Whitley Bay 3 Newcastle Benfield 1
Tuesday 16th August 2016
Three days after Benfield’s noteworthy triumph over FA Vase holders Morpeth Town, the Lions had their first away fixture after three home games in a row, with a trip to Hillheads Park; home of 4 times FA Vase winners and the aristocratic branch of football north of the Tyne, Whitley Bay. Having lost on their last pair of visits in calamitous circumstances (5-3 after being 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go and 2-0 on a perishing night in January after squandering a dozen or more gilt-edged chances), this evening’s defeat was disappointing, but not catastrophic or soul-destroying.
After a quiet opening 10 minutes, the home side scored a goal where the blinding sun in the eyes of the Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger may have been a factor. A soft free kick was skimmed in with a flat delivery and mammoth centre half Ross Wilkinson, who looks a commanding addition to the Seahorses’ squad, glanced a header on that Grainger made a superhuman effort to tip over, but was unlucky to see drop just under the bar.
Undaunted by this setback, Benfield continued to play their part in a measured, attractive game of football. Jake Trodd’s deflected effort came within inches of restoring parity and the Lions were to rue this unfortunate slice of luck when Andy Robertson doubled the home team’s advantage. Having intercepted an attempted clearance in midfield, Bay worked the ball out to Robertson on the right hand side of the box and his powerful, low effort flew in. Just before the interval Scott McCarthy worked himself an opening in the Bay box and fired in a good effort that was charged down, with Michael Riley’s follow up effort whizzing just over the angle, leaving the score 2-0 at the break.
Almost immediately on the resumption, Scott McCarthy reduced the arrears with a sublime piece of individual skill. Collecting the ball near the dead ball line, he could have taken the easy option to win a corner, but instead he glided past three defenders before firing home a delicious effort. Benfield were back in it, pushing the home side back and enjoying much possession on the edge of the area. Sadly, no goals were forthcoming and Andy Robertson made it safe for the home team by sliding in Fryatt’s low cross at the back post.
Despite throwing caution to the wind, Benfield couldn’t add to their tally; even debutant Dylan McEvoy, having gone round the keeper, saw his effort hacked agonisingly off the line to mean the final score was 3-1 and Benfield’s first loss of the season. However, the team played well and there are plenty of encouraging signs for the future.
Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Errington (Blackett), Scott (McEvoy), Tobin, Scorgie, McNamee, Baptist, Riley (Walker), Trodd (Cornish), Brayson, McCarthy
Substitutes: Busby, Coghlan
Man of the Match: Trodd