Albion ended their home campaign with a game against promotion seeking Team Northumbria who were playing their final game of the season.
On yet another windy afternoon at Kingsley Park, it was the home side who had the breeze behind them in the first half & within a minute, David Backhouse burst forward only to be dispossessed by a fine tackle from Team North’s Ross McKeown before he could pull the trigger. Albion were sitting deep allowing the visitors to press forward & they carved out a chance in the 9th minute when Louis Storey found Perez-Gutierrez who could only find the side netting. While one Perez was off target, his brother, Newcastle United’s Ayoze Perez, who’d come to watch his brother play, was certainly a hit with younger Albion fans as he found himself surrounded by a swarm of blue tracksuited ballboys clamouring to have their entire apparel signed by him.
Home keeper Greg Purvis was being kept busy, pulling off a particularly good save on 20 minutes from Ben Dibb-Fuller when the ball broke to him following a good block by Darren Graham from another Perez-Gutierrez strike.
Chances at the other end were few & far between with TN keeper Andrew Jennison a virtual spectator, though a move on 23 minutes did cause some alarm when Ryan Burnyeat lofted in a dangerous cross to Leigh Shickle running into the goalmouth, but the Ryton captain, playing in a more forward roll than usual, couldn’t quite get enough of his head on the ball to trouble Jennison.
The visitors continued to pressure the Albion goal & Purvis was again called into action on a few occasions, but on 39 minutes he was finally beaten from fifteen yards by David DORMAND who scored an angled shot after receiving the ball from the right wing.
The half finished with the visitors doing most of the pressing without threatening to increase the lead & the teams went into the interval with the scoreline at-
HT RACA 0 TEAM NORTHUMBRIA 1
The second half saw Albion re-structured & playing a more forward thinking formation, & this had an immediate effect as more of the play was now in the visitors’ half. Despite this there was no immediate threat to the TN goal & the first half hour of the second half was noticeable for its lack of goalmouth action at either end. That all changed on the 75th minute when from a TN corner, DORMAND received the ball, turned & spun on the spot, striking the ball past Purvis to seemingly seal the points.
Josh Holland was brought on as an Albion substitute & his fresh legs helped spark an upturn in the home side’s performance. He immediately went on a dashing run up the right wing & managed to launch a decent cross into the box, but none of his teammates had the legs to keep up with the move. Six minutes later the two other Albion subs combined to create a chance, when Craig Barker won a corner from which Mark Emmerson, with more time than he realised, fired high from close range.
Ryton did finally get a consolation their late pressure deserved. After being awarded a free kick, the ball found its way to HOLLAND who rifled in a powerful shot to grab his long awaited first goal of the season. However Team Northumbria hung on to keep their promotion hopes very much alive, the game finishing-
FT RACA 1 TEAM NORTHUMBRIA 2
That defeat almost certainly means RACA will miss out on the FA Cup again, though one more point from the last two games will at least double last season’s points total.
Team North will have to sweat it out & see if 83 points will be enough to see them promoted, it will be a nail biter for sure.
ALBION– Purvis, Graham, Hodges, Barker, Turnbull, McMeekin, Robinson, Backhouse (C Barker 81), Emmerson (Burnyeat 46), Kastrati (Holland 72), Shickle. Subs not used- Stoddart, Upperton
TEAM NORTHUMBRIA- Jennison, Tumilty, Read, O’Dea, Caygill, McKeown, Storey, Bertram, Dormand, Perez-Gutierrez, Dibb-Fuller. Subs- Bradley, Lowrie, Luke, White, Murdock
REFEREE- Darren Wylam