26 Aug 2021 in Match Reports
Rhys McLeod made an immediate impact from the substitutes bench as his worldie helped secure all three points for Albion on Wednesday night...
RACA 2-1 TOW LAW TOWN
Rhys McLeod scored a screamer having been on the pitch for a matter of seconds to secure a vital victory and Albion’s third win on the bounce.
Louis Anderson’s first-half opener was quickly cancelled out by a fine Aaron Hardy strike, before McLeod came off the bench to restore Albion’s advantage.
RACA thought they would be without manager Dan Iredale for this one due to a family arrangement, but his absence lasted just seven minutes before he could be seen patrolling the Kingsley Park touchline.
The first chance of the game fell Albion’s way when Hylton Hub skinned his full-back to cut inside the Tow Law box and blast a left-footed shot towards Lewis Graham’s goal, who parried the effort wide.
Trouble nearly came RACA’s way on 13 minutes when Thomas McAloon floated an inviting ball into the area but there was no Lawyers shirt on the end of it.
The deadlock was broken on 16 minutes when a slick Albion move was rounded off by Anderson.
Dillon Blake picked up the ball on the left of the Tow Law penalty area and ran across multiple players towards the right flank. He weighted a through ball to full-back Andrew Brown, whose clever first touch gave him the space to fire a cross into Anderson for his third goal of the season.
It didn’t take the visitors long to pull level when a piece of individual brilliance from Aaron Hardy got his side back into the game.
The Lawyers’ forward picked up the ball on the right wing, cut inside with a stepover and placed a curling left-footed effort past the hapless Dan Gladstone as the ball clipped off the inside of the post and in.
RACA dominated the remainder of the half possession-wise but could not penetrate a sturdy Tow Law defence, with Joe Thompson’s long-range strike blasting high and wide of the bar epitomising the home crowd’s frustration.
On the stroke of half-time Albion almost nudged in front when Scott Bamborough’s set-piece found Anderson. The RACA striker made contact but it wasn’t enough to steer his effort towards goal, as the two sides went into the break level.
Tow Law should have gone in front on 55 minutes when Shaun Pickford hooked Ryan McKinnon’s shot off the line. This was a real let-off for Albion who, for the first time in the match, had to endure a spell of pressure of their own.
The game changed on the hour mark when Thompson made way for McLeod, with the 18-year-old eager to impress after his goal against Newcastle University at the weekend.
His impact was instant, with Blake putting him through on the right flank just seconds after being introduced.
The youngster charged towards goal and replicated Hardy's heroics in the first-half by bending a left-footed curler past Graham to put Albion back in front.
Albion began to look assured in possession, with Bamborough the jenga piece in midfield for a patient side who knew they were just 20 minutes away from another crucial league victory.
Tow Law did start to knock on the door, with McAloon having a deflected effort whistle inches wide of the post.
Desperate appeals for an away penalty were swiftly turned down shortly after when a coming together between David Below and Barrie Smith saw the referee allow play to continue.
Those tensions flared further on 83 minutes when a rash tackle by Jason White on Carl Paterson saw the Lawyers’ man go into the referee’s book.
Albion managed to nullify the opposition in the final stages to see out the victory and claim a colossal three points - their third win in a row.
Last night’s result puts them joint-top of the Northern League Division 2 with a crunch clash against Birtley Town at Kingsley Park on Saturday.
Starting XI: Gladstone, Brown, Paterson, Laws, Turnbull, Blake, Bamborough, Pickford, Thompson, Hub, Anderson
RACA Fans' Man of the Match: Louis Anderson