So, a win against Northallerton, well deserved but a bit narrower than we would have wanted. Still, its a win, and with a fairly depleted squad. Further injury news though, with Steve Callen limping off with what looked like quite a bad ankle injury. Fingers crossed its not as bad as it looked and we get him back soon, he will be a big miss. Despite missing a few games already he has been in fine form this season and is leading goalscorer by some way. But others will step up to the plate in his absence I’m sure, Nathan and Sparky are due a few goals.
View from the Cemetery
Our wait for a league win goes on, will Northallerton do the decent thing and let us get this monkey off our backs? Probably not, I guess we are going to have to win this or another game by our own efforts.
Lots of disruptions due to weather of course in recent weeks, and some decent enough performances in cup ties, but even so, three months without a league win does not look good. Maybe not a fair reflection, we have played fairly well in recent games, but its always true that its results that count in the end. Long way to go and a lot of games still to play, not even half way through the league season, so need to panic…
Panic does seem to be the new default setting over at the SoL however, with the latest upset concerning McGeady, banished and told he can move on come January. He, and a couple of others so I have heard, have been a bit unkind to some of the younger players. Banter they will claim no doubt, bullying is the word I have heard, but whatever, the upshot doesn’t look good.
A couple of wins since the last time we spoke, which is good. Evidently the game against Washington through at Durham, if you follow me, was a bit of a stroll against a game but struggling Washy team. Steve Callen filled his boots to the tune of four; he looks a bit of a shoo-in for leading goalscorer this season if current form continues, although Sparky and Nathan may have other views on this, and young Dylan, ensconsed as penalty taker at the moment may be the dark horse. Dunston on the other hand was a tough match against a very good side who started particuarly well. We worked our way into it though, helped by a bit of a worldy from new boy Josh Gray, who seems to be finding his feet, and now the shooting boots to fit them. Pagey worked hard for Dunston but couldn’t find them a way back, so it's RCA who have the pleasure of a trip to the Brewery Field to see how wide the gap is, or not, between the National League North and the Northern League First. No doubt Spenny may well give a few squad players a game, it's unlikely that the DFA Challenge Cup is high on their priorities this season, but it may be their best chance of a trophy. If they can get past us of course, a task which they should not underestimate. I think Spenny could well be reaching the limits of their current realistic ambition. A fair number of the National League North teams are full time I understand, and that is a whole new kettle of fish, in financial, fitness and professionalism terms. Don’t get me wrong, Jay Ainsley and Brad Groves, and the rest of the team behind the team at Spennymoor have worked wonders, and I take my hat off to them without reservation, but standing still now be their greatest achievement. Good luck to them anyway.
A cracking game and very good performance against Billingham Town in the League Cup on Wednesday night. Opinions are divided as to the value of the new group stage for the League Cup, but a goodish crowd turned out and were well entertained by this match. I thought, from my restricted view, that what looked like a young Billingham side started very well, passing and moving with purpose, but came up against something like a full strength RCA defence which meant that very little of their attacks reached Robbie Dean in any way likely to cause him any great discomfort.
At the same time the feeling that RCA would create a decent chance every few minutes or so, which was a feature of the first few weeks of the season but had disappeared lately, came back. The midfield trio of Dylan, Dom and Nathan got hold of and produced a lot of good ball for Sparky and young Ryan. RCA lined up with something between a back three and a back five, depending on where the nominal full backs found themselves at any given time, and how much they had on their plates. It did seem to offer quite a bit of flexibility going forward, and plenty of cover at the back. There is many a stalwart that frowns on these fancy variations, preferring the flat back four at all times, not to mention being nostalgic for the old W formation of Stanley Matthews day, when a half back was a half back and nothing like an inside forward. Still as such types are in their nineties now maybe we can move on...