Army attack: James Armstrong puts the Whitley Bay defence under pressure.
For more photos from the match please click here.
Goal scorers - Whitley Bay: Patton.
Following two excellent away wins at Penrith and Ryhope Colliery Welfare, Sunderland RCA were back at Meadow Park this afternoon looking for a third Northern League win in a row, with Whitley Bay the visitors.
RCA made one change to the side that beat Ryhope Colliery Welfare last Saturday, with James Armstrong replacing Dylan Elliott.
The two sides lined up as follows:
RCA: Finch; Noble; McNab; Preston; Swansbury (c); Armstrong; Charlton; Hodgson; O'Neill; Page; Callen.
Whitley Bay: Flynn; Salmon; Walker; Haley; Summers; Anderson; Cornish; Charmey; Johnston; Kempster (c); Patton.
After a cagey opening few minutes, it was the visitors who had the first effort on goal - in the eighth minute a free-kick midway inside the RCA half was half cleared to Charmey who fired a shot over the crossbar from 25 yards. One minute later and RCA had their first meaningful attack when Page played a good ball out to Callen on the left, who cut in and fired in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was beaten away by Flynn and the loose ball was cleared. In the 14th minute, Whitley Bay took the lead when a pass was played in behind McNab to Patton who drove down the inside right channel before unleashing a fierce, low drive from the edge of the penalty area which flew under Finch and into the net. 11 minutes later and Hodgson played a good ball out to Callen on the left. Callen then drove down the wing before cutting in and crossing low to Charlton at the far post, whose shot was saved by Flynn. In the 28th minute, Armstrong played a good ball up to Page on the left edge of the Bay penalty area - Page then twisted and turned and delivered a looping cross which went behind for a goal-kick.
On the half hour mark, RCA had a good chance to equalise as Hodgson played a perfectly weighted ball up to Page who drove into the right-side of the Bay penalty area but dragged his shot wide. One minute later and RCA were forced into making their first substitution, with Reece Noble going off injured and being replaced by Adam McGuinness, and Ross McNab switching from left to right full-back. In the 32nd minute a good ball was played out to Cornish on the right side of the RCA penalty area but his cross was cleared. Six minutes later and RCA had another good chance to get back into the match - O'Neill charged down an attempted clearance by Flynn and the ball fell to Page, 30 yards from goal, but his attempted lob cleared the crossbar, with Flynn stranded. In the 41st minute, Callen whipped in a terrific cross from the left and O'Neill's glancing header at the front post went across Flynn and wide of the far post.
Half-time: Sunderland RCA 0 Whitley Bay 1
RCA continued where they left off in the first half, forcing an early corner which was punched by Flynn and Hodgson fired a shot narrowly wide from 10 yards. In the 46th minute, Colin Larkin replaced Michael Charlton. One minute later and Bay won a free-kick for a foul on Patton by McGuinness - the free-kick was headed clear by Swansbury. Eight minutes later and RCA won a free-kick for a foul on O'Neill. Armstrong fired the set piece over the crossbar. On the hour mark, RCA produced arguably the move of the match as a sweeping pass was played out to Larkin down the right who slid a terrific ball along the edge of the Bay penalty area and Page finished superbly into the bottom corner of the net - but the flag was raised for offside! There then followed a couple of free-kicks for late challenges as tempers frayed on both sides.
In the 64th minute, a free-kick was cleared and Larkin crossed to O'Neill whose shot was saved by Flynn. One minute later and RCA won a corner which was headed over by O'Neill. In the 70th minute the visitors won a corner which was cleared to Charmey, who fired a shot over the crossbar from all of 30 yards. Eight minutes later and Kieron Parnaby replaced James Armstrong. Two minutes later and Bay broke well down the right with Patton, who drove into the RCA penalty area before firing in a shot that was well saved by Finch and the loose ball was cleared. In the 82nd minute - and with RCA piling on the pressure in search of an equaliser - McNab played a lovely ball down the inside right channel to O'Neill on the right apex of the Bay penalty area. O'Neill then turned and fired in a cracking shot that produced the save of the match from Flynn, diving full length to his right to get a strong hand on the ball to prevent a certain goal. Great play all round! RCA then had a succession of corners that were all defended well by the visitors. In stoppage time, another RCA corner was delivered into the Bay six-yard area and, difficult to see who got the final touch, the ball struck the base of the post and was again cleared.
Just like the recent home defeat to Marske United, RCA played extremely well this afternoon, creating numerous chances, but failed to capitalise and lost to a single first half strike against a very good Whitley Bay side.
RCA stay in eighth position in the table with one third of the league season still to play.
This afternoon's RCA man of the match was chosen by Dave Crouch. Dave picked Nathan O'Neill for his “hard work up front”. Well played, Nathan!
Next up for RCA is a trip to Dunston UTS on Saturday, 10 February. Kick-off is at 3pm.