What a performance! Colin Larkin caused Bishops any amount of problems and set up both Nathan O’Neill’s goals.
Please click here for some photos from the match.
For Peter Jackson’s photos please click here.
Bishop Auckland’s match recap, including video, is here.
Bishop Auckland: Liversedge; Hoganson, Marshall, Gibbons; Kyle Patton, Fryatt, Callum Patton, Salmon, Richardson; Johnson, Winn. Subs Robinson, Hart, Twinn.
Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos; Jury, Preston, Swansbury, McNab; Charlton, Elliott, Hodgson, Larkin; O’Neill, Moan. Subs Davison, Kokoska, Page, K. Davis, Armstrong.
An interesting game this looked in prospect. We have had a bit of an Indian sign over Bishop Auckland over the past few seasons, but they looked likely to be a stronger proposition than recently for today’s game. The appointment of Ian Chandler and Brian Rowe as the management team looked a very sound move, and results so far have been much improved, certainly on last season, when for a while relegation looked a real threat.
A decent day if a bit chilly, a pitch which looked an absolute picture and a good crowd in promised well for the match. For RCA the only change saw Colin Larkin start at wide left midfield in place of Clayton Davis. The game started with both sides working hard, but mostly better at stopping the opposition than getting their own attacking game going. Having said that Bishops were clearly edging things in the first twenty minutes and had a number of good positions without finding much to bother Dimi Tsapalos in goal. Dimi dropped one effort early on which excited the crowd, but after that was flawless.
The Bishops forwards were certainly putting the effort in, without really getting the accuracy or power they were looking for into their goal attempts. At the same time the RCA centre back pairing of Ross Preston and Greg Swansbury, ably seconded by Ross McNab and John Jury at full back were continuing in the superb form they have showed of late, dominating in the air and making challenge after challenge to repel attacks.
Going forward RCA could not string many passes together and were having a frustrating time. That began to change as the half wore on, particularly as Colin Larking began to find some room out wide, where he had the beating of his full back, either crossing, usually dangerously, or cutting in and trying to create room to shoot. On 33 minutes the breakthrough came as Larkin beat his man and crossed again, beat the defence and Nathan O’Neill had a simple chance with a header from close range.
Bishops continued to press hard, but it looked like we would hold our lead into HT before a sustained period of pressure saw Andrew Johnson slide an excellent shot past Dimi. Right on 45 minutes.
Half Time 1-1.
The second half saw much the same pattern as the first, with Bishop Auckland pressing without getting too much joy, and RCA struggling to get their fluent game going. Michael Charlton, who had clearly been struggling, went off at the break to be replaced by Mark Davison who added considerable power up front, and when on 55 minutes Luke Page replaced Dom Moan, his trademark charging runs began to have an effect on the game. RCA’s last sub on the 80 minute mark saw Dylan Elliott limp off to be replaced by Kyle Davis, and as the game went into the last quarter the Bishops defence, who to be fair were missing a few regulars, began to show signs of fatigue. Colin Larkin was looking more and more dangerous on the left and as time was just about up a superb cross from Colin looked to have settled things as Nath O’Neill had a simple chance to score with a header. Amazingly he missed and everyone thought that was that. But a few minutes later and a similar situation saw Larkin centre low this time and Nathan made no mistake to seal the win in the 94th minute.
Bishops will feel they should have got something from the game and they are probably right. They paid for not making best use of some good situations and at the same time the ageless Colin Larkin did create a number of great chances for RCA.
FT Bishop Auckland 1 Sunderland RCA 2.