Newcastle Benfield 1 Sunderland RCA 2
Newcastle Benfield are without a home league win since January 4th after Sunderland RCA completed a league double over the Lions on Wednesday night.
After the defeat at Stockton Town on Saturday the management team rung the changes and there was also a return amongst the substitutes for the available again Dennis Knight.
After spoiling recent fixtures at Sam Smith’s Park, the wind generally decided to stay away and it was a much calmer evening as proceedings got underway with Benfield attacking away from the clubhouse in the opening half.
The contest started at an excellent tempo as both sides were looking to play on the front foot and create attacking openings. For Benfield young Cyril Giraud was flagged offside on several occasions in the opening 10 minutes and for RCA, Mark Davison was looking lively, however Lewis Scorgie was matching the experienced striker in early tussles.
As the first half progressed both sides were having plenty of half chances but neither goalkeeper was having an awful lot to do with efforts mainly going harmlessly wide for both teams.
Although Benfield were probably just marginally shading the contest, it was Sunderland RCA who struck first with the vital first goal in the 24th minute after a cross from the left found Ryan Leonard who poked the ball past Andrew Grainger.
The first booking of the game arrived in the 32nd minute after a mistimed challenge on Cyril Giraud, unfortunately though, the free kick from Brayson caused no damage. A couple of minutes later a fine ball from Cooper set up Brayson again but the strikers effort whistled wide.
Peter Glen-Ravenhill had a good opportunity on 42 minutes when in a central position, however the chance was not cleanly hit and Dean was able to comfortably save. Moments later there was a coming together between Lewis Scorgie and RCA man Davison which resulted in both captains being called over, however, the majority in the crowd saw the incident as a normal battle between a defender and an attacker. There was no further action taken by the referee and Benfield were awarded the free kick. Cyril Giraud was to hit the woodwork via a deflection late on but the subsequent corner came to nothing.
Benfield were to start the second half sloppily and struggled to retain possession in the early action of the half. RCA almost punished the Lions after Davison twisted and turned in the box but his effort was cleared off the line.
Just before the hour mark two passages of play in a matter of minutes were to put RCA firmly in control of proceedings. First, Benfield were extremely unlucky after a Giraud effort after good work from Glen-Ravenhill crashed off the bar and then disaster was to strike as RCA added a second with a fine effort. As the ball fell to Kyle Davis, he looked up and fired over Andrew Grainger from fully 30 yards out, an excellent strike after quick thinking from the RCA number 10.
Dennis Knight was introduced shortly afterwards as Benfield looked for a foothold back into the contest with Aiden Haley and Dan O’Reilly also being introduced, however RCA were looking relatively comfortable with a two goal cushion to protect and experienced skipper Greg Swansbury marshalling their defence excellently.
In the 76th minute, the Lions were given a lifeline as a corner found Paul Brayson who fired an effort low and hard past Dean from the edge of the six yard box through a crowd of players to half the deficit.
After disputing a free kick award Richie Slaughter was sin binned 3 minutes later, which swung the advantage back in RCA’s favour with the man advantage.
Unfortunately the momentum which should have followed Brayson’s strike never really got going and Sunderland RCA were relatively comfortable as they held on to collect maximum points. Indeed later passages of play were mainly contested around the Benfield area as our visitors looked for a third.
There is certainly plenty for the management team to ponder before the lads make the long trip to Guisborough Town on Saturday afternoon, ahead of Newton Aycliffe visiting Walkergate next Wednesday evening.
Match report Kev Larkham
Website Steve Boyle