Sunderland RCA was the plan for last Tuesday. But, with me being on placement at the Teesside Gazette, I didn’t get home until about half 6 and so didn’t bother going. Because of that, I was always going to go tonight. I did look at doing Dunston UTS, but that is a bit too far for my usual midweek games. Following tonight, I’ll be at Easington on Thursday and then it’ll be the Scottish groundhop for me all weekend. It should be a good weekend with all of the new teams in the East of Scotland League.
Sunderland RCA and North Shields share points
Sunderland RCA and North Shields were both forced to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw at Meadow Park on Tuesday night.
Paul Robinson put North Shields ahead in the 24th minute, but Ross Preston pulled RCA level in the 73rd minute.
North Shields probably edged the first half and went into the break ahead, but Sunderland RCA were in control of the second half and were unlucky not to find a winner in the end.
North Shields had a chance within the opening 60 seconds. Anthony Patterson could only clear the ball as far as Sean McRoberts, but his first time effort from long range failed to find the target.
In the fifth minute, RCA almost took the lead in emphatic style. A long ball from inside their own half almost caught Greg Purvis out, but he was able to palm to safety.
Still inside the opening quarter of an hour, McRoberts’ free-kick was saved by Patterson, before a deep RCA cross found Colin Larkin at the back post. However, his effort was too high.
Fine work from Luke Page picked out Larkin in the 21st minute, but the former Hartlepool United man couldn’t control the ball and the chance went.
Soon after, North Shields broke the deadlock. A corner was worked to Robinson on the edge of the area. He took aim with an effort towards the near post, and despite getting a hand on it, Patterson was unable to keep it out.
RCA then went in search of a response. A few balls into the penalty area were well defended, before Mark Davison had an effort blocked.
When McRoberts was played in with 32 minutes played, North Shields had a great chance to double their lead. But, a fine save from Patterson prevented the former West Allotment Celtic man.
Davison then had a header cleared off the line for RCA, before McRoberts forced another good save from Patterson at the other end. The resulting corner picked out the unmarked Josh Nearney, but his header was too high.
Following the break, the hosts created a chance in the 51st minute. A cross was cleared as far as Nathan O’Neill, and he connected sweetly with his 20-yard strike, but it darted narrowly wide.
Page then had a couple of efforts sail over, before Kyle Davis and Michael Charlton both had efforts come to the same fate.
As the second half wore on, Sunderland RCA continued to go in search of an equaliser. Plenty of balls were being played into the penalty area, but North Shields were defending well.
However, the equaliser was to come eventually. With 18 minutes still to play, Davis whipped a wide free-kick into the penalty area and North Shields failed to clear. It bounced off a few bodies before eventually falling to Preston who rifled home.
Having equalised, RCA went in search of a winner.
O’Neill went close in the 79th minute when he 20-yard effort clipped the post on its way wide.
Davis then skewed wide while off balance for the home side, before O’Neill then glanced a header wide.
In the 89th minute, RCA thought they had grabbed a winner. Davison was through on goal but Purvis saved his initial effort. The same man latched onto the rebound and his effort had Purvis beaten, but Jack Donnison cleared it off the line.
A good save from Purvis prevented Davison’s header in injury time, and the rebound hit O’Neill before trickling behind for a goalkick.
The last kick of the game saw Larkin fire over, and that meant the points were shared.
The result means Sunderland RCA remain fifth in the league, while North Shields stay eighth.
Full-time: Sunderland RCA 1-1 North Shields
Next up for me is Easington Colliery vs Billingham Synthonia on Thursday.
Sunderland RCA: Patterson, Howard, Lilley, Preston, Swansbury (c), O’Neill, Davis, Page, Davison, Larkin, Charlton (Moan, 71′)
Unused subs: Croft, McNab, Lavery, Callen
North Shields: Purvis, Donnison, McDonald, Hall, Nearney, McManus, McRoberts, Ormston (c), Day (Johnston, 88′), Carr, Robinson (Christie, 86′)
Unused subs: Cunningham, Skivington, Robinson
Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions
Hot dog: £1.50
Referee: Stephen Dial