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Sunderland RCA 2 Seaham Red Star 1

Submitted by Rob Jones on Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Northern League 1

RCA captain Greg Swansbury brings the ball out of defence during the second half of the match.

For more photos from the match please click here.

Connor Lamb's match report is here.

Sunderland RCA welcomed near neighbours Seaham Red Star to Meadow Park for this penultimate game of the season.

Injuries once again forced changes to the RCA line up. Howard and Davison both injured in the defeat at Guisborough were replaced by Lilley and McAloon. Larkin was switched to a centre forward role to allow McAloon to play on the left wing.

The teams lined up as follows:

Sunderland RCA:  Patterson, Lilley, Lavery, Preston, Swansbury ©, Page, K Davis, Elliott, Larkin, O’Neill, McAloon. Subs: Moan, Croft, Callen, Davison , Charlton.

Seaham Red Star: Bannon, Young, J Hailes, Gardiner, Myers, Gillesphey, Taylor, Kerr, Wilson, Robinson ©, Chilton. Subs: D Hailes, Henderson, Clarke, Greenwood, Wilkinson.

Prior to the match there was a minute's silence, impeccably observed by the 100 supporters, to remember Ernie Carlin and Bryan Mayhew who sadly past away recently. Bryan was a past Chairman at Seaham Red Star while Ernie held a similar position at RCA. They will both be sadly missed by the respective clubs.

On the pitch the game got off to a fairly slow start with the only early effort coming when Elliott passed the ball to McAloon and his cross was miscontrolled by Larkin and Bannon was able to smother the ball.

The first real attack an shot came when O’Neill played the ball to Davis who fired in a low cross which was controlled and laid off by Larkin into the path of Elliott but his effort from the edge of the box flew narrowly over the bar.

RCA were awarded a penalty in the 17th minute after a disputed corner was headed clear by Kerr the ball was played back into the box by Lavery and a high foot into the face of Swansbury by Young was penalised by the referee. After a number of missed penalties in recent weeks K Davis took charge and duly smashed the ball into the roof of the net giving Bannon no chance.

McAloon almost gave the home team a 2-0 advantage a few minutes later when a great cross field pass from K Davis released the left winger in on goal, he cut inside but as he shot Young was able to get in a block and the danger was cleared.

Seaham were back in the game in the 26th minute when an RCA clearance bounced up invitingly in front of Kerr, he needed no second chance, driving a fantastic volley from 30 yards out into the top corner of the net with Patterson almost rooted to the spot.

RCA’s injury problems worsened in the 30th minute when Larkin limped out of the game with a groin strain to be replaced by Moan.

With RCA seeming unable to keep tabs on Kerr he popped up with another chance a few minutes later when picking up a loose ball on the edge of the area but his low drive was blocked by Preston and cleared by Lilley,  a minute after this chance he struck another shot just wide of the upright.

The home team almost regained the lead when Elliott sent McAloon away on the left, his cross evaded number of defenders before finding K Davis on the right but his well struck shot flew past the far post.

Kerr continued his one man assault on the RCA goal with another effort which thankfully for the defence went wide of the target.

As the game drifted toward half time RCA were awarded a freekick on the right, K Davis crossed the ball to the far post were it was met by Preston who forced a point blank save from Bannon.

In the final throw of the first half Seaham almost scored when Myers rose high above everyone to power in a header which clipped the top of the bar.

The second half started with RCA kicking down the slope, their first attack saw Lavery cross into the box where the ball was met by Moan inside the box but his attempt at a volley/ bicycle kick sailed wide of the target.

The visitors were also soon on the attack with Robinson sent clear by Kerr but the striker’s shot went wide of the near post.

Gillesphey then sent a ball forward to Wilson who turned and fired in a low shot which was blocked by Swansbury.

With the game ebbing and flowing the chances were sure to present themselves and in the 54th minute Page intercepted a pass in midfield and played the ball to O’Neill who laid it back to Elliott who shot over the bar from 30 yards out.

K Davis was the next in the action with a bursting run which saw him slip the ball past one defender then out run another before seeing his shot blocked by Myers.

RCA regained the lead in the 66th minute when a poor clearance was picked up by Page, he played the ball forward to McAloon who in turn slid the ball into the path of O’Neill who deftly clipped the ball with the outside of his foot round the advancing Bannon and into the net, incidently RCA's 100 goal this season.

The eagerly awaited return of Stephen Callen, out of action since the second game of the season, finally happened in the 68th minute when he replaced McAloon.

He was immediately involved in the action controlling a high ball out of defence and setting Moan free on the left, his cross was met by O’Neill but Bannon was able to save comfortably.

In the 74th minute Callen awas involved again, Page and Lavery combined to send the ball into the path of Callen who laid the ball off to Elliott who, not for the first time in this game, blazed the ball over the bar.

Lilley produced a fantastic pass of 50 yards to pick out Page on the edge of the box, the RCA midfielder shrugged off one challenge but his shot was blocked by the challenge of Myers and was cleared by Gardiner.

As the game drifted into the final 5 minutes Seaham pushed men forward in a desperate attempt to find an equaliser, however, this left space at the back and RCA should have increased their lead with efforts by Elliott and Page both failing to test the Seaham keeper.

For all the late endeavour’s of Seaham they only really had one attempt at goal which was a shot by Gillesphey which he fired well wide from almost 40 yards out and RCA’s solid defence handled everything else that was thrown at it.

Next up for RCA is the final game of the season at home to Penrith on Saturday, 13 April, Kick off 3.00pm.