North Shields 4
Newcastle Benfield 2
Saturday 19th October 2019
Ebac Northern League Division One
The Lions made the short journey down the Coast Road to North Shields on Saturday afternoon, as two of the in form teams in the division locked horns.
Although there probably weren’t serious doubts about the game, the heavens opened a couple of hours beforehand and nothing changed throughout the whole afternoon as the already heavy pitch and everyone involved took a soaking.
It was Benfield who started the brighter and seemed to be adjusting to the conditions better than the hosts. This positive start was reflected in the score line after 14 minutes when a great cross from Parker was met by former Shields man Glen-Ravenhill who delighted the travelling Benfield supporters with a fine header past Purvis in the Shields goal.
Given the poor conditions, the game already felt like fine margins would be the difference and therefore when a stunning free-kick from ex Robin Ben Richardson crashed against the crossbar rather than putting the lions 2 up, the visiting contingent wondered how costly this misfortune could be. It was a fine run from Baltazar who won the free kick but unfortunately, injury ended his afternoon shortly afterwards as Jake Turnbull entered the fray.
Shields earlier feeling of despair that a former player had come back to haunt them was switched to Benfield after 25 minutes when Scott McCarthy levelled proceedings against his former club when given space to fire the home side level.
Benfield had looked the far more composed side until the leveller but Shields had by far the better of things for the remainder of the half, although Knight shaved the post with a fine effort and Glen-Ravenhill was also very close to getting his second. Unfortunately Shields increased threat was rewarded with a goal from Kyle Patton two minutes before half time which sent the Robins in at the interval in front.
Benfield started the second half very brightly and there was a huge shout for a penalty after a potential handball but the referee was not interested and waved away the visitors appeals. The positive approach that the lads were showing was rewarded after 65 minutes when an inch perfect cross from Glen-Ravenhill was converted by Dennis Knight to draw the sides level.
Giraud and Brayson came on for the Lions as the lads in yellow sensed a winner but Grainger in the Benfield goal was also making some brilliant saves at the other end to keep Shields out.
After a great run from Knight, a pass to Brayson would have given the Benfield marksman a clear run at goal but agonisingly the ball never reached Brayson who would have surely secured the 3 points, although he still would of course had to beat Purvis in the Shields goal.
After a truly awful day, a point would have probably been what both sides deserved, given the different passages of play where either side was on top, however, there was to be late drama which left the Lions making the short journey home pointless.
North Shields had already forced some last ditch Benfield defending as we entered the closing stages and deep into stoppage time, Kyle Patton found space to fire North Shields into the lead. Unbelievably after a mistake in the Lions back line, Patton then completed his hat trick to seal an extremely flattering 4-2 victory.
Benfield certainly did not deserve to be on the receiving end of such a score line but as mentioned earlier, this was a game of fine margins.
Both sets of players deserve huge credit for putting on a show in such wet conditions and the 318 in attendance certainly got full value for money. Indeed, some in the home ranks suggested this was the best game at the Daren Persson Stadium this season, due to the way both sides went about their business in the testing conditions.
With no game this week, the lads will look to bounce back next Saturday when Thornaby head to Sam Smith’s Park.
Photos website Steve Boyle