Whitley denied by late RCA winner

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Whitley Bay 2-3 Sunderland RCA

A stoppage time goal for visitors Sunderland RCA denied Whitley a point on an emotional afternoon on North Tyneside.

Both Whitley and their local rivals North Shields paid tribute to Robbie Livermore who played a total of more than 300 games for the two clubs, and tragically passed away just over a week earlier.

There was a minute of applause at both grounds ahead 0f the games, with numerous tributes paid before kick off to the hugely popular midfielder.

The pattern for the first half was one of the visitors having the greater share of possession and launching a series of attacks on the Bay goal but being repelled by a well organised defence, while Whitley were repeatedly being caught offside when they broke forward.

The visitors had the ball in the Whitley net but an offside flag had been raised and O’Neill’s effort was ruled out.

After the interval the pattern changed with Whitley being more adventurous and effective in attack. Seven minutes after the resumption, they were rewarded when Peter Glen-Ravenhill’s right wing corner was flicked on by Olly Martin. The ball clipped the bar before rebounding back into play and from a tight angle Andrei Ardelean slotted the ball home at the far post to give Whitley the lead.

But just 90 seconds later the Ryhope side equalised through Davis. Sunderland then applied pressure before Whitley retook the lead after 63 minutes when Glen-Ravenhill, from the edge of the box, delivered a superb shot over keeper Pocklington into the net.

RCA battled back and they drew level for the second time when a fast break from defence by Page set up Larkin, whose ball across goal was converted by Davison.

Into the final 15 minutes Whitley had a chance when Glen-Ravenhill crossed from the right but Ardelean shot wide of goal.

Swansbury was denied by a goal line clearance from McFarlane and it looked as if the points would be shared but then in the third minute of stoppage time, McAloon crossed into the box and Larkin got his head to the ball knocking it back across Logan and into the net for a dramatic late winner.

The visitors may have felt they deserved victory but Whitley will feel hard done by after a hard fought game.