Northallerton dangerous possession but they were unable to make it count. On 50 minutes a good move lead to a RCA corner from which Davisons header was cleared off the line.

On 55 minutes Scott Richards drove a free kick just over the bar from wide right and a minute later Taylor was released but his shot lacked power and Kell saved easily.

The threatened equaliser arrived on the 57th minute when Holliday converted a Chillingworth cross from close range with a spectacular volley.

On 60 minutes Stewart replaced Shields wide right for RCA and made an immediate impact earning a freekick on the edge of the box when making a dangerous run.

The game was wide open now as Davison brought a good save from Kell before Northallerton had a goal ruled out for offside. Then in 71 minutes Stewart was brought down in the box, unfortunately Davison dragged the spot kick wide.

McBryde replaced Taylor for the last ten minutes as RCA pressed for the win and it looked like Davison had decided things but his towering header went agonisingly wide.

The last few minutes saw Northallerton clinging on desperately, but they saw it out for a well earned draw.

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North Shields FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 0

5 December 2009

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

In a game of constant attacking in both halves it is amazing how this game finished 0 - 0. Both teams had great chances and squandered them. From a neutral's view point they saw the best of North Shields in the first half and the best from RCA in second half.

The Game opened brightly enough with Stewart going past Luccock before sending in a terrific cross which evaded everyone including Robinson in the Shields' goal.

North Shields were unlucky not to take the lead after six minutes when a good move down the right saw Livermore pull the ball back for Taylor, but he fired wide from 12 yards out.

A strong challenge by Richards earned him an early yellow card and from the resulting free kick Amos headed wide.

In the 15th minute RCA had their best chance of the half when Stewart crossed to the far post and Noble, with the goal at his mercy, mis-timed his header and it went straight to Robinson. North Shields increased the pressure and only a fine save by Hoggeth from Smith kept RCA in the game. In a rare excursion forward Paul Taylor chested the ball into the path of the advancing Halliday, but his shot was comfortably saved by Robinson.

Cartwright was starting to pull the strings in midfield and a quick one-two with Minto resulted in a powerful shot going high and wide. Minutes later and some good interplay between Hay, Amos and Glen Taylor saw the ball crossed to Cartwright who hit his shot narrowly wide.

In the 33rd minute the defender hoodoo hit RCA again when Andy Reay was carried off with what looks like knee ligament damage. North Shields continued to press and in the dying minutes of the half both Minto and Hay had good opportunities to score. RCA defended well, but could count themselves lucky to be still in this game.

What a transformation in the second half; whatever was said in the half time team talk worked miraculously.

From the kick off Davis picked up the ball and drove at the Shields defence before slipping the bal to Davison who shot narrowly wide. From the the re start Mcardle won the ball and passed to Halliday who found Noble free on the right he crossed for Davison who's shot was blocked by Cartwright.
Halliday was taking command of the midfield and his passing was causing problems for the overstretched defence of North Shileds who must have wondered if RCA had put out different eleven in this second period.

On the hour mark Halliday found Taylor on the edge of the box and he turned and fired wide.
A minute later and the same combination were responsible for the RCA's best effort so far when a snap shot from Taylor beat Robinson but went agonisingly wide of the far post.

It was one way traffic at this stage and Shields could not even muster a worthwhile attack.

Davison had an effort blocked by Lullock before Taylor in a good position decided to shoot when a better option might have been to cross for the unmarked Davison or Richards.

Jones and Noble combined to set McBryde up, but his effort flew wide and in the closing stages Davison beat everyone to the ball inside the box but fired his shot straight at Robinson who saved with his legs.

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Team Northumbria FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 2

12 December 2009

skilltraining Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA travelled to Team Northumbria for this reversed fixture and came away with all three points despite a few scares in the second half. On paper this should have been a comfortable match but Team Northumbria obviously hadn't read the script.

RCA had two new signings on the bench today, Martin O'Riordan signed from Horden and Sean Davies from Crook.

The opening exchanges were fairly even with neither keeper really being tested. In the 10th minute Stewart sent in a lovely cross which Davison flicked onto Taylor, but his effort went wide. Team had a good chance when Philippe found space on the right and cut inside only to see shot flash wide of the post.

With Team Nortumbria operating with a five man midfield RCA reverted to a long ball game effectively missing out the midfield and it worked to some effect when Jones sent in a long ball and it was headed on by Davison for Stewart, but his effort on goal was well saved by Jennison. Within a minute he was called upon again to save superbly from a Davison shot. However from the resulting corner RCA took the lead when Richards fired in from 10 yards.

Team Northumbria responded and a high ball into the box was allowed to bounce over the defenders heads, but Redhead put the ball over the bar from inside the six yard area.

Noble and Stewart were starting to make good runs on either flank and caused problems for the full backs. A good cross in from Noble found Taylor who laid the ball on for Halliday, but he fired wide.

Late in the first half Cairns fired wide from the edge of the box and Philippe headed straight at Hoggeth.

The second half saw both teams attacking with RCA just shading the exchanges, but both defences were holding firm with Donogue and Wilkinson outstanding for Team Northumbria.

Neither defender could do anything about RCA's second, which was an exquisite solo effort from Stewart; having beaten the full back, he cut inside and from the left hand corner of the 18 yard box curled the ball into the far corner of the net.

Once again Team Northumbria responded with some good football, but their final shots were never on target with Hoggeth only having to make one save.

O'Riordan replaced Noble to bring even more pace to the match and within a minute of his arrival he crossed for Davison, but he headed straight at Jennison.

Redhead had a great chance at the other end when he beat the offside trap, but with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot wide.

Both teams played their part in an entertaining match. It is difficult to understand why Team Northumbria are in such a lowly position in the league because their general play is very good.

A friendly has been arranged for Wednesday against Silksworth FC at RCA's Welfare Park Ground.

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Sunderland RCA FC 8 Hebburn Town FC 0

Saturday, 23 January 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

RCA gave home débuts to no fewer than four new players: Christoph Ascherl, Darren Kokes, Sean Davies and Martin O'Riordan. Having had no games since 12 December it was no surprise that the two teams took a little while to get into their stride, but when RCA got into gear they romped away with all three points.

The opening exchanges of this match was fairly even with both teams taking time to get their passing game together. It was Hebburn who had the first shot on goal when Myers, fired in a low shot which flashed narrowly wide of the upright. Hebburn took heart from this and won two corners in quick succession, but they were well dealt with by Henderson and Wardle in the heart of the RCA Defence.

RCA took the lead with their first real shot at goal when Steven Stewart blasted in a shot, which took a wicked deflection, past Rogers.

RCA seemed to step up a gear and Kokes brought a fantastic save from Rogers and an O'Riordan cross was headed over the bar by Davison.

The game took a dramatic turn when the Referee awarded two penalties in the space of two minutes and dismissed Gray for violent conduct.

Stewart converted the first penalty to make it 2-0, but rattled the bar with the second and Kokes, who reacted the quickest, fired over the bar.

O'Riordan started to get more involved in the game and was putting in some good crosses and from one a glancing header from Davison was somehow headed of the line by Cowell.

Hebburn continued to look for openings going forward and Crew had a good chance when he was put into space by Brocklehurst, but Hoggeth saved well from a weak effort.

In the 28th minute Davison, who was having one of those games where he was doing everything right, but the end product was just off target or saved by the keeper, headed over a Stewart cross.

On the half hour mark RCA went 3-0 up when another cross from O'Riordan was met at the far post by Davison who, unselfishly, headed it back across goal for Ascherl to head home from close range. RCA were well on top now and Hebburn's cause was not helped by an injury to Greenwell.

In the 38th minute Kokes scored when he burst past two defenders before firing past the advancing Rogers.

Hebburn were forced to reorganise at the back when the injured Greenwell did not appear for the second half and was replaced by Nesbitt. It was a familiar pattern with Hebburn taking the early initiative with both Brocklehurst and Crew going close in the opening five minutes of the second half.
However it was not long before O'Riordan and Stewart started to weave their respective magic on the wings and Davison was unlucky once again to see a header brilliantly saved by Rogers and a minute later a fierce 25 yarder from the same player went narrowly over the bar.

In the 60th minute the Davison was replaced by McBryde and only a good save from Rogers denied him a goal with his first touch.

In the 63rd minute Kokes dispossessed Nesbitt before rounding the keeper to score his second of the match.

Taylor and Coghlan replaced Kokes and Ascherl who had both given a good account of themselves in their debut matches.

McBryde scored to make it 6-0, when he combined with Taylor for a tap in at the far post.

Hebburn should have score a minute later when Willie Crew was clear with only the keeper to beat, but Hoggeth made a superb save diving at the feet of Crew. Within a minute RCA were caught again on the break and only a covering tackle from Henderson stopped another shot from Crew.

Late in the game RCA wrapped the game up when Taylor volleyed home from eight yards out and then in the dying minuters of the match McBryde found the net for his second and RCA's eighth.

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Sunderland RCA FC 1 Seaham Red Star FC 0

26 January 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA super sub Liam McBryde came on to score a late goal and deny Seaham Red Star a share of the spoils in the entertaining derby clash. Over 100 spectators witnessed an exciting match, which was a credit to the Northern League but more importantly a credit to both clubs.

Sunderland RCA were forced to make one change, bringing in Scott Richards to replace club captain Stephen Halliday in midfield. Seaham Red Star were looking to build upon their impressive draw against Guisborough Town at the weekend and started this match in impressive style putting pressure on the RCA players with their pace and endeavour.

In the third minute Winspear went past the RCA defence only to see his effort fly wide of the upright. RCA countered with Stewart crossing for Davison who headed straight at Barlow in the Seaham goal. Within a minute a cross from the other wing delivered by O’Riordan was brought down by Kokes who fed the ball to Davison to fire in a shot that went inches wide. It was a cracking opening five minutes and for those who thought it couldn’t be sustained think again. The game was end-to-end entertainment with both teams contributing to a pulsating match. When a pinpoint pass from Bettson found Hume free inside the box it looked odds on that Seaham would take the lead, but a great cover challenge from Wardle sent the ball for a corner and from the subsequent kick Jack headed over.

RCA started to play some good football without really penetrating the Seaham defence, but after 20 minutes a 35 yards snap shot from Henderson almost caught them out but it cannoned off the outside of the post for a goal kick. Kokes was causing all sorts of problems, with his pace and movement upsetting the Seaham defence. On 25 minutes Kokes laid the ball into the path of Richards who hit a tremendous curling shot which hit the post and again went for a goal kick. In another game RCA could have been 2 – 0 up, but the Seaham goal seemed to have a charmed life. Seaham responded with some good football between Hume and Winspear, with the latter striking a great shot which produced an equally great save from Hoggeth.

The second half saw Seaham pick up the momentum in the opening five minutes and Hoggeth had to be at his best making saves from first Winspear and then Armes.

RCA were awarded freekick on the edge of the box and a well rehearsed move saw Stewart fire wide from Richards kick. Within a minute O’Riordan broke on the left and fired in a shot which went narrowly wide. At the other end Armes broke past Henderson and fired in across which was met by Hume and only a goalline clearance by Davies prevented Seaham taking the lead.

McBryde replaced Davison on 70 minutes and within six minutes had broken the deadlock. A corner from O’Riordan looked to have been cleared only for it to hit Wardle and rebound to O’Riordan who sent in a low cross which was met at the front post by McBryde to steer past the helpless Barlow. This lifted RCA and they were unlucky not to double the lead when McBryde sent Kokes clear, but his shot went narrowly wide.

Seaham to their credit never gave up, but as the two teams tired it was RCA who looked the stronger and although both teams had good moves neither keeper was really called upon to make a save in the final five minutes of the match. Whilst Seaham probably did deserve a draw on the night, it was RCA who took the spoils and moved towards their goal of promotion. With other results on the night going our way it is now in our hands.

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Sunderland RCA FC 1 Thornaby 0

Saturday, 6 February 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA were made to work hard today by a well organised and very spirited Thornaby side. A goal from man of the match Darren Kokes in the 44th minutes settled the match and gave RCA all three points.

A minutes silence for the late Mr Gordon Nicholson was impeccably observed prior to the match.

Thornaby took advantage of the slope in the first half and immediately showed their intention with some slick attacking moves which had the RCA defence rocking. Gibson was the first with a shot which went narrowly wide before Fox mishit a shot from 12 yards out which went yards wide. RCA weathered the early pressure and responded with a shot from Kokes, which the keeper was pleased to see go wide. This was end-to-end football with both teams looking to go forward at every opportunity. Whilst the quality was not always evident you could not question the commitment of both teams.

RCA should have taken the lead when a a great run from Ascherl ended with a lovely cross into the path of McBryde, but his effort, with only the keeper to beat, was well wide of the upright. Thornaby went down the other end and a cross from Moore found Gibson unmarked in the box, but his downward header from two yards out was cleared off the line by Henderson. A minute later and a run and shot from Fox, who could have put Crossen through on goal had he looked up, went well wide. Five minutes later and Kokes rattled the bar after some excellent work on the left by Mcbryde.

Only a great last gasp tackle from Pearson stopped a certain RCA goal when Kokes was sent clear by Ascherl. Within a minute Davis went on a surging 40 yard run which ended in him crossing for Davison who headed over. RCA were, at this point, starting to get on top of the game and Thornaby were forced to defend.

In the final minute of the half Ascherl again sent Kokes clear of the Thornaby defence and this time he made no mistake with a beautiful lob over the keeper.

The second half saw RCA pressuring the Thornaby defence for long periods. A cross from McBryde was headed goalward by Davison but was cleared off the line by Pearson. Kokes, who was showing his class, was a constant thorn in the side of a well organised Thornaby defence. He was unlucky with a shot that was deflected wide and from the resulting corner Ascherl’s shot went narrowly wide.

Thornaby responded with a quick counter attack and Gibson forced a corner which was headed over.

Pearson and Bishop for Thornaby were performing heroics in keeping the RCA attack at bay and were pleased to see a surging run by Kokes end with a shot which struck the post.

Thornaby had only their second real chance of the second half when substitute Abdullah played in Gibson and from inside the box; he blasted his shot across goal but wide of the post.

For all their domination in the second half RCA could not break down the Thornaby defence and the match ended 1-0.

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Sunderland RCA FC 3 Birtley Town FC 0

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA kept their title dreams alive with a wonderful second half display which netted a hat trick for leading scorer Mark Davison.

Bottom of the table Birtley Town started the game well kicking down the slope and soon had RCA in trouble with a well worked move between Moat and Peterson resulted in the latter firing wide.

In the fifth minute RCA were awarded a corner and the resulting kick saw Hall power a header over the bar.

Birtley came back and were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box after a strong challenge from Hall. Peterson's shot was deflected for a corner. From this corner RCA countered and a through ball from Ascherl found Kokes inside the box; he looked to have gone round Hunter, the Birtley keeper, but somehow as Kokes fired in his shot Hunter managed to grab the ball - a brilliant save keeping the score level.

RCA mounted a bit of pressure and within the space of two minutes had great opportunities to score. First, Davis skipped past two defenders but his cross was too good for everyone and then Jones burst into the box only to be denied by a late lunge from Scott.

Birtley had a penalty appeal turned down when Roseby was brought down on the edge of the box, but the referee only awarded a freekick which was poorly taken.

RCA finished the half strongly and Ascherl was unlucky with a snap shot from a Davis cross which went over the bar.

The second half saw RCA start with more purpose, Coghlan firing over as early as the third minute. RCA took the lead after 50 minutes when a cross from Davies found Davison free inside the box and he was able to lob Hunter from 12 yards out.

Within five minutes it was 2 - 0 when Davis went on a mazy run before passing to Kokes who crossed the ball into the path of Davison who guided it past Hunter for his second.

Both teams continued to attack and had chances to score but failed to make either keeper make a save until the 75th minute when a screamer from Nugent looked to be heading into the top corner, however Hoggeth somehow managed to get a hand on the ball and turn it over the bar for a corner. Birtley, sensing a goal piled forward, but RCA managed to scramble the ball clear.

McBryde was unlucky when a header from a Davis corner went narrowly over the bar.

In the 82nd minute a surging run by Ascherl was abruptly ended when he was fouled 25 yards from goal. Up stepped Davison to rifle the ball home for his hat trick to make it 3-0.

Within a minute it really should have been 4-0 when McBryde squared the ball to Taylor inside the six yard box and he somehow blasted the ball over the bar.

Don't be surprised to see Steve Bruce at our next match with six clean sheet in a row in the league and unbeaten since November, he might need some tips from Mr Hixon.

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Whickham FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 0

Saturday, 13 February 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA suffered only their third defeat of the season at the hands of a very hard working and organised Whickham team, but it could have been so different if they had been able to convert any of about five chances in the first 20 minutes.

Sunderland RCA started this game on fire putting Whickham under pressure from the off. A Stewart cross after four minutes found Kokes, but he steered his shot wide of the upright. A Davison shot which looked destined for the net was saved by Robinson at the expense of a corner and Stewart's corner kick was headed over by Hall.

Whickham counterattacked through Swanson, but Jones was equal to the task and set up another RCA attack, a superb pass found Ascherl just inside the box who in turn found Stewart who tried to cut the ball back into the path of Davison, but the ball was cleared. In making this pass Stewart was injured and had to be replaced.

This gave Whickham the chance to start again and as RCA's game became narrow they were able to cope easily with most of RCA's game play and towards the end of the half put RCA under pressure with a series of dead ball situations where Patterson went close with a low shot.

The second half was a very even affair with both teams attacking whenever possible.

In the 63rd minute RCA looked to have broken the deadlock when Davison rattled in a shot from 10 yards out after some good link up play. The goal was ruled out when the assistant referee ruled that Davis had handled the ball in the box when it was clearly the hand of Wilkinson the Whickham defender.

With 12 minutes remaining Whickham took the lead. Robson evaded two challanges before drilling the ball low into the bottom corner. RCA responded with two great efforts, Davison inside the box turned and fired in but Robinson was equal to the task. In the final minutes Robinson produced another top draw save from Davison turning the shot round the post.

Whickham held out for a well fought win although RCA can feel agrieved not to have at least come away with a point.

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Sunderland RCA FC 3 Guisborough Town FC 0

Saturday, 20 February 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA recalled Paul Wardle, Scott Richards and Sean Davies into the first eleven and the effect was immediate with RCA almost back to their early season best. In the first 20 minutes they tore the heart out of Guisborough scoring three fantastic goals and the game was killed off.

An amazing start to this game saw RCA take the initiative as early as the second minute when a pass from McBryde found Ascherl free on the edge of the box and he delicately curled the ball into the top corner with Escritt rooted to the spot. Two minutes later and a shot from Kokes was turned away for a corner and and from McBryde's kick Hall powered in a header which rattled the bar.

Davison made the score 2-0 with a spectacular overhead kick which left Escritt helpless as it hit the net. RCA were rampant at this point and Guisborough were unable to cope with the constant pressure. A good run by Kokes beat two players before he passed to Ascherl who fired narrowly wide from 18 yards.

In the 15th minute RCA effectively sealed the win with a superb lobbed shot from Richards who received the ball 25 yards out before unleashing the dipping effort which gave Escritt no chance.

Guisborough did not give up and a lovely pass fron Portas found Onions in space, but Hoggeth closed him down and his shot drifted wide of the upright. RCA, though, were in command and were looking to increase their lead and only some excellent defending from Butterworth prevented McBryde from scoring. Towards the end of the first half Guisborough started to get to grips with the midfield, but they were not creating any chances as RCA restricted them to long range efforts.

In the last minute of the first half Guisborough were awarded a free kick, which was crossed into the box by Roberts but was easily dealt with by Hall.

The second half saw a much improved performance from Guisborough, with Portas and Onions posing a threat, but they were still unable to fashion a worthwhile effort on goal. At the other end Kokes was unlucky with and effort that was deflected wide for a corner and Hall once again headed the corner high over the bar.

Portas and Roberts combined for Guisborough and Roberts' shot had Hoggeth scrambling to make the save.

In the 70th minute it looked certain that RCA would increase their lead when a quick one-two between Jones and McBryde found Jones inside the six yard box, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Escritt.

Inside the last five minutes and Escritt was well beaten by a McBryde thunderbolt, but the ball rebounded off the post to safety.

In the final minute Harrison Davies, who had been extremely quiet all game, put in a telling cross but both onions and Roberts missed the ball.

RCA back to their best in the first 20 minutes and able to keep yet another clean sheet.

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Marske United FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 0

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Two of the top three met in a terrific end-to-end encounter which first swung in favour of the Marske United but then as the game progressed it was Sunderland RCA who came into the game and finished by far the stronger. The only disappointment for the fans was the fact that it ended goalless.

Steve Stewart came back into the side. The pitch was very sticky and the first half was very evenly contested, with few chances for either side.

Ash Davies went close for RCA and Ben Thompson was a constant threat for Marske, but it was 0-0 at the break.

The second half saw Marske start the stronger, but as the game went on RCA got on top and Darren Kokes went close from close range on a couple of occasions.

Ash Davies caused real trouble with his running on the left and Marske were the more relieved side to hear the final whistle as an entertaining game finished goalless.

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Sunderland RCA FC 1 Brandon United FC 0

Saturday, 6 March 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA took all three points in a hard fought match against a very competitive, young Brandon United team who never stopped trying. In the end RCA proved too strong for Brandon who tired as the game entered the final 10 minutes and RCA took advantage to move five points clear at the top of the division.

Brandon were quickly into their passing game and a good spell of early possession ended with a shot from Bowman being well saved by Hoggeth.

The game then became scrappy with the ball being given away cheaply by both teams and the game got bogged down in a midfield battle. Brandon had a free kick 25 yards out, but Fothergill fired his shot straight at the RCA wall and the danger was cleared.

As the half progressed RCA started to penetrate the Brandon defence and after some good work by Richards, Ascherl was sent clear, but his attempt at lobbing the keeper went narrowly wide.

Within a minute Ascherl, who was playing in a more advanced role today, fired in a shot which was well saved by Myers.

Quick interplay between Jones and Ascherl should have been rewarded with a goal but the final shot from Jones flew over the bar.

RCA were almost caught in the final minute of the half when a crossfield ball found Bowman who tried a cheeky first time shot from fully 40 yards out which cleared the bar and landed on the roof of the net.

O'Riordan replaced Davis at half time and made an immediate impact, beating two players before crossing into the box for Stewart, but he fired over from five yards out.

Brandon broke out and a searching ball from Bramley found Verity free on the edge of the box and he fired in a low shot which scraped the foot of the upright.

The game was starting to open up now with RCA forcing their opponents to defend deep. A right wing corner was not cleared and Hall sent in a fierce shot which Myers was equal to.

The game changed dramatically with the introduction of Coghlan, with almost his first touch of the ball he hit the bar with the keeper well beaten. Five minutes later a pass from Ascherl found Coghlan on the right and his crossshot was magnificently saved by Myers at the expense of a corner. Coghlan took the corner and found Hall, unmarked, 12 yards out, and he thundered home his header.

As Brandon weakened RCA started to press for a second, but were denied by some good defensive work by Guy and Newby.

RCA were maybe feeling the effects of a hard match at Marske, but Brandon aquitted themselves well today.

Special mention must be made to RCA's defensive record this season: 14 clean sheets (8 in the last 9 games) must be a club record, if not a second division one.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 North Shields 4

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup

North Shields progressed to the semi final of the Ernest Armstrong Cup with this comprehensive win against a below par RCA team. The result was rarely in doubt after "Shields" opened the scoring within the opening two minutes.

A crossfield ball found Wright free and his cross to the far post evaded everybody except Akinbolu who bundled the ball home.

RCA responded with a shot from O'Riordan which was tipped over the bar by Robinson and a minute later the same player thought he had scored only for Farman to clear off the line keeper Robinson beaten.

More good chances then came for "The Robins" with Hay heading over and then he had a goal disallowed after a great move.

Ascherl was unlucky not to level the scores when he steered a Coghlan freekick inches wide and in the final minute of the half Davison fired staright at the keeper.

The second half didn't liven up until the 60th minute when Jones fired just wide. Then with 20 minutes remaining North shileds were awarded a freekick which Rassmussen blasted into the net aided by a goalkeeping error.

Robbie Livermore made it 3-0 when he dribbled into the box and knocked the ball past Hoggeth. Robinson finished the scoring with a deft header from an excellent Nellis cross.

RCA continued to put pressure on the North Shields defence but didn't really trouble the keeper.
Mention must be made concerning the great vocal turn out by the "Red Ultras"; North Shields' travelling fans were a credit to their team.

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Sunderland RCA FC 3 Stokesley SC FC 2

Saturday, 13 March 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

RCA entertained Stokesley in a vital top of the table clash, and the big news before kick off was former RCA centre forward Andy Jennings pulling up in the warm up and having to drop to the bench.

Courtesy of the Sunday Sun reporter Steve Brown: Match report:

An “absolute cracker” one would be “daft to miss”, promised the programme. It was right, as Sunderland stoked their promotion flames while Stokesley demonstrated sufficient to suggest that despite defeat in Ryhope, hope floats. Some game too. Five goals, two sendings-off, a penalty. Heated disagreement between dug-out and crowd, two balls in the neighbouring cemetery and another in a small girl’s face. It had everything and, for victorious boss Neil Hixon, satisfaction at the death. “That’s a massive win for us, we needed it if we have any aspirations to win the league,” he said, his side leading Northern League Division Two by five points from Jarrow Roofing, but nine now ahead of yesterday’s visitors, fourth with games in hand.

“It was a good game between two good sides but I think we deserved to win and they’re three big points for us.” They never looked like claiming any at the outset, as in-form Stokesley – 14 league wins on the bounce before last week’s draw with Newton Aycliffe – ought to have romped into a three-goal lead courtesy of Turkish Under-21 international Lev Yalcin. “That’s three glorious chances he’s p****d away,” bemoaned Frustrated, of Stokesley.

Home keeper Gary Hoggeth kept Yalcin, and Paul Crager’s header, at bay before Richard Hope fired across the face of goal, and by then Sunderland had at least served some notice of their attendance at least, Mark Davison and Liam McBryde heading at Rob Dean. Then though RCA, imploded.

A difference of opinion between a spectator and RCA boss Hixon saw the former vacate Meadow Park and the latter exit the dug-out. Something and nothing, you sensed.

Yet moments later Hoggeth’s 32nd-minute throw struck the back of unwitting team-mate McBryde and fell kindly to Bryan Stewart, who sprang clear to score. Credit though to the hosts, for they re-gathered composure, and took control. Six minutes later Davison headed in McBryde’s arrowed cross, the goalscorer then volleyed wide and ex-Gateshead star Christoph Ascherl fired at Dean before Darren Kokes ought to have scored in added time. Though before then Stewart and McBryde might also have handed Stokesley the lead again, the second half belonged – largely – to Sunderland.

Three minutes after the restart McBryde hit the foot of the post, then after Stokesley’s Stuart Wise was dismissed for a second bookable offence, Davison saw headers tipped and fly over, Stephen Halliday shot wide, Martin O’Riordan volleyed over and, finally, on 73 minutes, all that pressure paid. O’Riordan sent Kokes down the left, his nifty turn left Crager for dead and set up Scott Richards for a simple finish.
Game over, surely. But from near nowhere Stokesley seized a lifeline.

Hope’s threaded through ball put Stewart clear, only for the winger to be impeded by Steven Jones, who was red-carded as Yalcin equalised from the penalty spot.

So a draw then. Seems fair, keeps things interesting.

Sunderland had other ideas though, and on 85 minutes Halliday’s careering run took him past two opponents before a slid pass allowed Davison – who had just curled a free-kick wide – to ram the winner past Dean.

“I’m very disappointed, we should have had it won after 25 minutes but missed a lot of chances,” said Stokesley manager Ted Watts.

“We did enough for a point but that’s our first loss in 19 games.

“You don’t want to lose against a promotion rival but we’ll bounce back, I’m confident of that.”

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Whitehaven FC 2 Sunderland RCA FC 2

Saturday, 20 March 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA FC should have bagged all three points at Whitehaven and only two monumental errors by a better than average referee denied us. His first was in denying Davison his hat trick when he headed home. Reason given was a pull on the goalkeeper's jersey by an unknown player. The second was in the last minute of the game when Shields was fouled just outside the box, he gave a non existent advantage as Whitehaven had the ball and they scored from the long ball out of defence.

Sunderland RCA started this match fantastically well putting Whitehaven under pressure from the off. In the third minute a slick one-two between McBryde and Kokes set up Davison, but he fired wide.

RCA took the lead on 11 minutes when Hall took the ball past a Whitehaven defender before crossing for Davison to volley home from 10 yards out.

Whitehaven's first effort on goal came in the 15th minute, when a smart passing move resulted in a long range effort from Shaw which was easily saved by Hoggeth. Immediately RCA went up the other end and Kokes rounded the keeper before shooting only to see his effort blocked by Lewis. RCA were dominating the play and Whitehaven were guilty of giving the ball away in key areas. McBryde and O'Riordan were a constant threat on the wings and their balls into the box were causing major problems for a shaky Whitehaven defence.

Davison scored his second when he was the quickest to respond to a shot from O'Riordan which struck the underside of the bar and bounced for him to head home from close range,

In the 43 minute Hoggeth was called into action for the second time of the half when he saved from Shaw again.

The second half started much the same as the first with RCA attacking and Whitehaven reduced to counter attacking.

In the 50th minute O'Riordan was unlucky to see a shot from the edge of the box clear the bar by inches and a minute later a Davison freekick was well saved by Miller. Connolly then tested Hoggeth as he skipped past two defenders before firing straight at the keeper. Kokes had a glorious chance to make it 3 - 0 when he was sent clear by McBryde, but his shot was well saved by Miller.

The game turned in the 78th minute when the referee disallowed what looked like a perfectly good goal which would have given Davison his hat trick. Whitehaven took advantage of the situation and Connolly was allowed to much room to get in a shot which beat Hoggeth low dow and nestled in the bottom corner.

In the 83rd minute Davison once again headed goalwards only to see Miller, at full stretch, tip the ball onto the bar and away for a corner.

With the 90 minutes up the referee decided to give a non-existent advantage when Shields was up-ended and Miller fired the ball forward to Connolly who finished with some aplomb from 25 yards out.

RCA should have had this game wrapped up well before the 80th minute, but it just goes to show that missed chances will cost points at this stage of the season.

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Sunderland RCA FC 0 Whitehaven FC 0

Saturday, 27 March 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

An early morning pitch inspection was required after the torrential rain of the last few days. Once it was decided to play then it was game on against two teams who only seven days earlier had fought out a 2 - 2 draw. The srong wind was always going to be a factor in this match, but neither team took full advantage of it.

RCA took advantage of the wind and the slope in the first half and were quickly on the attack, Hall sent a searching pass into the path of Kokes who shot over. The wind was causing problems to both teams with the ball running away from players and the difficult conditions underfoot were making it impossible to play attractive football.

A bit of good fortune stopped Whitehaven taking a bizarre lead when a cross from Robson went over Hoggeth's head, but hit the top of the crossbar.

In the 18th minute Jones latched onto a McBryde pass and fired in a 30 yarder that screamed past Fryer in the Whitehaven goal, but hit the crossbar and went out for a goalkick.

Danger man Robson went close again after 30 minutes, forcing a good save from Hoggeth and in the closing minutes of the first half O'Riordan crossed into the box and Davison headed narrowly wide when he looked odds on to score.

Whitehaven started the second half positively probably bouyed by the fact that they had not conceded in the first half.

In the 50th minute Donnald burst past the RCA defence, but with only the keeper to beat he sent his shot wide. The effect of this miss was to lift the game of RCA who poured forward and Davison was unlucky with a powerful header which flew over the bar. Then a shot from McBryde almost deceived Fryer when it hit a divot, but the keeper did well to readjust his position and make the save.

RCA piled on the pressure and a corner from McBryde was flicked on at the near post by Davison, but it was cleared off the line by Johnson.

Whitehaven almost scored against the run of play when Shaw received a good through ball from Holliday but fired well over the bar.

Then within the space of 30 seconds Davison had two great headers. The first went wide off a defender and from the resulting corner he headed downward and looked to have beaten the keeper but somehow he got a hand to if and it went over the bar for a corner.

In the last five minutes RCA almost self-destructed when a Hall backpass to Hoggeth was intercepted by Holliday, but Hoggeth was able to stay on his feet long enough to stop the Whitehaven captain getting in a cross and the danger was averted.

Marske moved to the top of the table and RCA drop to second for the first time since October.

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Darlington RA FC 1 Sunderland RCA FC 4

Saturday, 3 Aprill 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

Sunderland RCA went back to the top of Division 2 with this win against lowly Darlington RA. However they did not have it all their own way. Darlington gave as good as they got in the first half and took a surprise lead and could have doubled it before RCA turned on the style.

A torrential hailstorm greeted the players at the start of the match and it soon became clear that the pitch would cut up badly. RCA were finding it difficult to adapt their passing style on a sticky pitch and it was RA who seemed to revel in the conditions early on with Donalson causing problems down the left and Abel holding the ball up front. Eventually RCA got it together and should have taken the lead when a Stewart cross was met at the far post by O' Riordan, but he somehow managed to steer the ball wide of the opposite post.

RA took the lead when O'Riordan was dispossed on the halfway line and the ball was quickly fed to Abel who made no mistake from 12 yards out. This was a wake up call for RCA and they pushed forward, but could not seem to do the simple things well and were getting caught with smart counter attacks from RA.

In the 25th minute Kokes went past two defenders and fired in a shot which Moody was equal to, the resulting corner was headed over by Hall.

RA almost doubled their lead when another defensive mistake saw Freary release Donaldson on the left and his cross was met by Abel who looked to fire home, but Hoggeth got down to turn it round the post for a corner.

RCA were level after 38 minutes when a through ball from Richards found O'Riordan and he cooly curled the ball into the top corner.

This was the start of some sustained pressure from RCA and both McBryde and Kokes were unlucky with efforts that went narrowly wide. When they did get shots on target, Moody was saving them with ease.

The sun tried to make an apppearance for the second half and RCA certainly did with a blistering assault on the RA goal. A through ball from Halliday found McBryde in space and his shot was inches over the bar. O'Riordan was having a field day on the left and on three occasions he went past the full back but could not get an effective cross in.

In the 52nd minute a clipped through ball by Halliday was handled inside the box and a penalty was awarded; O'Riordan stepped up and blasted the ball home.

Two minutes later and the same player was clear of the defence the simple pass to Kokes or McBryde was on but he went for glory and hit the side netting.

RCA were rampant now and RA could not get the ball out of their own half. The whole RA Back four were being pulled apart, but RCA were squandering chances and while it was still 2 - 1 RA were in with a shout. The longer the game went on the more RA turned the tide and came back into the game and Hoggeth had to be at his best to hold a fierce shot from Freary.

In the 80th minute Coghlan replaced Kokes and with his first touch made the score 3 -1 when he found space in the box to steer the ball past the helpless Moody. Two minutes later and he latched onto a through ball from Davies and fired home at the back post. Two goals in two minutes with two touches of the ball: an inspirational substitution, playing a central midfield schemer as a make-shift centre forward.

With the game over RCA played out the remainder of the match in comparative ease.

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Crook Town FC 0 Sunderland RCA FC 5

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

skilltrainingltd Northern League Division 2

A first half hat-trick from Liam McBryde set RCA on the way to a comfortable away win against a struggling Crook Town team. The score could easily have been more but RCA were guilty of squandering a hat full of chances.

The Crook Town team that turned out tonight bore no resemblance to the one that played so well in the early part of the season, but to their credit they played some decent football without really troubling a solid RCA defence.

RCA took the lead when the Crook defence failed to clear a Stewart corner and McBryde was on hand to volley home from eight yards out. Stewart should have made it 2-0 within minutes but his weak shot was easily saved by Carr. Richards set up Kokes with a lovely though ball but the ex-Crook striker fired wide.

On 20 minutes Halliday was unlucky when he fired in a shot after a good header from Hall found him free, but his shot was cleared by Kime.
Kime and Wilson were performing heriocs at the heart of the Crook defence, but could only stand and watch as McBryde headed home a Noble freekick after 33 minutes. Five minutes later McBryde completed his hat trick when Kokes beat a defender before laying the ball off for the simplest of tap ins.

In the dying minutes of the half Taylor hammered in a shot from 35 yards which hit the post with the RCA defence looking on in disbelief. Within five minutes of the restart Stewart had fired a shot high over the bar and both Kokes and Richards had half chances.

In the 56th minute it was the Kokes, McBryde combination that struck again with McBryde bundling over a pass from Kokes. Crook responded and forced a corner which was taken by Laverick and only a goalline clearance from Davies prevented Wilson from scoring.

McBryde was replaced by Davison and with his first touch he found Stewart with a perfectly weighted pass and the winger bore down on goal before firing past Carr from 10 yards out.

Crooks only remaining contribution to the game was a 20 yard shot from Hanson which went narrowly wide and some good passing and movement without any real penetration.

The only downside to the night was the injury sustained by Henderson which looks like a hamstring problem which could mean the end of his season if confirmed.

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