Sunderland RCA were back on home soil after two unsuccessful away days, despite playing well at Hebburn last Saturday and totally dominating on Wednesday at Thornaby, they came away with zero points.
Today’s visitors are Northallerton Town who have a similar record to ourselves this season.
RCA Management team gave a debut to new signing Dane Burlace who slots in at right back while Nathan O’Neill returns after suspension to claim the No 9 shirt as Martin Swales continues with the 4-4-2 formation which has looked solid in the last two matches.
The teams lined up as follows:
Sunderland RCA: Dean, Burlace, Callaghan, Forster, Swansbury ©, Best, Leonard, Elliott, O’Neill, Fairley, Callen. Subs: Dorward, Marrs, Errington, Armstrong.
Northallerton Town: Dawson, Cheeseman, Jones, Crust, Sheppherd, Bythway, Jackson, Howard, Rae, Stephenson, Risbrough. Subs: Morron, Martin, Snook, Ezard.
Given the amount of rain that had fallen in the last 48 hours, the pitch was in remarkably good condition a testament to the work of our ground staff Dave and George ably assisted by Norman.
An early effort by Howard running onto a through ball from Risbrough was easily saved by Dean.
RCA took advantage of the slope in the first half but it was Northallerton who had the first attack, a through ball from Risbrough found Howard but his snap shot was easily saved by Dean.
Best carved out RCA first attack spraying the ball out to Burlace who controlled it well before laying it off to Leonard, his cross was headed away only as far as Callen who found Fairley and his shot was headed away for a corner by Crust.
The visitors were having to defend in depth with RCA pushing forward looking for an opening goal, Burlace found Elliott with a neat ball and the midfielder switched the ball out to Leonard, his searching run and cross was headed away by Bythway for a corner which was taken by Callaghan who played a short corner to Best who returned the ball inside the area to Callaghan but his shot was blocked and cleared by Crust.
RCA took the lead with a well worked goal, Leonard won the ball on the halfway line, played it to O’Neill who dropped it off to Fairley he looked up and picked out the run of Callen on the left wing he cut inside his marker before squaring the ball into the path of Elliott who had time to tee it up before firing in a shot which flew into the top corner of the net.
It could so easily have been 2 -0 a minute later when Forster won the ball deep in his own half, played the ball out to Burlace who played a 50 yard pass over the Northallerton defence, Fairley controlled the ball magnificently but with only Dawson to beat his shot scraped the outside of the post.
Northallerton almost equalised when Shepperd sent a long ball forward which split the RCA defence, the ball was picked up by Stephenson who broke forward and drilled in a low shot which Dean managed to save with his foot.
At the other end Elliott curled a freekick over the wall but straight at Dawson.
In the final minutes of the half Risbrough broke down the left for Northallerton before slipping the ball to Jackson but Dean was able to save well struck shot.
The start of the second half saw both teams pushing forward, Callen broke away on the left before unleashing a fierce drive which Dawson palmed over the bar.
Callen then found space to whip in a cross from the left which was blocked and the ball was cleared to the other end of the pitch Cheeseman who found Stephenson, he controlled the ball well before hitting a low shot which was blocked by Burlace.
Within minutes the ball was back in the RCA half and this time Dean was forced to make a point blank save from Jackson and Swansbury hooked the ball clear.
With 65 minutes gone a good ball forward by Callaghan found Fairley in space, he in turn found Leonard on the right and his effort produced a fantastic save from Dawson.
The tide was starting to turn again in RCA’s favour and they increased their lead in the 67 minute when Callaghan, with another surging run, opened up the visitors defence before playing the ball to Callen, he skipped past a defensive challenge before clipping the ball into the net via the hand of Dawson.
Northallerton’s best chance of the game came a few minutes later when Howard played the ball in to Rae who laid it off to Stephenson and the ball was slipped forward to Risbrough who hooked his shot wide of the post with only Dean to beat.
RCA should have increased their lead in the 83 minute when Burlace chipped the ball forward to Callen who broke free of the Visitors defence before crossing the ball into the box where Fairley should have tapped in from a yard out but somehow managed to hit the ball over the bar.
However a minute later and Callaghan won the ball on the halfway line, played it to Best who squared it to Dorward, the ball was then played into the path of Leonard whose first time shot was saved by Dawson but the ball came back to him and he unselfishly played it to Dorward who fired the ball into the net to make it 3-0.
In the last minute of normal time Howard fired in a wicked freekick which Dean did well to save and keep his clean sheet intact.
Well into injury time Fairley was brought down in the box and a penalty was awarded, Elliott stepped up but Dawson, who had an exceptional game, made a great save and the referee blew for full time.
A well deserved three points for the lads today, they defended when they had to and when they were on top they capitalized with goals. I don’t think that Northallerton would have complained if we had scored another 3 goals from the chances created.
It was nice to see Dorward getting his first goal for the club and well taken too.
Next up is another home game against Guisborough Town on Tuesday, 27 October 2020: Kick off 7.30pm
Anyone wanting tickets for next Saturday’s match away to Consett AFC please watch our website and social media links for information.