Photographs from Andy Mitchell are here.
Sunderland RCA entertained West Auckland Town in the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. RCA winning two of the three played so far but notably losing to a last minute goal in the FA Vase.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Pocklington, Howard, Lavery, Preston, Swansbury (C), Hodgson, K Davis, Moan, Davison, O’Neill, McAloon.
Subs: Page, C Davis, Croft, Lilley, Larkin.
West Auckland Town FC: Bland, Morris, Price, Cobain (C), Hunter, Colquhoun, Mitchell, Snaith, Dowson, Purewal, Burnicle.
Subs: Dodds, Heggarty, Heaney, Francis, Coulson.
Goalscorers: O.G. (Cobain), Davison.
The opening ten minutes of the match saw little in the way of goalmouth action as both teams cancelled each other out.
The first meaningful attack produced a corner for RCA which was cleared by Hunter, the ball was picked up by Preston on the right and his pin point cross was met by Swansbury who headed down towards the bottom corner, but Bland produced a magnificent one handed save to keep the scores level.
In response West had their first clear sight at goal two minutes later when Mitchell set up Burnicle on the edge of the RCA box, but the West winger fired his shot wide of the target.
RCA took the lead in the 19th minute when McAloon collected a pass from Lavery on the left wing, played the ball inside to O’Neill who played a sublime forward pass to the on rushing McAloon who blasted the ball past Bland and it was turned into his own net by Cobain.
West should have equalized in the 27th minute when Mitchell got free on the left and his cross found Dowson in space inside the RCA penalty area, but the striker hit his shot into the ground and it bounced over the bar.
The visitors were starting to put pressure on the RCA defence and it was only a superb reflex save by Pocklington in the 33rd minute that maintained RCA’s lead. Purewal had been allowed to get to the by-line and chipped over a cross which was met by the head of Morris who must have thought he had scored before the heroics of Pocklington.
Davison went close on two occasions heading over the bar from crosses by Kyle Davis and O’Neill.
Pocklington was forced to make another save early in the second half to keep out a strike from Mitchell.
RCA extended their lead in the 55th minute when a good run by Lavery saw his cross into the box picked up by Davison who controlled the ball before curling the ball into the top corner giving Bland no chance.
The visitors tried to come back but for all their possession they were not able to hurt RCA and it was the home team who almost scored again when Davison and O’Neill combined and O’Neill was denied by a brilliant save by Bland.
The best chance of the second half for West came when Morris split the RCA defence, playing the ball to Purewal but Howard made ground to block the shot and the danger was cleared.
With the game fizzling out and heading for the final minutes Mitchell was involved in a scuffle on the half way line with the result that he was somewhat harshly dismissed by the match referee and will miss the FA Vase match against Hebburn in two weeks time.
Next up for RCA is the little matter of the Durham Challenge Cup Third round tie against South Shields at Meadow Park on Tuesday, 22nd January 2019: Kick Off 7:30pm.