RCA crashed out of the Durham Challenge Cup beaten on 5-4 on penalties after an entertaining 1 - 1 draw in the ninety minutes.
Chester-le-Street United: Anderson, Grevison, Crews, Clark, Milburn (c), Dippenaar, Spellman, McHaig, Malone, Ward, Ramsay. Subs: Fox, Paul, Calvert.
Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Burlace, Errington, Carr, Swansbury (c), Best, Milburn, Page, Davison, Larkin, Callen. Subs: Croft, Elliott, Fairley, Agnew, Allen..
United started really weel and should have scored in the opening minute when a long ball forward saw Ward out pace the RCA defence before cuttin inside the penalty area his shoe was parried but only as far as Malone who fired straght at swansbury who blocked and cleared.
Within a minute and the same ball over the top caused RCA's defence more problems as the home side rampaged through the defence at will, agian it was Ward who this time shot and the ball bell to Malone but Marrs was able to save what looked like a certain goal.
The pace of Malone, Ward and Ramsay causing a quick re-think in the RCA startegy as it was clear that the lack of pace in defence was an issue. Carr was moved to a more defensive role to try and counteract the threat.
RCA's first attack came from a crossfield ball which was picked up by D Milburn who burst forward before setting up Callen but his shot was blocked by B Milburn and cleared.
United were very effect on the counter attack and in the 6 minute had a goal disallowed after a quick ball forward by Grevison found Ward he laid the ball off ot Ramsay who smashed the ball into the net only to see the Flag up for offside
Most of the attacking in the next 10 minutes came from United but it was clear that RCA were now just about coping with the attacking pace of teh home side.
A good break on teh right by RCA saw Burlace play the ball to Page who in turn found D Milburn on the edge of the box he played in Burlace but his cross was forced behind for a corner.
Best took the kick and Larkin rose above everyone but couldn't keep his header down and it sailed over the bar.
United were comfortable playing out from the back and from the goal kick played the ball across the defence into midfield before a wonderful ball from McHaig set Ramsey free on the left wing and it was only the speed of Burlace that prevented the cross reaching Malone at the expense of a corner.
Ramsey took the corner short and Ward drew the foul on the edge of the box, Ramsey fired in the freekick low to the near post but Marrs saved well .
Ramsey was again involved in United's next attack again picking up a long ball out of defence and running 20 yards before crossing into the path of ward but his powerful header was directed just wide of the upright.
RCA's bst move of the match followed from the goal kick Burlace controlled the ball played it inside to D Milburn who skipped past two challenges before sliding the ball to Larkin whose cross was met by Page but he couldn't direct his header on target and the chance was lost.
The visitors where seeing much more of the ball now and a swift move on the left saw Carr play the ball forward to Best who slipped the ball wide to Callen, he cut inside his marker before whipping in a cross which Anderson did well to hold low down under pressure from Larkin.
The home side took the lead in the 27 minute with a quick break down the middle of the park and Spellman playing the ball forward to the advancing Ramsey who finished by smashing the ball past Marrs in the RCA goal. They had threatened all evening to do this and deserved to be in front.
United continued to use their counter attack to great effect and almost doubled their lead 5 minutes later with an identical move to the one which produced the goal but this time Carr was able to intercept the shot and clear up field.
A minute later and they exploited the forward position of Burlace to again send Ramsey away on the left, Best covered across but could not stop the cross into the box however Swansbury was on hand to sweep up.
RCA almost equalised late in the half when a flowing move involving Callen, Larkin and D Milburn set up page on the edge of the box but his low drive was well save at the ffot of the post by Anderson.
The half time team talk seemed to have worked for RCA as they started the second half on the front foot, Callen sent in an early cross which was headed away by B Milburn, the ball fell to Carr on the edge of the box and his shot curled just wide of the far post.
Within minutes RCA were awarded a freekick when Callen was fouled Davison took the freekick which was deflected for a corner, Best sent an in-swinging corner to the near post where Larkin under pressure from two defenders managed to glance a header past Anderson and into the net for the equaliser.
RCA tried to take the game to United but had to be wary of their counter attacking ability and the game became stretched with a lot of niggly fouls which interrupted the flow of the game.
On the hour mark a lovely through ball from Page was met by Larkin who broke past the last defender but watched as his delicate lob floated wide of the post.
The home side where being restricted to the odd foray forward but in the main it was a rearguard action and a superb one at that with B Milburn and Crews in particular making outstanding tackles to deny the RCA attack.
In the final 10 minutes a cross by Burlace was picked up by Davison who slipped past his marker before firing at goal and Anderson produced a great fingertip save to deny the RCA striker.
The resulting corner was struck to the far post by Elliott and Davison brought the ball down brilliantly before hitting a shot which skimmed over the bar.
A quick breakaway by United’s Ramsey was halted when Burlace committed a foul on him. The freekick was whipped into the box for Malone but his shot went wide.
Anderson produced the save of the night in the closing minutes of the match when he somehow managed to get his hand to a shot from Larkin which was heading for the roof of the net and tipped it over the bar and thus set up a penalty shoot out.
With the scores level at 2 penalties each Anderson made another great save, guessing the right way, and saving D Milburn’s powerful shot.
Overall a draw was probably a fair result and the lottery of penalties is always a difficult way to lose a match.
Good luck to Chester-le-Street in the quarter finals