NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 2
Manager Mark Convery was handed a pre-match blow when Craig Scott, who had turned in 4 successive outstanding displays since joining Benfield in the summer, dropped out with a hamstring injury. On the plus side, this meant the return to competitive action 11 months out with a broken leg for Matty Grieve, though he’d probably hoped for a quieter 90 minutes than attempting to keep tabs on the elusive, dominant Billy Greulich-Smith.
Elsewhere, Benfield were unchanged and continued from where they left off against Stockton town in midweek, impressively spraying the ball around through midfield and down both flanks, though only after Jack Blackford showed a hint of the home side’s pace and power, racing onto a through ball, then rounding Andy Grainger but slicing wide from a tight angle. In response, The Lions roared back, with Dale Pearson’s angled drive being deflected onto the bar and Paul Brayson drawing a fine save from Shaun Newbrook following Jake Orrell’s cross. Orrell set up Dale Pearson for the opening goal on 20 minutes with an astute pass, before the powerful striker finished strongly into the bottom corner.
Shildon are not title favourites for nothing and within 8 minutes they were ahead. Firstly, Matty Robson turned Rhys Evans inside out at right back, then fired in the equaliser through the legs of the advancing Grainger. Robson was involved minutes later when his cross was nodded down by the imposing Gruelich-Smith for Ben Trotter to sidefoot home from 6 yards. It was a poor goal to concede, though Benfield were almost instantly level when Richie Slaughter’s vicious drive was palmed round the post by Newbrook. The last play of the half saw Orrell’s speculative long-range effort tipped over by a scrambling Newbrook.
Twice in the opening minutes of the second period Paul Brayson was denied an equaliser. Firstly, he was flagged offside after slotting a loose ball home and then a swerving free kick was tipped over by Newbrook. On the hour, Scott McCarthy was introduced for Jake Orrell and on several occasions, he found space on the right, but his crosses eluded the Benfield attack on every occasion. Dennis Knight was introduced for his debut on 65 minutes, replacing Joe Robson, and showed some sparkling, inventive touches. Sadly, a mix-up between Benfield’s two longest serving players, captain Mark Turnbull and keeper Andy Grainger, handed Robson an open goal that he took with glee.
Despite this setback, Benfield spent the remainder of the game on the front foot, with McCarthy, Devlin, Slaughter and Knight all denied in one desperate move. However, an excellent drive from distance by Dale Pearson did halve the deficit with minutes remaining. Sadly it was only a consolation as the visibly tiring home side held out for the win, in a game that Benfield played a full part in, but can be disappointed by aspects of their defending.
Man of the Match:
Really disappointed as we never got started and looked very unorganised at times which is not how we set up and look to play, having said that even on an off day and three goals that we give away we still should of rescued at least a point from the game. It’s a set back but it’s part of the game and we will ensure to put it right on Tuesday
3 very sloppy goals to concede which we need to cut out! On the plus side we were not at our best and still should have taken something from the game but we have to start taking our chances not just in todays game but the games prior as well but when we stop creating them then that is the time to worry!!