Guisborough Town 1 Newcastle Benfield 1
Newcastle Benfield bounced back from the disappointing midweek defeat to Sunderland RCA with a battling and fully deserved point at Guisborough Town on Saturday afternoon.
For the third Saturday in a row the elements were against Football but huge credit must go to the Guisborough Town ground staff who had the pitch in a perfectly playable condition. Indeed, this was to be the only grass based match to take place in the first division, with the only other surviving fixture at Consett on their artificial surface.
The management team made four changes to the starting eleven from the RCA defeat, with Matty Parker and James Novak returning in defence, along with Aiden Haley and Dennis Knight.
For a few moments at kick off, the weather appeared to look like it was changing for the better but that didn’t last as the four seasons were represented at various times throughout a very changeable afternoon.
Benfield started the match brightly and in the 2nd minute had their first opportunity after a foul on Dennis Knight but unfortunately the free kick from Paul Brayson went over the bar without troubling Catterick in the home goal.
Another excellent chance came shortly afterwards when an pinpoint corner from Jack Cooper found Mark Turnbull but the Benfield skipper could not direct his header the right side of the post.
The first real opportunity for our hosts came in the 9th minute but Sonni Coleman dragged his shot wide of the post when in a good position.
The rain started to fall and would continue for the remainder of the first half making conditions tough for both sides. However, this did not stop Dennis Knight trying a spectacular overhead kick but the effort went wide of Catterick’s right hand post. The Cooper/Turnbull combination struck again shortly afterwards but the outcome was the same as the earlier chance with Turnbull heading off target.
In the 26th minute Benfield struck first, much to the delight of their travelling supporters. An excellent passage of play involving a number of Lions players found Matty Parker in space on the right side of the Guisborough box and after looking up, the youngster placed a beautiful cross onto the head of Peter Glen-Ravenhill who made no mistake from a central position.
Unfortunately the lead was to only last 10 minutes as Guisborough levelled from the penalty spot. The decision was made after a Lions defender stepped across his man and although it took a short period to be confirmed, the correct decision was made. Guisborough captain Mark Robinson made no mistake from the spot.
The only additional talking point in the first half was a booking picked up by Aiden Haley for simulation. The Benfield team were vocal in challenging the decision and from the sidelines it must be said it did look rather harsh.
Benfield started the second half on the front foot with Knight having a shot deflected wide and Jack Cooper playing a fabulous ball across the area which nobody in yellow could get on the end of. Brayson then had a good chance but his shot was into the legs of Guisborough number 1 Catterick.
Dennis Knight completed 77 minutes on his return to the starting eleven before being replaced by Cyril Giraud. Having been on the end of some firm challenges all afternoon, Knight can be pleased with his contribution and will be happy to have got almost 80 minutes into his legs.
Guisborough had a couple of really good chances to secure the winner in the final stages but a combination of wayward finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Andrew Grainger prevented the Priorymen from scoring a winner.
A coming together between Glen-Ravenhill and Marron could have been resolved far quicker than it was after other players then got involved but there was no further punishment other than a talking to for the original guilty parties.
Ten minutes after being introduced Giraud could have won the game after racing clear but the chance wasn’t taken and Guisborough were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The only other talking point was the booking given to Jack Cooper in stoppage time. The ex Ryton man was harshly shown yellow for a thundering challenge, which the referee deemed was dangerous, even though the ball was clearly taken.
It would have been extremely harsh if either side had won via a late effort and all in attendance will agree a point for each was certainly the fairest outcome. Huge credit must go to all players from both sides who produced a very entertaining contest in extremely testing conditions.
There were plenty of excellent performances from the Benfield lads including Jack Cooper who had his best game yet in a Benfield shirt but man of the match was Reece Noble who was immense throughout.
Next up for Benfield is Newton Aycliffe at home this coming Wednesday.