NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 5 ASHINGTON 2
There is nothing worse than having to play the same team twice within a week and this was an even worse scenario, as the teams had clashed in the league cup four days earlier with Newcastle Benfield running out winners 3-2, with a late Paul Brayson winner. This familiarity can lead to complacency from the winners or give a sense of defiance and a stronger will to the opposition; it was the third meeting of the teams this season with Benfield having won the previous two.
Both teams made changes from Tuesday’s match with an injury to ex Benfield player Paul Antony, seeing previously cup tied player Dale Pearson selected in his place. Newcastle Benfield made two changes with cup tied John Campbell replacing Josh Scott and Alex Berhan coming in for the injured Callum Duncan. In contrast to the last game this in the first half was bereft of anything exciting or worth writing about, apart from a near miss and a goal. The near miss came in the 7th minute, when an excellent pass down the wing from Ashington’s Dale Pearson found Ben Harmison, who quickly laid the ball off into the path of Ryan McGorrigan. The Ashington striker produced a fine low cross just put wide of the Benfield goal by the in rushing Kyle Downey. The goal came in the 33rd minute and it went to the home team. After a foul on John Campbell twenty yards out, ace goal scorer PAUL BRAYSON stepped up and smashed a low drive into the bottom right corner of the net, giving Conor Grant no chance of saving, making the score 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield, which it was at half time.
Within a minute of the second half Ashington almost got an equalising goal; Shaun Henderson produced a fine cross to the far post with the giant Ben Harmison leaping well to head just wide of the Benfield far post. The 8th minute of the second half saw the second goal of the game and it went again to Benfield. The ball was passed down the wing by Mark Turnbull to Paul Brayson who spotted the run of team mate JOHN CAMPBELL and played a square pass into his path with the Benfield striker hitting the ball home from six yards making it 2-0 to Benfield. A minute later it was three in similar circumstances. Matty Cornish went on a rampaging run down the right wing before passing the ball to Paul Brayson who squared the ball and despite a deflection of an Ashington defender saw his pass reach JOHN CAMPBELL. who tapped the ball into an empty goal to make the score 3-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
The game now looked out of range for Ashington but to their credit they kept attacking and within two minutes reduced the deficit; a free kick out on the Benfield left was swung in to be met by the head of WAYNE BUCHANAN who saw his bullet header fly into the Benfield net giving keeper Andrew Grainger not a hope of saving, making the score 3-1. Sixty three minutes had elapsed when another good Ashington attack brought a decent save out of Grainger. The ball was played down to Ben Harmison who despite being under pressure did well to chest the ball into the stride of Ryan McGorrigan then going for the return to see his shot saved for a corner which was headed clear.
In the 69th minute the Brayson/Campbell combination almost brought a fourth goal for Newcastle Benfield. Mark Turnbull passed the ball to John Campbell who after controlling the ball cut in to then pass the ball to Brayson who saw his shot blocked. From the block the ball rebounded back to Campbell who was unlucky not to get his hat trick as his shot hit the post and went out for a goal kick. Two more minutes had gone by when, in the seventy first, a fourth goal for Benfield arrived. John Campbell took a free kick from way out on the Ashington left, which was met by the head of SCOTT McCARTHY who saw his glancing header go into the net via the far post to make the score 4-1 to Newcastle Benfield.
Benfield were now in control and had several chances to get even more goals and were dominating play. They had another shooting chance in the 74th minute. Dylan McEvoy played a precise ball down the line to find John Campbell and the Benfield forward hit an impressive curling shot but Conor Grant was up to the task pulling off an equally impressive save. The Ashington keeper was again called into action within minute. Brayson chipped the ball onto the head of Scott McCarthy who headed the ball towards goal to see the keeper save his effort and Grant was up to the task again saving the rebound. The seventy ninth minute came along with John Campbell desperate to get his first hat trick for Benfield since his recent return from Newton Aycliffe; had he not been as desperate he would after combining with Josh Scott played a pass into the Ashington penalty area where he had three team mates waiting but he got greedy and saw his shot blocked to safety.
Ashington were thrown a lifeline in the 82nd minute, Shaun Henderson played a low ball into the Benfield penalty area, whereupon the ball bounced up and hit Tom McNamee on the arm with referee Jonathan Urwin awarding a penalty. Up stepped KYLE DOWNEY who absolutely smashed the ball high into the roof of the net giving Andrew Grainger not a hope in hell of saving making the score 4-2 to Newcastle Benfield.
Newcastle Benfield then with ten minutes to go made the first Soup Substitution in the history of the Northern League when CAMPBELL was replaced by BAXTER. It was the turn of Benfield substitute Josh Scott to show his prowess when he after getting the ball on the half way line flew down the wing outpacing Shaun Henderson before delivering a dangerous cross which was just cleared away from his team mates. Time was running out for Ashington with only a minute of ordinary time remaining but it was the home team who in fact got the last goal of the game; a poor back pass by Shaun Henderson found an equally poor clearance from goal keeper Conor Grant his clearance was seized on by MATTY CORNISH who advanced forward before passing the ball into the net making the score 5-2 to Newcastle Benfield.
In the last minute of the game a good run by Josh Scott found him passing to Paul Brayson who in turn passed the ball onto one of the SOUPER subs in the shape of Michael Baxter who was unlucky to see his lob shot just clear the Ashington cross bar, leaving the score at 5-2 to Newcastle Benfield which was the final score.
Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Turnbull, McEvoy, McNamee, Scorgie, Dummett, Berhan (Fisher), Cornish, Brayson, Campbell (Baxter), McCarthy (Scott)
Substitutes: Tobin, Esdaille
Man of the Match: Campbell