Swales hails RCA as Meadow Park men set up Bristol Manor Farm date in FA Vase fifth round

Liam Hatch gets congratulated on his goal in Sunderland RCA's win over Sleaford. Picture by Tim Richardson
Liam Hatch gets congratulated on his goal in Sunderland RCA's win over Sleaford. Picture by Tim Richardson
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Sleaford Town stopped off at Seaham for a brief training session on the beach, but were then swept aside by the groundswell of momentum sweeping across Sunderland RCA.

The Wearsiders edged their Lincolnshire visitors by the odd goal in five to reach the fifth round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history on Saturday.

And an exuberant Martin Swales hailed his team’s performance, saying: “We’d hardly played for eight weeks and our performance was not as good as I hoped, but, in the end, we clinched the result we wanted.

“I thought we started very slowly and only came into the game when we went a goal behind.

“We then took control of the latter stages of the first half, but Sleaford came back very strongly during the second and, in the end, it took a stunning goal from Michael Charlton to clinch the tie.

“Now I’ve got to prepare the lads for Saturday’s home match with Bristol Manor Farm and I’ll be doing my homework during the week.”

A poorly-defended corner gave Ryan Oliver the opportunity to head Sleaford into a ninth-minute lead, but gradually the Wearsiders came more into the game and Charlton followed in a rebound for the equaliser.

Liam Hatch then headed in Luke Proctor’s corner to give RCA a 2-1 lead at the break, but, in the second period, the home side had to withstand incessant pressure from their opponents.

Sleaford eventually equalised through Brad Hockin, but, in a dramatic finale, Charlton came up trumps with a superb lob from fully 35 yards.

“It was an absolute beauty and worthy of winning any match,” hailed manager Swales.

In the final minutes, a melee in the box resulted in Sleaford’s David Hone being sent off and later, when they were awarded a free-kick, the visitors sent everyone into the penalty area – but Swales’ men stood tall and firm.

Newton Aycliffe also reached the last 16 with a 2-0 victory over Marske United in an all-Northern League tie. Mattie Moffat and Stuart Banks were the scorers.

The league will have four teams in the last 16. In addition to RCA and Newton Aycliffe, Dunston UTS went through last week with victory at Coleshill Town, while Morpeth Town and North Shields will make a second attempt to play their postponed fourth round match at Craik Park on Wednesday.