Sunderland RCA v Stockton Town FC
Anchors progress into League Cup Quarter Finals in battling performance
The Anchors ground out a win in an uninspiring contest on a poor surface which didn't suit their passing style. A Ross McNab own goal was one of very few efforts on target in the whole 96 minutes.
Josh Moody who joined recently, got his first start in goal and Tom Coulthard who has a slight strain was rested with Alan Cossavella filling in for him. RCA started quickly and the Ref seemed to like their physical style as he failed to blow up on several occasions when fouls looked obvious. The Anchors got it down and played whenever they could in the first half and a ball from Nicholson set Risbrough away and he used his electric pace to leave three players for dead cutting into the box for what was looking like a goal of the season contender until he took one more touch and was closed down by Preston before he could get a shot off.
A slick move down the right hand side involving Bulmer, Woodhouse and Roberts saw Bulmer in one on one but he was denied by keeper Tsapolos and when the same players linked again after 33 minutes Swansbury fouled Bulmer to break up the play. Craggs resulting free kick was fizzed in with his usual action but it was RCA's Ross McNab who met it first but could only deflect it into his own net while trying to deal with it. The Anchors lost a little mobility when the in form Woodhouse suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Ward. RCA tried all half to put the Anchors defence under pressure closing down and making contact whenever they could but surprisingly lacked the quality to create anything meaningful and the Anchors back three looked solid and found the room to start off attacks.
Second half was a tough watch, the Anchors couldn't get anything going and RCA piled the pressure on but their final passes were not of the required quality. The referee continued to frustrate booking Nicholson and Craggs but unbelievably allowing two cynical RCA fouls shortly afterwards pass with no punishment save for the free kick. Sonni Coleman worked tirelessly up front and his strong run down the right on 65minutes drew the defender to him and he rolled the ball into Roberts path but as the ball ran across him he had to stretch and steered it past the post. Luke Page finally got behind the Anchors defence but his shot was well saved by the onrushing Josh Moody, RCA's best chance came after 75 minutes when a free kick was fired in, twice the Anchors cleared but as the ball ricocheted back it fell to Charlton inside the 6 yard box but he couldn't get enough on the attempt and Moody saved well at his feet. Despite the ref playing 6 minutes of injury time, RCA never really looked like scoring and a tough hard fought game ended 1-0 to the Anchors
This was the first time in a while Stockton have toughed a game out, Cossavella, Robinson and Nicholson were strong and determined and dealt with everything thrown at them tonight, they restricted RCA to very few efforts at goal. Max Craggs had his best game for weeks and defended excellently, Pete Bulmer did well again at right wing back and Josh Moody didn't put a foot wrong in goal. Satisfying result and a promising defensive display in the wake of the number of goals conceded recently. Nice to be back on the win trail properly too.
Words: Lee Nicholson
Photos: Harry Cook
Video: Northern League