RCA's Michael Annang-Colquhoun tangles with West Allotment's Luke Parkinson during the first half of the match.
Tonight we travelled through the Tyne Tunnel to newly promoted West Allotment Celtic to play at their new East Palmersville Sports Pavilion. After a shaky start to life back in the first division West Allotment seem to have steadied the ship, winning three of their last four fixtures and things are looking a lot brighter. RCA will need to produce the sort of performance seen by the lads in their win over Whitley Bay and the narrow defeat against table topping Consett on Saturday to get anything out of this match.
The Injury curse which has plagued us all season had struck again with Harrison Bond unable to play due to a back injury sustained in the match on Saturday and his place was taken by Marrs. Leading goal scorer Mark Davison passed a fitness test on his injured ankle and played. Unfortunately Winn and assistant Manager Dan Madden were both isolating following positive lateral flow tests.
The teams lined up as follows:
West Allotment Celtic: Hodgson, Baltazar, Parkinson, Forster, Scott ©, Errington, Thompson, Chapim, Hayton, Larmouth, Martins. Subs: Bryan, Leech, Donaghey, Higgins, Walker.
Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Jakab, Charlton, Hawkins ©, B Errington, Hennis, Weirs, Watts, Davison, Annang-Colquhoun, Richardson. Subs: J Croft, Lawrence, Herdman.
West Allotment kicked off and almost produced a spectacular start to the game when the ball was launched forward to Larmouth who took the ball in his stride cut inside and into the penalty area before firing a low drive which Marrs managed to get a foot to and the ball drifted agonisingly wide of the post.
A minute later and the home team are awarded a freekick which was taken by Larmouth but his shot was sent wide of the target.
The drama continued at the other end Hennis finding Richardson on the right, he glided into the area before shooting but Hodgson managed to parry the ball away and Scott cleared for a corner under pressure from Annang-Colquhoun.
Play was switching rapidly from end to end, in the fifth minute a freekick taken by Parkinson was headed wide and the goalkick produced another good run by Richardson, who looked to find Davison but his cross was intercepted by Scott.
A mistake by Hodgson in the West Allotment penalty area almost resulted in a goal when his clearance was blocked by Annang-Colquhoun but the RCA forward could not get control of the ball and Hodgson was able to stab the ball out for a throw in.
A the game settled down it became a scrappy affair with poor passing the order of the day. A defensive mistake let Hayton in but his fired his shot wide.
Although the game wasn’t a brilliant spectacle there were chances being created, a corner by Watts was headed over the bar by Davison and good run by Richardson on the right breached the home defence, his cross was met by Weirs whose first time shot was saved by Hodgson.
Another freekick conceded by RCA produced the next goalmouth action when Parkinson whipped in a cross which evaded everyone and eventually went out for a goalkick.
A dire period of play followed with both defences well drilled and able to cope with some lacklustre attacking. The final minute of the half saw Marrs forced to make only his second save of the game diving at the foot of the post to keep out a Larmouth freekick.
The start of the second half saw little improvement in the quality of possession by either team although RCA did seem to have more urgency about their play than in the first half.
In the 58 minute RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box which was taken by Watts but he fired his shot well wide of the target.
A minute later and a rare West Allotment attack saw Thompson break on the right before firing in a shot which Marrs picked up quite comfortably.
RCA’s best attack of the second half saw a forward ball from Jakab find Annang-Colquhoun, he managed to beat his marker before squaring to Weirs who slipped the ball to Richardson but the ball bobbled as the winger took aim and his shot was easily saved by Hodgson.
A long crossfield ball from Charlton picked out Weirs inside the area his cross was blocked by Parkinson but the ball only reached Davison on the edge of the box and his volley was inches wide of the upright.
Totally against the run of play West Allotment took the lead when Scott intercepted a pass on the edge of his own box a cleared up field, the ball was headed out of play and the quickly taken long throw was picked up by Hayton who sprinted forward before sending in a powerful shot which was parried by Marrs but Chapim under pressure from Jakab was able to scramble the ball home from close range.
After this setback the visitors threw everything at the home team and were unlucky not to find an equaliser when Weirs crossed into the box for Davison but his header went just the wrong side of the upright.
RCA brought on Lawrence for Annang-Colquhoun and he almost made a dramatic impact picking the ball up inside the West Allotment half he ran at the defence, dribbling through three challenges before firing in a low shot which Hodgson saved at the near post. From the resulting corner Hennis headed well over the bar.
Deep into injury time RCA were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box from a dangerous position Watts, not for the first time smashed the ball straight into the wall.
In a game when defences were clearly on top RCA will come away from this game disappointed that they couldn’t get something out of the game when they had so much possession, especially in the second half. West Allotment and Penrith have shown that there are no easy games in this league this season.
We need to regroup as a team ahead of a very stiff test on Friday against a West Auckland team who are undefeated in eight games.
Next up we play West Auckland away on Friday, 12th November 2021. Kick off 7.30pm.