Jonny Ball clears down field during the second half of the match.
A very windy Sunderland LGV Park welcomed our visitors Redcar Athletic FC. This is the first time that the two sides have met and it was to be a memorable one for visitors in more ways than one.
Swansbury, Johnson, Allen and Lennox were still sidelined and Carr (University studies) and Richardson unavailable added to this there was fitness problems surrounding Coghlan and J Croft meant they were a bit thin on the ground. However the inclusion of new signing Chris Winn offered some relief.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Ball, Burlace, Lawrence, Jakab, Allen, Watts, Hennis, Weirs, Davison ©, Annang-Colquhoun, Winn: Subs: Coghlan, Hunter, J Croft, A Croft, Marrs.
Redcar Athletic: Dawson, Jackson, Bell, Woodhouse, McGuckin, Krakue, Williams, Rivis, Wainwright, Smith, Walker. Subs: Martin, Farrington, Eglington, Wilson, Browne.
The “Steelmen” took advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half took advantage straight from the kick off, the ball was played back to Krakue who launched a long ball forward which was flicked on to the left to the unmarked Walker who had time to cross into the box where Woodhouse was free to stab the ball into an empty net to put the visitor’s ahead in the 12th second of the game.
RCA responded with a good run down the right by Annang-Colquhoun his shot was blocked and ran for a throw in which was picked up by Davison who made space for a shot but it went over the bar.
An explosive start to the game got even better by the minute for the “Steelmen” when in the 7 minute they doubled their lead, exploiting the left hand side again, Woodhouse played the ball beyond Burlace to Walker who was again free this time he cut inside the area before lining up the target and shooting past Ball at the near post.
A minute later and it could so easily have been 3-0 when the visitors had a goal disallowed for offside after they had again exploited the weakness on the right hand side.
Annang-Colquhoun produced a good turn of foot to outpace the visitor’s defence and cross into the box where Davison got to the ball first but put his shot wide of the target.
Redcar Athletic were winning the battle for midfield where RCA were struggling to win any second balls.
A succession of corners for the visitors caused a few anxious moments in the RCA defence but eventually a combination of Jakab and Errington got the ball out of the penalty area.
As the game progressed the home team started to get to grips with the blustery conditions but it was slightly against the run of play that they reduced the arrears. A ball out of defence by Lawrence was controlled by Davison who played a sublime through ball into the path of Annang-Colquhoun who connected well to send the ball beyond the advancing Dawson and into the net.
A minute later and RCA should have equalised when Hennis won the ball and played the ball wide to Watts, his cross was met by Annang-Colquhoun but he headed wide with only the keeper to beat.
RCA were forced back once again as the “Steelmen” poured forward and a shot by Rivis was deflected for a corner, the curling corner assisted by the wind was headed clear for another corner by Hennis and the resulting in-swinging corner was met by Errington and headed clear to Watts.
Winn, who had swapped wing with Annang-Colquhoun, won the ball on the right and was able to cut inside the area before smashing a low shot towards the near post, Dawson was able to block the shot and Rivis cleared under pressure from Davison.
Almost immediately Winn again broke on the right, this time his cross was palmed away by Dawson and the clearance by Woodhouse found Williams on the right, he sprinted forward before sending a wicked cross right across the face of the goal, luckily for RCA there were no forwards able to get a touch.
The home team thought that they had equalised in the closing minutes of the half when a cross into the box by Watts caused panic in the visitor’s defence and Davison stabbed the ball home but he was adjudged to have used his hand to control the ball.
With the wind in the second half RCA looked to try and get an early advantage but it proved difficult against a very resilient Redcar defence there only real chance in the opening 15 minutes came from a corner by Watts which Annang-Colquhoun glanced wide of the far post.
On the hour mark a swift break by Williams caught the RCA defence by surprise and his cross into the box was met unopposed by Wainwright who made no mistake from inside the penalty area to restore the visitor’s two goal lead.
RCA came forward again and in the 65th minute made it 3-1 when Weirs picked up a through ball from Hennis before slotting into the bottom corner of the net.
The home team continued to press forward looking for the equaliser but were met with stubborn defending the nearest they came to scoring was a cross in by Burlace which was headed wide by Davison.
Disaster struck again in the 82 minute when RCA lost the ball on the right and substitute Martin sprinted clear down the right and his cross was met by Williams who lashed the ball into the roof of the net.
The scoring was not finished, throwing caution to the wind RCA sent everyone forward for a freekick and the cross by Watts was met by Davison whose looping header floated into the net.
There was still time for another RCA attack deep into stoppage time when a long ball forward was headed clear by McGuckin it fell to Davison who sent in a pile-driver of a shot which hit Woodhouse, the rebound fell to Weirs who hit a low drive which was blocked, this time the ball fell to Jakab who tried to curl it into the top corner of the net but put his effort over the bar. The referee then blew for full time on a thoroughly entertaining match for the neutrals.
When a team scores three goals at home at this level there should only be one result a home win. Whatever the problems are with the team it is not attacking flair and scoring goals it is poor defending.
I have said on many occasions that we are vulnerable to counter attacks when we have attacking corners, why, because we send our most experienced defenders forward leaving inexperienced defenders /midfielders to play against the oppositions quickest players.
Next up we are away to Thornaby on Saturday, 30 October 2021.