After three cup games in a row it was back to reality with a home league game against Sunderland R.C.A. who were having a good start to the season lying in 8th position.
Lewis Scorgie wasn’t available so Benfield gave a debut to Gateshead player Jon Mellish signed on a short loan.
(Above photo credit Simon Mears Sunderland RCA)
Benfield looked bright from the start but it was the visitors
who got a goal in the 5th minute, a free kick out on the right wing was half cleared away and then quickly returned to the far post where JAMES CASSIDY bundled the ball over the line to make the score 1-0 to Sunderland R.C.A.
Ten minutes had elapsed with Jake Orrell in the action,after receiving the ball he cut in to shoot, his effort was blocked back to him with his second shot well defended out of danger.
Play was confined to the ball being evenly contested in mid field with neither team keeping either goal keeper busy,then in the 24th minute Benfield were awarded a free kick taken by Dylan McEvoy who found Jake Orrell he then brought a good save out of R.C.A. keeper Keith Finch.
The visitors looked a well organised side and came close to getting a second goal in the 29th minute,after a strong run Stephen Callen went past Rhys Evans to deliver a brilliant near post cross which unluckly for R.c.a.was just too strong for Nathan O’Neill who despite throwing himself at the ball failed to make contact.
The clock was moving towards half time,in the 40th minute RCA came close to getting a second goal, from a Benfield throw in the ball was lost to Stephen Callen on the halfway line, he then advanced forward with the Benfield defence retreating to the edge of their penalty area. Seeing that there was no pressure on the ball he hit a strong shot which was well saved for a corner by Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger. From the corner kick it was again the RCA winger who had another chance this time with his head but he put a good scoring opportunity over the Benfield bar, leaving the halftime score at 1-0 to R.C.A.
Luke Page for the visitors was immediately put into the action with only a minute of the second half having past,after a strong surging run he was then fouled but the Wearsiders effort from 20 yards out was poor over the Benfield bar.
The visitors had a great opportunity to double their lead in the 52nd minute,the ball was played into the Benfield penalty area by Stephen Callen where Benfield defender Laquan Esdaile was deemed to have fouled Luke Page with the referee awarding a penalty.
From the spot kick taken by Nathan O’neill Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger who despite diving one way managed to make contact on the ball flicking it over the bar with his foot for a corner.
It was Benfields turn to get a free kick in the 58th minute but it came to nothing with new signing Luke Carr
hitting the defensive wall going for a corner.
Sixty three minutes had past when RCA’s Luke Page fed the ball into Luke Richardson who drove the ball towards the Benfield bottom corner of the net only to see Grainger make a good save holding onto the ball.R.C.A.then came close when Esdaille headed the ball clear out of defence but the ball dropped to Nathan O’Neill who saw his volley come close to hitting the target. Just a minute later and Luke Carr went close for the Lions with a well struck shot bringing out an equally good save from Keith Finch in the RCA goal.
The turning point of the game and the most controversial decision of many contested by players of both sides came in the 78th minute,Jordan Laidler went into a tackle with an RCA defender who was facing his own goal,the ball rebounded to Liam Hudson, although he was in an offside position had the ball been played by a Benfield player but it was by an Rca defender with the ball going into the goal for what would have been the equalising goal.
The linesman didn’t flag but the referee Mr. Shane Sugden decided to give offside to the despair of the Benfield team and bench saying that it wasn’t a RCA defender who played the ball last, with the Benfield supporters letting their feelings be known especially to the linesman. Obviously with the help of video coverage which the referee didn’t have to aid him it was clear later after the match had finished that the last ball played was by a RCA defender and it was touch and go if it was an own goal or a goal from Liam Hudson.
Although frustrated by the decision Benfield needed to keep up their concentration and not concede a second goal,they nearly did in the 84th minute,Nathan O’neill showede good control of the ball then placed over a brilliant cross into the Benfield penalty area but to his despair no one was on the end of his cross.
With a minute of the game left on the watch Benfield got an goal,a ball was played into PAUL BRAYSON who despite being under pressure from a defender swivelled to crash a left foot shot into the net for the equalising goal making the score 1-1.
Newcastle Benfield then had a setback when with only a minute of the match left the referee sent off loanee Jordan Laidler for his second yellow card but Benfield saw out the rest of the game leaving the score at 1-1.
M.O.M….On his debut…..
(Above photo Simon Mears Sunderland RCA )
I felt we fully controlled the game without hurting them in the final third, without looking for excuses as we take control of our own business in house I felt that the officials were as bad as it gets in terms of we all work hard for the pinnacle which is match day and too often the officials are dictating what the result is.
Programme Editor Ian Cusack View
I’d like to welcome everyone to Sam Smith’s Park for this afternoon’s EBAC Northern League Division 1 game against Sunderland RCA. I hope our visitors’ short stay with us is an enjoyable one and that they have a safe journey home back through the tunnel to Wearside at full time. I’m sure they will be hoping for a closer game than their last visit here, when we defeated them 6-1 in a league game that was a benefit for Keiran Wrightson last March. Wonderfully, Keiran is our cover star today, with an action shot from our last game here, when he completed the full 90 minutes in our 2-0 victory over Alnwick Town in the Northumberland FA Techflow Marine Senior Cup first round. While that victory has handed us a quarter final tie away to Team Northumbria on Monday 4th December, meaning the Shildon league game on Thursday 7th December will almost certainly be rearranged, the good news is Keiran’s recovery and return to full fitness continues apace.
After the Alnwick game, we extended our winning run to 7 games when we defeated Bedlington Terriers in the FA Vase, with our 3-0 win at Doctor Pit securing us a home tie against North Shields on Saturday 2nd December, meaning the Ashington game (with the return of Steve Bowey in their dugout) has been postponed until 31st March next year. There have been the usual complaints on social media about the Vase draw deliberately disadvantaging Northern League sides, but this is palpably not the case. All teams are allotted to a particular geographical zone (in our case zone 1) and until the last 16, or 5th
round in old money, you can only draw an opponent from the same zone. Consequently, we went into Monday’s draw knowing we would be paired against one of the other 5 remaining Northern League sides, 4 North West Counties teams or the final pairing from the Northern Counties East. In the event, those two teams, Pontefract Collieries and Worksop Town were pitted against each other. If we prevail against Shields, we can have only 1 of 5 possible opponents in the 4th round; being drawn from a pool consisting of the West Auckland v Whitley Bay all Northern League tie, the 1874 Northwich versus Ashton Athletic North West Counties face-off or the cross Pennine duels between Stockton Town and City of Liverpool, or Runcorn Linnets (who defeated our opponents today in a replay on Tuesday) versus Marske United. From my perspective, I feel the FA have a thankless task; either the competition goes national from early on and the usual suspects bellyache about travelling expenses and time, or it stays regionalised and there are derisive comments about the draw being a fix.
Anyway, last time out, we took on Whickham in the Brookes Mileson League Cup and just about made it through to the last 16, winning 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. As yet the draw for the next round has not been made, so we remain in the dark about our next opponents. After today, we are next in action away to RCA’s near neighbours Ryhope CW on Tuesday evening, followed by a visit to Jarrow Roofing on Saturday 25th, before returning to home action on Thursday 30th November, when Seaham Red Star are in town. On the playing front, we’d like to welcome Luke Carr from Morpeth Town; if he’s as stylish on the pitch as in his Twitter photo, we’re in for a treat. As ever, updates to fixtures and any other pressing items of club news will be available on Twitter at @NcleBenfield and @NcleBenfieldTV not to mention from our YouTube channel. Enjoy the game!
ian cusack; Programme Editor