Birtley returned to winning ways on Saturday afternoon with a five star performance away at Sunderland RCA.
Match Gallery is available HERE.
The hosts started the game on the front foot, with an early shot being deflected wide and the resultant corner being tipped over by Alfie Gordon. Birtley’s first chance of the game came in the ninth minute as recent-signing Dan Wilds capitalised on some great play down the wing only to see his shot blocked. Within minutes though, the Hoops got their noses in front as Glen Hargrave converted Owen Lancaster’s cross to give his side the lead. Lancaster was in the thick of it again shortly afterwards, rising to meet a corner, only to see his header go narrowly over.
Matthew Ward was on-hand to double the lead on 23 minutes, taking advantage of a quick free-kick before burying his shot in the RCA net. The Hoops’ lead was further extended as half-time approached, with Scott Heslop firing home through a crowded penalty area, during a frantic spell in which he and Hargrave both had strikes ruled-out for offside.
HALF TIME | Sunderland RCA 0 – 3 Birtley Town
Dan Wilds made his first start for the club.The Hoops were now well in control, and Heslop didn’t have to wait long to get his brace, finding the net following James Proctor’s corner.
Matthew Ward almost grabbed a second of his own on the hour mark, but was denied by a fine James Hopkinson save. RCA then nearly pulled one back on the counter, but Alfie Gordon was down low to protect his clean sheet. Hargrave rounded off the scoring on 76 minutes, seeing his first effort saved by Hopkinson, before getting back to his feet to bury his second.
FULL TIME | Sunderland RCA 0 – 5 Birtley Town
A fantastic performance from the Hoops keeps them well in the play-off mix. We’ll need to be at our best again on Tuesday night as we welcome Heaton Stannington to the Arrowmark Home Improvements Stadium, for what is always a tough test.
Paul Bryson: “We were missing Spoony so Kyle replaced him and we had Alex back in the side which was great news. It was a really convincing performance and result. The biggest thing in the game was the attitude of the players, they were fantastic.
It was a really difficult pitch and poor conditions but it was the same for both sides. We started the game really well. We created good chances and scored goals. We could have had a couple more if it wasn’t for the offside flag. The first goal was an excellent move down the right and a brilliant ball fizzed across to Glen. He tapped it home for 1-0. Wardy scored another great goal. Hezzy extended the lead with a good finish. We dictated the play throughout. We dealt with the conditions fantastically well.
“Hezzy scored another one in the second half and Glen got another too. It was really pleasing as Dylan, Hally, Ben and Drew all got good minutes and they deserved that. Really pleased with the attitude, performance and result. We look forward to Heaton Stan on Tuesday.”
Previous H2H vs Sunderland RCA
P5 W0 D0 L5 GF3 GA18
|NL Div 2
|NL Div 2
|NL Div 2
Extra Preliminary Round
|Durham Challenge Cup Preliminary Round
|J. Gill | D. Waters
The result was the first time that Birtley had registered a victory at Sunderland RCA.
Birtley host Heaton Stannington on Tuesday evening in a crucial play-off contention fixture. Kick off is at 7.30pm.