09 Feb 2020 in Match Reports
RACA 1-2 Jarrow
RACA succumbed to a disappointing defeat in difficult conditions as Jarrow joined the promotion race.
A Glen Hargrave brace put a dent in RACA’s promotion chances as Jarrow walked away from Kingsley Park with all 3 points, blowing the top of the table wide open.
2 first-half goals from Hargrave gave the visitors a shock 2-0 lead before a penalty on the stroke of half-time was buried home by Callum Turnbull.
The visitors held on in windy conditions to snatch a crucial 3 points as they look to kickstart a promotion bid of their own.
This defeat leaves the Albion suffering back-to-back league defeats and in danger of slipping away in their bid for Division One status next season.
Hargrave opened the scoring on four minutes when a free kick on the halfway line was punted into the box by Jarrow’s Lee Kerr.
The striker challenged RACA goalkeeper Josh Graham to an ariel duel and won, nodding the ball into an empty net to fire his side into an early lead.
The 50/50 challenge resulted in frustrations from the home dugout, who felt as though the goal should have been ruled out for a foul on the keeper.
Jarrow’s number nine was clearly hurt from the collision as he played the remainder of the game with a limp. However, this did not affect his instincts in front of goal and he should have added another instantly but was denied by Graham who tackled the oncoming forward before an effort on goal could be made.
A second did come not long after when a sloppy midfield pass allowed Jarrow to pierce through the RACA back-line.
The clinical counter-attack saw Daniel Smith switch the play to Lee Hetherington on the right-hand side of the penalty area, whos weighted his pass across the box gave Hargrave and his side an easy second.
RACA at this point looked stunned. The midfield players were struggling to keep possession of the ball and the pressure of being pre-match favourites seemed to be getting to them.
With half-time looming, Albion were handed a lifeline when referee Ryan Morris awarded a penalty for a handball in the area.
Winger Sam Norris tried to weave himself into a goalscoring opportunity but as he flicked the ball up it struck the hand of Jarrow captain Jordan Mellish, forcing the referee to point straight to the spot.
The away contingent in the stands were furious with the referee who thought that there was little Mellish could do to stop the contact, but this didn’t bother Callum Turnbull who sent the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
As the second-half started many around the ground thought the wind would work in RACA’s favour, but the hosts were never able to take advantage of the conditions. The vicious gale of Storm Ciara made the match difficult for both sides with goal kicks enjoying extra time in the air before eventually finding a player.
The rest of the game saw good chances fall at each end of the pitch, with Mellish thinking he had made amends from a corner only to see his volleyed effort be denied off the line by full-back Jack Moody.
Albion’s best opportunity came when skipper Scott Jasper played through Sam Norris on the counter-attack, but the winger’s strike was parried away by Jarrow keeper Jak Wells.
Everyone inside Kingsley Park thought Lee Hetherington had sealed the game with 5 minutes to spare when his 1 on 1 effort clipped the post, and the follow up resulted in some nervy defending before the ball was eventually cleared.
The final moments saw RACA start to pile on the pressure but Jarrow clung on, as Norris drew another save from Wells with the final chance of the game.
If RACA wishes to be a Division One side next season they will have to banish the previous two results from their mind and rebuild, with next weekend’s trip to Birtley Town looking likely to be a defining moment in our season.
Reporter: Charlie Bennett