Craig Hodgson clears under pressure. Photograph © Amanda Scaife - @ShildonAFCsup. Thanks very much to Amanda for permission to use her photograph.
Amanda Scaife's photo set from the match is here.
Martyn Tweddle's match photos are here.
Martin Emmerson's photos from the match can be seen here. This was Martin's daughter Astrid's first football match in the Northern League. Come again Astrid and see us win!
Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos; Lilley, McNab, Preston, Swansbury; Hodgson, C. Davis, Page, Moan; O’Neill, Davison; subs Elliott, Kokoska, K. Davis, Jury, Armstrong.
Shildon: Newbrook; Harwood, Curl, Moore, Hall; Carling, Duell, Trotter, Earl; Blackford, Robson; subs Turnbull, Wood, Hird, Hudson, Ellison.
This looked an interesting match up, Shildon are well up the league, but had been on a bad run, with only one win in their last nine games, and RCA were coming off the back of a disappointing and surprising defeat by our local rivals. Both sides with something to prove on the day.
The game started in good conditions, bright sunshine and a decent, but not unmanageable breeze, and at a frantic pace that hardly let throughout the game. RCA were soon on top, but finding it difficult to create good chances. A couple of headers from corners and a decent shout for a penalty for a push on Nathan O’Neill were the highlights of the first 30 minutes, with the game played mainly in midfield and RCA finding the big and strong Shildon back line determined to stand firm. On the break Shildon were always dangerous, with Dan Earl running hard into the corners.
Half way through the half young Sam Lilley pulled up, tried to continue, but had to be replaced by John Jury as the RCA right back. A few minutes later Shildon should have taken the lead as in the same attack they rattled both the cross bar and the post. The game continued to be frantic, with few chances and by half time it was difficult to see where the first goal was coming from.
The second half opened in the same manner as the first: RCA largely dominant, but Shildon very determined and well organised. Two banks of four competing for everything and keeping space at a premium. Dimi Tsapalos in the RCA goal had not been called into action very often but looked in control, and was pumping the ball long for O’Neill and Davison to battle for at every opportunity. The RCA front pair won plenty of first balls but Shildon too often were first to the second and as a consequence Clayton Davis and Dom Moan were not seeing enough good ball out wide to cause too much trouble for Shildon.
Chances did come occasionally though, usually when Luke Page carried the ball from centre midfield and troubled the defence with pace. Dom Moan drove a shot wide and otherwise Newbrook in the Shildon goal dealt with everything that came his way.
The breakthrough for Shildon came in the 66th minute when Dan Moore chased a through ball, Dimi Tsapalos came out to challenge and was marginally second to the ball as Moore managed to squeeze a shot under the keeper’s body which trundled slowly into the net. 1-0 to Shildon.
Shildon were determined on holding what they had and cleverly slowed down play at every opportunity. But some chances came RCA’s way. Mark Davison directed a header just wide when he looked likely to score and you started to feel this was not going to be RCA’s day. Kyle Davis came on for Davison as RCA reshaped their attack with Moan moving to his favoured centre forward slot and then Dylan Elliott replaced Craig Hodgson with ten minutes to go. Dylan managed to get on the ball a few times and play effective balls to his forwards. Kyle Davis came agonisingly close to his first RCA goal as he headed over the bar from a great chance and with time running out Newbrook made a superb save from a Luke Page drive from the edge of the box.
Deep in injury time a lone Shildon attacker managed to win a penalty as two RCA defenders desperately tried to wrestle him off the ball. Robson converted and with 94 minutes played that was that. RCA didn’t play badly but we weren’t at our fluent best and credit to Shildon who came with a game plan to defend resolutely and carried it out to the letter.