Had this game finished 0-0, I may have questioned whether it was worth going to a game today. But, a 4-3 result meant that it was worth going to a game. This was my third choice of game for today. My first choice was Willington vs Easington Colliery but that was called off late morning. My second choice was Horden CW vs Hebburn Town Reserves but that too was called off shortly after the game at Willington had been called off. Thankfully, this game went ahead, and it was my second Ryhope derby of the season. Having never seen the two teams in Ryhope play each other before this season, I’ve now been to both fixtures. This game today was my 75th of the season and I’m now 9 ahead of where I was at this point last season. A year ago tomorrow, I watched Sunderland beat Fulham in the Championship. I was thinking of doing East Durham Blue Belles vs Bishop Auckland Ladies Development tomorrow. It would have been a new ground and two new teams in the eighth tier of women’s football! However, it’s already been called off. I probably wouldn’t have bothered anyway.
Sunderland RCA edge seven goal thriller in Ryhope derby
Sunderland RCA edged out Ryhope CW with a 4-3 win in the Ryhope derby at Meadow Park on Saturday afternoon.
On a bitterly cold December afternoon, Nathan O’Neill put RCA ahead inside 70 seconds, but Jack Devlin pulled CW level in the seventh minute.
In an action-packed opening 10 minutes, Kyle Davis regained RCA’s lead.
Devlin pulled the visitors level again in the 35th minute, but it was less than two minutes later when Davis regained RCA’s lead.
Michael Rae pulled Ryhope CW level for a third time in the 51st minute, but O’Neill’s strike soon after ensured RCA took the points.
The win lifts RCA to seventh in Northern League Division One, three points behind fourth placed North Shields.
Upon kick-off, RCA broke the deadlock inside 70 seconds. A fine cross found the unmarked O’Neill, and his glancing header found the bottom corner.
However, with their first chance, in the seventh minute, Ryhope CW equalised. The visitors worked the ball out to Devlin, and he beat two defenders as he drove towards goal. Having looked up, the former Stoke City man drilled a low effort that beat Dimitrios Tsapalos at his near post.
In an action-packed opening eight minutes, RCA regained their lead less than 60 seconds after conceding. A cross was cleared as far as Davis, and he drilled an effort into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
A quiet period then followed with both sides cancelling each other out.
Although the conditions were far from ideal in the first half, they were tropical compared to the second half!
RCA were dealt with a blow just before the half hour mark when Dylan Elliott was forced off with a nasty ankle injury.
In the 33rd minute, RCA had a great chance to double their lead. O’Neill beat the offside trap to race through on goal where he was brought down in the penalty area by goalkeeper Joe Atkinson giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
However, Atkinson made up for conceding the penalty by producing a superb double save to prevent Colin Larkin’s penalty as well as the immediate rebound.
And, Atkinson’s double save would provide vital as his side pulled level less than two minutes later. A perfectly weighted through ball played Devlin in and he kept his composure to take it round Tsapalos before slotting home.
As if that wasn’t enough for the first half, a superb strike from Davis regained RCA’s lead in the 37th minute. Davis took responsibility of a dangerous free-kick and curled an inch perfect effort off the top of the post, across the line and into the net.
The same man fired over for RCA soon after, before Michael Charlton’s effort was saved by Atkinson.
With the final chance of the first half, Devlin fired a 30-yard free-kick well wide of the RCA goal.
Following the break, Ryhope CW pulled level for a third time in the 51st minute. Ben Riding played a ball over the top, and it picked out Rae through the middle having originally looked as though it was aimed out wide. The former Shildon man charged down on goal before his cool finish pulled the visitors level.
As CW went in search of the lead, a sharp Robbie Bird attack saw the former Seaham man pick out Matty Weirs. He took aim from 16 yards, but a crucial block prevented Weirs.
Soon after, a Ryhope CW free-kick was curled round the wall, but it lacked power and was an easy take for Tsapalos.
In the 58th minute, RCA took the lead for a fourth and final time. Good work out wide resulted with a low cross finding O’Neill, and his first time flicked effort found the bottom corner.
The conditions were nothing short of atrocious in the final half hour with a combination of the bitterly cold wind, sleet and hail all hitting Meadow Park.
Both sides had a penalty shout turned down. An apparent handball in the RCA penalty area saw Ryhope CW’s penalty shout waved away, before O’Neill appeared to be brought down at the other end but the referee waved play on again.
Chris Wallace dragged an effort harmlessly wide for Ryhope CW in the 87th minute, before RCA could have sealed the win in injury time. Tom McAloon was played in on goal but a good Atkinson save denied him, and Davis could only fire the rebound wide.
However, it counted for little as RCA had already secured the three points.
Full-time: Sunderland RCA 4-3 Ryhope CW
Next up for me is Gateshead vs Hartlepool FC on Wednesday.
Sunderland RCA: Tsapalos, Larkin, McNab, Hodgson, Swansbury (c), Page, Charlton, Elliott (Moan, 29′), O’Neill, Kyle Davis, McAloon
Unused subs: Pocklington, Clayton Davis, Lilley, Davison
Ryhope CW: Atkinson, King, Walker, Lay, Riding (c), Trewick, Bird, Kane (Ellis, 74′), Rae, Weirs, Devlin (Wallace, 46′)
Unused subs: Nicholson, Ball, Cocks
Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions
Can of Coke: £1
Mars Bar: 60p
Referee: Craig Dean