10 Sep 2020 in Match Reports
The lads welcomed Heaton Stannington to Kingsley park for our first home fixture of the season...
RACA 1-1 Heaton Stannington
Ben Joyeux scored a dramatic equaliser to rescue a well-deserved draw for the Albion and earn Mark Bullock’s side their first point of the 20/21 campaign.
RACA fell behind after just one minute when Richard Hoggins slotted home to give the Stan an early advantage.
An entertaining game followed and Heaton caved in to the late Albion onslaught as Joyeux nodded home from a Tyler Davis corner-kick to send Kingsley Park into raptures.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages as Dean Imray was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Matt Law.
Both sides headed into this fixture winless after the opening weekend, with RACA tasting defeat to Bedlington Terriers and the Stan being held 1-1 at home to Carlisle.
These two teams were set to play each other in their next fixtures back in March before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the 19/20 season, but had the chance last night to replay the game that never was in front of a 187 strong crowd.
Hoggins gave his side the lead with the first chance of the game when a Regan Paterson cross from the left found him in the area. Hoggins’ deflected effort crept past Josh Graham much to the outrage of the home dugout.
Just moments later RACA were lucky not be down to 10 men when Joe Shepherd dragged Connor Campbell to the ground while through on goal. If the game had not still been in its infancy the referee may have handed out a stricter punishment than the yellow card that he eventually manifested.
RACA recovered from a poor opening spell and began to look dominant in the first-half, with most of their attacking output coming from the creative prowess of Law.
It was the number ten’s link-up play with full-back Adam Dobson that resulted in huge pleas from the home crowd for a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Law slotted in Dobson on the left flank and received the ball back just as he approached the edge of the area. He scuffed a shot that was headed wide but the ball struck an opposing player in the arm and loud protests for a spot-kick were met by every Albion player, manager and fan in the ground.
Heaton went into the break in front but RACA had enjoyed the better of the play for large spells of the opening period, with only a lack of cut-throat ruthlessness in the final third leaving them goalless.
The second-half followed a similar pattern with the Stan coming out the blocks strong before Albion managing to get a controlling foothold on the game.
Paterson was proving himself to be a serious handful for the RACA backline and when his clever dinked pass found James Proctor it should have been 2-0 but the winger skewed a poor effort wide.
Paterson tried another chip moments later but this time in the form of a shot rather than a pass. He attempted a cheeky deft finish from outside the area but couldn’t hit the target as his shot whistled past Graham’s post.
The Stan forward was almost taking on the Albion by himself at this point when he forced Graham into making one of the best saves you will see this season.
He cut inside from the left and whipped a curling finesse shot towards the top right corner but was denied by the outstretched paw of Graham - who even had the away supporters applauding the stop.
From then onwards, it was all RACA as the home side pressed and pressed for the equaliser. The trio of Sherrard, Law and Outterside playing behind the bullish Louis Anderson were threatening Heaton whenever they got the ball as Bullock urged his troops to get forward.
Law and Sherrard both had huge chances to pull level and just as the home crowd began to wonder if their luck was cursed the biggest talking point of the game took place.
A long punt upfield caused confusion in the Stan’s defence, and the pace of Outerside and Sherrard allowed them to capitalise as they bore down on goal.
Sherrard coolly dinked a superb effort over the hapless Daniel Regan only for the linesman to stick his flag in the air - much to the bemusement of the Albion dugout. You could argue that Outerside was slightly offside but as he had no interaction with the play, the goal should have counted as we headed into the final 20 minutes.
Anderson’s strike almost seconds later forced a corner as the pressure began to mount for an equaliser inside the Kingsley park cauldron.
The resulting set-piece saw a Tyler Davis in-swinger meet the head of Ben Joyeux at the back post, with the full-back nodding home the Albion’s first goal of the season to kickstart wild celebrations inside the ground - and with plenty time still left on the clock.
It was an entertaining finale to say the least, and the visitors were reduced to 10 men as Imray was dismissed for a tackle from behind on the omnipresent Law.
Heaton held on for a point which could be seen as a fair result considering the golden chances that they had. However, the Albion will still feel aggrieved that they haven’t walked away from this clash with all three in the bag and an important home win.
RACA Starting XI - Josh Graham, Ben Joyeux, Adam Dobson, Callum Turnbull, Joe Shepherd, Gav Dick, Harry Outterside, Tyler Davis, Louis Anderson, Matt Law, Eoghain Sherrard
RACA Fans Man of the Match - Gavin Dick