Newcastle Benfield 0 Ashington 0
Newcastle Benfield and Ashington shared the spoils after a goalless draw at Sam Smith’s Park on Saturday afternoon.
The wind did play a part, however, the home side will be disappointed with the lack of a cutting edge. Meanwhile, having collected only their 5th point on the road this season, the Colliers will be delighted with the clean sheet.
Although chances were at a premium for both sides, a lot of credit for the defensive solidity must go to respective captains Mark Turnbull and Curtis Coppen, who both marshalled their respective back lines excellently throughout.
Benfield started brightly as good play from Joe Robson and Cyril Giraud set up Peter Glen-Ravenhill but Ashington were able to clear their lines. Meanwhile our visitors also had an early opening but Lee Scott blazed over.
As we progressed towards completion of the first 20 minutes, it was Ashington who were probably just about shading proceedings, with Andrew Grainger tipping an effort over the bar. Generally though, neither keeper was being really tested and this was summed up by another Ashington effort (Scott) which went way wide.
Peter Glen-Ravenhill was getting into some good positions and a cross from the right side of the six yard box could have caused more damage but was hit into the ground and the danger was averted.
An excellent corner from Paul Brayson was met by the head of Joe Robson but McHugh in the Ashington goal saved relatively comfortably.
Just before the interval, excellent play from Cyril Giraud created a chance for Brayson but McHugh saved low down to his right. Meanwhile, Dominic Price was to drag another half chance wide for our visitors.
At the start of the second half there was a welcome return for Richie Slaughter who it was thought would miss the remainder of the season after picking up an injury in the autumn. Young Matty Parker was the man to make way for the Lions.
Benfield had the first chance of the second half as they attacked away from the clubhouse. Giraud slipped the ball through to O’Reilly who was coming up against his former team, however, unfortunately, the ball just ran away.
The best chance of the match so far was to fall to Benfield after 53 minutes when Brayson cracked a superb free kick from just outside the box which crashed off the woodwork. To sum up how evenly matched these two sides were, it was Ashington’s turn to hit the woodwork seven minutes later after a Brandon Slater effort left Grainger well beaten, thankfully though, the ball bounced clear.
Peter Glen-Ravenhill continued to cause problems for the Ashington back line but the chances which were falling his way, were unfortunately not causing McHugh too many problems. Indeed it was Glen-Ravenhill who could have won it at the death but a fantastic opportunity was sent over the bar.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, the referee shortly afterwards blew his whistle as the points were shared.
It is fair to say this was not a classic but for the 175 present, it was certainly a well contested clash, unfortunately just lacking a little sparkle in attacking areas though.
Next up for Benfield is a trip to league leaders Stockton Town next Saturday afternoon.