Birtley bounced back in sensational fashion as they hit Sunderland RCA for six on Saturday.
After the midweek defeat to Boro Rangers, Birtley returned to winning ways with a convincing win over bottom of the league Sunderland RCA. The Hoops made three changes to the side which lost to Boro with Chris Mason, Lewis Orrell and Sam Hedley returning to the team. It was RCA’s first visit to Birtley in over a decade and the visitors looked threatening on the counter attack in the opening exchanges. Ex-Birtley wide man Jason Chanayire forced Alfie Gordon to rush off his line and smother the ball. Within a minute Birtley had been awarded a penalty. A through ball from Kyle Wharton was left by Callum Smith who was in an offside position, Glen Hargrave took ownership and drove at the RCA goal only to be brought down by Ashley Lavan, who was then booked. Callum Turnbull stepped up to fire Birtley into a 16th minute lead. Sunderland almost got themselves a quick equaliser but Ryan Gooch’s effort was deflected and fell into the arms of Gordon.
In the closing stages of the first half Birtley took really control of the game. Matthew Wilkinson somehow denied Glen Hargrave from scoring a second when he produced a sensational save to parry the ball around the post. The relief was temporary though as birthday boy Owen Lancaster looped his header into the net from the resulting corner. Hargrave did have his name on the score sheet moments later when he found himself in a load of space in the middle of the RCA half before blasting a thirty-yard strike straight into the roof of the net.
HALF TIME | Birtley Town 3-0 Sunderland RCA
Birtley dominated proceedings throughout the second half but it was RCA who had the first opportunity. Ryan Gooch again bringing Alfie Gordon into action before Owen Lancaster followed up with an excellent block. The home side extended their lead on 56 minutes with Liam Wotherspoon firing home from close range after good work from Callum Smith. Birtley took the opportunity to make a few changes with Drew Lake and Stephen Hall making an impact from the bench.
It was Lake who won the penalty for Birtley’s fifth. He broke free and neatly turned back inside before being tripped in the area. With Callum Turnbull having been subbed off, Stephen Hall gladly stepped up and fired home from the spot. A few minutes later, James Proctor must have thought he had scored when his beautiful left-footed shot came back off the post and ventured along the goal line before being cleared.
It was Hall who then turned provider for Drew Lake for Birtley’s sixth goal of the game as he finished off a brilliant counter attack. Hall managed to find himself on the edge of the box and fired a low cross along the six yard box which enabled Lake to bag his first competitive goal in green and white . At the other end, there was still time for Alfie Gordon to pull off another smart stop from Alberto Serra’s fierce strike as Birtley recorded another clean sheet and their biggest win of the season.
FULL TIME | Birtley Town 6-0 Sunderland RCA
Attendance – 300. The 2nd highest attendance in the league on Saturday. A special mention to our sensational group of volunteers who worked in sweltering conditions to make sure the crowd were very well looked after. An amazing team effort.
Paul Bryson was thrilled with the result and performance: “I am delighted with the result. It was brilliant to return to winning ways and a clean sheet. I thought the game started fairly even and it was an open affair. Alfie made a couple of saves early on which were big moments. We settled after winning the penalty with Glen getting brought down in the box. Callum stepped up and tucked it away superbly. Goals can change games and I think the opener deflated them a little. We got a lift from the opener. Their keeper has made two superb saves, one off Glen’s header and one from Proc. We scored two quick goals just before half-time and this obviously deflates them further. Owen scored from a set play and Glen scored from around 25 yards. We were 3-0 up at half-time but I didn’t think that the first half was a 3-0 score line. It was credit to Alfie and the lads at the back from stopping them from scoring and the lads scoring up the other end.
“In the second half we managed the game well and added to the tally, eventually running out 6-0 winners. It was really pleasing. I think it was a fantastic day for the club. I want to thank the supporters again, to have 300 there on a Saturday was really pleasing. I am pleased we put a show on for them. They saw some good quality goals. We have no midweek fixture so it allows us to train together this week. We couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season and we look forward to North Shields next weekend.”
H2H History vs Sunderland RCA
P10 W2 D0 L8 GF9 GA29
H2H v Sunderland RCA (home games only)
P5 W2 D0 L3 GF6 GA11
|League Cup | Round 2
|NL Div 2
|NL Div 2
|K. Hughes x2
|NL Div 2
|League Cup | Round 2
|A. McIntosh | N. Hepurker | M. Roper
With no midweek fixture for The Hoops our next game is away to North Shields on Saturday.