Mark Davison plays the ball to Jonathan Carr during the second half of the match.
Third placed North Shields were the visitors to Sunderland LGV Park for this EBAC Northern League fixture.
After the problems caused by Storm Arwen last week it was a testament to the RCA ground staff that the pitch and the spectator areas were in such good order, a great effort by Dave, George and Graham.
RCA made one change to the team that beat Guisborough Town bringing in the experienced Chris Winn for Michael Annang-Colquhoun.
Unfortunately the run of bad luck continues to blight club captain Greg Swansbury who is now isolating awaiting the results of a PCR Covid test.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Jakab, Charlton, Hawkins ©, Errington, Hennis, Lawrence, Carr, Davison, Weirs, Winn. Subs: Richardson, Annang-Colquhoun, Allen, Hunter, Ball.
North Shields: Marshall, Cartwright, McDonald, Ormeston, Myers, Walkers, Robinson, Forster ©, Wilson, Cunningham, Hird. Subs: Cassidy, Leonard, Smith, Paterson, Milburn.
The game kicked off as the last rays of sunshine disappeared to be replaced by an awful cold evening.
The “Robins” were the first to create a chance, kicking down the slope, Wilson made a good run before playing the ball to Robinson but Hawkins was on hand to intercept the return ball which would have set up Wilson for a shot on goal.
RCA almost took the lead a minute later when a good through ball from Carr was picked up by Davison but the usually clinical striker sent his shot over the bar.
A ball forward by Marshall was controlled by Cunningham who played a great ball into the RCA penalty area where Marrs bravely dove at the feet of Wilson to smother the ball.
North Shields were starting to threaten and put pressure on the RCA defence, playing the ball out of defence Myers found Cartwright, he made ground down the right before playing the ball to Forster who made space for himself before hitting a low drive which Marrs did well to save.
A good move by the hosts saw Hennis pick up a loose ball on the half way line before laying the ball to Hawkins who sent a 40 yard diagonal pass to Charlton, the full back controlled the ball well before crossing into the box towards Davison but Walker was alert to the danger and managed to get his head to the ball to clear.
The visitors were piling the pressure on now and it took some brilliant defending to keep them at bay. A quick break by Forster caused problems at the back for RCA and it took a truly brilliant block by Hawkins to deny the “Robins” captain.
Another attack by the visitors saw McDonald burst forward before squaring the ball to Wilson but his shot was blocked by Errington and deflected for a corner, the corner was cleared by Jakab at the back post and Marrs collected the cross from the loose ball.
The home team were being restricted to counter attacking moves and when Lawrence won the ball in midfield the ball was picked up by Hennis who played a delightful ball forward to Carr but Marshall was quick off his line and was able to collect the ball at the feet of Carr.
North Shields again changed the pace of the game and poured forward but were unable to penetrate the resolute RCA defence and trouble Marrs in the home goal.
A swift counter attack in the 43rd minute saw Winn pick up the ball inside the opponents half, but with only the keeper to beat he sent his shot narrowly over the bar.
RCA almost got caught out a minute later when a quickly taken throw in was sent long to Hird inside the penalty area, with only the keeper to beat he sent his shot wide of the far post.
Golden opportunities missed in the space of a couple of minutes just before half time so the score remained at 0-0.
A good start to the second half by the visitors saw them once again in control of the match a long ball forward from Robinson found Hird free inside the box his shot was only partly stopped by Marrs but, as the ball drifted towards the goal, he was able to recover and dive on the ball before it crossed the line..
As the “Robins” pressed forward they forced a number of corners in quick succession and from one such corner there was a strong appeal for a penalty as Wilson fell to the ground under a strong challenge but the referee waved away the protests.
It was almost all one way traffic as North Shields poured forward and RCA’s attacking options were well marshaled by the visitors defence.
A ball forward from Cartwright into the path of Robinson set up the next attack, Robinson's mishit cross cum shot almost caused embarrassment for Marrs but the RCA keeper was able to recover his position and tip the ball over the bar.
Lawrence intercepted a loose pass just inside the North Shields half and ran forward, the visitors defence seemed to back off and allowed him space creating a great shooting opportunity which was wasted when the midfielder chose to pass the ball and the chance was gone.
Both teams made changes to their respective teams.
In the final 10 minutes the game North Shields almost broke the deadlock when substitute Paterson sent in a floated cross which was met by Wilson but his header went wide of the target.
RCA substitute Richardson forced a corner on the right which was taken by Charlton, his cross saw Myers head the ball into face of Davison and the ball rebounded onto the foot of the post and was scrambled clear by Cartwright.
The final chance of the game fell to the visitors when Marshall sent a long ball forward to Wilson, he crossed into the box where Forster saw his looping header tipped over the bar by Marrs.
There were no further chances and the game ended goalless.
This was another tremendous defensive display against very good opponents. We defended from the front and made it very difficult for the North Shields attack.
Three clean sheets in a row is a fantastic achievement and a massive turnaround from the team that conceded 14 goals in 4 games only a month ago.
Our next match is at home in the Durham County FA "Frank Pattison" Challenge Cup against Winlaton Community on Tuesday, 14 November 2021, Kick off 7.30pm.