Newcastle Benfield 2 Bishop Auckland 3
Newcastle Benfield looked good value to continue their recent good form but a lacklustre last 10 minutes resulted in Bishop Auckland taking all 3 points.
After the fine midweek victory at Hebburn Town, the management team named an unchanged starting eleven, with the previously cup-tied Daniel O’Reilly returning to the bench.
With strong gusts blowing around Sam Smith’s Park, Benfield attacked the clubhouse end in the opening 45 minutes and after 7 minutes the wind was to make its first major contribution as the Lions took the lead. Reece Noble looped an effort into the air and a combination of wind and spin resulted in the ball dropping over a helpless Liversedge in the visitors goal into the top of the net. There was significant good fortune with the goal but Noble and his Benfield team mates were not bothered about that as they wheeled away with the early advantage.
Both sides were trying to play positive football but the conditions were certainly having an impact. However, it was the Lions who were definitely shading first half proceedings as they continued to play on the front foot. Unfortunately, the afternoon ended for Aiden Haley after 25 minutes as an injury meant the introduction of Ben Richardson.
Only a minute later, Richardson was in the thick of the action as good play between him and Paul Brayson set up Cyril Giraud but the youngster screwed his effort wide. As Benfield pushed for a second, they almost had the two goal advantage after 28 minutes. After Brayson twisted and turned in the area, the lions won a corner. Cyril Giraud took the corner and an unmarked Mark Turnbull sent a thundering header just over the bar with Liversedge unable to get close. Young Cyril was certainly in the mood and after being pulled back on the edge of the area, Brayson’s free kick was charged down in the Bishop’s wall. Brayson was to have another opportunity before half time after a poor challenge on Richardson but Liversedge saved the next effort low down.
Benfield had a chance to finally double their advantage 4 minutes into the second half but an outstretched Richardson could not quite get a toe to the ball after a fabulous ball from Brayson.
Bishop Auckland knew they had to improve and almost drew themselves level after 52 minutes following a corner but the Benfield defence were able to clear the danger.
On 55 minutes Benfield finally added a 2nd and put themselves firmly in control of the contest. After the ball came across the area from Brayson, good work from Glen-Ravenhill set up Giraud who made no mistake in firing low into the net.
Bishop Auckland were to give themselves a lifeline only 5 minutes later after Jamie Marshall was given space and fired a fine effort past Andrew Grainger.
Benfield almost added a 3rd in the 76th minute after good work from Novak set up Brayson whose dinked effort rolled towards a post before being bundled home by Peter Glen-Ravenhill. However, an offside flag against Brayson ruled the effort out.
As we entered the last ten minutes the two blues were sensing they could still rescue a positive result and after 83 minutes they were level. Benfield probably could have cleared their lines better before the ball reached Kyle Morris but fair play to the Bishop man, it was an excellent strike which drew the sides level.
Disaster struck with 2 minutes to go as Bishop Auckland won a penalty. It was an easy decision for the referee to make after a trailing leg brought down a visiting player. Michael Hoganson stepped up and blasted Bishop Auckland into the lead for the first time, a lead which was held comfortably for the 4 minutes of stoppage time.
Although Bishop Auckland did perform far better in the second half and did have strong periods of possession, there was no denying this was points dropped for Benfield.
The Benfield man of the match was named as club captain Mark Turnbull who had a commanding game throughout.
There is no midweek fixture this week and therefore the management team have a full week to prepare for the visit of Ashington to Sam Smith’s Park next Saturday afternoon.
Match report Kevin Larkham
Photos Joseph Gorman
Website Twitter and Goal coverage Steve Boyle