RCA travelled to Spennymoor Town for this Durham Challenge Cup 2nd round match after knocking out Dunston in the previous round.
A number of injuries caused selection problems for the RCA management team with Swansbury, Hodgson, Elliott and C Davis all ruled out and Hennis and Leonard both cup-tied. To compound the problem Spennymoor were fielding a strong team which included 10 first team players, three of them regulars.
The teams lined up as follows:
Spennymoor Town: Gould, Wilkinson, Brown, Ward, Magmay, Mason ©, Hall, Anderson, Boyes, Cogdon, Johnson. Subs: Webb, Nicholson, Mitchell, Hindson, Harker.
SRCA: Dean, Allen, McNab, Lilley, Preston ©, O’Neill, Dorward, Moan, Davison, Callen, Lawson. Subs: Charlton, Ezard, Green, Elliott, Swansbury.
RCA went straight on the attack from the kick off and a quickly taken throw in by McNab saw the ball switched inside by Callen to Dorward whose stinging shot from the dge of the box produced a fine save by Gough tipping the ball over for a corner.
The visitors had the better of the opening exchanges with the only contribution from the Moors being a shot by Anderson which flew over the bar.
Dorward, was getting a lot of space in the centre of the park and a quick passing move between him and Davison ended with a terrific shot which Gough once again pushed away for a corner.
With 15 minutes gone it was RCA who looked the most likely to score, a cross into the box by allen was headed wide by Davison and a minute later Moan won the ball in midfield before playing it forward to Davison who laid it into the path of Lawson but his curling effort was comfortably saved by Gough.
Moors were looking very effective on the counter attack and RCA had Dean to thank for keeping the scores level when a quick counter saw Ward pick up the ball in his own half before setting off on a break which would see him advance unchallenged to the edge of the RCA box before passing to Boyes whose shot was superbly saved by Dean turning the ball away for a corner.
Ward’s involvement in the game ended a few minutes later when he limped out of the game to be replaced by Webb.
RCA seemed to switch off just after this substitution, from a promising attacking position they played the ball backwards towards their own half where Boyes was able to pounce on a poor pass to Lilley that left the RCA defender stranded and the Moors striker through on goal and he made no mistake as he slipped the ball past the advancing Dean for the opening goal of the match .
The visitors responded positively to this setback when Callen latched onto a forward pass from McNab, Controlled the ball well and fired in a shot which went narrowly wide of the target.
Moors continued to threaten on the break, a cross field ball from Cogden found Hall on the right, the ball seemed to run away from him as he tried to shoot and thankfully for RCA the ball flew over the bar.
This should have been a warning to RCA that if the over stretched themselves going forward they were likely to leave gaps in defence.
A great move by Moors in the 36th minute saw Boyes pick up a loose ball in midfield, pass the ball to Anderson who fires the ball to Cogden who slips the ball to Johnsonbut Dean somehow manages to save the ball with his feet and deny the home team what would have been a fantastic goal.
The relief was short lived as a Dean clearance is headed forward by Mason and Cogden cleverly deceives the RCA defence by leaving the ball for Boyes who collects the ball before rounding Dean and slotting into an empty net.
Two minutes later and it looked all over for RCA when Boyes latched onto a fairly straightforward ball over the top before clinically firing the ball past Dean for his first half hattrick.
Within two minutes of the second half starting RCA reduced the arrears when a Dorward whipped freekick was glanced into the net via the crossbar by Callen.
The goal lifted the spirits of the RCA team who started to dominate their opponents and only some stout defending by a solid Moors rearguard meant that the visitors could not get a meaningful shot on target.
As the game progressed it was obvious that the next goal would be a deciding factor and unfortunately for RCA it was the home side who scored it to increase their lead in the 57 minute, a throw in on the right was played to Webb who hit a tremendous shot which took a deflection that wrong footed Dean and flew into the top corner of the net.
Boyes should have finished the game as a contest when a cross from Johnson just needed tapping in from two yards out but the striker somehow managed to mis-hit the ball and cleared it for the RCA defence.
Three became four two minutes later when once again a quick counter attack, Anderson found Brogan on the right. He cut inside before crossing to Boyes who made no mistake to fire home his fourth and Moors fifth.
It was almost six within a minute as RCA seemed to crumble and allowed Hall through on goal but Dean managed to get his face in the way of the shot and the ball went wide of the target.
The game drifted towards its inevitable conclusion as Moors shut up shop and there was no further goalmouth action.
From the minute the draw was made RCA knew they were in for a tough match and so it turned out Spennymoor, to their credit, took the game seriously by playing experienced players alongside some very good academy players and they now progress to the Quarter Final stage of the competition.
The score-line somewhat flattered Moors as RCA had a lot of possession while the home side relied, quite effectively, on quick counter attacks. In the end it was clinical finishing that was the key to this result.