A youthful Stephen Callen in FA Vase action for RCA during Bridlington Town's last visit to Meadow Park on Saturday, 3 October 2015.
This Saturday, 13 October, on Non-League Day, Sunderland RCA are in Buildbase FA Vase First Round action, with Bridlington Town the visitors to Meadow Park. Kick-off for the big match is 3pm.
Bridlington Town play their football in the Northern Counties East Football League, Premier Division (ninth tier - the same level of football as the Northern League Division One), which also includes recent Vase and FA Cup opponents Garforth Town, Hemsworth Miners Welfare, Handsworth Parramore, and Liversedge.
Bridlington are currently sitting in ninth place in the table, with 16 points from nine matches played - winning five, drawing one, and losing three. They won their last match, a 2-0 away win at Handsworth Parramore, thanks to second half goals from Fraser Pappril and Joe McFadyen, but were heavily beaten, 6-1, in their previous match at Penistone Church.
Like RCA, Bridlington were knocked out of the FA Cup in the Preliminary Round stage this season. After beating Harrogate Railway Athletic, 3-0, in the Extra Preliminary Round, Bridlington were beaten at home, 2-1, by Garforth Town - the team RCA beat, 3-1, at the beginning of last season's excellent FA Cup run. RCA, meanwhile, beat local rivals Ryhope CW, 5-2, in the Extra Preliminary Round, only to lose to Clitheroe after two epic matches which saw an incredible 17 goals scored across the two games!
Bridlington entered the Vase at the Second Qualifying Round stage and had a notable 1-0 win over Northern League Division One side Consett, courtesy of an extra-time winner from Jake Day.
Saturday's match will be RCA's first in this season's Vase competition after being exempt from the two qualifying rounds for finishing fourth in the league last season.
In the league so far this season, RCA either win or lose, with eight victories and five defeats in 13 matches played. RCA currently sit in second place in the table, with 24 points.
The sides have met twice in the Vase in recent seasons, with one win apiece. On Saturday, 19 October 2013, RCA made the trip to Bridlington for a First Round match and were comfortably beaten 2-0. Two years later, on Saturday, 3 October 2015, RCA were victorious at Meadow Park, with a 3-2 Second Qualifying Round win. The 90 minutes finished 1-1 with goals from Michael Charlton for RCA and Tom Fleming for Bridlington. The match went into extra-time and Liam Hatch restored RCA's lead, before Clarkson levelled for the visitors. As the match was looking to be heading for a replay, James Armstrong stepped up to score from a terrific free-kick to win the match for RCA.
We await with great anticipation how the third installment will pan out on Saturday.
The winners of the match will receive £825 from the FA prize fund (losing team receive £275) and take their place in the Second Round, which is scheduled to be played on Saturday, 3 November. This season's competition began with 638 entrants and the two qualifying rounds has already whittled that number down to 233.
Admission to the match is priced at £6 for adults, £4 for concessions, and, as always at RCA, accompanied children are admitted free - meaning a family of four can watch an afternoon of cup football for the bargain price of £12.
With Sunderland AFC’s match at home to Blackpool on Saturday being postponed because of player international duties, there is a cracking afternoon of cup football on offer at Meadow Park for any Sunderland fans at a loose end.
Please come along and support the lads!