Stevens sparks stunning second-half comeback against RCA

Damien Stevens sparked a second-half comeback on his return as Whickham completed a league double over Sunderland RCA after a 3-1 win at the First Mortgage Glebe.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when Mark Davison headed home Dylan Elliott’s corner, while Jack Leonard struck the post just a minute later.

A moment of pure magic from Stevens, turning on the edge of the area and finding the bottom corner, swung the momentum Whickham’s way in the final half-an-hour.

Tom Scothern turned Scott Robson’s low cross into the net on 81 minutes and Max Cowburn’s free-kick wrapped up the three points.

The Lang Jacks picked up their first league victory at home since the 2-0 win over Thornaby in mid-August. Whickham play host to Whitley Bay in their next match on Saturday afternoon.

Just over an hour before kick-off, new signing Scott McCarthy was unveiled and the forward was brought straight into the starting line-up by manager Mark Convery.

The two sides had their first sight of goal inside the first 20 minutes of the game, through Craig Hennis and Ross Peareth respectively.

However, the first real chance fell to the hosts on 24 minutes. Conor Newton played a ball over the top to McCarthy, who turned away from his marker and drove a low cross into the box.

The ball made its way to Lee McAndrew at the back post and the wide man struck low, but his effort was cleared off the line by Henry Dorward.

RCA went close to opening the scoring on 35 minutes when Davison’s powerful header was cleared off the line and behind for another corner.

A carbon copy of that set-piece followed, however, this time Davison was unmarked and nodded home to put the visitors ahead.

It was backs against the wall for the Lang Jacks for the next few minutes, with Leonard striking the post just a minute later, while Davison’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by Jack Wilson.

The home side come out with intent in the second-half and the introduction of Stevens, making his first appearance since re-signing, brought a spark into the team.

The forward has the ability to change the game in an instant. Robson’s pass was collected by Stevens, who spun onto his right foot before firing into the bottom corner.

Whickham were denied a second, just five minutes later, when Robert Dean produced a stunning save to tip Newton’s rasping drive over the bar.

RCA thought they had retaken the lead on 75 minutes. Leonard’s effort was pushed away and Elliott struck home the rebound, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Five minutes later, the hosts drove forward and went close when Dale Burrell struck just over the target and the hosts continued to look for a second goal.

That second goal came just a minute later. A quick counter attack saw Cowburn switch play to the left with a delightful pass to Robson.

The forward drove down the flank, racing away from the defender, and cross low, which was turned home from close range by Scothern.

Whickham could breathe a sigh of relief when Cowburn curled a free-kick off the inside of the post and into the net on 88 minutes, doubling their lead.

Whickham: Wilson, McAndrew, Exley, Peareth (Stevens, 59), Galbraith, Lindo, Scothern, Burrell, McCarthy (Cowburn, 78), Newton, Robson

Subs Not Used: Statt, Cranston, Howard

Sunderland RCA: Dean, Allen, Dorward, Hodgson (Ryan Leonard, 86), Swansbury, Hennis, O’Neill, Elliott, Davison, Slack, Jack Leonard

Subs Not Used: Davis, Ezard, Green, Lawson

Goals: 0-1, 35 min, Davison; 1-1, 64 min, Stevens; 2-1, 81 min, Scothern; 3-1, 88 min, Cowburn

Referee: Christopher Ellis

Assistants: Karl Barron and Lewis Reynolds

Attendance: 110

Photo: Will Matthews