Consett League Cup

Only three days after the gut-wrenching FA Vase loss to Coleshill Town, Newcastle Benfield were back in the saddle for a third round Northern League Cup tie away to Consett. The Steelmen’s well-appointed Belle View ground boasts a 4G pitch that explains to the uneducated why there can be no such thing as an “all weather” surface. Ignoring the chance of fog, the very real danger up in the hills of North West Durham is snow. Despite the fact that the paths and roads were clear on Tyneside, by the time we began our ascent towards Shotley Bridge, the lands beyond Rowlands Gill were dusted white and sparkled crystalline under the streetlights. However, the game went ahead, and a patched-up Benfield side welcomed back Marc Dummett after injuryas well as giving a debut to former Cirencester Town player Shannon Pocock; a real baptism of ice.

The first half was a cagey affair, with the two main incidents involving Paul Brayson. In the second minute he broke free, but was denied by Consett keeper James Platten. That was just the sighter though; twenty minutes later, Brassy again burst clear and this time made no mistake, giving the Lions a slender single goal lead that they took to the break.

If the opening period was lacking action, the second 45 certainly made up for it. Within 30 seconds of the resumption, Brayson charged forward and unleashed a powerful drive that flashed past Platten, but struck the outside of the post. Joe Hailes, who never stopped running all night, saw Platten block his effort before the Lions doubled their lead on 52 minutes. Alex Nisbet collected the ball in the middle of the Consett half, drove on, cut inside and fired an unstoppable low, left-footed drive into the bottom corner. It was a great goal, but more than matched almost from the restart, when Consett captain Danny Craggs surged forward before unleashing a thunderbolt that beat Andrew Grainger all ends up. However, the Benfield custodian was soon to get the better of Craggs, with a stunning one-handed, flying save that clawed the ball away from the top corner to keep the visitors ahead.

Straight from the following corner, Grainger’s quick and accurate throw set Paul Brayson free and the veteran marksman finished with the kind of aplomb he’s been showing for quarter of a century now. This appeared to deflate the home side, with Benfield creating and squandering several presentable half chances for Lewis Scorgie and Scott McCarthy in particular. As a last throw of the dice, Consett introduced former Benfield winger Josh Scott and he wasted a glorious opportunity when unmarked at the near post, blazing the ball into the side netting. Just to keep the Lions on their toes, Craggs grabbed a second goal on 91 minutes after a goalmouth scramble, but Benfield saw the tie through and deservedly progress to the last 8.

Fa Vase

Coleshill Town 1

Newcastle Benfield 1

(4-2 after penalties)

A brilliant individual goal from Luke Carr was not enough for Benfield to progress through to the last 16 of the FA Vase

The Lions were hit with a cruel last minute equaliser forcing the game to extra time whereupon Coleshill progressed through to Next Round.

Full match report to follow……

After 240 minutes of football, two teams from the same level in the football pyramid, from almost 200 miles apart, simply could not be separated, meaning that the only possible way to find a winner was by the lottery of kicks from the penalty mark. Sadly, it was a broken-hearted Benfield squad that bowed out, having seen Coleshill convert all 4 of theirs and both Joe Hailes and Kieran Wrightson saw both of their efforts saved by home keeper Paul Hathaway.

The team from the sleepy, leafy lanes of affluent Warwickshire now move on to host Bracknell Town in the last 16, while for Benfield there is the chance for sombre reflection on the miniscule, yet unforgiving margins between success and failure.

Similar to the first game the week before, the first half of this contest saw Benfield on the front foot for most of the opening period. The 4G surface at bucolic Pack Meadow suited The Lions’ slick, incisive passing game, while the home team relied more on long ball tactics, primarily by utilising the prodigious kicking of Hathaway to switch play from one end to the other in the shortest time possible. Despite the contrasting styles on display, the common factor was a lack of real chances in both goalmouths. There were close shaves and hairy moments, but until Jake Orrell’s superb turn and testing low shot that Hathaway did well to palm away in the 37th minute, neither keeper was called into action and so the score remained unsurprisingly blank at the break, even if in terms of possession, Benfield should have been at least two goals ahead.

The second half was a closer affair, punctuated with a myriad range of stoppages for injuries, post-foul lectures and the retrieval of match balls from the surrounding fields, though again chances were at a premium. A visibly tiring home side were being pushed back by visitors who sought vainly for an opener and it almost came with 10 minutes to go when Jake Orrell slid a ball across the area for the on-rushing Luke Carr. Agonisingly, he was on the stretch and could only steer his shot over the bar. However, there was still time for enough drama in Shakespeare’s home county for a five-act tragedy. On 94 minutes, Luke Carr found himself free on the left side of the box. His shot was firm, true and with the added benefit of a crucial deflection off a home defender. When it nestled in the bottom corner, past the grasp of the despairing Hathaway, it seemed as if the Lions had done it.

In the film Clockwise, John Cleese plays the uptight and obsessive head teacher Brian Stimpson who sums his philosophy on life up as “it’s not despair I hate. I can stand the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.” Never was this more apt than during this game. During the final seconds of injury time, Coleshill made one last desperate effort to rescue the game and, unbelievably, drew level. An inviting cross from the left by Ryan Edmunds was powerfully headed home, via the inside of the post, by the impressive Luke Edwards. It was a magnificently placed effort and no keeper in the world would have got near it. The final whistle, 30 seconds later, was drowned out by the cheers of the still celebrating home support.

Extra time, the same as last week, was tight and attritional, with the best and most significant chance falling to Coleshill, following a mix-up in the Benfield penalty area. It was missed and, so we went to penalties, with the devastating outcome mentioned before. Best of luck to Coleshill; they were spirited, worthy opponents who rode their luck, though Benfield will lose sleep over the chances blown over two legs to advance in the competition. Of course, there’s always next year.

Good luck to Coleshill in the next round 👍🏆⚽️

Absolutely delighted with all the players and the support we had for the game, unfortunately it wasn’t to be this year but there is still a lot to play for this season. We are down and hurting but will be back at it again for Tuesday.

🏆⚽️🏆⚽️🏆⚽️🏆⚽️🏆⚽️🏆⚽️

Special thanks to all the Newcastle Benfield fans 2 bus loads 👏

However we need to get these two a Watch bus leaves at 8 not 9😂

FA Vase

Newcastle Benfield 1

McCarthy

Coleshill Town 1

Grandison

After 120 minutes of pulsating football the game ended all square.

We now travel south

The replay is to be played on Saturday 13th January 2018 whereupon the Lions will travel the long journey down South to play at Park Meadow kick off 3pm.

Transport to the game is already being organised so if you wish to travel please get in touch.

An excellent game with end to end attacking football, a penalty miss, confrontation and both teams battling to the bitter end on a heavy pitch.

(Number 6 for Benfield

Lewis Scorgie)

👇⚽️🏆👇⚽️🏆

Special thanks to Alan Shearer 🙋‍♂️

Newcastle Benfield and Coleshill Town served up 120 minutes of classic cup football in this FA Vase fourth round tie at Sam Smith’s Park. With hitherto ever-present James Novak failing a fitness task, Dylan McEvoy slotted in at left back against an opposition who sought to play the ball long as quickly as possible in every possible eventuality.

On a heavy pitch, under slate grey skies that oftentimes leached cold, hard rain, where the persistent, raw wind assaulted exposed flesh with sadistic glee, both teams served up the kind of tumultuous game that all those who witnessed it will be proud to have been in attendance. And yet, despite the heroic efforts of both teams, the home side could not fail to leave the pitch at almost 6pm with a gnawing, insistent sense of what could, should and ought to have been.

Coleshill, though it must be recognised they managed the extra time period with a kind of consummate, quasi continental professionalism, will be delighted if not amazed to leave with a draw.

Paul Brayson has scored 31 goals so far, this season for Newcastle Benfield, including 16 in the cups. He had the chance to notch another on 12 minutes when Scott McCarthy who was the home team’s star player on the day, had his legs swept from under him in the box.

Paul Brayson opted for placement over power and saw a deviation from the pitch cruelly send his low kick against the outside of the post and wide.

Three minutes later Jake Orrell’s magisterial footwork gave Richy Slaughter a clear opportunity on the edge of the box which was placed over the crossbar.

Coleshill then began to come into the game and set up a quartet of opportunities. Firstly, Ryan Edmunds let fly from fully 35 yards and struck the angle of bar and post. Liam Molesworth worked himself a shooting opportunity, but fired straight at the advancing Andrew Grainger. Molesworth then thought he had opened the scoring, tapping in at the back post, but he was adjudged offside. Finally, Giovanni Dainty sent in a gentle curling effort that Andrew Grainger saved comfortably, meaning the two sides went in at the break with a score of 0-0. Straight from the resumption, Benfield went for the jugular. Orrell’s wicked low shot was parried by Coleshill keeper Paul Hathaway, straight into the path of the onrushing McCarthy whose first-time effort was scrambled away. Minutes later McCarthy sent in a perfect cross from the right wing and Brayson threw himself at it only for the ball to be smothered by Hathaway. Orrell played in Brayson and the veteran striker’s delicate chip hit the side netting. Brayson returned the compliment and Orrell chipped Hathaway, only for the ball to drop agonisingly wide.

In the second period, Coleshill’s first effort on goal in the 60th minute saw Reece Leek volley just wide. Their second effort, on 79 minutes, saw substitute Joel Grandison beat Andrew Grainger to a cross and head home. It was a stunning blow; completely against the run of play and out of the blue. All credit to Benfield; within a couple of minutes of going behind, they were level when Scott McCarthy’s cross from the touchline eluded Hathaway and flew in. Perhaps it was a fluke, but it was undeniably deserved, and it signalled an all-out assault by the Lions in search of the winner.

It seemed if things had taken a decisive turn in favour of Benfield when Joseph Cole was dismissed for a crude foul in front of the dug-outs. Once sanity was restored,

Benfield continued to camp in the Coleshill half. With seconds remaining Brayson played a short corner to McEvoy, whose first-time effort was brilliantly tipped over by Hathaway; a foot either side and it would have been a goal.

Sadly, the final whistle began to sap the Benfield energy levels as much as the Coleshill ones. The single chance of the extra period saw Brayson’s effort go agonisingly wide and necessitate a replay at Pack Meadow on Saturday 13th January. Man of the Match: Scott McCarthy

Congratulations to Newcastle Benfield Manager Mark Convery on his recent engagement Also to our Cameraman Callum who turned 12 today Special mention to Dylan who was our Mascot for the Match hope you had a brilliant day 👇👍⚽️

Match report Ian Cusack

Photos/website Steve Boyle

Newcastle Benfield 1 Team Northumbria 2

Match report by Ian Cusack

Photos/website by Steve Boyle

After the euphoria of the 4-0 rout handed out to Guisborough Town in the previous game, it was back to earth with a bump for Newcastle Benfield on St. Stephen’s Day. In a game dominated by two outstanding performances between the posts, near neighbours Team Northumbria completed the league double and eased their relegation worries with a merited 2-1 victory against a seriously depleted home side, further hampered by injuries during the game itself.

The absence of the lively and creative Dylan McEvoy from midfield meant that Benfield were missing 4 players from the centre of the park: the other non-combatants being Jack Errington, Alex Nisbet and Richie Slaughter, all of whom can pick a pass and love a tackle. Also unavailable was Andrew Grainger, but in the shape of Dan Nimmins, Benfield have a more than adequate deputy for the finest Northern League keeper in living memory.

The crowd was boosted by a couple of dozen Whitley and Shields fans, who were left at a loose end by their game falling foul to a waterlogged pitch. In contrast, Sam Smith’s Park was in pristine condition, though one must query whether the directive of kicking off Bank Holiday games at 11.00 is always the best idea, when maximising attendances are concerned. However, all those who were present would concur that this was a lively and entertaining game, where the instincts of both teams to get the ball down and pass it to feet were fully in evidence, with the majority of chances in the first period falling to the visitors, who impressed with the eye-catching fluidity of their play, although skipper Mark Turnbull almost tasted glory after he embarked upon a run reminiscent of Maradona versus Belgium, only to be thwarted by a good defensive block. Excellent keeping by Nimmins and profligate finishing kept the score blank, until the returning Jake Orrell swivelled in the area, following excellent work down the right by Rhys Evans, and buried a half-chance to give Benfield an interval lead they scarcely deserved.

At the break, Benfield were forced to withdraw left-back James Novak with a back problem, which was the first time this season the Lions had lined up without the tenacious former Morpeth player. Soon after, Luke Carr limped off and Benfield were truly up against it. That said, the game defining moment occurred after 65 minutes when Lewis Scorgie’s bullet header from a Paul Brayson corner seemed destined for the top corner, only for Team North keeper Greg Purvis to fly across the goal and fingertip the ball wide. This seemed to renew the away team’s spirit and on 75 minutes, the predatory Ben Dibb-Fuller finally worked an opening in the area, before shooting low past Nimmins into the corner. Within minutes TN were ahead; Scott Gunn stroked home an outrageously well-struck free kick, reminiscent of efforts by both Liam O’Brien and Scott Sellars against sunderland in years gone by, in off the post, past a despairing Nimmins, to settle the contest.

Benfield had one last period of pressure, when Purvis broke home hearts. Firstly, he dived smartly to his left to deny Jon Mellish’s curling effort, stood transfixed as Scorgie hammered the rebound off the inside of the post, before launching himself into save of the season to keep out Lacquan Esdaille’s full-blooded volley from 8 yards. Truly, a keeping performance that won the day for the visitors, while the home custodian was similarly superb in his handling, but sadly ended on the losing side.

Man of the Match: Dan Nimmins

Guisborough Town 0 Paul Brayson 4

Final Score

Guisborough Town 0

Newcastle Benfield 4

Brayson (4)

I thought we defended well in the first half against a very strong wind and a good Guisborough front line.

Second half we kept the ball very well and carved a lot of openings out and obviously when you create chances and have Paul Brayson up front your always going to score goals.

Goals and Guisborough Town Manager Gary Forster views courtesy of Guisborough Town.

https://t.co/IeVBfuGrnG

Match Report by Ian Cusack

Photos provided by Daniel Clark

Website co ordinator Steve Boyle

When the EBAC Northern League Division 1 fixtures were first published, a small cheer was heard emanating from the environs of NE6 4NU as Benfield had been handed a free weekend on the Saturday before Christmas. However, this changed when Guisborough Town’s appeal to the FA against their relegation to Division 2 was upheld and Benfield were presented with a trip to North Yorkshire. The distance and date were not the only causes for pre-match trepidation, as the previous two visits had seen the Lions pegged back from 2-0 up to draw, conceding deep into injury time on both occasions. Thankfully today’s victory was so straightforward that once the lead had been established on the quarter of an hour, Guisborough were of no danger at all.

With manager Mark Convery completing his two-game stadium ban, assistant Craig “The Bruise” Heward again stepped up to the mark and fair play to Bruiser, he got his selection, his substitutions and his tactics absolutely spot on. With Lacquan Esdaille a booking away from a ban, the likeable Mancunian was replaced by returning Gateshead loanee, the accomplished Jon Mellish. Alex Nisbet was unavailable for family reasons and so Kieran Wrightson, who had been struggling with a sickness bug, continued his return to full fitness by starting in the holding role. Rhys Evans came into midfield, allowing Luke Carr to adopt a more central role, while Jake Orrell dropped to the bench.

In the opening moments, the large and imposing Priorymen started on the front foot, with Mark Robinson heading wide from a corner. Benfield responded quickly and Luke Carr was denied by on-rushing Guisborough keeper Jordan Nixon, having accepted an astute pass from Paul Brayson. On 16 minutes that man Brayson did what he’s been doing for quarter of a century now; played in by a sublime pass from Kieran Wrightson, who had his most accomplished game since his return to the side, Brassy timed his run to perfection, despite the loud and inaccurate moaning from home quarters, slipping the ball past Nixon with consummate ease. Nixon had better look 6 minutes later, when he sprang to his left to palm away a strong effort by Joe Hailes. After 30 minutes, Andrew Grainger made his only serious save of the game, spreading himself well to block Nathan Steel’s shot. For the rest of the half, it was the visitors asking the questions; unfortunately, Brayson’s 38th minute effort was deflected wide and Carr’s delicious bending effort in the final seconds before the break drifted past the post, making the score 1-0 to Benfield at the break.

Following the resumption, the game saw one-way traffic towards the home goal for the rest of the encounter. Nixon denied Brayson with a diving stop low to his right and Wrightson volleyed a half-cleared James Novak cross a shade over the crossbar before Guisborough pressed the self-destruct button. Defender Mark Robinson was shown a straight red card for a foul on Wrightson that was two-footed, off the ground, studs up and nowhere near the ball. Fairly soon Wrightson had to be withdrawn, with Scott McCarthy coming on instead. The pacey wide man made an immediate impact, being hauled down as he ran into the box. Brayson picked the ball up and fired high past Nixon. The veteran striker almost had his hat trick moments later, but shot into the side netting when fed by Mark Turnbull. Brayson’s treble was completed from the spot after 86 minutes when Joe Hailes was unceremoniously hauled to the floor, close to the dead ball line. The scoring was completed in the last minute, when Brayson executed an outrageous chip that Phillipe Albert would have been proud of, rounding off a solid and satisfying 4-0 win that approached a rout.

Man of the Match: Brayson

Newcastle Benf 0 Ashington fc 3

Match report by Ian Cusack

It truly was the nightmare before Christmas for Benfield, when the ghost of seasons past, in the shape of former player boss Steve Bowey, came back to haunt the Lions at Sam Smith’s Park with his new club Ashington, before making good his escape with a smash and grab raid that yielded all three points for the Colliers. The final 3-0 scoreline tells of an emphatic win and no amount of subsequent rewriting of the narrative surrounding the game can hide the facts, but it has to be said the two goals by Damien Stevens that bookended a third by Kyle Downey were approximately 75% of the entire efforts on goal of the visitors during this game.

After 19 minutes, Bowey surged down the right, evaded a challenge from James Novak and set up Damien Stevens for a straightforward finish to give The Colliers the lead.

The goal was greeted in stunned silence, as it was not only the first Ashington shot of the evening, but the first time they’d enjoyed any real possession outside of their own penalty area. Indeed, the opening exchanges had been characterised by a dazzling array of frenetic short passing and almost telepathic interplay between the Benfield attacking trio of Dylan McEvoy, Luke Carr and Jake Orrell, ably assisted by Paul Brayson of course. Desperate defending by the Ashington rearguard, superbly marshalled by the indomitable Conor Grant in goal, kept the marauding home side at arm’s length. Shots were at a premium, but when McEvoy launched a curling thunderbolt on the quarter of an hour, it seemed as if the deadlock would be broken, only for Grant to produce a stupendous fingertip save to turn the ball round the post. From the ensuing corner, Lewis Scorgie headed wastefully wide and Benfield were soon to rue such misses when Stevens opened the scoring.

Benfield continued to press and Scorgie again headed wide when it seemed easier to score, less than 10 minutes later when rising to meet a beautifully flighted McEvoy ball to the back post. As a coach, Bowey has always led by example, amid the muck and bullets of a midfield skirmish, but he is also an astute practitioner of mind games; getting inside Lewis Scorgie’s head by means of incessant chatter that caused the home centre half to simmer with rage and then attempt to referee the game, by pointing out Scorgie’s anger to the officials. Nothing illegal, but very effective in throwing the home team off the scent. At least the attacking players kept their mind on the job and McEvoy himself was inches from restoring parity when he flashed a powerful effort across the face of goal on 36 minutes. Two minutes later, Mark Turnbull played in Jake Orrell with a delightful ball, but Grant was quickly off his line to smother. Rather like their first goal, Ashington’s second came out of nowhere when they’d been right under the cosh. Kyle Downey

was allowed to advance and hit a shot from the edge of the box, taking a wicked deflection and just evading the desperate efforts of Andrew Grainger and giving the visitors a wholly undeserved 2-0 lead at the break.

Following the resumption, it appeared as if The Lions would not allow themselves to be beaten, as they tore into their opponents with renewed vigour and controlled determination. However, Ashington were as steely in their determination not to be beaten and repelled everything Benfield threw at them, with that man Grant utterly faultless in his handling and decision making throughout the second period, having learned to be more circumspect after Brayson went round the on-rushing keeper early on, only to have his shot hacked clear from almost on the line. Sadly for home fans, the longer the game went on, the more desperate and despairing were Benfield’s efforts. It was just one of those nights and, to put the tin hat on proceedings, an unmarked Stevens collected a loose ball and fired home to give the score a slightly surreal, lopsided feel to it.

Benfield will play much worse and win; Ashington probably won’t.

Man of the Match: Dylan McEvoy

I thought we were not at our best however we still had more of the ball with only our final ball and decision making in the final third letting us down. We were punished twice for our own mistakes and conceded the third late on when we had pushed everyone forward.

Newc Benfield 3 Billingham Synthonia 2

Thursday 14th December 2017

Kick off 730pm at Home

Sam Smiths park

Ne77nd

Match Report

Bottom of the table Synners journeyed north for this Thursday night fixture with only a skeleton squad, due to injuries and unavailability. When PAUL BRAYSON

swivelled on the edge of the area, then unleashed a venomous drive in off the underside of the bar to open the scoring with barely 30 seconds on the clock, the Billingham boys could well have been fearing the worst. However, Synners gave a creditable performance that belied their lowly league standing, but as is often the case for those at the foot of the table, they left empty handed for the long journey home.

Benfield could and should have doubled their lead on 4 minutes, when a deceptively languid Andrew Grainger clearance bypassed the opposition defence and left Paul Brayson in on goal. Sadly, his first-time effort from a tight angle flashed just wide of the far post. It took until the 25th minute for Synners to have an effort on goal, when in the space of 20 seconds Jordan Jewson twice found himself in excellent positions. Firstly, he broke the offside trap and closed in on goal, only for Andrew Grainger to block his effort. The loose ball was recycled and a cross from the left was headed just over by Jewson. Benfield reclaimed the ascendancy and Brayson was close to adding a second, after collecting a pass from Luke Carr and going around Adrian Beblowski, only to be foiled by the tight angle on his less-favoured left side. No matter; it was 2-0 in a minute.

James Novak worked some magic on the left and drove in a dangerous low cross that was deflected to RICHIE SLAUGHTER on the edge of the box. He showed great technique to fire a low volley into the net.

With half time approaching, Benfield appeared to be home and hosed already, until LEWIS WOOD advanced unchecked in midfield and hit an unstoppable 30-yard strike that flew into the top corner, to halve the deficit.

After the break, in plummeting temperatures, Benfield turned up the heat on Synners by launching wave after wave of attacks on the visitors’ goal. Unfortunately for the hosts, a combination of poor luck, wayward shooting and desperate defence conspired against them. Almost predictably, JORDAN JEWSON hit the Lions with a sucker punch, scoring the fourth quality goal of the game to tie things up at 2-2. After 58 minutes, he found himself free on the right apex of the box and he struck a sweet, dipping effort that nestled in the corner.

Benfield did not allow themselves to be put off their stride. On 63 minutes, Brayson’s audacious chip was hacked clear from on the line by Jamie Tunstall. As the game drew on, boss Mark Convery made a triple change, introducing Scott McCarthy, Dylan McEvoy and Alex Nesbit, to try and collect all three points. It worked when, after 75 minutes, Jake Orrell hit the by-line and stood up a perfect cross for LUKE CARR, who bundled the ball home for his first goal for the club and the winner on the night. It could and should have been more comfortable, especially when another trademark Brayson turn and cross saw the ball his the bar and go over, but 3-2 it ended and Benfield moved 4 places up the table to 13th.

Match report Ian Cusack