This match was the first of two games within five days for Newcastle Benfield against Ashington; tonight’s being a league cup game at Ashington, with the league game to come at Sam Smith’s Park.
The match almost got off to an explosive start in the first minute. A switch of play from the Benfield right wing found Josh Scott who first time laid the ball into the path of Paul Brayson, just inside the Ashington half. Progressing forward he let fly just before entering the Ashington penalty area, only to see his shot crash back off the post and out to safety with keeper Conor Grant looking on as a bystander. Once play had settled down neither team looked as if they would score but in the 8th minute Benfield again went close to a goal when Matty Cornish cut in to shoot at goal and a huge deflection looked as if the ball had been deflected on target, but to the relief of the Ashington players the ball went just wide for a corner.
The visitors were now starting to control the tempo of the game and it looked as if any team was going to score it was Benfield, as proven many times that football is a funny game; so it was also proven in this match. The game had reached the 23rd minute when the ball was cleared for a corner to Ashington; this was taken by Kyle Downey who floated the ball to the far post to find to find the giant that is BEN HARMISON who was given a free run towards the ball powering a header into the Benfield net making it 1-0 to Ashington. It should have been two goals to Ashington in the 29th minute. A ball down the Colliers’ right wing was controlled by recent signing Ryan McGorrigan, who advanced to hit a shot just wide when he should have at least made Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger work by hitting the target.
Play had reached the 33rd minute when Benfield were awarded a free kick,this was headed clear by a Ashington defender to be controlled 25yards out by Dylan McEvoy, the young full back, advanced to flash a shot inches wide of the goal with keeper Conor Grant looking on well beaten. In the 34th minute Benfield got back on level terms, when dazzling footwork from Matty Cornish took him past three defenders, opening up a great shooting chance, but with the Benfield supporters urging him to shoot, he squared the ball to Scott McCarthy who advanced into the Ashington penalty area to be upended by Wayne Buchanan with the referee Craig Dean pointing immediately to the penalty spot. Up stepped PAUL BRAYSON who has missed two out of his last three penalties but even so there was no doubt who would take this spot kick and normal service was resumed as he sent Conor Grant the wrong way to make the score 1-1 which it was at half time.
The first minute of the second half started off as explosively as the first minute of the first half but this time roles were reversed with Ashington going close to scoring. A long clearance out of the Ashington defence saw the ball go over the heads of the Benfield back four. The keeper Andrew Grainger raced out of his box to be lobbed by Ryan McGorrigan who was unfortunate to see his lob shot go just wide of the Benfield goal. It was the home team who had the next shooting chance and it took a good save from Benfield custodian Andrew Grainger to save an equally good effort from Kyle Downey.
Twelve minutes of the second half had elapsed when the Colliers got their second goal, when a ball into the Benfield penalty area looked like it was the keepers’ ball but Dylan McEvoy tried to bring the ball down under control. The ball went loose to BEN HARMISON who drove the loose ball into the net from ten yards making the score 2-1 to Ashington.
Another fifteen minutes had gone by before Newcastle Benfield got back on level terms; this time Dylan McEvoy went on a rampaging run down the Benfield left flank advancing to the Ashington by-line before producing a low cross to find the advancing LEWIS SCORGIE in the six yard box gleefully hitting the ball into an empty net to make it 2-2. In the 83rd minute, Ashington had a good chance to get a third goal. Ryan McGorrigan played a well weighted pass to substitute Dan O’Reilly who although getting his shot away it was a really poor effort going well wide of the Benfield goal.
The game was coming to the later stage of play and Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger had to be on his toes to keep out a well struck Ashington free kick tipping a 30 yard effort from Kyle Downey over the bar for a corner. Time was running out with the game being destined for a penalty shootout but Benfield were given an opportunity to win the match in the 86th minute when Paul Brayson was fouled just outside of the Ashington penalty area, the Benfield striker stepped up to hit a fine shot on target equally well saved by Conor Grant in the Ashington goal.
The third minute of added on time had arrived when Benfield got their third and winning goal of the game. Pushing all players forward the ball somehow found Lewis Scorgie who produced a back heel putting the ball into the path of ace goalscorer PAUL BRAYSON, who drove a left foot shot high into the net making it 3-2 to Newastle Benfield which was the winning score at full time putting Newcastle Benfield into the quarter finals. The winning goal was time at 92.57.
Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Turnbull, McEvoy, McNamee, Scorgie, Dummett, Cornish, Duncan, Brayson, Scott (Baxter), McCarthy.
Substitutes: Berhan, Tobin, Fisher, Convery
Man of the Match: Cornish