Nathan O'Neill gets RCA off to a great start with the opening goal.
For more photos from the match please click here.
For Connor Lamb's match report please click here.
Goal scorers - RCA: O'Neill (2); Moan; Armstrong; Jonathan Davis.
Following Saturday's epic 12-goal Emirates FA Cup thriller at Clitheroe, Sunderland RCA made the very much shorter trip to Seaham Red Star for tonight’s Northern League match.
With both sides having only one win in their opening four league matches prior to kick-off, a win tonight was important to kickstart the league season. Early days, though.
RCA made a late change to the starting XI after Stephen Callen withdrew due to injury and was replaced by John Jury, who was making his first start since returning to the club.
The two sides lined up as follows:
Seaham Red Star: Harkess; Toward; Weirs; Hutchinson; Myers; Howe; Palmer; Gardiner; Gash; Steele; Jewitt.
Sunderland RCA: Pocklington; Armstrong; Watson; Lilley; Hodgson (c); Jonathan Davis; Charlton; Page; Moan; O'Neill; Jury. Subs: Davison; Callen; Richardson; Kokoska; Limbo.
It was the home side who had the first chance of the match in the second minute, as a cross from the right was headed towards goal by Gash, but the header was comfortably held by Pocklington. In the eighth minute, RCA took the lead - Jury played the ball down the right touchline to Charlton, who advanced forward before checking his run and rolling the ball back to Jury, whose deep cross was bravely headed home by O'Neill as Harkess challenged the RCA striker in the air. Seven minutes later and Seaham were awarded a free-kick on the right, midway inside the RCA half. Toward whipped in the kick which was headed clear by Hodgson. In the 19th minute, Charlton made a good, driving run down the right wing, before playing the ball inside to Moan on the edge of the Seaham penalty area. Moan held the ball up well, looking for a sight of goal, but his shot was saved by Harkess, diving to his left.
Two minutes later, though, and RCA doubled the lead - the ball was worked well through midfield, before Page spotted O'Neill at the far post. Page delivered a super ball in and O'Neill rose, unchallenged, to guide a terrific, looping header over Harkess and into the opposite corner. A great finish. On the half hour mark, Seaham were awarded another free-kick on the right which was delivered into RCA penalty area and cleared by Davis. Eight minutes later and RCA got a third goal - Charlton played a ball upto to Moan who took the ball in his stride and finished well, confidently slotting the ball past the advancing Harkess as RCA took control of the match going into the break.
Half-time: Seaham Red Star 0 Sunderland RCA 3
During the Half-time interval, RCA were forced into a first substitution, with goalkeeper Scott Pocklington unable to continue and being replaced by Andreas Kokoska, who was making his RCA debut.
Ten minutes into the second half and RCA all but wrapped up the match with a fourth goal - the ball was superbly worked through midfield before O'Neill split the Seaham defence and Armstrong ran onto the through ball before lobbing Harkess with a beautifully weighted chip and the ball bounced into the empty net for a terrific team goal.
On the hour mark, Jury made a driving run down the right, forcing a corner kick. Moan’s corner was cleared for a subsequent corner which was flicked narrowly wide by the head of O'Neill. In the 68th minute, Page made a super run through central midfield before playing in Charlton on the edge of the Seaham penalty area. Charlton flicked the ball on to Moan, who drove a fierce low shot, which was destined for the bottom corner, but Harkess produced a cracking save, diving low to his right.
Four minutes later and a rare second half Seaham attack resulted in a shot from Toward being blocked and Toward firing the rebound wide of the post. In the 75th minute, Michael Charlton was replaced by Dimitri Limbo. One minute later and the lively Moan made a good run into the Seaham penalty area before firing in a shot which was turned behind for a corner by Harkess. From the corner, the ball bobbled around in the penalty area before falling to Armstrong, who was bundled over and the referee pointed to the spot - despite O'Neill being on a hat-trick, Jonathan Davis stepped up to smash the ball into the net for a fifth goal for RCA. In the 80th minute, RCA made their final substitution, with James Armstrong being replaced by Luke Richardson.
For the final ten minutes, RCA lay siege on the Seaham goal - first a long ball was flicked onto Limbo, whose shot was saved by Harkess for a corner. From Moan’s corner, O'Neill challenged at the front post and the ball went out for a subsequent corner. Moan again delivered a good ball in and Watson rose to head towards goal, but Harkess tipped the ball over the crossbar with a brilliant reaction save. Then, Watson fired in a shot that was again well saved by Harkess. Finally, O'Neill was played in on the left side of the Seaham penalty area, and, looking for a hat-trick, O'Neill fired towards goal, but former RCA ‘keeper Harkess, produced another good save, this time with his feet.
RCA returned to winning ways emphatically tonight with an excellent team performance, some terrific finishing and a welcome clean sheet.
Next up for RCA is the visit of Ashington to Meadow Park this Saturday, 1 September, with a 3pm kick-off.