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Sunderland RCA 2 West Auckland Town 0

Submitted by Rob Jones on Saturday, 16 April 2022
Friday, 15 April 2022
Northern League 1

RCA welcomed sixth placed West Auckland Town to Sunderland LGV Park for this Ebac Northern League Division 1 fixture. The original Friday night fixture being cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch, the match was rearranged to the Good Friday kick off after both teams were eliminated from the League Cup.

The RCA Management team would undoubtedly be looking for a much improved performance from the lads after two disappointing defeats in recent weeks against Thornaby and Whitley Bay.

The hosts made two changes to the team with Max Allen and Nathan Lawrence included in the squad at the expense of Matty Weirs and Taylor Richardson.

The teams lined up as follows:

Sunderland RCA: Marrs, Allen, Charlton, Jakab, Errington, Lawrence, Hawkins ©, Hennis, Davison, Annang-Colquhoun, Carr. Subs: Patton, Winn, Bell, Richardson, Herdman.

West Auckland Town: Guthrie, Cobain, Hegarty, Scott, Potter, Brown ©, Wright, Thompson, Blinco, Nicholson, Fryatt. Subs: Harwood, Mitton, Coulson, Jackson, Dodds.

If the RCA Management team wanted a reaction from the players they certainly got one from the kick off, taking advantage of the slope they poured forward and in the opening minute a well weighted pass from Allen was met by Davison but he struck the ball over the bar.

Immediately they were back on the attack, this time Hennis won the ball in midfield and Hawkins picked up the loose ball before splitting the West defence with a great through ball to Lawrence who clipped the ball toward goal forcing a tremendous one handed save from Guthrie at the expense of a corner.

Charlton took the corner which was met by Davison who headed the ball down and Jakab was on hand to stab the ball home from six yards out; a fantastic start for the home team.

Two minutes later and West, with their first attack, forced a corner on the right, the cross was met by Errington who headed out to Annang-Colquhoun who broke quickly down the right wing before cutting inside before hitting a low shot which Guthrie managed to block for another corner.

West, having absorbed the early pressure of the home team, produced a great chance of their own when Hegarty played a long ball forward to Ex-RCA winger Fryatt but his shot from a tight angle hit the side netting.

A minute later and a West corner on the left caused the first real concern in the RCA defence when Potter’s header was cleared off the line by Allen, the ball flew up in the air and Davison, helping out in defence, headed back towards his own goal before Jakab was able to take command and hook the ball away from the danger area.

It so easily could have been 2-0 on 15 minutes when Hennis and Lawrence combined to free Carr on the right, his cross into the box was met by Davison but he fired wide.

West’s next attack came from an RCA corner, Charlton’s kick was cleared by Brown to Scott who played it wide to Fryatt who raced forward but Allen was able to cover the breakaway and managed to get back to put in a fantastic block

West were applying a bit of pressure as the half wore on, Cobain played a good ball down the right to Nicholson who slipped his marker before whipping in a wicked cross which Marrs was only able to punch away, the ball fell to Wright but his through ball, meant for Nicholson, drifted harmlessly out of play.

As the game progressed the visitors started to see a lot more of the ball with Wright a constant threat. A through ball from Nicholson found Wright on the right and he fired in a cross which flew across the six yard area but there wasn’t a West player within five yards of the ball and it went out for a goal kick.

A corner on the right by West was cleared by Jakab but fell to Blinco but the normally cool forward snatched at the shot and it flew well wide of the target.

A minute later and Blinco received a pass from Potter and played a great through ball beyond the RCA defence for Wright but Marrs was quickly off his line and saved the shot with his legs.

With the pressure mounting West forced another corner on the left; Fryatt’s kick was met by Potter whose powerful header was hooked off the line by Charlton.

Within minutes at the other end Annang-Colquhoun won the ball inside the West penalty area and Davison picked up the loose ball spreading it to Charlton on the left who cut the ball back into the path of Davison and he swept the ball past the a static Guthrie and into the bottom corner to record his 23rd goal of the season.

The game had once again swung RCA’s way and they started to dominate possession without really producing any goalmouth action until the 40th minute when a cross into the box was headed down by Davison to Hawkins but he blazed it over the bar.

In the final minute of the half a freekick by Charlton on the right was met by Hennis at the far post but he headed inches wide of the upright.

The difference in the attitude of the RCA players was typified in the opening minutes of the second half when West forged forward on the right, Thompson cutting the ball inside to Blinco whose shot was blocked, the rebound fell to Wright who was unmarked in the six yard area with and open goal in front of him he curled his shot toward the top corner but somehow Charlton managed to read the situation superbly and got back to head the ball off the line; a truly brilliant piece of defending.

This seemed to spur RCA on and they pushed forward again, Annang-Colquhoun was fouled on the edge of the box and Charlton played the ball to the far post where Davison under pressure could only guide his header wide of the goal.

The game seemed to take on the typical end of season affair with a lot of effort but little in the way of quality. Both Scott (West) and Errington (RCA) were forced off with injuries and a number of other substitutions gave a little bit of life to the game.

A West corner was headed over by Potter, from the goal kick Cobain picked up the ball and played it forward for Nicholson whose cross into the box was met by Blinco, Jakab blocked his shot and the ball, luckily for RCA, spun straight into the arms of Marrs.

RCA were defending well and hitting West on the break, a block tackle by Lawrence won the ball and Patton picked up the ball before hitting a terrific forty yard pass to Richardson, whose first touch was brilliant but he was let down by his second touch and Guthrie was able smother the ball at the winger's feet.

Into the final five minutes and West continued to try and salvage something from the game but their final ball and shooting were poor and RCA looked fairly comfortable.

In the final minute of the game Charlton cleared the ball forward to Richardson on the left wing and he spotted the run of Bell bursting through the middle and played a perfect pass to the RCA youngster who took the ball in his stride but showed too much of the ball to Guthrie who managed to produce another good save to deny RCA.

A much improved team performance with some outstanding individual performances as a bonus.

The back four looked very compact and produced a solid performance, while the midfield and forwards worked tirelessly for the full 90 minutes and kept the West threat to a minimum.

Next week we travel to Redcar Town for the final match of the season on Saturday, 23 April 2022.