After a trio of away day victories, confidence, though not complacency, was running high in the Newcastle Benfield camp ahead of the visit of Seaham Red Star. The visitors, including former Benfield players David Henderson, David Robinson and the legendary goal machine Michael Chilton, seemed fired up for this encounter and for the first 25 minutes, the Star utilised the strong breeze at their backs, not to mention a distinct height advantage, to push Benfield back into their own box.
As early as the seventh minute, the Lions were lucky not to fall behind as a wind assisted cross was helped on by Chilton, only for Mark Turnbull to scoop it away with Andy Grainger beaten. The visitors did score on 15 minutes, when former Lion Robinson astutely took the ball down on his chest and flicked it adroitly over the advancing Grainger.
It was no less than they deserved and for the next 20 minutes, Benfield struggle to impose themselves on the game. The tempo changed just after the half hour when Peter Glen-Ravenhill and Paul Brayson were both unlucky to see efforts fly just over and a fraction wide, but the crucial equaliser did come when Matty Parker’s sumptuous cross from the left was insouciantly glanced home by Captain Turnbull, send the sides in level at the break.
I would have thought many if not most in the decent crowd of 160 would have taken a draw at the interval, but none of us could have predicted the utter change in fortunes that were in store. Clearly, the turning point was the dismissal of Seaham keeper Chris Bannon after 54 minutes. A Seaham attack broke down and Paul Brayson executed a glorious dummy in his own half, wrong footing the entire Seaham defence, before sending Glen-Ravenhill away with a through ball. Bannon advanced from his area and attempted to clear, but the ball struck the Benfield attacker who bore down on goal, only to be pushed over when about to tap into an empty net. The penalty award was a certainty and I felt the sending off was too. Paul Brayson has shown little sentiment in his 25 year football career and he sent the replacement keeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
This lead provided a crucial advantage for Benfield and on the hour the game was effectively won when
Cyril Giraud, showing classic Gallic flair, bent a powerful shot into the top corner. Sadly, Seaham then began to lose their discipline, though the fine football of the home team allowed them to skip past many of the lunges and swipes essayed by an angry away side. On 73 minutes, it was 4-1, when Aiden Haley’s delightful low cross was turned in at the back post by Glen-Ravenhill. Things then became immeasurably worse for Seaham when
Dennis Knight entered the fray. Another Red Star attack was closed down and Benfield broke, with Brayson crossing for the onrushing Knight to blast the ball home. The last goal was all his own work; on the left side of the area, he shrugged off a challenge and rifled the ball home for a final score of 6-1, after as emphatic and dominant a second half I can ever remember us producing.
Match report Ian Cusack
Website Photos Steve Boyle
Next Game at Home
Saturday 24th August 2019