MATCH REPORT BY BETH BAKER
It was a cool, cloudy evening on which RACA’s second match of the season against Durham City took place, and Saturday’s strong start for the home side had given them confidence for the match ahead against a team who they had thrashed 6-0 the previous season. Despite some good new signings, Durham hadn’t had such a promising start to the season as hoped as they lost 2-0 in their first match against landlords Willington A.F.C.
Philip Hodges started the game making his 100th appearance for the club, in place of James Thompson. He was to mark this milestone in style!
The match kicked off at 7:30pm and after four minutes, RACA had a goal disallowed for offside as the ball appeared to ricochet from player to player before finding it’s way into the back of the net. It was a let off for the away team. Though both teams had their chances, RACA had the better chances and could have gained the lead when a flick on from the head of Jamie Dunn was received by Philip Hodges in an experimental overhead kick. It was an easy save for Durham keeper Curtis Richardson.
In the 27th minute, a cross from Callum Turnbull found the head of Hodges and went from there into the back of the net. Having gained the lead that they were looking for, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion appeared to gain confidence and doubled their lead shortly after at 29 minutes with a powerful shot from outside the area by Hodges. Durham seemed to think a change was in order so replaced Ellis Wymer with Jacob Thompson.
Durham still had their chances despite going 2-0 down, one of which came very close from Max Thomas as the ball found its way through the swinging legs of the defenders and safely into the arms of the David Hansen. Durham received a corner on the stroke of half time but could not bring the end product that they had been looking for. The half ended 2-0, a good start for the home side but Durham still had work to do if they wanted to find a way back into the game. Both teams played well but Durham’s wayward last balls let them down.
HT RACA 2-0 DURHAM CITY
At half time, James Thompson replaced Albion captain Scott Jasper who was still recovering from his injury at the weekend. Play resumed and RACA were quickly back into the game as Thompson had a shot well saved by the keeper a minute into the half. There were lots of fierce tackles during this half from both sides and a few players got clattered in the heat of the game. Though Durham had a few corners, none of them could beat the aerial prowess of the RACA defence. Another foul during this half came when Max Thomas and David Below collided, both going for the ball. Though no serious injuries were attained, the slightly dangerous play led to a few of the players getting a stern talking to.
Ryton and Crawcrook were not settling for a 2 goal lead as Hodges got his hat-trick in the 69th minute with a perfectly placed shot from the edge of the box flying beyond the Richardson’s reach to make it 3-0. It was a well-contested game until the 3rd goal went in at which Durham seemed disheartened and began to lack enthusiasm. RACA, on the other hand, seemed to gain confidence and almost scored again when Jack Cooper made a spectacular shot which was denied by an equally good save.
The home side dominated towards the end and could have made it 4 when a shot from Cooper skimmed the crossbar after what appeared to be a fingertip save by the Richardson.
The match ended 3-0 to the home side a result which left them joint top of the table with Chester-le-Street Town, they are due to play next on Saturday at Moor Park.
FT RACA 3 DURHAM CITY 0
REFEREE - CHARLIE FORD