ASHINGTON 0 NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 2
The traditionally British obsession with the weather has permeated the body politic of the Northern League. Only a fortnight ago, 4 months of unending rain and unseasonal snow blasts had seemingly conspired to prevent some grounds from hosting any football for the foreseeable future. Now, as spring has finally sprung and there are more pairs of shorts among the crowd than the players, a few days of solid sunshine has rendered many pitches as adamantine as concrete. Thus was the case with Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane complex, where the groundsman had actually watered the pitch on Friday, though not to any discernible impact as the impacted earth beneath the grass was packed solid, resulting in the kind of variable bounce that makes fools of even those with normally impeccable technique on the ball.
Consequently, the first half was a dismal spectacle; dreary, low-quality football played on a surface akin to a crazy paved driveway. It took 14 minutes for the first effort of note on goal, when Josh Scott tested Ashington keeper Conor Grant’s reflexes, stinging his palms with a venomous shot that the home custodian fended away. This was a rare moment of attacking intent during a somnolent opening period when it appeared to the 178 watching the game that this end of season encounter had nothing really at stake, other than cementing 8th place in the table. It recalled a game at Sam Smith’s between the two sides on 23rd April 2005 that ended 0-0, which was possibly the only game I’ve ever attended where neither side had an effort on goal in the entire 90 minutes. However, at least we were trying to score; on 21 minutes Luke Carr’s excellent low cross was met at the far post by the arriving Jake Orrell. Sadly though, he was unable to turn the bouncing ball home and skied his effort. On 41 minutes, Ashington had their only effort on goal of the first half; the amusingly coiffured Jake Turnbull smashed an effort into the side netting, which confused many of the home supporters who thought it was gone in. It hadn’t, and we reached the interval with a blank scoresheet.
Over the half time cuppa, both sets of club officials bemoaned the sterility of the fare on offer and shared the assumption we’d see no goals all game. Benfield made liars of us all, with a superb second half display that kept the Colliers at arm’s length and allowed us to collect a 10th away win of the season with the greatest of ease. Within 2 minutes of the resumption, Joe Hailes had put the Lions ahead. Great hold up play in the box by Paul Brayson saw him feed Josh Scott, who drove to the dead ball line and pulled a precise ball back for the on-rushing Hailes to tap home. A great goal that seemingly came out of nothing and caused Colliers player boss Steve Bowey to introduce himself to the fray. Unlike the pre-Christmas encounter at Sam Smith’s, when The Colliers waltzed away with the points after battering us 3-0 and Bowey ran the show from midfield, the thrice former Lion had little discernible impact on the game. Benfield almost made it 2-0 on 75 minutes when substitute Scott McCarthy fed Orrell on the edge of the box and the former Spennymoor lad saw his shot deflected inches wide, with Grant a flat-footed observer. However, McCarthy was soon to make an indelible mark on the game with a contender for Benfield’s goal of the season. Picking up a loose ball about 25 yards from goal, he looked up and curled a delicious, bending effort right into the top corner, past the despairing leap of Grant, to seal the points and garner a deserved standing ovation that was only bettered for volume by the news of Burton’s win on Wearside.
Man of the Match: Elliott Forbes
Match report Ian Cusack
Photos Paul Mcfeeley/Luke Vinton
Website Steve Boyle
For their fourth game in 10 days, all of which were at home, with the prospect of a minimum further 10 games to be played by May 9th, Newcastle Benfield rang the changes for the visit of Ryhope CW. Out went the experienced quartet Andrew Grainger, Mark Turnbull, Alex Nisbet and Paul Brayson to give game time to Dan Nimmins, Richie Slaughter, Marc Dummett and Luke Carr.
During the first 45 minutes this cannot be said to have worked, as the home side were played off the park in the opening half an hour, before finally regaining a foothold in the game with a much improved performance in the final third of the opening period.
Despite the weather over the previous months and the number of games played recently, the pitch at Sam Smith’s was looking in fine shape, once the broken down mower had been pushed from the far side in the moments before kick-off that is. Unfortunately, while the surface was well grassed and free of mud, the drying out process was not uniform and the bounce was uneven. This had the effect of putting Benfield off their passing game and playing into the hands of Ryhope’s high pressing, hard running tactics.
The discomfited home side fell behind on 10 minutes when a high, hopeful ball bounced unexpectedly at the edge of the area, deceiving keeper Nimmins and allowing JOE MELVIN to put the visitors ahead with their first serious effort of the game. Prior to this, Jack Devlin had twice unluckily failed to get enough on crosses by Luke Carr to really test keeper Johnny Ball.
For the next 20 minutes, the game followed a pattern of Benfield attempting to build patiently from the back and being hurried out of their stride by the tireless visitors, resulting in speculative long balls or misplaced passes that saw any attacking intent thwarted. On 29 minutes, Ryhope went 2-0 ahead when captain KYLE DAVIS shot through the legs of a fatally exposed Nimmins. Moments later it could have been 3, when Davis intercepted a Dummett clearance and fired past Nimmins, only for Lewis Scorgie, who was excellent throughout and seemed a natural skipper in the place of Mark Turnbull, deftly cleared the ball off the line with the outside of his foot. After this, the home side began to get their act together and Richie Slaughter was inches away from halving the deficit with a low drive on 41 minutes.
After the break, Benfield introduced Jake Orrell for Dylan McEvoy and the former Spennymoor man’s presence transformed the game. Within seconds of entering the fray, he drove through the Ryhope defence and crossed for a suspiciously offside looking Joe Hailes to tap in from 6 yards. The home side swarmed forward and Jack Devlin was denied an immediate equaliser by an agile stop by Ball, who spread himself commendably. Moments later Slaughter set Orrell free and his effort rolled agonisingly wide of the back post. At the other end, desperate defending kept Ryhope at bay when Nimmins dropped a cross at the feet of Melvin.
Despite being unrecognisable from the sorry outfit of the first period, Benfield could not fashion another goal and Ryhope weathered the storm. There was one final late flurry when Brayson, on as a late substitute, collected an astute through ball from Devlin and fired just wide of the post. Thus, Ryhope completed a league double over Benfield, both by a 2-1 scoreline and the home side were left to reflect on missed chances, though still encouraged by a 2-1 win over the same opponents in the League Cup quarter final a while back, which is where the real interest must lie between now and the end of the season.
Man of the Match: Lewis Scorgie
Match report Ian Cusack
Photos Paul Mcfeeley
Website Steve Boyle .
On the night that Stoke City’s Premier League relegation was effectively sealed by a last minute goal, scored by a player once nicknamed Dunston Ferguson who had entered the fray from the bench, a former Potter came on as substitute and did for Dunston UTS with a finish 2 minutes into stoppage time. With the clock running down, Benfield cleared the ball from their area more in hope in desperation, but things began to look up when Joe Hailes tigerishly won a header against a visiting defender almost a foot taller than him. The ball broke to Josh Scott who rampaged through the Dunston midfield in that trademark barnstorming style of his, before laying the ball off to Jack Devlin, who calmly drew Niall Harrison into committing himself, before slipping the ball home to ensure a 2-1 victory that banished all memories of the hideous capitulation against Jarrow Roofing only two days previously, and completed the league double over the side from across the river.
Rewinding to the start of the evening; two remarkable facts stood out. Firstly, the incredible work on the pitch that Stan Thompson had performed. From looking like a ploughed field at the end of Saturday’s game, it was now immaculate and well grassed. Deep gratitude must go to Stan as his tireless efforts produce the kind of surface that allows Benfield to play our natural passing game. Secondly, the evening was somewhere between warm and clement; surely the first game for a good 6 months where thermal hat and gloves were deemed unnecessary?
In the first period, Benfield played a considerably better organised and constructive game than on Saturday, but without unduly troubling Harrison in the Dunston goal. The visitors played an all action, pressing game that did not allow Benfield time to settle on the ball, to the extent that both sides cancelled each other out in an absorbing game that reached the break at 0-0.
The second half was barely a minute old when Luke Carr hit the visitors’ bar with a cross, following the half clearance of a corner. It seemed to be the only time Benfield were out of our own box in the opening 10 minutes when, almost inevitably, that man PAUL BRAYSON put The Lions ahead. A lengthy fly kick by Andy Grainger fell perfectly for Brassy to hit a venomous half-volley that Harrison could only parry. The falling Brayson showed immense agility to swivel and lash the ball home when totally off balance. The lead was a short lived one, but could have been even shorter if Grainger had not acrobatically turned a Mark Fitzpatrick header onto the bar. On 63 minutes, a scramble in the box saw Fitzpatrick poke home the loose ball. From that point on, both sides looked for a winner; Dunston pressed and harried, while Benfield relied on pace and accuracy when breaking quickly. It seemed a draw was inevitable when Brayson thundered a free kick into the midriff of Harrison as the 90 minutes were up, only for Devlin’s cool finish to win the contest for Benfield.
Man of the Match: Elliott Forbes
John Colley was an ex civil servant who went to work with Jimmy Rowe at City signs he was the treasurer and a committee man he also stepped in as a Manager for one game away to Ashington which we won as it happens so he maintained a 100% record.
John was a very quiet man but when he spoke you listened as it would be common sense he was one of the founders of Newcastle Benfield. When I joined 10 years ago he was very active but unfortunately developed cancer and fought it for a good 6/7 years but he never moaned and just got on with it, he was always at the ground 3/4 days week with his dog. John Was very
knowledgeable about health and safety ( his job at city signs ) and an ex accountant at the dss he had a good head for figures Liked his music as well as football.
A fantastic man and sadly missed.
(Words from vice chairman Dave Robson)
Photos -Stan Thompson Groundsman-friend
(John Colley Family at Newcastle Benfield)
Newcastle Benfield 0
Jarrow Roofing 3
This game was the first of three games in five days for Newcastle Benfield and the game got off to an explosive start with Roofing opening the scoring in the 2nd minute.The ball was played back to Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger who had plenty of time to clear the ball away but he dallied on the ball allowing DENNIS KNIGHT the opportunity to close him down and under pressure he hit the ball against the roofing midfielder who gained control of the ball and walked it into an empty net to make the score 1-0 to Jarrow Roofing.
Benfield had a chance to equalise in 8th minute, a brilliant pass from Mark Turnbull found Paul Brayson who after controlling the ball tried to chip the ball over the head of roofing keeper Dan Regan but only succeeded in chipping the ball into the keepers arms. At this stage it looked as if the home team were more likely to get a goal but their long ball policy was well defended by the visitors with the Benfield team not getting close enough to their front men to support them.
The 17th minute brought a good scoring chance for Benfield, a cross field pass from Rhys Evans found Jake Orrell, a strong run advancing into the Roofing penalty area saw him supported by two team mates but instead of squaring the ball into their path he decided to try to shoot at goal with his effort easily saved to the despair of his colleagues. Twenty one minutes had elapsed when another goal scoring chance went the way of the home team,Alex Nesbit who had recently returned after injury won a strong tackle in midfield before passing to Jake Orrell who then produced a pin point cross onto the head of Paul Brayson who saw his header well saved by Dan Regan in the roofing goal.
Play moved on past the half hour mark with the home team looking more likely to get a goal but they were hit with a sucker punch in the 34th minute, a long ball down the middle from Shaun Vipond looked like an easy clearance for Benfield captain Mark Turnbull,unusually for him he completely missed the ball allowing Ex Benfield striker JOHN CAMPBELLa free run in on goal easily putting the ball past Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger to make the score 2-0 to Jarrow Roofing. It could have been worse for the home team two minutes later when Dennis Knight got on the end of a Benfield clearance from a near post corner,controlling the ball he advanced forward to hit a left foot shot which crashed off the Benfield post and away to safety. That was the end of any goal scoring chances in the first half and this left the score 2-0 to Jarrow Roofing at half time.
The second half as in the first half produced some excellent play in the second minute of the half after a brilliant run by Josh Scott saw him outpace the roofing defence before his run was ended with Benfield getting a corner. With 4 minutes of the second half passing great play down the Benfield right by the roofing saw the ball pulled back to Paul Gardiner who had his effort well saved by Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger.
Play for the next fifteen minutes was pretty even but in the 57th minute a long cross field pass by Jake Orrell found Jack Devlin who saw his well struck shot well saved by Dan Regan. In the 68th minute Benfield conceded a third goal,scorer of the first goal DENNIS KNIGHT gained possession out on the Benfield right wing with the Benfield defence allowing him to cut in on his favoured left foot driving the ball low past Andrew Grainger in the Benfield goal making it 3-0 to Jarrow Roofing.
Time was running out for the home team but only a good save by the roofers keeper Dan Regan denied Benfield a goal, Scott McCarthy after he was played in by James Martin who delivered a pass to Ritchie Slaughter who saw his shot well saved by the Jarrow Roofing goalkeeper.
The 78th minute brought a goal scoring chance for Benfield, they won a free kick after a foul by roofing captain Shaun Vipond for which he was yellow carded, from the dead ball kick Regan in the Roofers goal made another good save with the ball rebounding away to see the visitors concede another free kick which was not to the liking of Roofers captain who let the referee know what he thought of his decision giving him a mouthful of expletives and ending with him receiving a second yellow adding up to a red and ending his part of the game for him by his sending reducing the visitors to ten men.
Although Benfield possibly had a better second half than the visitors overall Jarrow Roofing were the better team and won with the final whistle leaving the score at 3-0 to the Roofers.
It was difficult to pick the best Newcastle Benfield player as it was a poor performance by the home team but my selection is
Match Report -Allan young
Photos/website -Steve Boyle
Newcastle Benfield 1
Newton Aycliffe 0
Following Saturday’s disappointing loss away to Sunderland RCA, Newcastle Benfield got back in the groove, when a much-changed team completed a league double over an obdurate Newton Aycliffe outfit by the narrowest of margins, in front of a decent sized crowd of 139. Manager Mark Convery rang the changes as in came Steve Harrison, Richy Slaughter, Marc Dummett, Scott McCarthy and Joe Hailes for Rhys Evans, Elliott Forbes, John Pendlebury, Jake Orrell and Josh Scott. It should not be inferred that this was a kneejerk response to the first league defeat of 2018; rather it was done in recognition of the fact The Lions have been saddled with an unenviable task of fulfilling 14 league engagements in 4 weeks. Instead sensible managerial decisions have to be made to protect players from fatigue and the inevitable niggles and knocks such a huge volume of games will cause.
One player who seems unlikely to suffer burnout is Jack Devlin. The skilful and pacey front man almost opened the scoring on 10 minutes, when he ghosted in from the left by-line and unleashed a venomous drive that hit the side netting. Liam Browne was the Aycliffe hero on 20 minutes, when a perfectly timed lunge took an expert 50-yard Dylan McEvoy pass off the toes of Paul Brayson in front of goal, with the clearance landing on the roof of the net. In a tight and tenacious game with chances at a premium, Scott McCarthy was unlucky when he lashed a spectacular first time effort just wide of the effort, after collecting a loose, bouncing ball. In retrospect, perhaps he had more time than he imagined. McCarthy was again at the centre of things on 38 minutes, when Aycliffe keeper James Winter misplaced a pass out and sent it across the area. There was a coming together between McCarthy, who appeared set to roll the ball into an empty net and a covering defender. Despite the home side’s claims for a penalty, nothing was given, much to the disbelief of most of the crowd.
After a goalless first half, where Benfield began to enjoy greater dominance as time went on, the second period almost sprang into life in spectacular style. Aycliffe’s Marc Costello, who was the fulcrum of everything that was best about their play, slammed a venomous 35 yard effort against the crossbar. Following that escape, home debutant James Martin cooked up something tasty down the left, laying the ball on a plate for Devlin, whose shot was beaten away by Winter. It was a temporary reprieve, as on 58 minutes the decisive goal came from a Brayson free kick near the touchline that evaded everyone apart from the unmarked Lions skipper, who steered the ball home from inches out, via the underside of the bar, doubling his goal tally for the season. From that point on, Benfield remained in control, with both Brayson and Devlin being denied, though controversy broke out deep into injury time when Aycliffe had the ball in the net, following a booming clearance from Winter that was nodded home. Sadly for the visitors, there had been several visiting attackers standing in offside positions and so the game ended with a single goal victory for Benfield.
Man of the Match:
Thanks to Paul Mcfeeley for providing the above photos.