A trip down the A19 to “Teesdale Park” for the RCA faithful to play Thornaby who are currently bottom of the League but who enjoyed a fantastic 4 – 0 win at Eccleshill United on Saturday in the FA Vase.
A pleasantly uneventful trip with none of the usual holdup associated with the A19.
What was also pleasantly surprising was the amount of changes that have been made to Teesdale Park since our last visit. The club should be rightly proud of what they have achieved in a relatively short period of time. A massive well done from all at RCA.
Back to team news for the match, defensive problems continue to blight our team selections with Lilley ruled out after a fitness test, Preston, C Davis and Hodgson remain on the injury list so it was a makeshift back four of Allen, Swansbury, McNab and Moan that were to take to the pitch.
The teams lined up as follows:
SRCA: Dean, Allen, Moan, McNab, Swansbury ©,Callen, Leonard, Elliott, Davison, O’Neill, Davis. Subs: Charlton, Ezard, Dorward, Slack, Green.
Thornaby: Beblowski, Dougall, Wilson, Guru, Simpson, Posthill, Scaife-Wheatley ©, Green, Murphy, Preston, Chapman. Subs: Cooke, Drummond, Morrison, Hutchinson, Ward.
A lovely balmy evening greeted the players and the pitch looked in good condition.
RCA created the first chance of the game when Allen played the ball forward to Callen on the left wing, he cut inside before passing the ball out to Leonard on the right who whipped in a cross which was met by Davison but his header went wide.
Thornaby took the lead in the sixth minute when a loose pass from O’Neill was picked up by Posthill, he sent a long pass out to Chapman on the left wing and his first time cross was smashed into the net by Preston an incisive attack which left RCA‘s makeshift defence in disarray.
The visitors first shot on target came in the 16th minute when Leonard again linked up with Davison but the striker’s shot was straight at Beblowski.
Two minutes later and Moan sent a hopeful ball forward where Callen did well to control the ball, slip inside a defender but his final shot lacked power and Beblowski made a confortable save.
Thornaby were proving very effective on the counter attack, the pace of the two wingers in particular were causing problems for the RCA defence. They almost increased their lead in the 20th minute when a long ball forward by Guru was clipped forward by Murphy and the ball sailed past Dean but hit the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.
RCA’s continued poor passing was allowing Thornaby to get possession of the ball and their swift wingers were causing all sorts of problems. Green intercepted a pass and sent the ball out to Scaife-Wheatley he took the ball forward before playing the ball across the penalty area to Murphy but his shot from the edge of the box went wide.
On the half hour Allen took a quick throw in to Leonard who broke into the box before trying to cut the ball back to Davison but Simpson was able to block the cross and clear the danger.
Thornaby were awarded a freekick in a dangerous position 25 yards out, Scaife-Wheatley took responsibility for the kick but sent it high over the bar.
RCA eventually started to put some passes together, a ball forward from Swansbury was picked up by Davis on the half way line, he played the ball into space for Leonard to run onto and the RCA winger hit a dipping shot which hit the crossbar.
A minute later and it was the diminutive figure of Leonard again finding space on the right before drifting inside to play a one two with Davison before firing wide of the target.
The half-time whistle couldn’t come soon enough with the hope that the second half, from RCA’s point of view, had to get better. It must be said that Thornaby had stopped RCA from playing in the opening 45 minutes.
Thornaby opened the second half with a quick break down the right which ended when McNab blocked a dangerous cross into the box.
The visitors levelled the scores in the 50th minute when a surging run by Swansbury from deep inside his own half opened up the Thornaby midfield, he passed to Allen on the right who immediately played the ball into the channel for Leonard who sent in a beautiful cross onto the head of Davison for him to steer the ball past Beblowski.
The hosts reply was to set up a sustained attack which saw them sweep the ball forward from Wilson to Posthill and out to Scaife-Wheatley whose reverse pass was picked up by Preston but he fired wide of the target.
With 55 minutes on the clock RCA should have taken the lead, a ball from McNab was picked up by Davis, he played the ball to Davison inside the box and he side footed the ball square to Leonard but, with only the keeper to beat he fired his shot straight down the throat of Beblowski.
RCA were starting to get up a head of steam and were awarded a corner, Moan whipped in the kick and it ricocheted off O’Neill and forced a great reaction save from the home keeper and a minute later a quick throw in by Moan was picked up by O’Neill who twisted past his marker before shooting wide.
Thornaby, having weathered this mini storm, came back at RCA and on the hour mark almost took the lead when Chapman made a good run across the box before releasing Murphy who struck a sweet shot which beat Dean but cannoned off the inside of the upright and rebounded to a grateful McNab who hooked the ball clear.
Play quickly switched to the other end as the game opened up, Moan raced down the left wing before crossing for Davison but his header went over the bar. Shortly after this a shot from Moan went narrowly wide.
Thornaby continued to mount lightening quick attacks but were failing to make them pay in the final third.
RCA took the lead in the 78th minute when Swansbury took the bull by the horns and made a surging run forward before picking out Leonard on the right he side stepped the challenge of Wilson before crossing to the far post where Swansbury was on hand to head back across goal to Elliott who had the simple task of tapping the ball home.
This seemed to lift Thornaby who were behind for the first time in the game and they sent men forward looking for an equaliser, a good move saw Chapman cut inside before sending a ball out to the opposite wing where Scaife-Wheatley had time and space to measure a cross into the box for Cooke but the Thornaby substitute shot wide from a good position.
As the game entered the final five minutes Preston had a good chance when he broke the RCA offside trap but his shot was blocked by McNab at the expense of a corner.
In the 89th minute a long clearance by Dean was picked up by Slack 35 yards from goal and he hit a tremendous shot which dipped just over the bar.
Deep into injury time and Thornaby were awarded a free kick which was taken by Scaife-Wheatley. The hosts sent everyone forward and when the ball was played into the penalty area it was headed wide by Simpson and the referee blew the whistle to end the game.
This was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but with the extent of our injury list we were able to get a result and moved into second place in the table.
Next up is away to Dunston in the FA Cup on Saturday, 7th September 2019. Kick off 3:00pm.