Goalscorers: SRCA: Hatch, Proctor: Ashington: Harmiston, Atkin
Due to work commitments RCA made three changes to the side which was so soundly beaten on Saturday. In came Morris, Gordon and Hatch to replace Harkess, Brown and Proctor for the visit of Stephen Harmison’s Ashington team.
The visitors started well utilising the slope to good effect in the opening minutes, a ball from Atkin was collected on the left wing by Moore who cut inside before shooting but Morris was on hand to save at the near post, the ball rebounded to Moore and Morris had to be at his best to turn the second shot out for a corner.
Ashington took the lead in the ninth minute when the referee awarded an indirect freekick on the wdge of the six yard area for a deliberate back pass. After a long delay the ball was fed to Harmison who slammed it through a crowd of players and into the net. RCA almost equalised within a minute when Jury chased down a long ball out of defence from the kick off and found himself one on one with the Ashington keeper but his shot was saved by Grant.
The RCA team were playing some good football and Hope was unlucky with a lob which beat Grant but landed on the roof of the net and then Callen had a header saved by Grant after Gordon had done well to get in a cross. Ashington were trying to play a controlled game, keeping possession but with little to show in going forward and time and agin a stray pass was picked up by RCA.
In the 20th minute Armstrong and Callen made headway up the left wing and when Hatch played Callen’s cross into the path of Hope it looked like RCA would equalise but Grant pulled off a good save.
RCA equalised in the 28th minute when Hatch played the ball wide to Callen who curled in a shot cum cross which Grant could only palm away and Hatch, under pressure from Harmison calmly slotted home from eight yards out.
The game then became very competitive with both teams looking to add to their tally, but neither keeper being called upon to make a save. The game was played in a tight midfield and became a bit stop start as the referee seemed to blow his whistle for anything. As the final minute of the half approached RCA pushed forward and a ball into the box by Armstrong caused confusion in the Colliers defence and hope ponuced on a loose ball to fire in a low shot which was blocked away for a corner by Atkin.
From the corner Callen fired in a shot which was saved by Grant, the ball came out to Hatch whose shot was blocked and then the ball was cleared up field, where, under pressure Jury fouled Williamson on the halfway line. Although the ball fell kindly for the Ashington striker the referee awarded a freekick to Ashington.
The second half started with a long ball forward to Hatch on the edge of the box, he was fouled and a freekick awarded. Hope fired over from the kick.
Ashington’s first attack of the half saw Downey play the ball to Gray and the Colliers defender curled a shot which hit the underside of the bar and was cleared by Buchanan.
A minute later and the Colliers took the lead when they were awarded a corner, Johnson took the kick and Harmison headed the ball against the bar, he then headed the rebound towards goal where Atkins was on hand to tap in from a few feet out.
It could have got a lot worse for RCA when Ashington, adopting a route one approach, sent the ball forward from defence Gray played a first time ball to Moore who also played a first time ball into the penalty area and Williamson’s first time volley went wide of the target.
Eventually RCA got to grips with kicking down the slope and started to push Ashington back, a ball from Jury was picked up by Hope who crossed into the box where Callen met the ball but his flick shot went just wide.
Three minutes later and a cross into the box by Davis found Callen unmarked, his shot was saved by Grant and Gordon following up fired into the side netting.
RCA were finding a lot of space on the right and when Gordon slipped past his marker he pulled the ball back to Jury, but the RCA captain shot over the bar.
Ashington, as in the first half were looking to control possession, however they seemed to lose composure under pressure and a number of silly bookings followed.
With time running out RCA threw caution to the wind sending Drysdale forward as an emergency centre forward and it seemed to work. In the 88th minute Callen hit a snap shot which was palmed away by Grant but only as far as Drysdale who mishit his shot and it was blocked and fell to Proctor who slammed the ball home.
RCA almost grabbed the winner when they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box, The ball was played to Gordon but the quick thinking Gray prevented him shooting.
This was a hard fought draw for RCA and possibly on balance this was a fair result.
The game was spoilt by some bizarre refereeing decisions which seemed to upset the Ashington team more than the home team. Next up Penrith on Saturday.