Newcastle Benfield extended their unbeaten run to 14 games with a hard working but thoroughly merited away win on a glorious Winter afternoon in North Yorkshire. Guisborough Town’s scenic and well-appointed King George V ground used to be a venue of endless misery for The Lions, but with the monkey off our back in a scintillating 4-0 last year, the belief that oozes through the squad was in evidence again as we shrugged off the disappointment of still being a goal down on the hour, to turn things around and win with something to spare.
With Joe Robson ruled out for the rest of the season, Richard Pell came in for his debut and the imposing stopper acquitted himself well. New signing Joe Shepherd, who has arrived from Blyth Spartans, took his place on the bench in a squad depleted by Festive commitments elsewhere. Benfield started the game strongly, with James Martin’s swinging cross causing pandemonium in the home defence after 3 minutes. Guisborough’s captain was their keeper Jordan Nixon and he was by a distance their best player. He first distinguished himself brilliantly tipping over a deft Brayson chip on 12 minutes. Less than 2 minutes later, Nixon went full length to touch Dale Pearson’s low effort round the post. The value of those superb saves was underlined on 20 minutes when, somewhat against the run of play, Mason McNeill lashed a loose ball into the roof of the net to put the home side ahead. Benfield sought to respond immediately, and Paul Brayson was denied by a brilliant saving tackle by the impressive Anthony Snook. Dale Pearson flashed a shot inches wide, before Nixon’s third important save denied Alex Nisbet, who powered in a diving header, meaning the Priorymen went in to the break with a single goal lead.
One factor that has distinguished Benfield’s play since Tom Wade’s return to the hot seat, has been a refusal to lie down. Hence it was no surprise that the second half resembled a siege on the Guisborough goal. The brave home side kept The Lions out until just before the hour when Dean Holmes stooped to head home Jake Orrell’s peach of a cross, for his first goal in Benfield colours. Soon after Paul Brayson appeared to be cleaned out in the area, though nothing was given. However, the veteran marksman had the last laugh, collecting an Andy Grainger goal kick and steering it effortlessly past the stranded Nixon. It was goal made beautiful by its simplicity. Moments later, Brayson elected to shoot when Pearson was unmarked to his left and the chance was gone. Finally, Nixon kept his best until last, acrobatically flying to his right and palming Orrell’s piledriver over the bar. Nixon went up in a late sortie, but there was to be no fairy-tale ending as Benfield comfortably kept Guisborough at bay for a well-deserved 3 points.
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Match Highlights -luke Vinton
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