19 Sep 2021 in Match Reports
Callum Turnbull continued his rich vein of form in front of goal as Albion claimed their third win in a row in the Northern League...
RACA 1-0 Blyth Town
Captain Callum Turnbull’s fourth goal in as many games proved the difference as RACA ground out a solid win against Blyth Town on home soil.
A tight game saw not a lot separate the two sides but the skipper’s first-half header was enough to secure all three points for Albion.
Newly-promoted Blyth came to Kingsley Park in good form having won their last three matches in the Northern League with Birtley Town, Newcastle University and Sunderland West End falling victim to The Braves in recent weeks.
The first chance of the game came Albion’s way on five minutes when David Below floated a ball into the penalty area. Rhys McLeod peeled off the defender and clipped a left-footed volley off the bar but the linesman flagged for offside.
RACA almost gifted the visitors a goal moments later when Dan Gladstone’s throw fell straight to Liam Shanley 20-yards from goal. The former Albion winger saw his pass across the box cut out by Scott Bamborough, who cleared to save his goalkeeper’s blushes.
Unpha Koroma - who had his best game in a black-and-blue shirt - found space on the left flank and teed off Shaun Pickford, but the RACA number ten fired a tame shot from distance that was easily saved by Callum Corkhill.
Both sides were cancelling each other out with neither able to get a foothold in the game, but the deadlock was broken on 32 minutes from a set-piece.
Bamborough’s corner was sent towards the penalty spot and Turnbull leaped higher than anyone, beating Corkhill in the area as the ball bundled in.
A game this tight looked destined to be separated by a set-piece and Albion made their fine margins count to go into the lead.
Blyth almost equalised when Callum Johnston broke through the RACA backline but Gladstone was there to the rescue to save well.
Half-time came with Albion nudged slightly in front; the balance of Bamborough and Koroma in the middle of the park meant that they were able to keep the ball well and win it off the opposition when needed, with the latter putting in a couple of crunching 50/50 tackles.
New signing Daniel Kent - who destroyed Albion just 18 days prior in Willington colours - picked up a knock on 52 minutes and was replaced by Louis Anderson, with the striker looking to prove a point having been demoted to a substitute.
Strong appeals for an Albion penalty were rejected by referee Liam Lancey as Michael Laws felt he had struck the ball off a Blyth defender’s arm.
Scott Jasper then limped off with a gash on his shin and made way for winger Joe Thompson, another player eager to impress from the bench.
Jak Ditchburn teased an inviting ball into Albion’s penalty area on the hour mark but there was no white shirt there to attack it - a common theme throughout the day for the Blyth frontline.
A big chance fell to Anderson on 63 minutes when he rounded Corkhill and looked certain to score; Kurtis Dodds put a last-ditch block in to keep his side in the game and send the ball out for a corner.
10 minutes from time, Corkhill played a sloppy pass straight to Thompson on the edge of the area.
The winger rushed his chance as he blasted a shot straight back at the goalkeeper, another miss that may have proven costly if Albion had failed to hold on.
Blyth struggled to chase the game in the closing stages, with Gladstone only tested by another long-ranged effort by Johnston.
RACA’s attacking players have rightfully mopped up most of the praise for an impressive start to the season so far but the rights to this victory can be claimed by a sturdy and streetwise defence.
The experienced backline of Brown, Laws, Turnbull and Below never gave their opposition forwards an inch and they were protected wilfully by Koroma, who kept the basics right and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in.
Another home clash against Redcar on Wednesday sees Dan Iredale and his men look to put more pressure on the two sides currently above them in the Northern League’s second tier.
Starting XI: Gladstone, Brown, Laws, Turnbull, Below, Bamborough, Koroma, Pickford, McLeod, Jasper, Kent
RACA Fans’ Man of the Match: Unpha Koroma