01 Oct 2020 in Match Reports
Albion look destined to hold on for their first win of the season on home soil but a 93rd-minute Ricky Tanoh equaliser delivered a crushing blow at Kingsley Park...
Birtley forward Ricky Tanoh came off the bench and notched a crushing 93rd-minute equaliser to deny RACA their first home win of the Mark Bullock era.
Scott Gunn had given Albion a half-time lead and they looked set to grind out all three points at Kingsley Park but a devastating blow came with just moments to spare as substitute Tanoh scored deep into stoppage time.
RACA went into last night’s clash looking to stop the rot as they had lost their last four in all competitions and faced a much-fancied Hoops side who have had a solid start to the 20/21 campaign.
Bullock utilised his squad as he introduced Andrew Collins and David Backhouse into the fold with several players still sidelined on the treatment table.
It was the away side who looked the most lively in the opening 10 minutes as RACA keeper Graham had to twice deny Awton from close range to prevent an early scare.
The Birtley forward appealed for a penalty but his protests were rightly waved away by the referee as Graham was first to the ball inside the area.
As the home side settled into the game, they missed a huge chance to give themselves a lead - albeit slightly against the run of play up to that point.
Below managed to win the ball in a dangerous position and quickly shifted it to Louis Anderson. His tee-off to Gunn allowed the midfielder to take the ball forward and put it on a plate for Andrew Collins - but the winger blazed a poor effort over the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken on 19 minutes when Gunn capitalised on a mix-up between Hoops’ goalkeeper John Mordey and his backline.
Northern Irish futsal star Gunn showed great composure to shimmy past Mordey, take his time and bury an effort home for 1-0. The potential heroics of an off-the-line clearance were in vain as the Birtley defender could only hook the ball into the side netting - with the ball already well over the line by the time he made the clearance.
RACA began to get a grip of the first half and should have doubled their lead when Shepherd curled a header inches wide from a Liam Anderson in-swinger. The home side’s influence on the game was growing as they now looked dangerous in attack despite some early jitters.
The Albion were good value for their half-time lead but the costly slip-ups of previous weeks were still on the minds of supporters inside the ground, and with 45 minutes still to play, it was still very much anybody’s game to win.
Louis Anderson came close with a header that inched wide from a deflected Outterside cross but neither side managed to create anything more clear-cut than that - as RACA managed to contain any Birtley attack relatively well.
A huge moment on 75 minutes saw a penalty awarded for the away side. Ben Joyeux fouled Tanoh inside the area just moments after coming on but his blushes were spared as Graham pulled off a fantastic save down to his right to keep out substitute Anthony Smith.
It was squeaky bum time around Kingsley Park as Albion dug in for the final five minutes to try and claim a massive three points - but the cruel side on football was soon to rear its side.
A 93rd-minute corner was whipped into the RACA six-yard box and spilled by Graham into the path of Tanoh, who tucked home from point-blank range to nick his side a point.
The equaliser was especially cruel for Graham as he had pulled off some top saves throughout the match including the one from the spot. However, a slight lapse of concentration in the dying embers of the game epitomises the brutal life of a goalkeeper.
Positives can be drawn from this fixture nonetheless. RACA were the better side for large chunks of the game and looked destined for a win until the very last passage of play.
They aren’t playing badly and their performances haven’t been reflective of their results. You get the feeling that their slice of Lady Luck is only round the corner and once she says hello, the results will soon follow suit.
RACA Starting XI: J Graham, Below, Turnbull, Shepherd, Moody, Backhouse, R Graham, Outterside, Collins, Gunn, Anderson
RACA Fans Man of the Match: David Below