2 goals from Billy Greuilich-Smith for Shildon allowed the Home team to take all 3 points after a promising start from Newcastle Benfield with Scott McCarthy who has been on fire scoring for Benfield giving the Lions and early lead.
Newcastle Benfield travelled to Shildon for their second game in two nights with manager Mark Convery making five changes from the team that played Stockton 24hours earlier.Play wasn’t of the highest quality in the first twenty minutes or so although the lions looked the more likely to get a goal and they did in the 19th minute,a long driven pass down the left wing found SCOTT McCARTHY who just evaded the being offside timing his run to perfection although the Shildon back four and management team were not so convinced.Advancing forward the Benfield striker who had found a new goal scoring streak with his third goal in a row did well to hold off Marc Ellison the Shildon central defender before sliding the ball past keeper Nick Liversedge to make the score 1-0 to Benfield. This was a deserved lead and they came close to adding on two occassions, and McCarthy was again involved when he received a throw in from Dylan McEvoy to turn to hit a fine shot just wide of the Shildon goalpost.Despite having fewer goal scoring opportunities Shildon got on level terms in the 35th minute,patient build up down the left wing saw a fine cross into the Benfield penalty area was met by the head of BILLY GREULICH – SMITH who directed his header past the desparing Dan Nimmons dive to make the score1-1.
Benfield came back strongly and came close in the 38th minute when another strong run from McCarthy saw him play in Dylan McEvoy his shot was well saved by the Shildon goalkeeper Nick Liversedge and he produced another fine save again three minutes later with Dylan McEvoy again being denied, this time it was from a free kick 20 yards out which looked destined to fly into the goal at the near post but for Liversedge’s intervention.
The halftime whistle soon came with the scores level @ 1-1 although Benfield had the better of the half.
The second half had only moved forward 5 minutes when Shildon should have taken the lead, a strong run down the right wing by the experienced James Harwood saw him plant a great cross onto the head of team mate Billy Greulich- Smith who under no pressure headed wide of the Benfield goal.
From the goal kick Benfield broke forward and in a quick breakaway Jack Devlin came very close to putting the visitors in front shooting inches wide.
Shildon had a big call for a penalty in the 52nd minute, a long ball down the middle of the pitch saw the Benfield keeper Dan Mullen run forward to collect the ball and he then collided with Matty Watters with a huge appeal for a penalty which was turned down by referee Chris Keightley.
Although Benfield had had the better of the first half in terms of possession and shooting chances it was Shildon who were starting to boss the second half, in the 66th minute the visitors conceded a silly free kick out on the left wing and from free kick the ball was half cleared out to Shildon’s Sam Hodgson who struck a strong effort to see keeper Dan Mullen make a good save.Within a minute good work down the right wing by Shildon’s skipper James Harwood saw him advance to the by line to produce a brilliant low cross which just evaded Adam Gell who despite throwing himself at the ball just missed making contact to the relief of the Benfield defenders.
Seventy minutes had passed with Shildon looking the more positive and the most likely to get a second goal,and it nearly came in the manner that the home team were least expecting,Matty Waters who had looked lively thru out flew down the left wing to produce a dangerous low cross which came very close to an own goal when Rhys Evans just managed to get a toe onto the ball and fortunately for the Benfield defender the ball went just past the upright going for a corner which came to nothing.
The clock had moved on to the 76th minute when Shildon came close to going in front, a quick throw in taken by the alert Matty Watters found Marc Ellison
who powered forward to hit a low drive inches past the post but a minute later they got their reward. Benfield had looked tired due to the amount of matches played in April with this being their fourteenth and the hosts took advantage of this when in the 77th minute a thru ball from Matty Waters found the advancing BILLY GREULICH -SMITH who produced a fine finish to put the hosts into a 2-1 lead. It could have been a third goal for Shildon with just a minute of the game to go when an excellent cross from Adam Gell found the dangerous Greulich- Smith head the ball against the Benfield post and away to safety.This brought the game to an end with Shildon having the better of the second half winning 2-1.The second coming of the two teams would be in less than 48 hours when both teams would compete at Benfield on Saturday with the Lions looking for revenge.
MAN OF THE MATCH………ELLIOTT FORBES
Match report Allan Young
Photos Martyn Tweddle