Simon Jakab clears the ball during the first half of the match.
Sunderland RCA travelled to Crook Town’s Sir Tom Cowie Millfield Stadium for this Durham County FA “Frank Pattison” Challenge Cup 2nd round tie.
Crook Town progressed to this round after a magnificent 1-0 home win against Sunderland AFC while RCA beat Winlaton Community 5-0.
In their previous meeting this season Crook Town took the honours with a 3 – 1 win at Sunderland LGV Park.
The management team made a number of changes to the team which was narrowly beaten by a strong Ashington AFC side on Saturday.
The teams lined up as follows:
Crook Town: Arthur, Eckley-Aldsworth, Pascoe, Fielding, Elgie, Myers, Webb, Hume, Nicholas, Smith, Hurworth Subs: Scott, Harrison, Guy, Tunstall.
Sunderland RCA: Ball, Carr, Hoganson, Jakab, Swansbury, Hawkins ©, Lawrence, Watts, Davison, Winn, Richardson Subs: Allen, Charlton, Hennis, Annang-Colquhoun, Weirs.
The players took to the field as the temperature plummeted.
RCA were quickly on the offensive with Winn forcing a corner on the right, Hoganson swung the ball to the back post where Swansbury rose to head back across the box to Winn but his effort went tamely wide.
The game immediately settled into a competitive battle with neither team able to settle on the ball and fluid passing at a premium.
In the opening 20 minutes there was little in the way of goal mouth action as both defences looked comfortable.
Another RCA corner this time on the left saw Richardson’s whipped cross headed over the bar by Watts.
A minute later and the build-up of corners continued this time Hoganson’s cross was met by Jakab and produced the first save of the match by Arthur collecting the ball under the bar.
Crook were relying on the pace of Hurworth and Nicholas up front and to be fair they were causing some problems without really penetrating a well drilled RCA defence.
The only goalmouth action was from corners and when Crook were awarded one on the right the cross was met by Elgie and his downward header had to be scrambled away by Jakab.
The final action of the half saw yet another corner for RCA this time Watts took it on the left curling in a cross which was dipping under the bar and almost fooled Arthur but he managed to recover and tip the ball over for another corner which was cleared up field and the referee brought a fairly nondescript first half to as close and a hasty retreat for a welcome cup of tea.
After the half time team talks the game seemed to liven up a little again it was a Hoganson corner that caused problems for Crooks defence as the ball was swung over to the far post where Richardson controlled the ball before stabbing it toward goal but it was easily saved by Arthur.
Two minutes later and a through ball from Webb was over-hit and RCA keeper Ball picked up and sent a long ball forward to Richardson who again controlled the ball well cut inside onto his right foot but curled his shot wide.
It was as if this RCA chance flicked a switch in Crook Town’s approach to the game, Myers won the ball in the centre circle and played the ball forward for Webb who sent in a wicked shot which flew narrowly wide of the target.
RCA’s passing which has been good all season was letting them down tonight and another poor pass was intercepted by Hurworth who took the ball forward before sending in a terrific Cross cum Shot which flew narrowly wide.
The only chance that the visitors created was a break from midfield by Carr who played the ball to Hoganson he switched it wide to Charlton who crossed the ball low to Carr but he fired his shot wide.
The goal kick saw the ball headed on to Nicholas who was free inside the area and only a brilliant save by Ball stopped the striker from scoring and kept the scoreline 0-0.
The corner was headed clear but again a mis-directed pass was picked up by Pascoe who sent the ball forward to Nicholas who out-paced Swansbury before smashing the ball past the RCA keeper into the net to open the scoring.
Within minutes it could have been 2 -0 when Nicholas picked up a through ball and hit a terrific strike from 25 yards out which struck the crossbar and went out for a goal kick.
RCA responded by throwing players forward, a good move down the right saw Allen and Richardson combine to set up a chance for Winn but his shot lacked power and was cleared.
Back came RCA through Annang-Colquhoun who twisted and turned his way into the box before laying the ball off to Allen but Pascoe managed to block the shot and Elgie cleared.
While RCA threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at Crook in the final minutes of the game they never really looked like scoring.
A disappointing result for the RCA faithful but well done to Crook Town who worked hard for the full 90 minutes and in the end were the better team in the second half and produced the only real piece of magic in the whole game when they scored.
As for RCA, players were given an opportunity to show what they can do tonight and apart from one or two exceptions they fell woefully short of what was expected.
Note: I think that this is the first time in all my match reports that I have not mentioned Mark Davison which basically shows how far off the pace we were tonight. Our leading goal scorer did not have one attempt at goal such was the poor service to him.
Next up is an away EBAC Northern League match at Northallerton Town on Saturday, 22 January 2022; Kick off 3.00pm