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Sunderland RCA 0 West Allotment Celtic 0

Submitted by Rob Jones on Sunday, 20 December 2015
Saturday, 19 December 2015
Northern League 1

Liam Hatch in defensive action in the second half of the match.

Goal scorers: None

Please click here for more photos from the match.

After the splendid win on Tuesday in the FA Vase it was back to League action against a vastly improving West Allotment Celtic who in recent weeks have taken points off Bishop Auckland and beaten North Shields.

Injuries continue to beset the team and the news concerning SRCA keeper Jordan Harkess was a devastating blow to the team. A broken jaw sustained in a collision on Tuesday night will keep him out for about eight weeks. Further bad news before the kick off surrounded the sickness of Kev Gordon and the injury to Thomas Scott with captain Clayton Davis failing a late fitness test and starting on the bench. Into the team as replacements for those injured came Hunter in goal, Carr at right back and Pounder up front.

WAC took advantage of the slope in the first half and the attacking intentions of both teams were clear from the outset. In the first minute a slick passing move by WAC saw Dunn play in Young but he fired wide of the post. Immediately the play switched to the other end where Proctor played a wonderful pass forward for Larkin who burst into the penalty area before firing towards the bottom corner by Wells was just able to get a fingertip to the ball and divert it for a corner.

Two minutes later and the action continued this time a free kick was awarded to WAC 20 yards out from goal, McRoberts took the kick curling it agonisingly wide of the near post.

Back came RCA this time a run on the left by Callen saw him beat two players before curling in a cross towards Larkin but Wells was able once again to get a fingertip to the ball to deny the RCA striker a simple tap in.

A minute later and a determined Pounder won the ball on the right wing, cut inside the box before slipping the ball to Charlton who mishit his effort and Ponder following up could not get to the ball before Keenan was able to clear.

The visitors however were not going to lay down and in the 20th minute Dunn and McRoberts opened up the RCA defence before the ball was played back to Keenan who fired in a long range effort which Hunter saved comfortably.

RCA could have taken the lead in the 25th minute when Carr picked up a ball from Larkin before curling in a delightful cross which Pounder met but could not direct his header on target.

The game became even more open as the half proceeded but both defences seemed to be coping fairly easily with what was being thrown at them.

WAC had an effort from Robinson which Hunter saved low down to his right and the visitors defence came out on top when RCA won two corners in quick succession and both were won by the head of Dobson.

The second half started slowly with neither team producing much in the way of goalmouth action then in the 55th minute it seemed to burst into life with Young picking up a pass from McRoberts before firing a screamer of a shot just wide of the target.

Within minutes Hunter was called upon to be at his best as a shot from Parkinson was blocked by Hatch and fell to Robinson inside the six yard area he controlled the ball before firing in a shot which Hunter saved from point blank range.

An injury to Callen brought Melvin into the fray and he had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes when RCA were awarded a free kick 25 yards out, he took the kick firing in a curling and dipping shot which struck the post and rebounded to Pounder who fired the ball over the bar with his knee.

WAC were quick to respond to this with a flowing move which saw them string several passes together before the ball bell to Henderson his dipping effort was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Hunter.

Just like in the first half the game seemed to open up as both teams looked for a goal which would probably settle this match.

The next effort came from RCA when Carr picked up the ball in midfield, played a one two with Larkin before shooting low which forced a good save from Wells.

RCA were starting to put on pressure as they pushed forward down the slope but the WAC defence was resilient and well marshalled although both Melvin and Pounder had great chances to seal the game in the final five minutes when clean through, but somehow Wells managed to save one shot and the other flew tamely over the bar.

It was left to RCA man of the match, Hunter, to have the final say producing a scintillating save late in the game from McRoberts after the WAC schemer had burst past two defenders and fired goal wards.

This was not an epic match by any stretch of the imagination and in the end a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game. There were a lot of tired legs on the pitch at the end of the ninety minutes as the endeavours of Tuesday seemed to take their toll.

The injury to Stephen Callen looks likely to keep him out over the Christmas period. The good news is that James Armstrong got on the pitch for a few minutes after his spell on the injury list.

Next up the Durham Challenge Cup match against Durham City FC, the match is to be played at Consett’s Belle View pitch.