Ashington vs Sunderland RCA


Match Report

By Brian Bennett

Drew Eastlake made light work of his debut – coming off the bench to score a precious equaliser for Ashington in their Ebac Northern League first division clash against Sunderland RCA at Woodhorn Lane on Tuesday night.

The Colliers – trailing to a Nathan O’Neill strike – threw Eastlake into the fray with a little over quarter of an hour remaining and the youngster made an immediate impact. Within three minutes he clinically fired home after latching onto a cross field pass from Dom Price and a minute later, Eastlake could have added to his dream story until a heavy first touch let him down.

Eastlake provided a spark for the Wansbeck outfit – ironically on a night where the pitch had been plunged into darkness with an hour gone due to a floodlight failure. The power was restored and supporters were treated to an exciting final half hour as both sides went for the victory.

Two months ago, Ian Skinner’s side finished on the wrong end of a 5-1 thumping against RCA at Sunderland LGV Park – and after the Colliers had enjoyed the better exchanges, the Wearsiders grew into the game and finished the half strongly. Tom Bramley, debutant Max Emmerson and Dan Taggart all had efforts in the first quarter hour but the best opportunity fell to Callum Johnston midway through. A long clearance from goalkeeper Adam McHugh bisected the RCA defence but Johnston lobbed over. O’Neill fired a warning for the visitors with their first effort on the 26 minutes mark which went over – but from thereon it was RCA who held the upper hand.

Four minutes later, O’Neill took the ball down after receiving from Jack Leonard and hammered a low drive wide of McHugh for the opener. Now looking sharp going forward, the Sunderland based outfit came close to a second in the 35th minute. Kyle Davis had the chance but his right footer was superbly touched onto the post by McHugh. Ashington’s only threat came from a Johnston 25 yards free kick which was clutched by Dean.

Just before the interval, Dylan Elliott narrowly failed to hit the target then a ball from the right went across the face of the home goalmouth. Early in the second period, Carl Lawson was not far away for RCA then play switched and Emmerson – who had looked lively – released Johnston. The forward took a good first touch but clipped his effort wide. Price went close with a half volley from the edge of the area before the lights malfunctioned. Ten minutes after play resumed, another marvellous chance fell to Johnston but he lashed over. Then came Eastlake’s night to remember. His leveller brought home supporters to their feet – and the final result brought a richly deserved point.