Newcastle Benfield 0 North Shields 2
Newcastle Benfield fell to defeat on Saturday and in the process North Shields completed a season double over the Lions.
There were doubts over the match taking place as Walkergate was battered by gale force winds like much of the north east. However, the officials were satisfied for the game to start with more moderate winds expected by the second half.
The Lions kicked towards the clubhouse end in the first half and started brightly. An early corner from Jack Cooper fell to Cyril Giraud but unfortunately his effort was cleared off the line by a Robins defender with an advanced Lewis Scorgie being flagged for offside in the follow up passage of play.
After 11 minutes, Paul Brayson almost gave Benfield the lead after cutting inside the Shields box before curling a beauty past Greg Purvis but unfortunately the effort flicked off the crossbar and the chance was gone.
North Shields at this stage were reduced to long range efforts with Chris McDonald seeing an effort sail over the bar.
However, it was to be the Robins who would take the lead after 17 minutes and a fine goal it was too. As soon as the ball left captain Adam Forster’s boot there was only one place this was heading and left Andrew Grainger with no chance as the strike nestled into the top corner.
After Benfield’s positive start, the goal lifted North Shields and almost immediately, Andrew Grainger made a point blank save to keep the score line at 1-0. However, for large parts of the remainder of the half, both goalkeepers were relatively untroubled with only long range efforts and back passes troubling them. Benfield were looking the most likely as half time approached but the Robins were able to go into the break with their lead intact.
As predicted by the weather experts, the wind did drop in the second half but was replaced by the first rain of the afternoon.
The lads started the second half in positive fashion with Cyril Giraud being fouled after a direct run. Lewis Scorgie took the free kick quickly and from a subsequent corner, Giraud was to sting the fingers of Purvis in the Shields goal.
The afternoon was to end shortly afterwards for ex Lion Scott McCarthy as what appeared to be a hamstring injury ended his involvement.
Benfield were definitely looking the more threatening in the second period with Brayson firing a good chance wide and young Cyril becoming more of a threat to the Shields back line. Unfortunately though, Purvis in the visiting goal was not being called upon to make many serious saves and our visitors were soaking up the pressure comfortably whilst mainly offering threats on the break.
As Benfield continued to press for a leveller they left themselves a little exposed at the back and this was to be harshly punished in the 83rd minute. Kyle Patton broke clear of James Novak and had a free run towards goal. Sensing the danger, Andrew Grainger came off his line and brought Patton down for an obvious penalty. If the Benfield custodian hadn’t brought Patton down, the Shields number 11 was crossing to an unmarked colleague in the 6 yard box to roll in the second. With minimal coverage, it would be extremely harsh to blame the Benfield number 1 in this situation. The referee understood there was a genuine attempt to win the ball and no card punishment was forthcoming. Unfortunately for the Lions and Grainger though, Patton himself stepped up and made no mistake to double the lead and secure the points.
North Shields were to see out the remainder of the contest unscathed as they returned down the Coast Road with the victory.
Although a hugely disappointing outcome with plenty for the management team to ponder, there was a positive in Lewis Scorgie completing the full 90 minutes as the Lions defender continues his recovery from injury.
Next up, improving Penrith come to Sam Smith’s Park on Saturday (18th) with a 3pm kick off.