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Sunderland RCA 2 Durham City 2

Submitted by Rob Jones on Sunday, 25 October 2015
Saturday, 24 October 2015
Northern League 1

RCA's Joey Melvin is outnumbered in a race for the ball.

Goalscorers: SRCA:  Charlton, Callen.  Durham: Archer, Fairley

Please click here for more photos from the match.

RCA welcomed Durham City to Meadow Park for this re-scheduled match. Due to the ongoing problems at New Ferens Park RCA agreed to swap the fixture. More on the Durham situation will emerge in the coming days, but we wish them well in whatever they decide.  

The management team were forced to make one change to the team that defeated Washington last week. Luke Richardson was brought in to replace the injured Clayton Davis at right back. After the injury crisis of late it was a pleasant surprise to see 21 players at the ground fully fit and raring to go; some disappointed faces, but still a good team spirit amongst all of them.

The match started fairly tamely with both teams guilty of giving the ball away cheaply.

However, in the sixth minute a long ball forward from RCA keeper Talbot was headed down by Callen and Proctor, following up, sent in a rasping shot which went narrowly wide.

Suddenly a spark had been lit and RCA pressed forward, the reward a corner on the right. Lane took the kick which was flicked toward the back post by Buchanan. Melvin picked up the ball and fired in a low shot which was blocked by Archer, the rebound fell to Charlton on the penalty spot and he blasted the ball through a crowd of players and into the net to give the home team the lead.

It could so easily have been 2 - 0 a minute later when Callen controled the ball from a throw in before setting off on a run which saw him evade three tackles before getting in a shot which flew just wide of the upright.

Durham finally seemed to wake up and Fairley picked up a loose ball before shooting straight at Talbot. Then a good move between Allen and Haley came to nothing when the final ball was intercepted by Noble. It seemed that  Durham were keeping possession quite well without penetrating the RCA defence.

In the 17th minute RCA produced a stunning passage of play which saw the ball passed from McNab to Noble; he switched the ball to Lane who played it first time in to Melvin, his deft flick found Proctor who slid the ball back to Melvin whose shot was blocked by Archer. It would have been a brilliantly worked goal.

The home team only had to wait a minute to double their lead when from another throw in Lane found Melvin, the RCA striker dribbled to the by line before whipping in a low cross which Callen managed to slide onto and steer into the net.

The away team looked to be shocked into action and two minutes later shoudl have pulled one back when they were awarded a corner, the ball was crossed in a headed away by Richardson , Lynch picked up the loose ball inside the area but fired his shot wide of the target.

Then five minutes later Durham piled more pressure on the RCA defence and were awarded a freekick 25 yards out, Allen took the kick, floating it to the far post where Blackburn was unmarked but from three yards out he stabbed his shot wide.

Back came RCA down the slope, Proctor and Melvin combined to set the ball up for Callen, the forward unselfishly squared the ball to Charlton, but he fired high over the bar.

The visitors were still looking dangerous on the break and in the 35th minute a ball out of defence by Archer was picked up on the right by Allen who crossed into the penalty area where Haley was on hand to thunder in a shot which Richardson blocked and Noble, underpressure from Blackburn, managed to clear, but only as far as Fowler, but his shot was well saved by Talbot.

In the 40th minute Durham were awarded a freekick which was taken by Allen who fired a shot round the wall but again Talbaot got down well to make the save.

Almost immediately at the other end of the pitch RCA were awarded a freekick when Melvin was fouled, Proctor took the kick whipping in a terrific cross which only needed a touch from any one of three RCA players and it was a certain goal. It was not to be, so 2 - 0 at half time.

Durham made two substitutions at half time bringing on Wardle and Wallace and the transformation was immediate. They started the second half like a runaway train. In the opening minute of the half they were awarded a freekick on the edge of the penalty area despite the protests of the durham players that it was inside the box. Bakhti took the kick driving it low past the wall but Talbot pulled off a terrific save diving to his left and guiding the ball round thepost  

A minute later and RCA's defenders were again guilty of committing a foul as the visitors pushed forward, this time the kick was taken quickly by Bakhti to Lynch who fired in a shot which Noble managed to get a head to and divert the ball away for a corner.

With the advantage of the slope Durham pressed forward and were rewarded in the 50th minute when they were awarded a corner, the ball was whipped in toward the near post where Archer managed to direct a glancing header across the face of goal and into the far corner of the net.

RCA tried to pick up their game at this point and should really have increased their lead in the 55 minute when a ball forward from Noble found Callen who drifted past a defender before passing to Charlton who played the ball in to Melvin who fired over the bar from 8 yards out.

In the 56th minute Durham were level when Bakhti picked up a misplaced pass and burst forward, he released the ball to Fairley who collided with  the advancing Talbot and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Fairley picked himself up and blasted the ball into the net sending Talbot the wrong way. 

It was all Durham as they went in search of the winner and it was only some excellent defending which was keeping them at bay, Bakhti, who had been almost nonexistant in the first half was all over the pitch in th esecond and was causing RCA problems with his runs from deep.

RCA were lucky not to go behind in the 65th minute when a low freekick from Bukhti found Wallace unmarked in the six yard box, but he headed wide.

The longer the game went on the more likely it looked that Durham would score, RCA were finding it difficult to string more than two passes together and were forced to defend deep.

Durham created a number of chances and Wallace was guilty of missing two while Fairley was thwarted by Talbot when he was through 1 on 1 with the on loan keeper but scuffed his shot well wide of the goal.

RCA did manage to rally toward the final 5 minutes of the game when Callen picked up the ball on the right and beat his marker before firing in a cross which found Lane free at the far post but he shot wide from close range, then a Gordon run down the right saw him skip past his marker before firing in a cross which was narrowly missed by Callen and cleared by Lynch. 

This was a hard fought draw in the end and lessons need to be learned from this game. 

Our passing, which has been a strong point in this extended run of undefeated games, was missing from the start today. There were too many poor passes and players were holding onto the ball too long, this may come from over confidence or just tiredness and is not difficult to remedy.   

Next up is the distraction of the cup on Tuesday with a game away against Dunston UTS in the Durham Challenge Cup and then next Saturday the away trip to Silsden in the FA Vase.