Fantastic team performance from Newcastle Benfield today.
A saved penalty from Brayson Goals from Elliot Forbes, Jake Orell and a brace from Josh Scott seal the points for the Lions.
Full match report to follow
Having already seen off Consett 5-2 in the home league game and 3-2 in a Northern League Cup tie at their ground, Newcastle Benfield travelled optimistically to a sunny, chilly and breezy Belle View hoping to complete a hat trick of victories over the Steelmen, who were trying their third different keeper against the Lions this campaign, in the shape of top quality, experienced gloveman Kyle Hayes. Sadly, for the former Whitley Bay and Shildon custodian, he was required to pick the ball out of the net 4 times during the course of this game, while Andrew Grainger who had been so dominant and commanding on the Wednesday in the victory over Morpeth, was allowed an easy afternoon, other than an excellent low stop from a Michael Sweet effort in the last 10 minutes. By then the game was long over as a contest and the away side had cruised to an emphatic victory that was still, bafflingly, not enough to win the prestigious accolade of Northern League Team of the Week. Instead this award went to North Shields, presumably for conceding 5 goals at home to relegation-threatened Jarrow Roofing.
Having easily overcome the cloying gluepot that is the Craik Park pitch, Benfield showed their skill and versatility by utilising the slick and true 4G surface to their advantage, by downing the second top placed hosts with a flurry of incisive passing and ruthless finishing that ended the game as a contest after a mere 23 minutes, by which time the Lions were sitting pretty with a 3-goal lead. The first came after 7 minutes, when Jake Orrell expertly touched in a killer pass from Luke Carr, who had collected the ball from a throw in by Joe Hailes, who was again pressed into emergency service at left back. It was a simple but devastatingly effective finish that rocked the home side back on their heels. If this were a boxing match, the Steelmen would have been subject to a mandatory standing count two minutes later, when an unmarked Josh Scott celebrated his return to his former club by collecting a pass from Carr and spinning 180 degrees, before finishing clinically into the bottom corner past the unavailing efforts of a sprawling Hayes.
On 23 minutes it was effectively game over, as the Benfield central midfield combined to devastating effect. Richy Slaughter crossed a low ball for the unmarked, on-rushing Elliott Forbes to sweep home first time, without breaking stride. The stunned home support, so vociferous at the start, either turned on their team or sought solace in strong drink and Sky Sports in the clubhouse. By the time the whistle blew for half time, it should have been 4. Ace marksman Paul Brayson got in on the act by being bundled over in the area. Picking himself up, he took the penalty, but Hayes made a great stop and then blocked the rebound to keep the score down to 3-0 at the break.
The second period, similar to the Morpeth game, was a lower intensity affair. Brayson’s delicious chip on 65 minutes was expertly clawed away by Hayes, but soon it was 4-0. Man of the Match Luke Carr produced another assist with a killer through ball that allowed Josh Scott to slot home without hesitation. It was almost 5 when Slaughter turned in a loose ball after Brayson’s effort had been parried by Hayes at full stretch, but the assistant’s flag correctly intervened and Benfield were happy to settle for a 4-0 win.