Sunderland RCA vs Billingham Town

I said last night that I wouldn’t be at a game tonight. I was expecting to be running a mile race in Middlesbrough. A few hours before it was meant to start at 7pm, I realised how difficult it was for me to get down there and back. It was at Middlesbrough Sports Village. I would have had to have caught three buses and a fair walk to get there, and getting back couldn’t happen at all. So, in the end, I couldn’t get down, and with nothing else to do, I opted for this game. I’ve seen a fair bit of both of these teams this season. Tonight, was my sixth Billingham Town game of the season, and my fifth Sunderland RCA. I was at this exact fixture in October when the two sides met in Ryhope in the group stage of the Northern League Cup.

Match report:

Billingham Town come from behind to win at Sunderland RCA

Billingham Town came from behind to claim a 1-2 win away to Sunderland RCA on Wednesday night.

Ryan Leonard put RCA ahead in the 29th minute, but Elliott Beddow pulled Billingham Town level early in the second half.

Luke Hogan drilled home Billingham Town’s winner in the 84th minute, and the win sees them climb to eighth in Northern League Division One.

It was a quick start as RCA created a chance within 30 seconds. The hosts worked the ball to Ryan Leonard who burst down the wing before cutting in. He did well to get a shot away, but it darted wide of the far post.

In the eighth minute, Billingham Town created their first chance. A corner was cleared as far as Reece Kenney whose shot failed to find the target.

Shortly after, Billingham Town were denied by the woodwork. An inviting cross was whipped into the area, and an RCA defender looked to turn it behind for a corner. It was a bit of a close call though, as the attempted clearance bounced off the crossbar.

Billingham were seeing the majority of the ball as the game settled down, but they weren’t creating much.

Ash Lavan did have a chance after his quick turn in the 22nd minute, but his final touch was too heavy, and Robert Dean was able to claim.

In the 26th minute, Sunderland RCA went close. Ryan Leonard beat the offside trap to burst down the wing, and he pulled it back to Craig Hennis. He got a powerful shot away, but it failed to find the target.

However, with their next chance, RCA took the lead. A ball through the middle found Ryan Leonard who had beaten the offside trap. He raced through on goal before calmly slotting past Brad Young.

A quiet period followed the goal, with both sides not creating a great deal.

The next half chance came in the 37th minute through an RCA corner, but a tame header was saved.

In first half injury time, Jack Connor tried his luck with a fierce dipping volley from 20 yards, and it wasn’t that far away from the far top corner.

Following the break, the visitors went close within three minutes. A ball down the wing found Chris Dickinson and he took the ball round the ‘keeper. With no room to shoot, he curled a lovely cross into the penalty area, but it was just out of the reach of Lavan.

Ten minutes into the second half, home skipper Greg Swansbury had a chance from a corner, but his prodded effort bounced wide.

Shortly after, Sunderland RCA had a big chance to double their lead. They worked the ball into Mark Davison whose effort was well saved. The rebound fell to Jack Leonard, but he sent it over the crossbar when looking to cushion the ball into the net.

RCA were made to pay for missed chances as Billingham Town equalised two minutes later. The hosts failed to clear a cross, and the ball dropped to Beddow who fired home via a slight deflection.

With an hour played and their heads up, Billingham Town went in search of a second. Dickinson’s pinpoint cross picked out James Frazer, but his header bounced just wide.

Lavan was next to go close for Billingham Town. The former Redcar Athletic man did exceptionally well to take down a long ball before turning and forcing a save from Dean.

Billingham’s pressure for a second somewhat fizzled out, and RCA then created a couple of chances of their own.

Substitute Nathan O’Neill went close, before a cross into the near post was stabbed just wide in the 75th minute.

In the 84th minute, Billingham Town scored their winner. Beddow picked up possession 25 yards from goal and he helped it across to Hogan on the edge of the area. Hogan connected well with a low driven effort, and the power, matched with pinpoint accuracy, meant it darted into the bottom corner.

There was still another chance for Billingham Town as Dickinson’s effort took the slightest of deflections to go wide, but it wouldn’t matter as Town saw the game out to claim all three points.

Full-time: Sunderland RCA 1-2 Billingham Town

Next up for me is Easington Colliery vs Esh Winning on Saturday.

Sunderland RCA: Dean, Dorward, McNab, Allen, Swansbury (c), Lawson (Elliott, 69′), Ryan Leonard, Hennis, Davison (Davis, 81′), Slack, Jack Leonard (O’Neill, 69′)

Unused subs: Ezard, Green

Billingham Town: Young, Moore (c), Dixon, Connor, Frazer, Flounders, Beddow, Kenney, Lavan (Joynes, 77′), Dickinson, Hogan

Unused subs: Hudson, Wilson, Morrison, McDonald

Admission: £6 adults, £4 concessions

Programme: £1

Attendance: 129

Referee: Craig Chatten

Hot dog: £2

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