NFA Senior Cup Qf

Team Northumbria 2

Newcastle Benfield 2

Newcastle Benfield win 6-5 on Pens

After the intense passion and drama of the victory over North Shields in the FA Vase, Newcastle Benfield turned their attention to the Nortumberland Senior Cup and a quarter final tie away to our nearest neighbours, Team Northumbria. While the game began in almost somnolent fashion on a calm and temperate evening, the contest grew into an absorbing struggle, with the visitors emerging triumphant in their thirteenth (and counting) cup game of the 30 played thus far in 2017/2018 after 120 even minutes and a dozen further kicks from the penalty mark, meaning at least 3 further knock out ties are guaranteed for the New Year.

The first half was nothing to write home about. Pleasant, aimless play on a pleasant evening categorised the opening 20 minutes, with the hosts’ Ben Dibb-Fuller having the first shot of the evening, putting a free kick just wide of Andrew Grainger’s goal. This signified a period of more sustained Team North pressure, but the calm and assured defending of Gateshead loanee Jon Mellish snuffed out any danger, resulting in the game descending back to sterility. Benfield’s only notable attempt of the first half saw Team North keeper Charles Murphy palm away a Paul Brayson free kick.

After the break, Jake Orrell had the ball in the Team North net, only to be denied by the assistant’s flag. This decision seemed crucial when Team North finally took the lead on 76 minutes. Three minutes after an exquisite curling effort by Dibb-Fuller clipped the outside of the post, a dubious challenge on Joe Hailes saw the home side advance on the Benfield goal. Dibb-Fuller’s wayward effort struck a team mate and fell perfectly into the path on on-rushing NICK GREEN, who hammered it home with relish. Benfield belatedly laid siege to the Team North goal, but had no discernible joy. Finally, on 87 minutes, a foul on Hailes was given on the edge of the box. PAUL BRAYSON’s initial effort struck the wall, but his scruffy, mishit follow up bamboozled Murphy and dribbled over the line, resulting in an extra 30 minutes play to find a winner.

Benfield enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half of extra time and belatedly took the lead on 105 minutes, when JON MELLISH stabbed home at the near post from a Brayson corner. It seemed to be enough as a largely uneventful second period was drawing to a close, until a nothing ball across the box found KEVIN CARR, who swept home an impressive finish into the top corner. After 10 successful kicks, the Benfield scorers being: Brayson, Slaughter, Hailes, McEvoy and Novak, it was the unfortunate Carr who had his attempt parried by Grainger, leaving JON MELLISH to drive home the decisive penalty, putting Benfield into the semi-finals with Blyth Spartans, Morpeth Town and the winners of the Newcastle United v AFC Blyth tie.

Man of the Match: Jon Mellish

I did not think we were at our best but we stuck at it and got the reward in the end.

It’s been a hard week with 2 big games which we’ve won.

Team North didn’t have a game on Saturday and we had a hard game at the weekend in the Vase.

Our opponents met at 430 pm in preparation for the game and had food together, most of our team were finishing work at 630pm after a 12 hour shift and were knackered so it was always going to be a difficult game. The lads dug deep and got the result and showed brilliant character.