Most of the people I’ve spoken to are against the format of this season’s Northern League Cup. The idea behind it was to help the smaller clubs get bigger crowds by playing bigger first division sides, but that hasn’t really happened. The biggest problem with it for me is the dead games towards the end of the competition. Following this game tonight, Billingham Town vs Washington in a couple of weeks is a dead game with neither side able to qualify. Not many people out there will want to watch that game. And there are one or two more games where the two sides have nothing to play for too. Following this game tonight, I’ll be at Seaham Red Star vs Horden CW tomorrow, and then it’ll be Easington Colliery vs Sunderland West End on Friday night. On Saturday, I think I’ll be at Newark Flowserve vs Rugby Town with Katie Wallace and Lee Stewart.
Ryhope CW beat RCA to progress in League Cup
Ryhope CW claimed a 0-1 win away to Sunderland RCA on Monday night to ensure their progression to the knockout stages of the Brooks Mileson Memorial League Cup.
Robbie Bird’s goal a few seconds into first half injury time proved the difference between the sides, but both sides will go on to feature in the knockout stages.
RCA came into the game already through, and a point would have secured Ryhope CW of a spot in the last 16.
Even if CW lost, Billingham Town would have had to overcome a nine goal swing from this game and their game against Washington to knock Ryhope CW out.
Both sides had a couple of corners and offsides in the opening exchanges, but it was Ryhope CW looking the brighter side,
In the fifth minute, a Ryhope CW corner was cleared as far as Olly Hotchkiss. He took aim with a first time effort, but it darted narrowly over.
Dom Moan then had an effort saved as RCA went forward, before CW’s Matty Weirs diverted a difficult cross wide in the 12th minute.
The visitors then had a good spell of pressure cumulating with the ball finding Ben Riding on the edge of the penalty area, but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
In the 19th minute, a good save RCA’s Kieron Ezard prevented the visitors from taking the lead. James Ellis was played in on goal, but Ezard came out and made himself big to save.
As the first half wore on, CW continued to create the chances. A through ball played Micky Rae in with 27 minutes played, but his shot could only find the side-netting.
Ellis then flicked a header wide for the visitors, before Stephen Callen headed wide at the other end.
Just a couple of seconds into first half injury time, Ryhope CW broke the deadlock. A cross into the penalty area looked to be cleared, but Max Allen’s first touch was poor and gifted Bird possession. The former Seaham Red Star man had the ball just six yards from goal, and he fired home to put the away side ahead.
It was a quiet start to the second half with the only half chance of the opening 10 minutes coming when CW’s Ellis had an effort saved.
Moan then fired wide for the hosts, as did Nathan O’Neill.
With an hour played, RCA had a big chance to equalise. A ball through the middle played Callen in, but he got the ball tangled in his feet and the chance went.
The rain then started falling on the heavy pitch and little was happening in front of goal.
In the 75th minute, Greg Swansbury got on the end of a Callen cross, but his header was saved by Jordan Harkess.
Ross McNab fired a free-kick well over as RCA continued to search for an equaliser, before Ryan Leonard’s effort was well saved by Harkess.
In the 89th minute, Sunderland RCA had a penalty shout turned down when a CW defender appeared to have hold of Callen.
There was still one more chance for RCA with a shot from an acute angle forcing Harkess into a save, and the rebound was crucially blocked.
The result means both sides progress, but the minds of both sides will be on big games in the FA Vase on Saturday.
Full-time: Sunderland RCA 0-1 Ryhope CW
Next up for me is probably Seaham Red Star vs Horden CW tomorrow.
Sunderland RCA: Ezard, Allen, McNab, Lilley, Swansbury (c), Hodgson (Green, 78′), Leonard, Croft, Moan, O’Neill, Gray (Callen, 22′)
Unused subs: Dean, Davis
Ryhope CW: Harkess, Walker, Jon Weirs, Riding (c), Jones, Trewick, Bird (Wallace, 70′), Hotchkiss, Rae (Devlin, 53′), Matty Weirs, Ellis
Unused subs: Winter, Pearn
Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions
Referee: Adam Nichols