You are here

0191 510 1100
0191 567 2774
Queen Alexandra Road, Grangetown, Sunderland SR2 9PF

Sunderland RCA 2 Ashington 1

Submitted by Rob Jones on Sunday, 21 August 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Northern League 1
​Ross McNab in action during the 2 - 1 home win over Ashington. Photograph: Simon Mears

​Ross McNab in action during the 2 - 1 home win over Ashington.

More photographs from the match are here.

Goalscorers: SRCA, Larkin, Charlton:  Ashington: McAndrew.

Prior to the match, there were two topics of conversation, the weather, if the rain would hold off long enough to get the game played, and the return to the starting line-up of club captain Clayton Davis, as it happened neither materialised. The heavy rain forecast turned out to be intermittent showers and Clayton was injured in the warm up and took no part in the match.

Further problems concerned the goal keeper Neal Bussey who also pulled up during the warm up and was replaced by Jordan Harkess.

The injury to C Davis meant that the returning striker Callum Hassan was promoted to the starting eleven to make his second debut for the club and Craig Hodgson was selected to take the place of the suspended Johnnie Davis.

On cue the rain started just prior to the teams coming out although it was not the predicted deluge that we were expecting.

RCA had the advantage of the slope in the first half and really should have gone in front within the opening two minutes. A high ball forward by McNab was headed over the last defender by Hassan who ran onto the ball, but he shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

The home team continued to press forward in the early stages of the game and Ashington were forced to defend and try and break quickly.

Callen was the next RCA player to get an opportunity to open the scoring when Cassidy slotted the ball to him on the edge of the box and he found himself in acres of space but instaed of shooting he elected to try and get a better angle and lost out to a tackle by Buchanan.    

In the 15th minute RCA had the ball in the net. A slick move between Charlton and Callen saw the latter thread a pass through to the former who smashed the ball home only to be adjudged to be off-side.

Ashington were finding it difficult to compete with the RCA pressing game and a minute later, Swansbury won a header and sent it forward to Charlton, he sent the ball out to Cassidy on the left who baet his marker before whipping in a near post cross which was flicked inches wide by Charlton.

As the game progressed Ashington changed their formation slightly and but an extra man into the centre of midfield which meant that the game got a bit bogged down.

In the 26th minute RCA injury list was added to when Cassidy was injured when he was tackled by Henderson on the half way line. He was replaced by Armstrong.

Armstrong's first contribution to the game was to be fouled as he tried to control a ball inside the penalty area nad the referee awarded a penalty, with regular penalty taker J Davis suspended it was left to last season's penalty king Larkin to step up and fire the ball into the net.

It really should have been 2 - 0 two minutes later when Armstrong picked up a loose ball on the left and sent in a low cross to Callen who played the ball inside to Hassan, but the big striker couldn't get any power into his shot and Conor was able to collect comfortably in the end.

With half an hour gone Ashington had not created one effort on goal but that all changed in the final 15 minutes. A long kick out by Conor was picked up by McAndrew on the left, he curled in a lovely cross which looked destined for the head Salmon, but McNab managed to get to the ball first and head behind for a corner. RCA defended the corner well.

Within two minutes the visitors were back on the attack Downey picking up a loose ball in the centre circle sent a ball into the heart of the RCA defence where Bulford managed to get in a shot but it went wide of the target.

As the game drifted towards half time both teams were cancelling each other out and it was the defences who seemed to be winning the battles.

The second half saw a rejuvenated Ashington team pushing forward in the opening minutes of the half. Gunn made a good run down the right before crossing towards Bulfiord but Lay was able to get a head to the ball and Gordon cleared up at the back post.

RCA managed to weather this particular storm and were once again on the attack in the 50th minute when a great through ball from Hodgson found Larkin who slipped the bal to Hassan, he controlled the ball before firing in a terrific shot which beat Conor in the Ashingto Goal but rebounded off the inside of the post and was cleared by Buchanan.

Back came the visitors and it was once again Gunn who was causing the RCA defence problems, a long ball forward was headed down by Bulford into the path of Gunn who slipped past a tackle before shooting narrowly wide from 12 yards out.

Two minutes later and a brilliant forty yard pass out of defence from Christensen split the RCA defence and landed at the feet of Salmon who continued his run before sending in a low drive which hit the side netting.

RCA thought they had doubled their lead on the hour mark, they wer awarded a freekick on the edge of the box when Charlton was brought down, Armstrong took the kick which struck the wall and fell to Larkin, he passed the ball forward to Charlton who sidefooted the ball home from close range but the linesman's flag was up for offside. 

Ashington again responded and sent the ball forward toward Salmon but Lay was able to head the ball away, it was picked up by McAndrew who fired in a shot cum cross which flew well wide of the target.

From the goalkick the ball was won in the centre of midfield by Callen, he flicked the ball forward to Charlton who set up hodgson but his shot was blocked by Harmison, the ball fell to Hassan who mishit his shot wide.

RCA made it 2 - 0 in the 68th minute when Hassan chased down a ball which was heading towards the corner flag, he dispossessed Christensen before bursting into the box, he looked up and spotted Charlton unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, he pulled the ball back to him and the RCA minfielder made no mistake giving Conor no chance.

As has become customary when RCA score they seem to ease off for a period and allow the opposition a chance to get back into the game, today was no exception and Ashington looked to take full advantage of it.

In the 75th minute Downey played in a good ball to Scott who fired in a first tinme shot which had Harkess scrambling to cover as it was deflected wide for a corner. From the corner Buchanan got in a header which was cleared off the line amid appeals for a penalty for hand ball on the line, the appeals were waved away.

However Ashington did not have to wait to long to get some reward for their efforts in the second half, RCA switched off when the visitors were awarded a corner, they took a short corner and teh ball was played to McAndrew who fired in a rocket of a shot which flew into the top corner of the net. 2 -1 and game back on.

Ashington again pushed forward looking for the equaliser but they were leaving a lot of spaces at the back for the RCA attack to expose.

In the 85th minute Ashington's substitute Scott, who had looked very lively since his introduction, once again instigated an attack, this time Crossing to the far post for mcAndrew but he couldn't quite control the ball and Gordon cleared for a corner.

In the dying minutes of the game an Ashington attack was broken up by Swansbury who cleared up field to Larkin, he squared the ball to Hassan who fired in a shot which Conor somehow managed to get a hand to making a fantastic save.

The referee brought the game to and end possibly to the relief of the Home team supporters.

Three more points, up to second in the league with a workmanlike performance.

However the injury list continues to grow with Bussey, C Davis, Cassidy amd Callen all joining the list of players who are struggling.

It might be a godsend that we look likely to have a free week this week as Penrith are in action against Dunston on Wednesday.