RCA travelled to FA Vase finalists Consett on a wet and blustery day for this Ebac Northern League fixture.
After two matches unchanged the management team were forced to make one change for today’s match, with Brad Forster working they brought in midfielder Jonathon Carr and reverted to a 3-5-2 formation. New signing Dale Milburn was on the bench.
The teams lined up as follows:
Consett: Hayes, Metz, Holden, Smith, Purewal, Allen, Orrell, Slocombe, Pearson, L Carr, Cornish. Subs: Jakab, Green, Marriott, Alshabeeb, Lawson
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Burlace, Callaghan, J Carr, Swansbury ©, Best, Leonard, Elliott, O’Neill, Fairley, Callen. Subs: Errington, Marrs, Dorward, Davison, Milburn
Although the rain had stopped prior to kick off there was a strong blustery wind blowing straight down the pitch. Consett took advantage of this in the first half.
Neither team started very well as they tried unsuccessfully to come to terms with the conditions and the only half chance came when Callen broke down the left cut inside and played in Fairley but his shot was blocked by Smith.
The first actual shot on goal came in the 21st minute when Cornish picked up a loose pass, moved the ball forward but drove his low shot just wide.
In the 25th minute RCA built up a good move with Callen and Best playing a quick one two which split the Consett defence but Hayes was able to save Callen’s shot at the near post at the expense of a corner.
The resulting corner was only half cleared by Purewal and fell to O’Neill on the edge of the box but his dipping shot flew over the bar.
A good ball out of defence found Cornish on the left and he set up Pearson with a good through ball but the consett striker’s shot was brilliantly saved by Dean.
Dean then produced another save tipping Purewal’s header from the corner over the bar.
The game became scrappy as it neared half time with both teams very evenly matched.
On the stroke of half time Consett carved out a chance when Slocombe pounced on a loose ball before blasting a long range effort toward goal but the ball was deflected for a corner by Swansbury.
With the advantage of the wind in the second half RCA looked to take the game to Consett, however it was the home team who created the first chance of the half when a long ball forward was controlled by Pearson who broke past the last defender but shot wide with only Dean to beat.
Two minutes later and Elliott played the ball to Fairley who in turn played the ball out to Callaghan but he also fired wide of the target.
RCA kept probing and on the hour mark Hayes was called into action to deny Fairley’s curling effort with a magnificent fingertip save.
At the other end Metz intercepted a poor pass and sent the ball forward to L Carr who drilled his shot wide of the target.
Both teams were pushing forward looking for the one goal that would surely win this very even contest.
For Consett Holden played a delightful ball to Pearson but his shot was deflected wide.
RCA seemed to pick up the pace a little and almost took the lead from a Callaghan freekick which Hayes did well to save at the second attempt, Then a surging Leonard run on the right ended with a wicked cross into the box which was inches away from the right boot of Elliott.
Consett took the lead in the 74 minute when Fairley was dispossessed on the edge of Consett’s box and the ball was played forward quickly with L Carr picking up the forward pass before playing the ball on to Pearson and he struck a low drive beyond the reach of Dean and into the net.
The visitor’s made substitution bring on Dorward and Milburn, the latter for his debut, and within a minute of his introduction he almost scored, a long pass forward by Burlace was chested down by Milburn but his flicked effort in front of goal was saved by Hayes.
Slocombe had two late chances for Consett but both were off target, while RCA kept plugging away at the other end they never really looked like getting the equaliser.
The conditions didn’t make for entertaining football and it always looked like the team who scored first would win the game, on this occasion it was Consett.
Next up is possibly Seaham Red Star on Saturday, 7 November 2020. Kick off 3.00pm. This is dependent on any League announcements in light of the Governments statement on a “Lock Down” for one month. It looks very likely that the league will be suspended for a month commencing from Thursday 5th November.