On a perfect day for football with neither wind nor rain and a first class pitch, we had the third and final Coach Lane Clasico of the season. It stood at two wins to Benfield with the visitors hoping for a third win making it a clean sweep but the hosts wanting a win to get them out of the relegation zone.
It only took eight minutes for the first goal of the game and it went the way of Newcastle Benfield; a long pass out of defence by Lewis Scorgie was controlled by John Campbell out on the right wing. Advancing forward he squared the ball to Jack Devlin who saw his shot well saved by Allotment keeper Chris Bannon but the ball rebounded off the keeper falling to West Allotment’s biggest nightmare PAUL BRAYSON who after controlling the ball rolled it into the net making the score 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
West Allotment had a chance to get an equaliser in the 14th minute when a poor square pass by Tom McNamee was intercepted by Ex Benfield striker Stephen Young, advancing forward he hit a strong shot well saved by the fingertips of Benfield custodian Andrew Grainger for a corner which came to nothing. Due to injuries Benfield have had to play Matty Cornish at right back instead of his normal attacking right mid field position; he has been playing brilliantly in this position and it was in the 16th minute from a long switch of play from Paul Brayson that saw him control the ball advance forward to hit a fine shot well saved by Chris Bannon for a corner.
Another ex-Benfield player in the shape of Liam Hudson then had a shooting chance in the 21st minute when sloppy defending by several Benfield players gave him the chance to advance on the Benfield goal but his shot was weak giving Andrew Grainger an easy save. Benfield gave a debut to Oliver Leedham, a recent signing from Dunston, and he had been prominent in several good pieces of play, in the 23rd minute he gained possession of the ball out on the right wing, he then cut in before checking onto his left foot to let fly a strong shot which took a slight deflection off West Allotment’s Paul Stoneman before hitting the net to make the score 2-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
The third ex-Benfield player playing for Allotment was David Henderson and he was in the thick of the action in the 34th and 37th minutes; firstly he produced a fine through ball for Stephen Young, who saw his first effort blocked but from the rebound he saw Benfield keeper Grainger bring off a fine save. It was the same two who were next involved after winning the ball in mid field Henderson advanced forward crossing onto the head of Liam Hudson which brought a brilliant save from Grainger for a corner. A minute later West Allotment were given a lifeline, when Benfield defender Lewis Scorgie produced a strong tackle to win the ball, but in doing so the ball rolled onto his arm with the referee giving a penalty, saying that his arm wasn’t in a natural position and the ball would have rolled to an Allotment player giving a free shot on goal. From the resultant penalty up stepped Craig Hindmarsh to crash the ball against the Benfield cross bar and away to safety still leaving the score 2-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
As with the second goal of the game the third came just after Allotment had missed a chance of getting on the score sheet, a cross into the box by Olly Leedham gave Marc Dummett a fantastic chance to score. He did brilliantly well to head against the bar from two yards, he must have thought that he was defending as he was in a very unusual position, probably having a nose bleed for being so far over the half way line. The ball rebounded out to John Campbell who hooked the ball over his shoulder to see it headed out of defence to the edge of the Allotment penalty area to find PAUL BRAYSON who hit a venomous half volley which flew into the net via the underside of the cross bar to make the score 3-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
Three minutes of the half were left when a through ball brought concern to Benfield, Liam Hudson looked as he had a shooting chance but Benfield captain Mark Turnbull had other ideas making a fine tackle for a corner, Kallum McGlen took the corner and poor marking gave Stephen Young a gilt edged chance, leaving him a free header at goal on the six yard box but he headed over the cross bar when he should have at least hit the target. This left the halftime score at 3-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
Nothing is worse for a manager than giving a build me up pep talk at halftime and then conceding within minutes of the restart but this did happen; five minutes in a brilliantly slotted through ball by Olly Leedham flew into the path of John Campbell. He then advanced to hit a shot which was well saved by Chris Bannon, the ball however rebounded to ace poacher Benfield’s PAUL BRAYSON who hit the ball into the empty net for his third goal of the game making the score 4-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
For the next fifteen minutes or so play was pretty even with neither keeper being called on to bring off any saves of real note but in the 65th minute Tom McNamee produced a fine through ball into the path of John Campbell who outpaced Allotment defender Paul Stoneman to shoot and bring a fine save out of Allotment keeper Chris Bannon.
Bannon was again in the action in the 70th minute, Benfield’s Matty Cornish advanced forward to strike a fine low drive which was saved for a corner, from the dead ball situation the ball found its way to John Campbell who struck a terrific left foot drive inches wide of the Allotment goal.
Seventy seven minutes had elapsed when Benfield nearly added a fifth goal; substitute Meeshak Kanda gained possession and advanced forward to smash a 20 yard shot which came crashing off the bar away to safety. A minute later and Kanda was again involved in a good move playing a pass to Matty Cornish who saw his strong effort go just wide of the post; this left the score 4-0 to Newcastle Benfield which was the full time score.