West Auckland 0-3 Sunderland RCA
Sunderland RCA secured a fourth consecutive win with a convincing 3-0 victory at West Auckland Town to complete a league double this season.
On a very heavy pitch, goals from Luke Page, Colin Larkin and Nathan O’Neill ensured RCA took the points.
RCA started brightly and created a chance within the opening five minutes. O’Neill burst forward before playing the ball out to Michael Charlton. His cross picked out Larkin whose header forced a fine save from Shane Bland.
The resulting corner picked out O’Neill, but another good save from Bland prevented the former Ryhope CW man.
In the eighth minute, Page worked the ball out to Stephen Callen, but he could only drag wide after cutting in.
Despite being away from home, RCA seemed to adjust to the heavy pitch better than West Auckland.
As the visitors continued to look the brighter, Callen almost headed them into an 11th minute lead. Bland totally missed a Dylan Elliott corner and the ball dropped to Callen. Thankfully for Bland, Callen’s header was cleared off the line by Alex Francis.
With West Auckland’s first chance, Adam Mitchell took responsibility of a dangerous free-kick but his effort was deflected narrowly wide.
A superb challenge from Ross McNab prevented Anthony Bell a goalscoring opportunity in the 22nd minute.
As the first half wore on, West Auckland began to offer more of a threat.
Scott Pocklington, making his debut in goal for RCA, was forced into saves to prevent both Nathan Fisher and Arran Wearmouth just before the half hour mark, before Callen fired wide at the other end.
With half-time approaching, West Auckland’s Lewis Dodds drilled narrowly over from long-range after good work by Fisher.
Just before the break, Jamie Cobain managed to get on the end of a West Auckland free-kick, but he could only head wide, leaving it goalless at halftime.
With the first real chance of the second half, Page headed Sunderland RCA into a 49th minute lead. Bland failed to deal with Elliott’s corner and the ball dropped kindly to Page who headed home from close range.
As the Visiting outfit looked to double their lead, Elliott curled a free-kick towards the top corner, but a fine save from Bland kept the deficit at only one.
West Auckland had Bland to thank for an even better save in the 64th minute. A sharp RCA attack was worked down the wing and a cross looked to pick out Larkin. The former Hartlepool United man showed great technique to strike a first time half volley, but Bland’s superb save kept his side in it.
Substitute Amar Purewal was looking West Auckland’s brightest outfit in the final 25 minutes. The Panjab international cut in to find room for a shot in the 67th minute, but he could only find the side-netting.
Callen looked to settle the affair with 20 minutes to play for RCA, but Bland was able to hold his long-range effort.
Charlton went close with a rasping 25 yard effort for the visitors in the 73rd minute, before they eventually doubled their lead five minutes later. A simple ball through the middle played Larkin in and he finished well.
In the 83rd minute, Sunderland RCA wrapped up a successful afternoon with a third goal. Callen’s initial effort was saved, but O’Neill was there to fire home the rebound.
Purewal had a couple of further chances as the game came to an end, with one effort coming back off the post, but they counted for little as RCA took all three points.
Team:- Bland, Morris, Cobain, Francis (Doninger, 74′), Parker, Colquhoun, Bell, Dodds, Fisher (c), Mitchell, Wearmouth (Purewal, 60′)
Unused subs: Connor, Fortune, Coulson