Nathan O'Neill bursts through the Jarrow Roofing defence.
For more photos from the match please click here.
For Connor Lamb's match report please click here.
Goal scorers - RCA: Callen (2); Elliott; Charlton. Jarrow Roofing: Anderson.
Sunderland RCA went into tonight's match with Jarrow Roofing knowing that a win would guarantee fourth-place and would equal RCA’s best ever Northern League finish.
RCA again made one change to the side that won at Newton Aycliffe last night, with Stephen Callen returning in place of Colin Larkin.
The two sides lined up as follows:
RCA: Pocklington; Armstrong; McNab; Preston; Swansbury (c); Elliott; Charlton; Hodgson; O'Neill; Page; Callen. Subs: Larkin; Limbo; McGuinness; Noble; Ashton.
Jarrow Roofing; Regan; Varga; Walton; Vipond; Myers; Marshall (c); Gardiner; Petrache; Campbell; Anderson; Palmer.
It was the visitors that got off to the better start, and, in the fourth minute, had a great chance to take the lead as Myers split the RCA defence, leaving Campbell with a run on goal, but he dragged his shot narrowly wide from the edge of the RCA penalty area. It wasn't until the 17th minute that RCA had their first sight of the Roofing goal - O'Neill made a driving run down the right, crossing low into the penalty area but the ball just eluded Page.
Three minutes later and O'Neill made another good run and forced a corner. From Elliott's corner, Page sliced the ball into the air and Regan had to tip over the crossbar. From Elliott's subsequent corner, the ball bobbled around in the penalty area before being half cleared back to Elliott, who delivered a terrific ball back into O'Neill, who headed narrowly wide. In the 25th minute, the visitors took the lead - a through ball was played up to Campbell on the edge of the RCA penalty area, who headed the ball down nicely to Anderson, who finished well into the far corner. Three minutes later and a Roofing corner was half cleared to Varga, who shot wide from just outside the RCA penalty area.
In the 35th minute, Callen made a terrific run down the left before cutting in along the Roofing 18-yard line and firing in a shot that flew a yard over the crossbar. One minute later and Roofing were down to ten men - Page was put through on goal and raced to the ball but was clattered by Regan, who had attempted to clear the ball outside of the Roofing penalty area, and was shown a red card by the referee. This forced Campbell to be substituted so that Newbrook could take over in the Roofing goal. With half-time approaching, Roofing had a couple of further opportunities, as first, Anderson played in Gardiner, whose shot was tame and held by Pocklington. Then, Anderson made a good run down the left before cutting in and playing in Palmer, who fired in shot that was straight at Pocklington.
Half-time: Sunderland RCA 0 Jarrow Roofing BCA 1
RCA emerged for the second half fired up and, kicking down the slope, took the game to Roofing. Three minutes into the second half, and Callen controlled a ball into the penalty area, before firing a shot right across the face of the Roofing goal. Then, seconds later, Charlton found Page, whose shot from just inside the penalty area was tipped over the crossbar by Newbrook. From Elliott's corner, Newbrook was fouled. More good play from Callen down the left followed, finding Charlton, who forced a corner, which was headed wide by Swansbury at the far post. In the 57th minute, Gardiner made a driving run down the right, forcing a corner after a block by McNab, which was cleared.
On the hour, James Armstrong was replaced by Reece Noble. It only took Noble three minutes to assist RCA in getting back into the match, after delivering a long cross-field ball into the Roofing penalty area, where Callen watched the ball come down, before unleashing a brilliant volley across Newbrook and into the opposite corner. What. A. Strike! And two minutes later, RCA had the lead - an Elliott corner was half cleared back to Elliott, who looked up and curled a magnificent shot over Newbrook and into the top corner. Brilliant stuff! Two outstanding goals in two minutes which were worthy of any level of football.
With 15 minutes remaining, RCA produced a lovely move involving Elliott, Noble and Charlton down the right and the ball was worked superbly into Charlton, who fired a shot into the side netting from 10 yards. Five minutes later and RCA were reduced to ten men after O'Neill jumped for a high ball and was adjudged to have used his elbow by the referee and was given a straight red. In the 86th minute, RCA grabbed a third to clinch the match - Elliott played in Charlton in the penalty area, and Charlton twisted and turned before finding an opening to finish well into the bottom corner. And then, in stoppage time, RCA got a fourth after a Callen shot from around 25 yards was fumbled by Newbrook and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
The proverbial game of two halves: In the first half it looked like tonight's match was going to be one too many for the lads as we struggled to get going against a determined Jarrow Roofing side. But in the second, the lads looked more like the side that has finished the season 11 games unbeaten, playing some lovely stuff.
RCA now have to wait until Saturday to see whether it will be a third or fourth-place finish, as Shildon take on Ryhope Colliery Welfare at Dean Street, knowing that anything less than a home win will see RCA finish in third-place for the first time in the club's history.
Tonight's four-goal haul means that we have scored 19 goals in our last five matches, taking the goals tally for the entire season to an impressive 115.
Huge congratulations to Martin and his backroom team, and all of the lads, for steering RCA from relegation candidates to the top four.
We shall look forward to next season with great anticipation, but, in the meantime, have a great summer.