RCA’s FA Vase dreams wrecked by last-minute Linnets strike

Sunderland RCA (yellow) battle against Seaham Red Star in their recent league derby.
Sunderland RCA (yellow) battle against Seaham Red Star in their recent league derby.

Sunderland RCA’s Buildbase FA Vase dreams were dashed by last night’s second round replay loss at home to Runcorn Linnets.

Martin Swales’ men had reached the fifth round in each of the last two seasons, but a last-gasp strike gave 10-man Runcorn a dramatic victory at Meadow Park.

After a slow start to the game, the visitors – who were reduced to nine men with two dismissals in Saturday’s 1-1 original draw – had Mitchell Bryant sent off for elbowing Craig Hodgson in the 35th minute.

RCA capitalised on their man advantage to go ahead just before the interval, when captain Ross Preston headed home from a corner.

Early in the second half, the Linnets were awarded a penalty and Danny O’Brien made no mistake, placing his spot-kick in the corner of Keith Finch’s net to level things up at 1-1.

The tie looked set to go to extra time again, but, in the very last minute, Runcorn bagged a dramatic winner when Mark Houghton tapped the ball home to delight the travelling support and clinch a 2-1 success.

While RCA must lick their wounds, Runcorn can now look forward to a home tie against another Northern League side, Marske United, in the next round.

Tow Law Town also exited the Vase, following a 5-1 drubbing at 1874 Northwich.

The original tie was postponed on Saturday, and Lawyers found their hosts too strong as they headed to Cheshire.

They went behind to a 37th-minute goal from Scott McGowan and Adam Whitlock doubled their lead, five minutes into the second half.

Jake Parker hit a third before Lewis Teasdale rallied Lawyers, but McGowan and Kazim Waite-Jackson sealed Northwich’s progress to a home tie against Ashton Athletic, weekend conquerors of Morpeth Town.