Northallerton Town 4 Sunderland RCA 1 – Ebac Northern League Division One:

Both clubs are looking for a turn up in their fortunes with new managers.  An announcement is imminent for who will take over at Northallerton while Martin Swales has returned to take the helm once again at RCA.

It’s more than two months since Northallerton’s last win, while “turbulent” doesn’t get close to RCA’s season.  The new man at Town will join after a game where the team showed pace, energy and attacking intent.  Meanwhile, RCA at least looked more competitive after the weekend’s 13-0 reverse at Heaton Stannington.  New players are already in the sqaud and more are set to join.  But it’s clear who will be facing the bigger challenge.

It was a flying start to the game:  Northallerton winning a free kick on the edge of the RCA area in the opening seconds, with keeper Matthew Wilkinson tipping David Parker’s goal-bound shot away for a corner that was met by Charlie Graham who planted his header wide.

Three minutes in and it was RCA’s turn to come close – Keigan Turns with a well weighted pass to George Pinder.  The No. 9 out-muscled a defender, made a strong run at goal only to delay a second or two too long, allowing Graham to slide in with a tackle just as Pinder hit the ball.

A quick one-two prised open the RCA defence in the 9th minute for the first goal; Parker passing the ball out to Ethan Henderson before taking the return pass and thumping it into the net.  Jack Stapley was the focal point for a series of Town attacks down the left.

In the 17th minute Henderson connected with a Stapley cross, with the header bouncing off the ground and looping towards the goal before Wilkinson was able to flip the ball over the bar.

At the other end, Town keeper Sam Taylor was able to smother a shot by Curtis Richardson; Pinder chipped the ball through to Craig Robinson but Taylor was able to get to the ball before the RCA  striker.

But it was Northallerton who finished the half the stronger of the two sides.  A Shaun Ryder cross was cleared by Bradley Paul, with three Town players ready to pounce, Ethan Henderson had a shot cleared by Richardson and a Matthew Waters header skimmed wide left.  They started the second half on the front foot too.

In a seven minute spell they exploited an RCA defence that suddenly looked fragile.  Up until then, it had looked solid enough.  A Stapley cross came to Henderson whose first time, glancing strike found the net.  A minute later it was 3-0 – another Stapley cross that Henderson knocked back to Sean Chidanyika who placed the ball through a couple of defenders and past Wilkinson.  Anthony Snook almost added a fourth, seeing his header hit the post.  However, Parker was on hand on the hour mark to make it 4-0, meeting a Steven Roberts cross with a thumping shot.

After that RCA steadied the ship and managed to soak up a series of Northallerton attacks as well as mount a couple of attacks of their own.

Pinder clawed a goal back for the visitors in the 68th minute and that was quickly followed by the striker hitting a first time volley that was stopped by Ryder and they were able to see out the game without any more drama.

Mike Snowdon