Ritchie Slaughters Runcorn with last minute winner in the Game of the season

Over the years, Sam Smith’s Park has witnessed some great football and some stirring games, but surely none have ever matched the spellbinding brilliance of this tumultuous contest. From the first kick to the very last, the game swung between the two sides as drama was heaped on drama in as enthralling manner as could ever be imagined. Runcorn Town will be bitterly upset to have lost in such scarcely believable circumstances, but they will surely privately admit that the best team won on the day. However, the visitors from Cheshire played a full and commendable part in a titanic struggle, settled by a glorious curling effort into the top corner from outside the area by Richie Slaughter. In truth, it was the only fitting way to conclude such a memorable game.

On a filthy day at the end of a waterlogged week, groundsman Stan Thompson deserves the utmost praise for producing a perfect playing surface that stood up to 90 minutes of bombardment by two sets of gallant players. Every single blade of grass on that pitch was covered by the tireless running of 41-year-old Paul Brayson, who ran his blood to water for the entire game. Brayson’s first run came in the second minute, when he accepted an astute ball from Dennis Knight and curled an effort just wide. Unfortunately, the first goal of the game went to the visitors; a momentary lapse by Rhys Evans allowed Dale Jennings to clip a delightful lob over the head of stranded Benfield keeper Andy Grainger in the 6 minute. The Lions weren’t behind for long, as Dennis Knight collected a loose ball on the right side of the area, evaded a couple of challenges and shot home with unstoppable power and admirable precision. Soon after James Martin was denied his first goal for the club, when a desperate block ended his run into the box, leaving the ball to run for Jake Orrell whose shot was on target, but deflected wide.


Brayson really ought to have put Benfield ahead on 28 minutes, but he poked a close-range effort at the back post into the side netting when it looked easier to score, following Knight’s decisive low cross. Indeed, this miss came to haunt the home side when Joseph Heath’s innocuous long-range trundler left a clearly unsighted Andy Grainger unable to keep it out after the ball came through a crowd of players. This goal rocked Benfield right back on their heels and Runcorn, having scored with their only two efforts on goal, began to exercise a measure of control. Grainger kept the Lions in the contest with a point blank save from Liam Turner on 43 minutes and the crucial nature of this save was reinforced when, with the last kick of the half, Dale Pearson turned in a loose ball in the box after Jake Orrell’s free kick had not been properly cleared.

It is a widely held football belief that a goal at the end of the first half is a precious thing, as it allows the opposition to brood on it during the break. Pearson’s equaliser also had the effect of empowering the hosts who relentlessly pushed Runcorn back for long periods in the second half. Brayson fired just over after collecting a pass from Pearson, before putting Benfield ahead on 52 minutes with a precise finish after Slaughter and Pearson had combined delightfully down the left. This was a tough game and it needed a determined attitude, which the Lions had in spades. Pearson’s contest marauding down the flank gave Orrell a chance after keeper Adam Reid had palmed out a cross, but defenders got in the way. Reid was in the right place to instinctively clutch a Knight header to his chest. Soon after Knight left the field, suffering dizziness after a clash of heads. His replacement Alex Nisbet headed an Orrell cross just wide as Benfield turned the screw. The home side were denied a clear penalty when Brayson’s goal bound shot was turned around the post by a deliberate use of the arm by a visiting defender. The referee claimed to have been unsighted. This did not seem to matter when Brayson’s intelligent pass set the rampaging Dale Pearson away, who then danced round Reid before slotting into an empty net to give Benfield a seemingly unassailable two goal lead on 81 minutes.

Runcorn, to their credit, would not lie down. A bout of pinball in the area on 83 minutes saw Craig Lindfield poke the ball home. Suddenly, there was renewed belief among the travelling contingent and sure enough, their faith was rewarded barely 60 seconds later when a desperate skirmish in the six-yard box ended with the ball in the net. The goal was eventually credited to Danny Byrnes and, just as the crowd had mentally prepared themselves for an extra 30 minutes, Ritchie Slaughter intervened, sending the home crowd into delirium. What a game!

 Over the years, Sam Smith’s Park has witnessed some great football and some stirring games, but surely none have ever matched the spellbinding brilliance of this tumultuous contest. From the first kick to the very last, the game swung between the two sides as drama was heaped on drama in as enthralling manner as could ever be imagined. Runcorn Town will be bitterly upset to have lost in such scarcely believable circumstances, but they will surely privately admit that the best team won on the day. However, the visitors from Cheshire played a full and commendable part in a titanic struggle, settled by a glorious curling effort into the top corner from outside the area by Richie Slaughter. In truth, it was the only fitting way to conclude such a memorable game.

Match Report Ian Cusack

Match Highlights to follow Luke Vinton

Website Steve Boyle

Benfield Bear Leo the Lion (UnKnown)


Newcastle Benfield v Seaham Redstar Match Report

Newcastle Benfield recovered from the early blow of a spectacular own goal by skipper Mark Turnbull to complete a stylish, comprehensive win over a Seaham Red Star side who fell to pieces in the second period and ought to have left Sam Smith’s Park on the end of a far more comprehensive defeat than the eventual 3-1 result. 

Benfield fans have had the dubious pleasure of seeing some truly extraordinary own goals, such as Kenny Boyle’s 40-yard volley into his own net or Steven Tobin’s magnificent diving header past the despairing leap of Andy Grainger; Sparky’s effort wasn’t quite in that class, though he slid in and fired the bar right into the top corner of the net, giving Grainger absolutely no chance. The distinctly anti-Corinthian guffawing and braying, courtesy of a small section of Seaham’s somewhat ungracious support, was soon snuffed out by the award of a penalty for a clear push in the box on Paul Brayson. Dennis Knight stepped forward to confidently put The Lions back on level terms with a decisive finish from the 12-yard mark. However, there was soon danger for Benfield as Gardiner’s effort was deflected up and over a stranded Grainger, only for a covering Turnbull to make partial amends for his earlier blooper. In due course, Turnbull’s total redemption was achieved just before the half hour, when the skipper rose at the back post to arc a delightful header over John Mordey from Jake Orrell’s magnificent cross, giving the home side a lead, they never looked likely to relinquish. Indeed, Benfield could have gone in at the break with the game sewn up, if Knight’s beautifully weighted through ball had not been slid a yard the wrong side of the post by the normally deadly Brayson.

After the interval, the game continued on its course; a flowing, open contest, when defences were never truly at home against quality attackers. Though, as the clock ticked on, Seaham’s experienced front pairing of Michael Chilton and Adam Rundle became less and less involved. The real turning point that sealed the visitors’ fate was the dismissal of Darryl Donnelly for a crude body check on Dennis Knight in the area. Knight had just executed a delightful trap and turn in a single move when he was unceremoniously dumped to the floor. The penalty and red card were inevitable; the goal from Knight soon followed. From that point, the depleted visitors sought only damage limitation as Benfield endlessly carved them open. Brayson hit the side netting from a tight angle, before setting up sub Mackenzie Heaney (who produced another delightful cameo from the bench) with an audacious back heel. 

Again and again the home side drove forward; a wickedly sliced clearance by a disorientated Seaham defender almost resulted in an own goal, before substitute Scott McCarthy accepted a quick Grainger throw and ran the whole length of the pitch, before Mordey denied him with his knees. Despite the endless waves of attacking invention, the Seaham goal avoided further mishap as Benfield elegantly secured their fifth successive win and ninth game unbeaten in all competitions. 

Match report Ian Cusack

Action photos CJC photos

 Next Game…..

Newton Aycliffe Match report

A pair of exquisite finishes, one in each half, from the ever-reliable Paul Brayson helped in-form Newcastle Benfield to a thoroughly deserved second successive away win on consecutive Saturdays, courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Newton Aycliffe that completed a quickfire double for The Lions after a 3-0 win over the same opposition at Sam Smith’s Park early last month. However, unlike the first contest between the two, this was a competitive contest where the hosts showed commendable spirit to fight back in the second half, even equalising after a smart turn and finish in the box by Vincent Gash.


Benfield made one change from the starting eleven on duty in the 3-2 win at Ryhope CW the week before, with Dan Nimmins taking his place between the posts as Andrew Grainger was unavailable. Initially his was a spectating role for, as has been the case so often of late, Benfield came flying out of the blocks from the off. A beautifully choreographed corner routine on 3 minutes saw Ritchie Slaughter connect with Dennis Knight’s driven flag kick, diverting the ball a matter of inches wide. The impressive Dean Holmes drove down the right after 6 minutes and fed Knight, who sent a powerful drive just over the angle after 6 minutes. Less than 60 seconds later, Aycliffe keeper Winter distinguished himself with an impressive tip-over from a Dale Pearson thunderbolt. The resulting corner again saw the Aycliffe stopper called into action, as he was required to go full length to palm away an astute James Martin effort. 


Play finally switched to the other end on 13 minutes when Nimmins spread himself well to gather a low Gash effort. Soon after a controversial incident saw the difficulties faced by officials. Benfield captain Mark Turnbull slid in to clear a loose ball out for a throw near the touchline. Aycliffe’s left back Tom Gavin had pulled out of the challenge but was hit by the sliding Turnbull. The home fans screamed for a red card for violent conduct, while the away supporters claimed a fair tackle. The man in the middle gave a yellow for not being fully in control of the tackle and Gavin was stretchered off though, apparently, he suffered bruising and no break. 


When the football resumed, Winter made an amazing block with his feet after Knight thumped a low Pearson cross goalward from 6 yards out. Pearson was the next to be denied by the feet of Winter, when a venomous shot on the turn rebounded off the Aycliffe keeper’s shins. The deadlock was finally broken on 38 minutes, when Paul Brayson picked up a loose ball at the angle of the box and floated a delicious effort into the far corner with Winter grasping air. A single goal lead at the break was not a true reflection of the visitors’ dominance, but it gave Benfield something to fall back on.


The second half saw a far more determined showing from Aycliffe, as they forced several early corners that did not cause undue worry for Nimmins. Indeed, Brayson was a whisker away from doubling the lead, when he smashed an effort against the base of the post and wide, with a sprawling Winter nowhere near. However, missed chances almost came back to haunt The Lions, when Gash firstly put the home side level then, straight from the restart, called Nimmins into action. The Benfield keeper’s strong wrist deflected the ball onto the post and impetuosity by the attacking side saw a needless free kick conceded when Jake Orrell was cleaned out as he attempted to clear.


This was the last moment of danger for Aycliffe as Benfield took all 3 points when Pearson’s astute chest pass from Joe Robson’s probing delivery, allowed Brayson to collect the ball, sidestep the entire Aycliffe defence and roll the ball into an empty net from about a yard out. A goal of sublime savagery and a fitting way to collect all 3 points for an impressive Benfield outfit who remain unbeaten under Tom Wade.

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

click on below for the match programme


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.