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

https://youtu.be/9VWiWpN-IWI

Match Report Ian Cusack

Photos

Paul Mcfeeley/Callum Boyle

Website Steve Boyle

Match coverage Luke Vinton.

https://youtu.be/xo0t1QsqQ8o

Click on the above link to see the game highlights

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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)

Website/photos/twitter

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

https://youtu.be/GD6DZllBSrE

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

https://youtu.be/3HRvF183DIM

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

NBFC 2 BAFC 1

Match Highlights

https://youtu.be/5B_lWykjQ28

Last season, Newcastle Benfield put 12 goals past Bishop Auckland in the two league games between the sides. However, following the installation of former Whitley Bay manager Ian Chandler as manager of the Heritage Park outfit, there was little chance of such high-scoring encounters being repeated. Indeed, the game began with Bishops only needing a draw to find themselves at the top of the table and Benfield, without a home win all season, languishing in the bottom three. It may not have been pretty, and it certainly wasn’t comfortable, but The Lions finally collected maximum points on home soil and for the first time in a league game since the season’s opener at Sunderland RCA back on 4thAugust. That said, it wasn’t scrappy, lucky, a fluke or a travesty; Benfield deserved this win for the dogged and purposeful manner in which every single one of the 14 players on duty tonight put in a superb shift to ensure the lead was protected.

 

The opening exchanges could best be described as cagey, with the home side content to play possession football and attempt to draw the visitors out. It wasn’t until 18 minutes before the first real attempt on goal occurred, when Chris Winn rose well to meet a corner, but headed too high to trouble Andrew Grainger. For the home side, the two wingers Josh Scott and Dale Pearson showed urgency, endeavour and a willingness to run through a brick wall. Scott evaded several challenges before powering a shot into keeper Liversedge’s midriff on 25 minutes. Just before the half hour, Scott went on another marauding run and fired in another effort that was on target but deflected wide from a defender. The resulting corner brought the opening goal. When the ball was half cleared to the edge of the area, Richie Slaughter drove in a venomous effort through a forest of legs that Liversedge did remarkably well to parry, though his efforts were in vain as the ball fell kindly for Paul Brayson, who grabbed his first goal since turning 41 to give The Lions the lead, which they kept relatively comfortably until the break with little real action at either end in the remaining 15 minutes of the first period.

 

Soon after the resumption, Brayson almost double his tally and the home side’s advantage after Liversedge failed to cleanly collect a loose ball in the area. The veteran marksman evaded the scrabbling keeper but could only find the outside of the net. Minutes later, Dennis Knight flashed a powerful drive just wide as Benfield sought to make the game safe. Out of nowhere, Bishops disabused them of the notion the game was already won, by equalising through Shaun Ryder. Andrew Johnson cut out an attempted clearance by Mark Turnbull and crossed for Ryder nod home, despite the despairing fingertips of Grainger. It may have been the Two Blues’ first serious effort on target, but it demonstrated their undoubted quality. However, Benfield have plenty of talent at their disposal and, having seen Scott and Pearson run themselves to a standstill just past the hour, manager Mark Convery called on fresh legs in the shape of Jake Orrell and Dean Holmes to regain the impetus.

 

Soon after being introduced, Orrell found himself unmarked at the back post, from which position he finished a Brayson cross with unerring pace and accuracy. This stunned Bishops and for the rest of the game, Benfield were totally on top. Only a blinding reaction save from Liversedge stopped Dennis Knight making it 3-1 in the 84thminute. Final substitution Scott McCarthy, on for Dennis Knight, had a header clawed away by Liversedge in stoppage time. From there, play switched to the other end and Andrew Johnson found himself with a shooting chance at the edge of the box, but sent his effort tamely wide as the game drew to a highly satisfactory close for the appreciative home crowd.

Match Highlights -luke Vinton

Match Report Ian Cusack

Website – Steve Boyle

Best wishes to Alex Nesbit on the birth of his Daughter and all the best to Mathew Grieve who has left Newcastle Benfield.

Coming soon.👇

Newcastle Benfield supporting Local charities please read below. Supplying 139 meals to the Newcastle East End Foodbank 👏

Raffle prize bottle of whiskey

Ticket 175

Claimed.

Sunderland Rca Match Report

Following the exciting, though draining and ultimately disappointing FA Cup exit away to Workington on Tuesday night, Newcastle Benfield returned to Northern League action with visit of Sunderland RCA. The Wearside outfit had been Benfield’s opponents on the opening day of the season, when a Paul Brayson goal gave the visitors victory at a sun-drenched Meadow Park. A star performer that day had been Andrew Grainger and it was a bonus to see him back between the sticks, though this was balanced by the unavailability of the holidaying Scott McCarthy and the weekending Dale Pearson. While he has been Benfield’s star performer so far this season, his presence in Barcelona was purely for recreational purposes as he’s not quite ready for Camp Nou just yet.

As early as the 4th minute Grainger proved his worth, by saving with his legs from Mark Davison, though this was a rare incursion up field by the visitors in an opening 10 minutes entirely dominated by Benfield. On 6 minutes, David Robinson’s excellent Crossfield ball set Dennis Knight away and the striker’s powerfully struck low drive was beaten away by Scott Pocklington. Moments later the ball was recycled to Robinson whose testing effort was parried by Pocklington.

The opening goal came after 10 minutes when Davison took aim and attempted to curl one in at the far post. However, it was sailing harmlessly wide when it struck Mark Turnbull who, fresh from being credited with Tuesday’s final goal, could do nothing about the ball ending up in his own net. It was a fluke, but the instantaneous equaliser was not. Josh Scott, stirring memories of his picture book finish in the last home league game against Whitley Bay, executed a perfect low drive into the corner of the net. RCA threatened again when Dominic Moan broke the offside trap but sliced an attempted lob hopelessly wide. Moments later, he was presented with a clear run at goal when Matty Grieve pulled up in agony. Thankfully, Mark Turnbull came in with a superb clearing tackle and Grieve was able to continue after extensive treatment. The lengthy stoppage drew all the passion and spark from the game, which was played at walking pace without incident until the break.

If home supporters had entertained the hope that the second half would bring a better performance, they were to be quickly disabused of such fanciful notions, as Benfield produced 45 minutes as poor as the dreadful loss to Stockton Town a fortnight previous. From the moment a limping Dennis Knight was withdrawn, Benfield offered absolutely nothing going forward. RCA offered little themselves, though they did have Dominic Moan, whose two interventions were crucial in winning the game. Firstly, he appeared at the back post to tap in Davison’s deflected effort on 56 minutes. Worse was to follow 10 minutes later; a leisurely break by RCA became a crisis as the Benfield defence stood off Moan, allowing him to stroke a low drive home without the sniff of a challenge. The home side made one final chance; Jordan Laidler’s free kick was nodded a fraction over angle of bar and post by an unmarked Turnbull, meaning there wasn’t even a consolation to take the edge off the pain of another defeat.

Match Report

Ian cusack

Photos

Callum Boyle

Website

Steve Boyle

Match coverage (to be uploaded)

Luke Vinton

FA CUP Replay

WORKINGTON 5

NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 3

A breathless FA Cup replay in front of almost 500 hardy souls, gathered at the elderly but charmingly atmospheric Borough Park on a gusty night in West Cumbria saw 8 goals scored and the home side advance to play Knaresborough in the Second Qualifying Round, but only after a game and resourceful Newcastle Benfield performance that tested Workington’s mettle to the absolute limit. The magnificent fightback in the second period that left the Reds rocking was ultimately all in vain, as the opening 10 minutes had given the Lions too exacting a task to complete.

An encouraging opening that saw Benfield show clear desire to keep the ball was rendered irrelevant when the returning Scott Allison punished fatal hesitation by Benfield stand-in keeper Matthew Bancroft, tapping home at the back post. If the concession of an early goal was not in the script for the visitors, then going 2-0 down in the 9th minute was a catastrophic blow. Carlisle United loanee Max Brown juggled a loose ball outside the box and, on the half turn, sent a speculative shot over his right shoulder that seemed to startle Bancroft, lobbing him almost on his line and in the centre of the goal. Benfield were stunned and a litany of misplaced passes and hurried clearances showed the parlous nature of the tie. The accompanying cacophonous braying of a skein of nearby geese could almost have been taken as an avian Greek chorus’s comments on the quality of Benfield’s defending. However, they grew into the game and twice Dennis Knight almost pulled a goal back. Firstly a through ball by James Martin saw Knight through on keeper Aaron Taylor, but his measured dink was only a foot or so over the crossbar as the Workington custodian advanced. Soon after, Taylor again thwarted Knight, tipping a deflected long range effort round the post.

When the final significant act of the first period was Taylor’s impressive stretch to grasp Dale Pearson’s impudent attempt at a lob, the chat during further wonderful hospitality by Workington at the break, was how the Lions could be level and were certainly still in the tie. Rash words it seemed, as an early cheaply conceded corner was bundled home by Sam Joel who, for the entirety of both games, had appeared to Workington’s weakest link. At 3-0 down, there seemed only dignity to play for, but how quickly games can change. Dale Pearson, who appears to be having a personal Goal of the Season contest, crashed in an unstoppable 30 yard rocket just after the hour. Emboldened by this, the Lions poured forward and won a corner. Knight’s delivery was superb and the on-rushing Joe Robson buried a header emphatically in the bottom corner. Dare we believe even more than we dream? The chance came after 77 minutes; Paul Brayson, on from the bench, intercepted a weak defensive header and bore down on Taylor. The keeper stood big and deflected the ball away. Two other half chances fell the way of Josh Scott, but one was deflected and the other, courtesy of a sumptuous Mackenzie Heaney ball, was smothered by the advancing Taylor.

After 35 minutes of impotence as an attacking threat, Workington broke Benfield hearts twice within a minute. Firstly, Rhys Evans was desperately unfortunate to deflect a low cross into his own net, to seemingly end things, before Bancroft allowed a tame effort from Sheldon Mossop to dribble over the line. However, there was one last hurrah. Having been denied by the fingertips of Taylor from a rising drive, Dennis Knight opened his Benfield account with a thumping volley from the subsequent corner. The final whistle sounded almost immediately and Benfield bowed out of the FA Cup; dignity intact but still with a nagging sense of what if? Workington advance with all of our best wishes after wonderful hospitality by a wonderful club.

Fa Cup Workington

In a tight and tense encounter where both chances and free-flowing football were at a premium, Newcastle Benfield more than matched their illustrious, former Football League opponents and thoroughly merited the chance of a replay at Derwent Park on Tuesday night. Despite being two divisions below their Cumbrian opponents, Benfield were in no way overawed by Workington. However, things may not have gone so well if debutant keeper Matthew Bancroft, deputising for the holidaying Andrew Grainger, had not benefitted from a generous refereeing decision to call a foul by a Workington player at a corner, coinciding with Bancroft dropping the ball into his own net.

Following this escape, Dennis Knight twice almost put the home side ahead. After 5 minutes, his powerful low drive was parried by Reds keeper Aaron Taylor, who was quick off his line soon after to clear Knight’s astute through ball to Dale Pearson. On 20 minutes, Jake Orrell’s cross from the right just evaded the on-rushing Knight who appeared to have a tap in at the back post. While it would be inaccurate to say Benfield were on top, as the majority of possession rested with the visitors, the home side were able to keep Workington at arm’s length and restrict the flow of chances, in marked contrast to the Whitley Bay debacle. This was partly due to the tireless graft in central midfield by the returning Alex Nisbet who performed an admirable job from the very first whistle. Reaching the break with a blank score line seemed a fair reflection of the balance of play.

Twice early in the second half, Knight’s vision created chances for The Lions. Firstly, he fed Jake Orrell on the edge of the box, but a posse of red-shirted defenders crowded him out. Secondly, he set Dale Pearson away down the left and the powerful striker lashed a low effort into the side netting. Then, the sucker punch that was always waiting; after an extended bout of pinball in the box, that saw several efforts half cleared from near the line, the ball finally fell to Niall Cowperthwaite to lash home from close range on 57 minutes. However, The Lions came back strongly after manager Convery made a triple substitution. Two of them, Dean Holmes and Paul Brayson, combined for Brayson to square the ball in the box for the on-rushing Pearson to lash a low shot home and give the majority of the 300 crowd a moment to savour. In the remaining 15 minutes, the only side who looked likely to win were Benfield, but time ran out and the score stayed 1-1.

Manager Mark Convery

Pleased with the performance I thought we dealt with them well and without us being at our best going forward think there is a lot more to come from us. In terms of tuesdays replay we will go there full of confidence and everybody will be up for it to get us into the next round

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