SUNDERLAND RCA reached the semi-finals of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup with a great performance at Dunston UTS last night, writes Malcolm Pratt.
Neil Hixon was forced to field a weakened line-up, but his side showed tremendous determination to win by the only goal scored, three minutes from the end of extra time.
Dunston had the upper hand in the opening half and could easily have gone in two goals in front.
Anthony Hume headed against the post on 26 minutes and as they struggled to contain the lively home attack, RCA again breathed a sigh of relief as a header from Chris Swailes struck the crossbar.
The Wearsiders were a different team in the second period when both sides had chances. The nearest either came to a goal was on 85 minutes when RCA’s Mark Davison hammered his shot against the woodwork.
In extra time neither side wilted and just when it appeared the tie would be settled on penalties, Stephen Jones became RCA’s hero.
There were only three minutes left on the clock as Jones crashed the ball into the net from an acute angle, giving goalkeeper Liam Connell absolutely no chance.
In the STL Northern League First Division, South Shields considerably eased their relegation fears with victory at Penrith who remain firmly entrenched in the drop zone.
The only goal came after 36 minutes when Lee Picton went up for a corner and powerfully headed the ball into the roof of the net.
Penrith remain third from bottom and Billingham Town are just two places above them after losing 3-0 at Ashington whose marksmen were Marc Walton, Andrew Johnson and Mark O’Dea.
Gillford Park reached the semi finals of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup when Michael Reid scored both goals in the win over Thornaby for whom Gary Mitchell had levelled from the penalty spot.