02 Sep 2021 in Match Reports
RACA's unbeaten run game to an end in devastating fashion as Willington ripped them apart on home soil...
RACA 1-4 Willington
Albion’s short stint at the top of the Northern League Division 2 came to a humiliating end as they were battered 4-1 at home by Willington.
A first-half brace from Daniel Kent gave the visitors a resounding lead at the break before Callum Forster and Aaron Jackson bagged to threaten a potential cricket score. Debutant Konner Lamb added a late consolation for RACA but his goal was not enough to polish this turd of a performance.
Albion boss Dan Iredale made two changes to the side that won against Birtley at the weekend; Dillon Blake and Carl Paterson were ruled out, so they made way for Brian Dodsworth and David Below.
Willington looked potent from the offset and should have scored on six minutes when Daryll Hall’s header rattled off the underside of the crossbar.
Another let-off came moments later when Jackson stung the gloves of Dan Gladstone with a speculative effort from distance.
The pressure from the away side continued and their biggest chance yet fell to Dan Thirlaway, but his tame shot from point-blank range was denied once again by Gladstone.
A rare Albion attack saw Louis Anderson slip in Joe Thompson on the left flank. The winger took his time but blasted his strike straight at Carl Robinson.
Willington finally got the goal they deserved on 24 minutes when Kent found the back of the net from a set-piece.
Instead of resting on their laurels, the visitors maintained their dominance on the game and Kent almost had another immediately when his strike was rifled straight at Gladstone.
By this point, the RACA goalkeeper was the only player who could take any credit from a first-half showing that had been all Willington from start to finish.
A freak goal almost happened on 35 minutes when Albion’s Andrew Brown cleared the ball off Kent just inside the penalty area. Fortunately, Gladstone stretched just enough to prevent a comical goal from being conceded.
Iredale had seen enough by this point and made all three changes before half-time as Dodsworth, Below and Thompson were replaced by Unpha Koroma, Oliver Symons and new signing Lamb.
A reaction almost came immediately when Rhys McLeod got into a threatening position but his left-footed strike whistled over the crossbar.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Willington doubled their lead when Kent found space in the box. He skipped past Michael Laws before burying home his and Willington’s second, with Albion now facing an uphill task at the interval.
A third came early in the second half when Shaun Pickford was dispossessed on the edge of Albion’s area by Forster. The Willo midfielder took one look up before placing his shot into the bottom right corner. Game over.
Reece Marshall almost made it four on the hour mark and should have scored but Gladstone managed to parry his shot wide for a corner.
Forster then went on a brilliant run to dance through the RACA backline, beating several players with ease but Gladstone was there again to help keep the score down as best he could.
In an almost identical run, Jackson managed to glide through three Albion defenders and the goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net. With no way back for the home side, fans in attendance were wondering how long was left so they didn’t have to endure this horror show any longer.
A faint glimmer of hope came with 10 minutes to go when Ash Davis was shown a straight red card for a horrific tackle of Koroma. The nature of the challenge angered the Kingsley park crowd, as the Willington skipper trudged off for an early shower.
RACA’s best spell came in the closing stages once it was 10 versus 11, with Laws seeing his close-range shot saved by Robinson.
Lamb then gave spectators a sign of potential things to come when he scored a late debut goal, but the damage on the scoreline was too ingrained to be worthy of a celebration.
The final whistle saw no complaints from the home dugout or players, who acknowledged that they had been comfortably beaten fair and square on home soil.
A game many expected Albion to win, they were out-thought and out-fought from the first minute by a physical Willington side - and never once looked in control of the game.
Saturday gives Iredale and his troops a chance to put things right as RACA travel to Washington, the first of three crucial away games in the Northern League’s second tier.
Starting XI: Gladstone, Below, Laws, Brown, Hub, Bamborough, Dodsworth, Pickford, McLeod, Thompson, Anderson
RACA Fans’ Man of the Match: Dan Gladstone