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Sunderland RCA 2 West Allotment Celtic 0

Submitted by Rob Jones on Sunday, 30 January 2022
Saturday, 29 January 2022
Northern League 1

Goal scorer Michael Annang-Colquhoun keeps the West Allotment defence busy during the first half of the match.

We welcome West Allotment Celtic to Sunderland LGV Park. Our visitors have been on a phenomenal run of form since they defeated us in November with only two defeats in the last 10 matches. RCA will need to be at their best to overcome this much improved team.

A strong wind had caused the postponement of a number of games in the Northern League but after a quick inspection by the referee Graeme Hopper the match was declared on. This pitch itself was once again in great condition for the time of year, testament to the hard work and dedication of the ground staff, Dave, George, Graham and Norman.

Michael Hoganson failed a late fitness test and Daniel Hawkins is still injured, while AJ continues his rehabilitation with a vigorous pre match warm-up. Will the home fans get a chance to see him back in action before the end of the season only time will tell?

The teams lined up as follows:

Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Jakab, Charlton, Swansbury ©, B Errington, Hennis, Carr, Guy, Davison, Annang-Colquhoun, Weirs. Subs: Watts, Winn, Allen, Richardson, Lawrence.

West Allotment Celtic: Hodgson, Baltazar, Leech, Forster, Scott ©, Errington, Thompson, Higgins, Hayton, Larmouth, Parkinson. Subs: Bryan, Monaghan, Martins, Bates.

West Allotment kicked off with the advantage of the wind and the slope and had an early chance when a cross from Baltazar was only partially cleared by the RCA defence and the ball fell to Higgins but he volleyed his shot over the bar.

The home team created their first chance of the match when Weirs made a strong run through the centre of the West Allotment defence before playing the ball to Davison, his effort was blocked by Scott, Charlton picked up the loose ball and crossed to the unmarked Jakab whose shot skimmed the bar.

While the visitors had the advantage of the wind it was the home team who settled into the game and only some brilliant defending by Scott prevented Davison from opening the scoring.

RCA were taking the game to West Allotment and when Guy created an opening for Weirs the visitors were happy to scramble his shot away for a corner. Weirs took the corner, picking out Davison whose downward header almost found Annang-Colquhoun but the RCA striker reacted slowly and Hodgson was able to collect.

The swirling, blustery wind was causing a few problems for both teams.

In the 20 minute a poor tackle by Annang-Colquhoun resulted in a freekick 20 yards out, Parkinson elected to take the kick but smashed it high over the bar.

West Allotment almost took the lead in the 25 minute when a ball over the top by Thompson was controlled, inside the box, by Hayton who drilled a low shot toward the RCA goal but Marrs pulled off a terrific save to turn the ball round the post.

A minute later and the visitors were guilty of possibly the miss of the season a lovely through ball by Thompson was collected by Hayton who beat the offside trap, drove forward before squaring the ball to Larmouth who only had to hit the target but got his feet tangled up and the ball squirmed away to be picked up by Marrs

The home team, having withstood a bit of pressure from the visitors, launched a good reply through Annang-Colquhoun who forced a corner on the right. Charlton sent in the cross to Swansbury whose bullet headed flashed past Hodgson and into the top corner of the net. This is the captain’s first goal of the season in his 180th appearance for the club.

From the kick off West Allotment were awarded a freekick 30 yards out which was taken by Leech, his floated freekick was caught by the wind and it took some superb handling by Marrs under pressure from Hayton and Learmouth to prevent an early equaliser.

In the closing minute of the half Hennis and Weirs combined to set up Guy but his shot flashed inches over the bar.

The start of the second half saw West Allotment on the front foot as an early strike from Learmouth was well held by Marrs diving to his right.

The blustery conditions were having an effect on the game, although the wind was not as strong in the second half it was swirling around the ground, which made it difficult to judge the flight of the ball and the game became very scrappy.

RCA doubled their lead in the 68 minute when Carr played a good ball forward, it took a deflection and Annang-Colquhoun reacted quickly to nip in and slot the ball past Hodgson.

Two minutes later and a cross into the box by Weirs was headed just over the bar by Davison.

Substitutions were made by RCA bringing on Allen for Carr and then Watts for Annang-Colquhoun.

Within minutes of this RCA were reduced to 10 men when Jakab picked up a second yellow card for pulling an opponent back. The home team reshuffled the team effectively switching to a 4-4-1 formation.

The extra player gave West Allotment the incentive to push forward in the final 10 minutes and Learmouth almost pulled one back when he fired in a long range shot which Marrs saved at the foot of the post.

Things started to get a bit feisty with a number of strong challenges causing play to be interrupted and the flow of the game suffered. The referee was forced to speak to players of both sides to calm things down.

In the dying minutes of normal time Forster picked up a pass from Baltazar and broke forward before firing in a terrific low drive which Marrs managed to get a hand to and collected at the second attempt.

The game ended with RCA securing all three points with a workmanlike performance where they handle the windy conditions better than the opposition for long periods of the game. This was by no means a classic with little in the way of goalmouth action. Two well taken goals was the difference between the two sides.

Next up is the small matter of a local derby as we head up the road to take on Ryhope CW on Tuesday, 1st February 2022: Kick off 7.30pm.