Nathan O'Neill and Karl Jones contest the ball.
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On an emotional day at Sunderland LGV Park football was always going to take second place as both teams and sets of supporters paid their respects to former player Richie Jordan. The teams mixed together and with the management teams, stood side by side respectfully observing a minute’s silence in his memory.
The RCA management team made three changes to the side that won as Guisborough in mid-week with Clayton Davis, Stephen Callen and Nathan O’Neill replacing Dominic Moan, Kyle Davis and Mark Davison.
In the opening minute of the game Woods pulled up with a thigh strain and was immediately replaced by the experienced Ollie Hotchkiss.
Callen had the first two chances of the game, initially bursting into the box to pick up an Allen pass before Jones blocked the shot at the expense of a corner. From the corner Callen managed to get a header on target but Lay was on hand to clear the danger.
In the 10th minute, a good move down the left saw Callen lay the ball into the box for Charlton who in turn played the ball back to Elliott who drilled his shot wide of the target.
RCW were restricted in the opening 15 minutes to a long range effort from Wallace which flew well wide of Dean’s goal.
Having survived the early RCA pressure the CW started to create chances of their own. Devlin on the left crossed into the box where Hotchkiss was on hand to volley wide of the goal.
Two minutes later and a surging run by M Weirs on the right saw him chip the ball back to Rae who controlled the ball before firing in a shot which also went wide.
Rae almost opened the scoring on the half hour mark when he sent a low cross into the box and it ricocheted off McNab flashing just wide of the upright.
The hosts responded through Davis on the right he picked up a good pass from Swansbury before crossing to the far post to Charlton whose shot was well blocked by Lay the rebound fell to Hodgson who fired wide.
RCA’s best chance of a largely low key first half came when Davis again picked up a pass on the right, this time he laid the ball ito the path of Allen who burst through two tackles before having his shot sliced clear by Jones, the ball looped out to O’Niell but he could not direct his header on target.
The threatened rain greeted the teams at the start of the second half and it was the CW who started the better.
In the opening minutes Hotchkiss and Rae combined, with the latter able to pick out the run of Devlin but Swansbury was alert to the threat and cleared the ball away.
The game was largely dominated by two very organised and well drilled defences and the forwards were finding it hard to make any meaningful attacks.
RCA started to get more into the game and for the first time in the match looked to stretch the visitors defence. On the hour mark an Elliott freekick was met at the back post by Swansbury, his shot was blocked by Jones and the rebound fell to Davis who fired wide from a good position.
Two minutes later RCA were awarded a corner which McNab took and O’Neill headed just over the bar.
The pressure was mounting on the CW defence as RCA claimed a succession of corners with Preston and Callen both heading over.
In the 75th minute a through ball by O’Neill was picked up by Davis who was through on goal, with only the keeper to beat he fired in a terrific shot which Winter was able to block at the expense of another corner.
With three minutes of normal time left on the clock Callen outpaced Jones in the CW defence but fired wide of the target with only the keeper to beat. In getting back Jones pulled up with a hamstring problem and was unable to continue which reduced the visitors to 10 for the final minutes of the game.
This was by no means a classic but under the circumstances a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game overall.
Replay: Tuesday 14th August. KO 19:30
Ryhope Recreation Park