Whickham started 2023 with a point after coming from behind to draw 1-1 against a well-organised Sunderland RCA team. WRITES ADAM TONES.
Denver Morris opened the scoring five minutes before half-time after being perfectly placed to deflect Nathan Lawrence’s off-target shot into the back of Nathan Harker’s net.
Whickham levelled the scores when Lawrence diverted Kaleb Young’s corner into his own goal halfway through the second half.
In a scrappy first half of few chances, Whickham produced the first attack of the match when Clayton Davis’ cross found Jamie Dunn inside the box, but the striker failed to force Keaton Marrs into a save.
The visitors pressed once more when James McGeorge was quickest to a loose RCA pass, laying the ball off to an advancing Tom Howard on the right-hand side.
The defender steadied himself before floating in a cross which was inches away from connecting with an unmarked Dunn inside the host’s six-yard box.
Sunderland RCA broke the deadline with minutes of the first half remaining when Lawrence’s drilled shot from 30 yards hit Morris’ leg inside the box, wrong-footing Harker as it rolled into his bottom right-hand corner.
Howard almost levelled the scores within minutes of the restart the defender finding himself with just Marrs to beat after cutting in from the right, but his cutback was cleared from danger.
The Lang Jacks introduced Jack Robson 10 minutes into the second half and it proved a decisive moment in the match.
The attacker’s direct approach caused RCA problems throughout the second half, skipping passed his man on several occasions.
Robson, who was making his first appearance since October almost made an immediate impact when he skilfully passed an RCA defender, but his cross was timely intercepted with Dunn perfectly placed for a tap-in.
Garon Garside was next to test Marrs but his header from a Dale Burrell free kick did not have the power to cause the RCA goalkeeper any issues.
Once again Robson was in the thick of the action as he advanced past his marker before cutting inside and forcing Marrs to tip his curling effort around the post for a corner.
Whickham deservedly got their equaliser when Dale Burrell’s free-kick hit the RCA wall, the defender managed to deliver the ball into the box at the second attempt winning a corner in the process.
The resulting corner was floated in by Kaleb Young with Lawrence jumping highest at the front post to divert his header past his own goalkeeper to level the scores.
Lee Haldane’s team looked the more likely to snatch all three points, but Marrs was equal to Nathan Greenwood’s effort from an acute angle and remained focused to save Robson’s attempt from close range a few minutes later.
The final opportunity of the match fell to the visitors in added time when Sam Dibb-Fuller rose highest to connect with Harvey Smith free kick but the striker was unable to get any power on his header leaving Marrs with a simple catch.
The draw gives Whickham manager Lee Haldane his first point since being appointed as manager and ends a run of two straight defeats. Sunderland RCA remain in 13th position, two places below Whickham.
Whickham team | Harker, Howard (J. Robson 55), Garside, Burrell, Agnew, Davis, Young (Peareth 87), Richardson, McGeorge (Dibb-Fuller 65’), Greenwood (Bada 85’), Dunn (Smith 84’)
Goalscorer | Own Goal.
Man of the Match | Jack Robson
Referee | Thomas Lishman