28 Oct 2021 in Match Reports
Albion went into last night's clash looking for three points but ended up with nothing as Chester-le-Street made the trip up North to pick up a deserved victory...
RACA 2-3 Chester-le-Street
Albion were handed a brutal reality check on home soil last night as they were ripped apart by an unfancied Chester-le-Street side.
Konner Lamb gave the hosts a lead at half-time but a quick turnaround saw Owen Henderson and Liam Dixon fire the Cestrians in front.
Robbie Williamson pulled RACA level with a screamer but Dixon scored again to give his side a deserved victory at Kingsley Park.
Chester went into last night’s clash sitting third bottom of the league, with Albion knowing that anything but a win would be considered a missed opportunity.
The hosts had the first big chance on three minutes when Lamb’s header was cleared off the line by Michael Hepplewhite.
Dixon registered Chester’s first chance of the game when he tested Dan Gladstone from an awkward angle, but he saved comfortably.
A decent string of chances for Albion saw Andrew Brown sting Jack Wilson’s gloves, who pushed the shot wide for a corner.
The resulting set-piece saw Michael Laws attempt a speculative volley, but it was fired high and wide of the crossbar.
The visitors should have broken the deadlock when Gladstone could only clear as far as Hepplewhite. The midfielder played a one-two with Dixon and drilled a dangerous ball across the box but there was no yellow shirt on the end of it.
Chester had another golden opportunity on 35 minutes when Dixon found himself one-on-one with Gladstone. Albion’s keeper pulled off a fantastic save, with Ollie Symons having to clear the rebounded attempt off the line.
RACA went ahead five minutes before the break when Lamb won the ball on the edge of the opposition’s area.
He struck a half-volley that whistled into the top corner to give Albion a fortunate lead at the interval.
Chester, now kicking with the strong wind in their sails, took just 10 minutes to reverse the scoreline after the restart as the RACA backline capitulated.
Henderson burst free on the left flank and charged towards goal unchallenged, before slotting a cool finish in to level the scoreline.
Tragedy struck for the second, as Gladstone received the ball back from a short goal kick and was immediately pressured by Dixon.
The Cestrian striker tackled the Albion keeper and blasted home to give his side a deserved league.
The home side were shell shocked, but a moment of genius got them back on level terms on the hour mark.
New signing Williamson picked the ball up just to the right of the Chester penalty area. He danced towards goal, skipped past a defender and rocketed in a left-footed pearler that went arrowing into the top corner.
If the home crowd thought momentum was now with their side, they thought wrong.
One ball over the top dumbfounded the entire RACA defence and saw Dixon storm clear. He tried his luck from distance and, courtesy of a slight deflection, bagged his second goal of the game - and deservedly so.
A turgid night was rounded off in the dying embers when Lee Johnson was sent off for a second yellow card for dissent.
This result brings Albion back down to earth, with the five-game unbeaten run now a distant memory as far as the league table is concerned.
Three defeats at home this season have come against opposition they were expected to beat prior to kick-off.
Does this show the unpredictability of the Northern League or does it show a lack of consistency?
Dan Iredale and his men take the tricky trip to Jarrow on Saturday as they look to regain grip of a promotion charge that, as it stands, appears to be slipping away.
Starting XI - Gladstone, Brown, Laws, Paterson, Symons, Bamborough, Pickford, Lamb, Williamson, Thompson, Kent
RACA Fans’ Man of the Match: None