Sunderland RCA 1 North Shields 1 (26/03/2019) – Much improved performance sees Robins claim well deserved point

A second half strike from Ross Preston denied the Robins all three points as both sides had to share the spoils.

The Robins took the lead mid way through the first half when the RCA keeper failed to deal with a Paul Robinson shot from range.

Sean McRoberts almost doubled the lead shortly before the break, only for the shot to be tipped wide.

The hosts levelled the score in the second half when Preston bundled the ball over the line following a freekick.

And despite some late pressure from the hosts, the Robins were able to claim their point and break their winless streak.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to make their mark on the game as in the first minute, a defensive mixup allowed McRoberts to round the keeper. However, his attempted shot from a tricky angle flew into the side netting.

RCA entered the game in red-hot form and in the fifth minute, home captain Greg Swansbury tried to lob Greg Purvis from the half way line. Thankfully for the Robins, the returning shot stopper got back just in time to collect his effort.

McRoberts, who missed Saturday’s game against Shildon, was having a brilliant first half and in the 10th minute, his dipping freekick forced Anthony Patterson into a smart save.

Two minutes later, Robinson tried his luck at the RCA goal from a freekick of his own. Unfortunately, his effort spun narrowly over the crossbar.

With both teams battling hard for the ball, it was the Robins who struck first when in the 24th minute, after a good run and turn, Robinson fired on goal from distance. Despite getting a hand to the shot, the keeper was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line, giving Shields their well-deserved lead.

This goal seemed to awake the hosts as only two minutes later, fullback Jack Donnison needed to be alert to clear a dangerous RCA cross away to safety.

Not satisfied with a one-goal lead, the Robins pressed forward in search of a second. In the 32nd minute, a smart pass from Robinson released McRoberts through on goal, only for Patterson to rush off his line to block his shot.

Both sides were now creating plenty of chances and in the 34th minute, Donnison needed to be alert once again as he cleared a goalbound effort off the line.

In the 41st minute, McRoberts once again caused the RCA defence a world of trouble. After breezing past his marker, the speedy winger unleashed a ferocious shot from distance on the home goal, forcing Patterson to tip the ball round the upright.

From the resulting corner, centre back Josh Nearney rose highest to get his head on the ball, only to see his effort clear the crossbar.

The hosts started the second half far better than they did the first and in the 51st minute, Nathan O’Neill’s powerful effort from distance was only inches away from striking the post.

Five minutes later, Kyle Davis tried to go one better than his team mate, however, he didn’t connect with the ball and his effort skewed well wide of Purvis’ goal.

As the game came towards the final 15 minutes, the hosts finally made their breakthrough. After being awarded a freekick in the 72nd minute, Preston was in the right place at the right time as the ball fell at his feet. The RCA defender made no mistake from close range and drew the hosts level.

Sensing an opportunity to snatch all three points, the hosts began to throw bodies forward. In the 78th minute, O’Neill thundered one in from long range once again, only to see the ball scrape an inch of paint off the upright.

With time running out, it seemed like a draw would be the final result. However, with only two minutes left on the clock, RCA really should have sealed the win. Donnison was once again on hand to expertly clear a shot off the line, with many home players and fans claiming that the ball had indeed gone all the way over.

On top of that, following an outstanding save from Purvis in added time, O’Neill couldn’t react quickly enough to the rebound and his effort from all of two yards flew wide of the goal.

Final Score: Sunderland RCA 1 North Shields 1

Referee: Stephen Dial

Attendance: 146

Sunderland RCA Starting Eleven: Anthony Patterson, Tomas Howard, Sam Lilley, Ross Preston, Greg Swansbury (c), Nathan O’Neill, Kyle Davis, Luke Page, Mark Davidson, Colin Larkin, Michael Charlton (Dominic Moan 70)

Yellow Cards: Greg Swansbury 9, Tomas Howard 37,

Unused Substitutes: Aaron Croft, Ross McNab, Jordan Lavery, Thomas McAloon

North Shields Starting Eleven: Greg Purvis, Jack Donnison, Chris McDonald, David Hall, Josh Nearney, Mark McManus, Sean McRoberts, Gary Ormston (c), Gary Day (Callum Johnston 86), Ryan Carr, Paul Robinson (Robbie Christie 85)

Yellow Cards: Jack Donnison 36, Chris McDonald 65, Gary Ormston 67

Unused Substitutes: Cam Cunningham, Josh Skivington, Michael Robinson