FA Vase Newcastle Benfield V 1874 Northwich

In front of an impressive attendance of nearly 300, including two coaches of 1874 Northwich fans, Newcastle Benfield progressed to the third round of the FA Vase with what was ultimately a comfortable victory. The game was played in great spirits and with something approaching a cup tie atmosphere, though the home side’s utter dominance in the second period silenced the noisy away following and left their big bass drum decidedly unbanged. Although, the first half told a different story as 1874 had the majority of possession and pushed back a cautious home side, who were happy to stand off their opponents, perhaps a little too far at times. That said, 1874 only had 2 noteworthy efforts on goal in the opening period; after 9 minutes, Taylor Kennerley had an untroubled run through the heart of the Benfield defence, but shot weakly and directly at an untroubled Andy Grainger. The Benfield custodian had to be more alert to a later attempt by Jack Irlam, showing great agility to tip a low effort round the post.

Meanwhile, at the other end Paul Brayson, playing against the successor club to the Northwich he served with such distinction a decade and a half ago, twice saw efforts sail agonisingly over the bar. After 15 minutes, Jake Orrell’s astute low ball into the box was missed by Scott McCarthy, who attempted a flamboyant back heel, and fell at the feet of the startled Brayson, who stabbed an effort fractionally too high. Later, a superb interchange between Dennis Knight and Dean Holmes saw the latter put in a perfect cross for Brayson to nod over from the penalty spot. Knight also saw a deflected effort creep past the post as the hosts continued to carve chances out of their meagre ration of possession in a goalless first half.

The second period was a different matter entirely, with 1874 utterly unable to harness the strong wind at their backs and completely incapable of mounting a coherent response to Benfield’s compelling and ruthless passing and movement. Keeping the ball on the deck for the most part, the rampant Lions posed a constant threat to the visitors’ goal. Brayson thumped a left foot volley just too high, before a stupendous move involving Knight Slaughter and James Martin fashioned the opening goal. Martin’s excellent cross was headed powerfully and emphatically into the corner of the net, beyond the desperate lunge of keeper James Coates, to give Benfield a deserved lead. From this moment on, 1874 offered nothing other than their best endeavours and it was no surprise when the tie was settled on 70 minutes, when Scott McCarthy nodded in a Knight corner at the back post. 


It was almost 3-0 on 80 minutes when a thumping Brayson free kick caught Coates completely unawares, bouncing back off the motionless keeper’s knee, straight to Knight, who skied the rebound. Another goal would have been harsh on 1874, whose superb fans were a credit to their club and who were glumly engaged in untying their array of flags from the stand as the final whistle blew on the Wembley hopes and Benfield marched on into the third round.


Match Highlights

Click on the link


Tom Wade full of praise after FA Vase win
Newcastle Benfield manager Tom Wade believes the squad are “slowly getting self belief” after their 2-0 FA Vase win over 1874 Northwich.
The Lions progressed to round three of the Vase through second half headers from Paul Brayson and Scott McCarthy courtesy of two dangerous crosses from James Martin and Dennis Knight respectively.
After a tense opening 45 minutes, Wade was delighted with his squad as they dug deep to overcome a Northwich side which reached the last four of the national competition last year.
He said: “In the first half, we were competitive but did not play our passing game and went back to front too early.
“We looked nervous at times which you can expect because of the youth in our team.
“In the second half, we changed the system and started playing to our standards that we have demanded over the last couple of games.
“The second half was our most solid performance since I joined the club. We are slowly getting self belief in the squad.
“We are playing well for 50-60 minutes in games and just need to get the full 90 out of the squad.”
As well as showing quality in attack, Wade was pleased with the defensive work of his back four and goalkeeper.
Wade added: “We’re working on getting our full backs higher up the park and working on the quality of our crosses. We scored a good goal against Birtley from a cross so we are getting there with a lot more to come.
“Paul’s (Brayson) header was a touch of class. Only he could tell you how he could score a header from so far out.”
“We have two clean sheets on the trot now. I thought the back four were excellent and Andrew (Grainger) looks like a rock in goal. We have signed Richard Pell who will only improve our defending.”
The draw for the FA Vase third round is due to take place on Monday afternoon.

Match report

Ian cusack

Footage and Tom wade interview Luke Vinton

Photos Paul Mcfeeley

Website Steve Boyle


NBFC v Birtley Town

Wade: “A good run out for the squad” 
Newcastle Benfield manager Tom Wade was “impressed” with his side after beating Birtley Town 2-0 in the Second Round of the Northern League Cup.
A goal in each half from forward Scott McCarthy was enough to seal the Lions’ place in round three against a resilient Birtley side, competing in Division Two of the Northern League.
Wade made four changes to the starting XI which drew at Whickham on Friday but was left pleased with his players’ contribution.
He said: “We played well in periods of the match and gave games to players in the squad who have not gained much time on the park.
“Overall, it was a good run out for the squad. It was pretty tight in the opening 30 minutes and we were snatching at chances but the first goal was important to settle the team down.
“We needed to give the whole squad some game time so I thought all of the lads coming in did very well. I had to have a look at them and was very impressed.”
With Benfield beginning their FA Vase campaign this Saturday, a second round home tie against 1874 Northwich, Wade was happy with McCarthy’s run of form in front of goal before the club’s important fixture.

He added: “He (McCarthy) has scored five goals in his last three games and grabbed two assists at Whickham last week.

“He just needs to get his head down and kick on. He’s a top player who could have scored a lot more but we have to be patient with him as he is looking for his fitness.”
Click on the above link to watch the match Highlights of
Newcastle Benfield
Birtley Town
Newcastle Benfield
Match Report

The first competitive encounter between the two sides saw Benfield progress to the third round of the Brooks Miles Cup with a minimum of fuss. Manager Tom Wade rotated his squad, resting some and giving others the chance to state their case for a regular starting both. The boss will be pleasantly pleased by the selection headache caused by another fine pair of goals by Scotty McCarthy, a strongshowing by Dean Holmes and Mackenzie Heaney’s artistry and array of passing skills in a central midfield role. Even Ritchie Slaughter enjoyed himself in an unfamiliar libero role, taking the opportunity to stylishly play the ball from the back, with the outside of his foot more often than not.

Birtley Town, on their first season back in the Northern League, gave an excellent account of themselves, combining youth with experience, spirit with flair. On this showing, they ought to find themselves at home at this level of football quite comfortably and, hopefully, such a well-run club can push to go higher in future seasons. That said, they offered little tangible threat to the home goal, where Andrew Grainger was not required to make a serious save all night. 

Benfield’s fluent and fluid team selection saw players swapping places as a regular occurrence. Dennis Knight was as likely to pop up at right back as Rhys Evans was to be found in an inside forward position. Perhaps this is why the home side concentrated more on possession than chances for the opening half an hour. This changed well Dale Pearson’s ferocious effort drew a sprawling save from visiting keeper Mills. Josh Scott was proving to be the usual marauding powerhouse, taking the game to Birtley and he set up McCarthy for the opening goal, when the enigmatic front man turned sharply in the area and stroked an elegant finish into the bottom corner. It could have been 2-0 seconds later, but Mills distinguished himself, scrambling the ball off the line.

As the temperature dropped after the break, Benfield managed the game perfectly, enjoying 80% possession and restricting Birtley to a supporting role. Eventually, Scott McCarthy finished off a glorious 14-pass move by tapping in at the back post after 70 minutes. There could have been more goals, especially when late substitute Paul Brayson set up Heaney, whose controlled side foot effort brushed the bar, but went over. It was the last act of another impressive cameo by the former NUFC academy player.


Man of the Match: Mackenzie Heaney


Whickham v NBFC



For the second away game in a row, Benfield were involved in a six-goal thriller that ended with a final dramatic twist. However, unlike the euphoria engendered by Mark Turnbull’s late leveller at Hillheads, a sense of deep frustration accompanied Andrew Bulford’s predatory equaliser in the dying seconds of 5 minutes of added time. Bully, as he is affectionately known throughout the Northern League, may not have the fleetness of foot that marked his golden times at Dunston UTS, but the speed of thought that allows him still to find space in the box where others struggle, enabled him to grab a hat trick as Whickham refused to lie down and accept defeat. On a bittery cold Friday evening that heralded the first chills of winter, Whickham took the lead when Andrew Grainger raced from his line, allowing Bulford to roll the ball home from a tight angle. Soon Benfield were level when Scott McCarthy raced into the box and fed Paul Brayson for a tap-in. The visitors took the lead going into the break when Jake Orrell finished with sublime acuity, having been set free by Richie Slaughter. It could have been 3 soon after, but Scott McCarthy saw an effort drift inches wide of the far post.

The second half was uneventful until Bulford grabbed a second equaliser on 68 minutes. Benfield came again, and substitute Dale Pearson appeared to have won it, when he rolled home a controlled finish after 83 minutes. It seemed a done deal when Whickham, having already had their assistant sent from the ground for foul and abusive language, went down to 10 when Steven Little was dismissed for hauling down Brayson. The subsequent free kick was deflected an inch wide, which appeared to be end of proceedings until Bulford’s final intervention.

 Match Highlights click on the link


Man of the Match: Dean Holmes


NBFC Reserves v West Jesmond

Today’s match was a thrilling end to end game with plenty of chances for both Newcastle Benfield Reserves and West Jesmond. Benfield came away 4-3 winners after a hatrick from Callum Larmouth and a stunning volley from Robbie Clark. 

Callum’s three goals were almost identical as he caused havoc by jinking in and out of West Jesmonds right hand side before calmly slotting the ball in the back of the net on each occasion. Callum was Benfields stand out player therefore earning him the Man of the Match award from the opposition.
Robbie’s thundering strike won the game for us after some great link up play down the right hand side between both full back and winger. Benfields Right Back delivered a cross to the edge of the box where Robbie calmly controlled the ball before smashing it on the full volley into the stanchion of the goal….it’s still stuck in there!!!
Newcastle Benfield Reserves next game is away v Gosforth Bohemian Reserves.
Match report Dan Souter
Newcastle Benfield supporter Kev Larkham who watched the seniors on Friday decided to attend the Reserves fixture today and gave his view from the terraces

I must admit I do like the odd Friday night fixture as although it is a rush after work, it is nice having a choice on the Saturday of either attending a game you probably would not have otherwise attended or having a football free weekend.

Having suffered last minute agony at The Glebe last night, it was always my intention to take in the Tyneside Amateur League fixture between Newcastle Benfield Reserves and West Jesmond on the Saturday – a fixture which was taking place on the adjacent pitch to the main pitch at Sam Smiths Park.

Thankfully I knew before I left the house that I would know someone there – Lisa Souter, the secretary of Newcastle Benfield Reserves who I work with and who I have regular almost daily conversations with around Newcastle Benfield (we both have to have a break from work now and again you know!).

It was the lads from NE2 who scored with almost the first kick of the game. This is the first season Newcastle Benfield Reserves have competed in the Tyneside Amateur League and therefore still finding their feet, it was a worry conceding so early. However, there was no need to worry as before half time Benfield would be 2-1 up, pegged back to 2-2 and then find themselves 3-2 up. All of Benfields goals were scored by Callum Larmouth who completes a fine hat trick.

The squad is based around young lads moving from junior football and hoping to break into senior football. Earlier in the season McKenzie Heaney also provided great experience to the younger lads when he played whilst improving his own fitness.

Benfield made it 4-2 in the second half as Robbie Clark scores the best goal of the game with a superb finish. A late penalty from West Jesmond thankfully did not impact on the result as Benfield held on for a 4-3 victory. 

All the lads deserve huge credit for the way they try to play attractive football and for the high standards they strive to achieve. Even after falling behind early on, the young Benfield lads continued to play their football in the right way.

There are so many positive things going on at the club and the Reserves are certainly a big part of that. There are many ways to get behind this team and the club generally, whether that be via sponsorship, attending a game, exploring the gym or having your Sunday lunch. With 13 goals in less than 24 hours, I have certainly been entertained and can promise you will too.

Check the Newcastle Benfield or Newcastle Benfield Reserves Twitter pages for fixture news and general updates. 

Come along and see what’s going on and make new friends too – you won’t be disappointed.

NBFC 4 Penrith 1

The first home game of the second Tom Wade era at Newcastle Benfield commenced with a convincing and emphatic victory over rock bottom Penrith, with Scott McCarthy helping himself to a hat trick and being justly rewarded with the Man of the Match award. The striker his team mates call Shock opened the scoring in only the second minute. Finding himself unmarked in the penalty area, McCarthy dummied visiting keeper Thomas Fowler before rolling the ball into the net to give Benfield an early lead. In the same was as The Lions had built on a positive start in the previous home game against Newton Aycliffe, Benfield kept their foot firmly on the throttle and were all but home and hosed before the 20-minute mark had passed. That said, Penrith had almost grabbed a rapid equaliser on 8 minutes when the ball ran free for Adam Main, but he placed a sidefooted effort weakly wide of the far post with Andrew Grainger exposed.

Penrith would come to rue this missed opportunity. Firstly, Dennis Knight saw Fowler tip his stinging drive over the bar on 9 minutes. The second goal arrived on 13 minutes after Jake Orrell had been clumsily tripped in the box. Having missed at Whitley Bay last week and remembering Knight’s success from the spot in the last home game, Paul Brayson graciously stepped aside and saw Knight bury the spot kick beyond Fowler’s despairing dive. Almost straight from the restart, McCarthy grabbed his second and Benfield’s third, when he chested a precise cross from Rhys Evans past a static Fowler. McCarthy almost had his hat trick on 17 minutes, when he broke through the Penrith rearguard and crashed a drive against the outside of the post from 12 yards. The game settled down into a more sedate affair after this ferocious opening, while Benfield were forced into a reshuffle when Jake Orrell limped off to be replaced by Jordan Laidler, though The Lions almost made it 4-0 after 35 minutes, when skipper Mark Turnbull header a Brayson cross just over the bar. 


At half time, Benfield were forced into another change, with Dean Holmes coming on to slot in to an unfamiliar left back role, as James Martin was unable to continue after the break. Penrith should have scored on 47 minutes when their best player Shaun Gardener just failed to slide onto a low cross by Michael Yarker. Play switched to the other end and Fowler saved with his feet from Brayson, who had exchanged a delicious 1-2 with Knight. The fourth goal came on the hour and it was fitting that McCarthy completed his hat trick with the best finish of the game. Receiving the ball with his back to goal at the edge of the area, he took a touch to control it, then spun and fired home in one movement, with Fowler a bemused onlooker. Fowler gained a measure of revenge by preventing another McCarthy goal on 80 minutes by blocking the ball with his legs.


By this stage, Penrith were downhearted and dejected, but they didn’t give up. Gardener gained a consolation by starting and finishing a move with young sub Jack Brown. However, it was too little too late and Benfield felt comfortable to see the game out with 10 men, with Jordan Laidler limping off in the final five minutes after all substitutes had been used. 


Wades Words.

Click on the link to see Newcastle Benfield Managers view on Newcastle Benfield’s win


Match Report Ian Cusack


Paul Mcfeeley/Callum Boyle

Website Steve Boyle

Match coverage Luke Vinton.


Click on the above link to see the game highlights

Wading through the Bay

Whitley Bay 3

Newcastle Benfield 3

Attendance 455

The second Tom Wade era at Newcastle Benfield got off to a cracking start, with a pulsating, end-to-end encounter with Whitley Bay at Hillheads. The two sides went at it hammer and tongs from first whistle until last, producing an elating spectacle that will surely not be bettered throughout the whole of 2018/2019 for sheer entertainment, though the respective managers, Messrs Gowans and Wade would probably prefer their sides to play a little more conservatively in future.

Last week had seen Benfield adopt a 3-5-2 formation that proved highly successful against Newton Aycliffe, but on a horses for courses basis, this week The Lions set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation that, in the final analysis, proved just as effective as the week before’s line up. However, the fact Benfield didn’t return home with all three points had more to do with outrageous misfortune in front of the opposition goal and some seriously preventable mishaps near our own net. On a warm, though incredibly blustery day, Bay debutant keeper Chris Bannon must have thought he was in for an easy afternoon when The Seahorses took a 2-0 lead on 27 minutes that lasted until half time, but how Benfield didn’t go in at the break ahead by a distance was a travesty.

After an even opening, when Alex Nisbet tested Bannon with a low effort and Mark Turnbull showed commendable presence of mind to throw himself in front of a Jack Foalle effort, Bay took the lead from the penalty spot. Peter Glen-Ravenhill got goal side of James Martin and the chasing Benfield fullback was unable to put in a clean challenge, bringing the Whitley forward down in the area. Gavin Caines strolled up and nonchalantly rolled the ball home with Andrew Grainger going the wrong way. Five minutes later Benfield ought to have been level, when Dennis Knight sent in a beautiful cross right on the forehead of David Robinson. Sadly, his effort looped over the bar and, within the blink of an eye, it was 2-0. Out of nowhere Luke Salmon let fly from 25 yards and the ball swerved and dipped like a rapidly deflating balloon, completely deceiving Andrew Grainger. In fact, you could say, Salmon did him like a kipper.

Thankfully, Grainger was on his mettle seconds later when Olly Martin drove in from the left and fired in a testing effort that Grainger brilliantly palmed over. From then, Benfield took control. On the half hour, Turnbull weaved into the area but saw his effort blocked. Almost immediately Brayson seized the ball, clipped it over his shoulder, turned and fired an effort that Bannon saved with his legs. David Robinson was twice denied in 30 seconds; firstly, he hit the underside of the bar with a strong effort. The ball fell to Knight who had an effort charged down. Brayson rescued the attack and played a glorious ball to Robinson whose stylish flick rolled inches wide with Bannon, mouth agape, a mere bystander. Right on the break, Brayson hit the bar and the ball ran free for Glen-Ravenhill to fashion a counter attack that was only ended with a goal saving challenge by Joe Robson, meaning the home side went in at the break with a 2-0 lead.

Seconds after the restart, Benfield had a goal back. Brayson’s astute through ball set Jake Orrell free in the box and he finished with aplomb. Benfield continued to exercise control of the game, dictating the pace it was played at and driving a panicking Bay backwards. It was therefore no surprise when the visitors drew level. Almost inevitably Brayson got the goal, picking up a loose ball at the edge of the box and thrashing it past Bannon at his near post. Rhys Evans then almost put Benfield ahead with a speculative effort from distance, which Bannon did well to tip over. The debutant went from hero to villain when he swept Knight’s feet away, with little danger evident. However, he redeemed himself, by pushing Brayson’s spot kick onto the bar, with Orrell knocking the rebound wide. 

A minute later, Bay scored with their first attack of the second half. Substitute Kevin Carr collected a Grainger goal kick and tried a speculative effort, but the ball was blocked and fell to Foalle, who crashed it home. The young striker was the fulcrum of everything good the Seahorses produced and looks to be an awesome talent in the future. It took an instinctive save from Grainger to stop Foalle putting the game to bed on 86 minutes. Benfield would not lie down and accept defeat. Alex Nisbet’s scorching drive cleared the bar by inches and substitute Scott McCarthy seemed to have spurned the final chance when he put James Martin’s low cross over an unguarded net from 6 yards out. Thankfully, a point was still on offer. Pinball in the Whitley box saw Dean Holmes ignore his broken nose and bravely nod against the inside of the post, only for Turnbull to force the ball over the line for a thoroughly merited point.

Match Report Ian Cusack

Video footage Luke Vinton

(To be uploaded)


Apologies for the photos our normal photographer was unavailable.

Yesterday’s had his hands full and refused to share his food.

Brayson leads the Lions to Victory but is a Non runner for the Vacant management position.

Clink on the link to access the Goals from Saturday’s game


Following the midweek departure of manager Mark Convery, Newcastle Benfield were under the direction of striker Paul Brayson. The veteran marksman’s first decision was to change the formation to a 3-5-2, with Mark Turnbull, Craig Scott and Joe Robson at the back, Rhys Evans and Dale Pearson as wing backs, a central midfield trio of Alex Nisbet, Richy Slaughter and David Robinson, with Brayson and Dennis Knight up top. In goal, as ever, was Andrew Grainger, whose sole involvement in the game was to catch a rebounded effort off the top of the bar by Aycliffe’s substitute Marc Costello in the 77th minute. This probably gives you an indication as to the dominance enjoyed by a rejuvenated home side.

Like so many games this season, Benfield began like an express train. In the first minute, Brayson was set free by Dale Pearson. He stepped round the despairing lunge of keeper Daniel Scott but ended up slightly wide of the target and could only find the side netting. After 4 minutes, Scott used his legs to stop another Brayson effort, but eventually the home side took the lead on 10 minutes. Rhys Evans played a ball into Brayson’s feet in the area and, with his back to goal, he was brought down by a combination of keeper and defender, resulting in a spot kick. Brayson, limping slightly, passed the honour to Dennis Knight who confidently buried the ball in the bottom corner.

Less than 3 minutes later, it was 2-0. Lurking at the back post, Dennis Knight received the ball from a corner and fired in a thunderous effort that struck the underside of the bar, falling perfectly for Joe Robson to nod in for his first league goal for the club. Finally, Benfield had managed to turn early supremacy into tangible rewards with a pair of goals. In this opening period, the crowd were energised by seeing the old confidence and swagger returning to the Lions’ play as confidence and self-belief oozed through their veins. Dennis twice more almost scored before the 20-minute mark; a low drive from distance was fumbled round the post by Scott and a gorgeous move involving Evans, Brayson and Slaughter ended with the bearded wonder firing just wide.


The third goal was always coming, and it duly arrived on 33 minutes, when Paul Brayson crashed in a free kick from outside the box, that left keeper Scott clawing fresh air. It was almost 4 from a similar position minutes later, when Evans set up Brayson, only to see Scott get behind the ball on this occasion. The score at half time was a less than flattering 3-0 to Benfield and the good times were on their way back to Sam Smith’s Park. The fact the final score was 3-0 should not indicate that the second half was a kind of After the Lord Mayor’s Show anti-climax. Although the half began quietly, Benfield ramped up the pressure after the hour and if a spot kick had been awarded after Dale Pearson was barged over in the box, the final margin of victory could well have been extended. As it was, Brayson ensured the game was successfully managed to a conclusion, removing himself from the firing line and allowing McKenzie Heaney to showcase his stunning array of flicks and skills in an eye-catching late cameo. If this is the kind of trickery he is capable of on a regular basis, then his return to full fitness cannot come soon enough.

Having begun watching Newcastle Benfield full time at the start of the season (attended a number of games last season on a more casual basis), people could quite possibly start questioning whether I was an unlucky mascot, after what can only be described as a slow start to the season.

After clear signs of improvement over the 3 previous games, there was confidence that a much needed home victory could be secured on Saturday against a mid table Newton Aycliffe. Although when your side doesn’t win, it makes you miserable for a few days, I have still retained 100% excitement on a match day and have not been genuinely concerned I was an unlucky omen.

Having only been a face around the football club for a couple of months, the welcome I have received has simply been brilliant and therefore a couple of pre match pints offers a great opportunity to develop friendships further.

As things turned out, this was the Lions most dominant and straightforward victory of the season. It was clear from early on that our visitors lacked any real leaders and certainly this was not one of their best recent days from a footballing perspective, with no real cutting edge in the final third especially apparent.

After a Dennis Knight penalty (great to see his efforts now being rewarded with goals), a Joe Robson header (what a signing) and a customary goal from Paul Brayson before we had reached 35 minutes, the outcome was never going to be in any doubt. Unfortunately I missed 2 goals due to “bladder” issues and there were to be no further goals beyond this blistering first 35 minutes as Benfield coasted to a valuable and well deserved 3 points. Thank you to Luke for getting the highlights up quickly so I could catch up before the weekend was out!

After many years in non- league Football, I am really enjoying being a part of such a great club and can’t remember having this level of enthusiasm for such a long time. It is great to see others share this enthusiasm with the impressive Sam Smiths Sports ground regularly seeing new works completed behind the scenes.

With all areas of the club flourishing (including junior and reserve sections), there really hasn’t been a better time to support your local non league club or get involved in another way – lets hope the people of NE6 (and beyond) realise what they have on their door step.

Cheap entry, reasonable priced beer, a varied choice in the canteen for the kids and a good standard of Football, what more could you ask for?

Saturday coming (non league day), you have the opportunity of a trip to the seaside as the team head to Whitley Bay…..see you there!

Fans view Kev Larkham

Match Report Ian Cusack

Photos Callum Boyle

website Steve Boyle

Match Coverage Luke Vinton

Hornets 2 Lions 1

Hebburn Town 2

Newcastle Benfield 1


Benfield travelled to South Tyneside for a league game against Hebburn Town. Having almost gone out of existence two years ago, Hebburn are a club reborn. Last season Benfield came here for an FA Vase tie and the palpable buzz around Victoria Road West was indicative of momentum building. On that occasion Benfield strolled home 3-1 with plenty to spare, but this evening we found ourselves up against the side leading Northern League Division 1 and so a tough game was envisaged. Three changes were evident from Saturday’s draw with Ashington; Dale Pearson was injured, meaning Dean Holmes started on the left. On the right, Josh Scott was only fit enough for the bench, so Rhys Evans pushed forward, and captain Mark Turnbull switched to right back, with Craig Scott returning in the centre ofdefence. 

The visitors dominated the early stages of the game and the hosts struggled to deal with Benfield’s intensity by sporting means. Veteran Paul Chow was lucky to only see yellow for a studs-up challenge. From the resulting free kick, The Lions took the lead through a fantastic Dennis Knight strike after a half-cleared ball was rolled into his path by the astute Rhys Evans.

It was a magnificent goal, but the balance of play soon switched to the other end as Hebburn’s combination of muscular tackling and flowing football wrested the initiative away from Benfield.

Eager to get themselves back into this game, Hebburn began to throw themselves forward an on the stroke of 20 minutes, Dibb-Fuller fizzed a ball narrowly wide of the upright. Their efforts were rewarded in the 23rd minute when the Benfield defence failed to close down Storey, allowing the ex-South Shields defender space to fire the ball past the unsighted Andrew Grainger. The table-toppers were now in the ascendancy and before long, the Hornets took the lead for the first time. After an excellent run from Michael Richardson, former Team Northumbria winger Dibb-Fuller found space at the back post to slot home on the half hour. Soon after, Benfield, initially deservedly ahead and now deservedly behind, had a great opportunity to grab an equaliser when Rhys Evans threaded a ball down the right to David Robinson. His venomous first-time effort was unfortunately into the side netting and so Hebburn went into the break leading 2-1. 

Not wanting to allow the visitors an avenue back into the game, Hebburn came out of the blocks in the second half quickly and in the 51st minute, Richardson had a shot bobble wide of the left-hand post. Storey, in search of his second goal of the game, should have done better in the 70th minute when he fired the ball well over the Benfield crossbar from 20 yards out. With time running out, Benfield had a glorious chance to come away with a point, only for substitute Scott McCarthy’s rising volley to clear the bar with keeper Jennison stranded. It was the last chance and Hebburn played keep ball to successfully run the clock down and gain 3 points they scarcely deserved.  

Match report Ian Cusack

Website/photos Steve Boyle

Match coverage Luke Vinton

Next Game 👇

Newcastle Benfield v Ashington match report

While keeper Conor Grant was the best player on the park by a country mile, his Ashington colleagues must still be smirking in disbelief at how the Colliers, managed by former Benfield boss Steve Bowey, managed to steal a point from an encounter that could have seen them on the end of a thrashing in double figures. As it was, a calamitous error by Benfield’s normally brilliant keeper Andrew Grainger almost gifted the points to the South East Northumberland outfit. Thankfully, Paul Brayson’s second goal in as many games rescued a draw for the shell-shocked Lions.

The home side were unchanged from Wednesday’s impressive home win against Bishop Auckland and began on the front foot, with the aid of a blustery wind to their backs. As early as the third minute Grant distinguished himself, with an instinctive parry from Brayson, when the lethal marksman was slipped in by Dennis Knight, who had another excellent game; other than his utter inability to open his account for Benfield alas. He almost had that elusive first goal on 6 minutes, only for the strong wrists of Grant to parry a stinging drive, which saw the ball recycled to Rhys Evans who thunderbolt was tipped over the bar by Grant. Knight was back in the action on 8 minutes, robbing left back Jay Hornsby and cracking in a low effort that Grant smothered. As the waves of unending attacking and relentless pressure continued, Ashington had a let off when David Robinson nodded in the loose ball after another Grant save from Knight, only to be flagged offside.

Ashington number 9 Atkinson was lucky not to walk on 32 minutes, having scythed down James Martin with a cynical hack. The striker saw yellow as did Martin, who reacted badly to the foul. On 35 minutes, Rhys Evans galloped down the right and sent in a tremendous low cross for Brayson, who planted an effort inches wide of the far post. Twice before half time, Benfield were denied by the officials in controversial circumstances. The assistant who had been so keen to flag Robinson off when he put the ball in the net, managed to miss both a clear hand ball in the area, when an Ashington defender’s outstretched arm palmed the ball down for Dale Pearson to lash an effort fractionally too high, before Mark Turnbull’s header on the stroke of the interval was adjudged not to have crossed the line, despite the clearing defender resting against the goal net when blocking the ball. Astonishingly, we reached the interval with a blank scoresheet.


Immediately from the resumption, Grant made his best save of the game, instinctively grabbing a Josh Scott effort that deflected from a defender. Moments later, Brayson fed Knight who shot inches past the far post. On the hour, Knight was felled in the area, but the stonewall penalty was not given and, for the first time, Benfield began to show signs of doubt as an element of belief crept into the Colliers’ game. Scarcely credibly, Ashington took the lead on 66 minutes when Andrew Grainger somehow dived over a routine low cross, allowing substitute Richardson to tap into an unguarded net. It may have been unbelievable, but it could have been the winner, were it not for the foolishness of Atkinson. When Grainger sought to build a quick attack by throwing the ball to James Martin, Atkinson raised his arm to block the ball. Luckily the assistant managed to see this transgression and the Ashington striker left the pitch after collecting a needless booking to top up his one in the first half.


Dean Holmes came on for Dennis and effectively saved the day. Running purposefully down the left, he put in two crosses that caused alarm bells in the Ashington rearguard. The second of these was beautifully nodded home from close range by Paul Brayson, causing certain elements of the crowd to recall David Ginola providing balls of comparable quality for Sir Les Ferdinand in the halcyon era of Newcastle United. 


Despite having the extra man, Benfield could not find a way through for the winner. Indeed, Ashington came closest with a free kick that glanced off the top of the bar, before Brayson’s acrobatic overhead kick drifted past the post in injury time. A great game. A great performance. An unfortunate result.


Match footage by Luke Vinton to be uploaded

Match report Ian Cusack

Website/Steve Boyle

photos callum Boyle

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