This was another excellent workout for the RA against 1st Division opposition at Dean Street last night. Whilst on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline, the RA played well, matching the home side for long periods and unlucky to come away without a goal to show for their efforts.
Shildon enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half hour but were unable to break down a well organised RA defence, although it took a flying save from Alex Kell to keep the score goalless. Resistance was finally broken on 32 minutes when Ben Wood finished off a fine passing move by Shildon, firing in from a narrow angle.
The Railway Athletic had chances of their own, notably a spectacular overhead kick from Steve Allison which went close and a short range effort from Graham Whitehead which flashed just wide of the post. Lee Johnson was having a good game in the middle of the park.
Both sides made changes at half-time and Nick Harrison gave a run out to all of the visiting squad. Stephen Cheeseman in particular made his presence felt with an impressive performance in midfield. It was Shildon, however, who put the game to bed with two goals in the space of five second half minutes. First Billy Smith converted a left wing cross from close range on 57 minutes and Sam Garvie then scored on 62 minutres with a fine angled effort from the edge of the box.
The Darlington side pressed to get something from the game and were denied a penalty when the referee deemed that the foul took place on the very edge of the box. The Shildon keeper also made a fine save from a Steve Allison header which seemed destined for the corner of the net.
The pre-season programme was due to continue this Saturday with a home game against Thirsk Falcons. However, owing to the unavailabilty of RA coaching staff for the game, it has been agreed with Thirsk that the game should be cancelled.
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