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Sunderland RCA 2 Bristol Manor Farm 3

Submitted by Rob Jones on Monday, 1 February 2016
Saturday, 30 January 2016
The Buildbase FA Vase

No way through for RCA's Michael Charlton in the second half of the match.

Goal Scorers: SRCA: Buchanan (2), BMF: Stamp (2), Sheppard.

Please click here for more photos from the match.

RCA welcomed Bristol Manor Farm FC to Meadow Park for this historic 5th Round FA Vase tie.

The billing for this game was fantastic, two teams on amazing runs, RCA one defeat in 21 games and Bristol Manor Farm unbeaten since 7 November last year and riding high on top of the Toolstation Western Football league.

Martin Swales and his backroom staff had a team selection problem when both Liam Hatch and James Armstrong declared themselves unavailable due to injury problems and Lee Cresswell was unavailable due to work commitments. The selection was further exacebated when the only central defender on the bench pulled up in the warm up. The good news was the availability of Clifford Byrne who was slotted straight in at No 5. Reece Noble returned to midfield after his suspension as the two changes to the starting eleven who performed so well last week against Sleaford Town.

There was also a welcome return to the squad for Joe Hughes and Andrew Brown after long spells of injury.

The blustery conditions were always going to be a factor in this match as the wind blew straight down the pitch.

A bumper crowd of 329 saw RCA kick off with the advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half, the early attacks, whilst getting used to the windy conditions, saw the ball over hit and run out of play.

Manor Farm, trying to play under the wind put together some goos passing moves without moving the ball into the RCA final third.

This was the pattern of play for the first 15 minutes while both teams got a feel for the game.

The game the exploded into life, a through ball from Noble was controlled by Larkin who slipped the ball past the last defender and into the path of Charlton who fired in a shot which struck the Manor Farm keeper, Clark, in the face and was cleared by Loader.

After receiving treatment Clark was able to continue and was called into action almost immediately as RCA stormed forward, Proctor was fouled 25 yards out. He took the freekick and Clark mishandled the ball, it fell to Callen on the right side of the goal and he fired into the side netting.

Two minutes later and RCA were back on the attack again. Davis intercepted a wayward pass and played a quick one two with Gorden before powering forward into the oppositions penalty area, but his final shot also found the side netting.

Having soaked up a lot of pressure Manor Farm reorganised and started to find their passing game and a flowing move through midfield saw Durrant and Metters combine to set up an opportunity for Stamp but his shot was blocked by Buchanan.

On the half hour the curse of the left back reared its ugly head again with McNab suffering an injury during a 50 -50 challenge and the youngster was unable to carry on his place was taken by Cook.

Within a minute of this substitution RCA were denied a goal by the brilliance of Clark, the Manor Farm keeper. Larkin picked up a threaded pass from Davis, turned and curled a shot toward goal, the ball took a deflection on the way through but somehow the keeper managed to adjust and get a fingertip to the ball and send it wide of the post.

Manor Farm took heart from this and produced a a quick fire reply as Metters picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, rode one challenge before unleashing a dipping shot which Hunter did magnificently well to tip over the bar.

RCA surged forward after clearing the corner and Manor Farm, on the back foot were forced to concede a corner, Proctor took the kick and Buchanan rose majestically to powerefully head home from eight yards out. RCA 1 -0 up in 36 minutes.

Within a minute it could have been 2 - 0 as RCA poured forward again. Callen controlled the ball on the edge of the box and laid it off to Proctor who thundered in a terrific shot which would have found the back of the net if it hadn't struck Larkin, who was trying desperately to get out of the way.

Another opportunity went begging when Proctor sent in a wickedly curling cross which Charlton was inches away from converting at the far post, he ended up in the net while the ball drifted away for the keeper to pick up, he sportingly kicked the ball out of play while the referee freed Charlton who was tangled up in the net.

RCA continued to push forward but were unable to make there dominance tell in the form of goals and to be fair to Manor Farm they defended really well and in Metters, Stamp and Sheppard they had people who could hold the ball up when they needed to.

The second half opened much the same as the first half both teams getting used to playing with or against the strong blustery wind.

A long kick out by Clark was collected by Stamp who fired in a shot from long range which was collected by Hunter.

RCA, like there opponents in the first half, tried to play the ball along the ground and get their passing game going.

In the 50th minute Metters, who was starting to get to grips with the midfield, sent a great ball out to the right for Holly but the winger was unable to produce a cross of note as the ball drifted over the bar for a goal kick.

Within five minutes though Manor Farm had equalised with a goal which was simplicity itself an RCA attack broke down on the edge of the opposition box, the ball was played forward to Metters who slipped in a pass to Stamp who, despite appeals for offside, finished clinically.

On the hour mark RCA should have retaken the lead when Davis received an overlapping pass from Gordon and sent in a great cross wich was met by Callen whose shot looked to have crossed the line when Payne cleared away, but the assistant referee waved away RCA protests and Manor Farm mounted another attack.

In the 65th minute RCA went 2 - 1 up and it was that man Buchanan again. A carelessly conceded corner was crossed in by Proctor and once again Buchanan rose higher than anyone else to power in a header which crossed the line before the Manor Farm defender could head clear.

The lead was short lived as Manor Farm struck back within five minutes. Great work from Metters on the edge of the RCA penalty area saw him hold the ball up before chipping it into the path of Sheppard who to dinked it over the onrushing Hunter.

All square and everything to play for, RCA did what they always do in these circumstances and the pushed forward looking to win the game. Manor Farm were in no mood to allow this to happen and they also pushed forward looking to seal the tie.

Then with seven minutes left on the clock a devastating blow for the home team when Stamp grabbed his second with another clinical finish to give Manor Farm the lead for the first time in the match, again with Metters involved.

RCA responded again although their was clearly some tired legs on the pitch, Melvin and Brown where brought on to try an get something from the game and send it into extra time, but it was not to be and the final minutes of the match were played out.

Missed opportunities in the first half probably cost us the game; if the assistant gives the first clearance which clearly crossed the line we would have been 3 - 1 up, all ifs and buts. The positives from this FA Vase run is the new friends we have made on the way, the team spirit which has been evident throughout and let's not forget that the team have made history with this run.

Next up Wednesday, away to Whickham in the Durham Challenge cup. I hope I can shake off this damn flu bug before then.

Still flying the Ryhope flag, if you enjoyed the game on Saturday, why not get along to Whickham on Wednesday support the lads? You know it makes sense.