NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 3
For the second away game in a row, Benfield were involved in a six-goal thriller that ended with a final dramatic twist. However, unlike the euphoria engendered by Mark Turnbull’s late leveller at Hillheads, a sense of deep frustration accompanied Andrew Bulford’s predatory equaliser in the dying seconds of 5 minutes of added time. Bully, as he is affectionately known throughout the Northern League, may not have the fleetness of foot that marked his golden times at Dunston UTS, but the speed of thought that allows him still to find space in the box where others struggle, enabled him to grab a hat trick as Whickham refused to lie down and accept defeat. On a bittery cold Friday evening that heralded the first chills of winter, Whickham took the lead when Andrew Grainger raced from his line, allowing Bulford to roll the ball home from a tight angle. Soon Benfield were level when Scott McCarthy raced into the box and fed Paul Brayson for a tap-in. The visitors took the lead going into the break when Jake Orrell finished with sublime acuity, having been set free by Richie Slaughter. It could have been 3 soon after, but Scott McCarthy saw an effort drift inches wide of the far post.
The second half was uneventful until Bulford grabbed a second equaliser on 68 minutes. Benfield came again, and substitute Dale Pearson appeared to have won it, when he rolled home a controlled finish after 83 minutes. It seemed a done deal when Whickham, having already had their assistant sent from the ground for foul and abusive language, went down to 10 when Steven Little was dismissed for hauling down Brayson. The subsequent free kick was deflected an inch wide, which appeared to be end of proceedings until Bulford’s final intervention.
Match Highlights click on the link
Man of the Match: Dean Holmes