The first home game of the second Tom Wade era at Newcastle Benfield commenced with a convincing and emphatic victory over rock bottom Penrith, with Scott McCarthy helping himself to a hat trick and being justly rewarded with the Man of the Match award. The striker his team mates call Shock opened the scoring in only the second minute. Finding himself unmarked in the penalty area, McCarthy dummied visiting keeper Thomas Fowler before rolling the ball into the net to give Benfield an early lead. In the same was as The Lions had built on a positive start in the previous home game against Newton Aycliffe, Benfield kept their foot firmly on the throttle and were all but home and hosed before the 20-minute mark had passed. That said, Penrith had almost grabbed a rapid equaliser on 8 minutes when the ball ran free for Adam Main, but he placed a sidefooted effort weakly wide of the far post with Andrew Grainger exposed.
Penrith would come to rue this missed opportunity. Firstly, Dennis Knight saw Fowler tip his stinging drive over the bar on 9 minutes. The second goal arrived on 13 minutes after Jake Orrell had been clumsily tripped in the box. Having missed at Whitley Bay last week and remembering Knight’s success from the spot in the last home game, Paul Brayson graciously stepped aside and saw Knight bury the spot kick beyond Fowler’s despairing dive. Almost straight from the restart, McCarthy grabbed his second and Benfield’s third, when he chested a precise cross from Rhys Evans past a static Fowler. McCarthy almost had his hat trick on 17 minutes, when he broke through the Penrith rearguard and crashed a drive against the outside of the post from 12 yards. The game settled down into a more sedate affair after this ferocious opening, while Benfield were forced into a reshuffle when Jake Orrell limped off to be replaced by Jordan Laidler, though The Lions almost made it 4-0 after 35 minutes, when skipper Mark Turnbull header a Brayson cross just over the bar.
At half time, Benfield were forced into another change, with Dean Holmes coming on to slot in to an unfamiliar left back role, as James Martin was unable to continue after the break. Penrith should have scored on 47 minutes when their best player Shaun Gardener just failed to slide onto a low cross by Michael Yarker. Play switched to the other end and Fowler saved with his feet from Brayson, who had exchanged a delicious 1-2 with Knight. The fourth goal came on the hour and it was fitting that McCarthy completed his hat trick with the best finish of the game. Receiving the ball with his back to goal at the edge of the area, he took a touch to control it, then spun and fired home in one movement, with Fowler a bemused onlooker. Fowler gained a measure of revenge by preventing another McCarthy goal on 80 minutes by blocking the ball with his legs.
By this stage, Penrith were downhearted and dejected, but they didn’t give up. Gardener gained a consolation by starting and finishing a move with young sub Jack Brown. However, it was too little too late and Benfield felt comfortable to see the game out with 10 men, with Jordan Laidler limping off in the final five minutes after all substitutes had been used.
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Match Report Ian Cusack
Paul Mcfeeley/Callum Boyle
Website Steve Boyle
Match coverage Luke Vinton.
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