Goal scorer Matty Weirs in the thick of the action.
Sunderland RCA made the trip south to play Northallerton Town at their Calvert Stadium for this EBAC Northern League Div I fixture.
After losing their last two matches 1-0, RCA were looking to bounce back against a Northallerton Town team languishing at the bottom of the table. However earlier in the season they had beaten us 3-2 so this was not going to be easy.
With the pitch looking to be on the heavy side of soft this would be a test of stamina for both teams.
The management team made changes from the team defeated in mid week by Crook Town.
The teams lined up as follows:
Northallerton Town: Dawson, Marron ©, Hudson, Snook, Graham, Ryder, Chidanyika, Chapman, Rae, Stephenson, Hope. Subs: Thompson, Banks, Ramsbottom, Bruton.
Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Jakab, Charlton, Swansbury ©, Errington, Hennis, Carr, Guy, Davison, Annang-Colquhoun, Weirs. Subs: Hoganson, Allen, Lawrence, Watts, Richardson.
RCA started well forcing Northallerton to defend deep in the early exchanges, a succession of fouls on Annang-Colquhoun resulted in free kicks on the right. The first was taken by Charlton but Dawson in the Northallerton goal claimed ahead of Davison and the second was floated to the far post where Swansbury’s header hit Graham and was hooked clear by Snook.
The home team’s first attack of the match came when Hope crossed from deep and the ball found Chapman on the edge of the box, his shot was blocked by Swansbury but only as far as Chidanyika who slid the ball forward to Rae but the flag was up for offside.
Good work on the right by Jakab and Annang-Colquhoun set the ball up for Guy on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected wide for a corner. Charlton took the kick short to Weirs who cut inside before squaring the ball to Carr who struck a terrific shot goalward, unfortunately it hit Swansbury and flew wide of the goal.
As the pitch started to cut up the game became scrappy as both teams resorted to hoofing the ball clear of their respective goal areas.
RCA took the lead in the 22 minute when Davison won the ball in midfield and released Annang-Colquhoun he outpaced the Northallerton defence before firing in a low cross which Dawson parried, Weirs was the first to react to the save getting ahead of Graham and sliding the ball into the empty net.
Northallerton almost equalised five minutes later when Chapman intercepted an RCA clearance and lobbed the ball over Marrs head toward goal but Charlton was able to get back and clear the ball off the line.
The visitors picked up the pace of the game after that scare with Charlton making an incisive move down the left, playing a 1-2 with Davison before crossing to Weirs whose shot was blocked by Ryder.
Within minutes Weirs had another chance, a quickly taken corner by Charlton found him in space and only a desperate diving header by Graham stopped the ball finding the top corner of the net. The resulting corner was met by Swansbury but his downward header was cleared off the line by Ryder.
Northallerton reacted immediately with Hope breaking on the left, he found Rae in a central position but the Striker could not find any power in his shot and was easily saved by Marrs.
As the half entered the final five minutes Jakab and Annang-Colquhoun produced a clever move down the right with some intricate interplay before Jakab crossed into the box where Davison got in a good header which went narrowly wide of the target.
The second half started as the first had finished with RCA piling on the pressure, a corner on the right taken by Charlton was partially cleared but fell to Annang-Colquhoun his first time shot was blocked and the rebound was volleyed by Davison but Dawson managed to hold onto the ball.
A good break down the right by Chidanyika caused a few hearts to flutter in the RCA defence as he cut inside before playing the ball to Chapman who hit a fierce low shot which Marrs managed to save low down to his left.
RCA thought that they had doubled their lead in the 52 minute when they were awarded a freekick on the right, Guy took the kick to the back post where Davison rose to head back across goal and Jakab headed home from close range, the referee awarded a freekick for a foul on the keeper to the disbelief of the players.
A long ball forward from Errington was picked up by Weirs who controlled it well before curling in a shot which went inches over the bar, a minute later and Hennis intercepted a pass in midfield before playing the ball forward to Weirs who laid the ball off to Davison who struck a tremendous drive which rattled the crossbar.
Northallerton introduced their subs which brought fresh legs to the proceedings and with almost his first touch of the ball Bruton should have equalised, breaking clear of the RCA defence and with only the advancing Marrs to beat he scuffed his shot wide.
RCA brought on Richardson and his first touch saw him pick up a through ball from Weirs, the winger clipped the ball over Dawson in the Home goal but the ball hit the bar and rebounded to safety.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes RCA pushed forward, a Carr pass to Annang-Colquhoun looked to be out of his reach but somehow he managed to hook a foot round the ball as it headed out of play for a corner and despite the close attention of Hudson he was able to regain his feet and send in a precise cross to the far post where Davison was on hand to head home to make it 2-0.
Northallerton’s final contribution to the game came when Chidanyika again broke down the left and it took a superb block by Jakab to deny him and his team a consolation goal.
The resulting corner was headed away by Errington and Hennis picked up the loose ball, sending it forward into the path of Davison who was one on one with the keeper, Davison had time to compose himself before firing in a low shot but Dawson pulled off a magnificent save to keep the score at 2-0.
Not a classic by any means but given the conditions under foot it was a decent performance by the lads and a hard earned 3 points.
Next up we are at home to West Allotment Celtic on Saturday, 29th January 2022: kick off 3.00pm