FA Vase Newcastle Benfield V 1874 Northwich

In front of an impressive attendance of nearly 300, including two coaches of 1874 Northwich fans, Newcastle Benfield progressed to the third round of the FA Vase with what was ultimately a comfortable victory. The game was played in great spirits and with something approaching a cup tie atmosphere, though the home side’s utter dominance in the second period silenced the noisy away following and left their big bass drum decidedly unbanged. Although, the first half told a different story as 1874 had the majority of possession and pushed back a cautious home side, who were happy to stand off their opponents, perhaps a little too far at times. That said, 1874 only had 2 noteworthy efforts on goal in the opening period; after 9 minutes, Taylor Kennerley had an untroubled run through the heart of the Benfield defence, but shot weakly and directly at an untroubled Andy Grainger. The Benfield custodian had to be more alert to a later attempt by Jack Irlam, showing great agility to tip a low effort round the post.

Meanwhile, at the other end Paul Brayson, playing against the successor club to the Northwich he served with such distinction a decade and a half ago, twice saw efforts sail agonisingly over the bar. After 15 minutes, Jake Orrell’s astute low ball into the box was missed by Scott McCarthy, who attempted a flamboyant back heel, and fell at the feet of the startled Brayson, who stabbed an effort fractionally too high. Later, a superb interchange between Dennis Knight and Dean Holmes saw the latter put in a perfect cross for Brayson to nod over from the penalty spot. Knight also saw a deflected effort creep past the post as the hosts continued to carve chances out of their meagre ration of possession in a goalless first half.

The second period was a different matter entirely, with 1874 utterly unable to harness the strong wind at their backs and completely incapable of mounting a coherent response to Benfield’s compelling and ruthless passing and movement. Keeping the ball on the deck for the most part, the rampant Lions posed a constant threat to the visitors’ goal. Brayson thumped a left foot volley just too high, before a stupendous move involving Knight Slaughter and James Martin fashioned the opening goal. Martin’s excellent cross was headed powerfully and emphatically into the corner of the net, beyond the desperate lunge of keeper James Coates, to give Benfield a deserved lead. From this moment on, 1874 offered nothing other than their best endeavours and it was no surprise when the tie was settled on 70 minutes, when Scott McCarthy nodded in a Knight corner at the back post. 


It was almost 3-0 on 80 minutes when a thumping Brayson free kick caught Coates completely unawares, bouncing back off the motionless keeper’s knee, straight to Knight, who skied the rebound. Another goal would have been harsh on 1874, whose superb fans were a credit to their club and who were glumly engaged in untying their array of flags from the stand as the final whistle blew on the Wembley hopes and Benfield marched on into the third round.


Match Highlights

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Tom Wade full of praise after FA Vase win
Newcastle Benfield manager Tom Wade believes the squad are “slowly getting self belief” after their 2-0 FA Vase win over 1874 Northwich.
The Lions progressed to round three of the Vase through second half headers from Paul Brayson and Scott McCarthy courtesy of two dangerous crosses from James Martin and Dennis Knight respectively.
After a tense opening 45 minutes, Wade was delighted with his squad as they dug deep to overcome a Northwich side which reached the last four of the national competition last year.
He said: “In the first half, we were competitive but did not play our passing game and went back to front too early.
“We looked nervous at times which you can expect because of the youth in our team.
“In the second half, we changed the system and started playing to our standards that we have demanded over the last couple of games.
“The second half was our most solid performance since I joined the club. We are slowly getting self belief in the squad.
“We are playing well for 50-60 minutes in games and just need to get the full 90 out of the squad.”
As well as showing quality in attack, Wade was pleased with the defensive work of his back four and goalkeeper.
Wade added: “We’re working on getting our full backs higher up the park and working on the quality of our crosses. We scored a good goal against Birtley from a cross so we are getting there with a lot more to come.
“Paul’s (Brayson) header was a touch of class. Only he could tell you how he could score a header from so far out.”
“We have two clean sheets on the trot now. I thought the back four were excellent and Andrew (Grainger) looks like a rock in goal. We have signed Richard Pell who will only improve our defending.”
The draw for the FA Vase third round is due to take place on Monday afternoon.

Match report

Ian cusack

Footage and Tom wade interview Luke Vinton

Photos Paul Mcfeeley

Website Steve Boyle

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