EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION 1
NEWCASTLE BENFIELD V CROOK TOWN
After a successful start to the season with a 4-3 victory over West Auckland, Crook Town were the visitors to Sam Smiths Park. It took until the fourteenth minute for anything of note to report and it came when Crook Town goalkeeper Ronan Makepeace confidently held onto a corner under pressure from the Benfield forwards. Four minutes later and again the Crook keeper did well, from a Benfield free kick taken by Paul Brayson he produced a good save from an effort from Abu Salim.
Twenty minutes had elapsed and then Crook should have converted a couple of chances, a high cross just evaded the head of Phillip Caley with the ball squirming around the Benfield penalty area before being scrambled to safety. Crook then had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the twenty-second minute, Reece Noble was judged to have fouled a Crook Town player with the referee awarding a penalty.
Up stepped Joe Hillerby to hit a low drive towards the bottom right corner of the goal but Andrew Grainger the Benfield keeper was up to the task anticipating the shot and producing a great save pushing the ball for a corner keeping the score 0-0.
With the half hour mark approaching the game almost saw the opening goal, a long free kick for Benfield was headed down to Brassy who although he didn’t and make the best of contacts on the ball hit it well enough to bring a fine save from Ronan Makepeace in the Crook goal.
The first goal of the match occurred in the thirty-ninth minute when a long pass found Paul Brayson who confidently controlled the ball, advanced forward and drove a left foot shot past Crook keeper Ronan Makepeace to open the scoring making it 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
In the forty-sixth minute with halftime closing in Benfield player Kane Evans was the first to go into the book of referee Alex Clark for a foul tackle and from this Crook got an equalising goal when Crook’s centre forward Phillip Carey glanced a header past Benfield’s keeper Andrew Grainger for the equalising goal making it 1-1 which was the score when the halftime whistle went only seconds later.
Within two minutes of the second half a terrific cross field pass from Ritchie Slaughter found Paul Brayson who unusually for him mis controlled the ball and the chance was gone but three minutes later Benfield did get a second goal and what a goal it was. A square pass across the Crook penalty area was controlled by Cameron Gascoigne who unleashed a bullet shot into the top corner of the net giving Ronan Makepeace no chance of saving making the score 2-1 to Benfield.
Not to be downhearted the visitors were unfortunate not to get an equalising goal, firstly in the fifty-eighth minute a cross into the Benfield penalty area found the head of Crook Town’s Corey Nicholson with his bullet header crashing off the Benfield crossbar. Within the next five minutes Crook again can count themselves unlucky, it was again Crook’s Corey Nicholson who after controlling the ball advanced towards the Benfield goal before hitting a bullet drive which flew inches over the crossbar.
The visitors kept on advancing forward and Benfield defender Lewis Scorgie had to be alert to clear a dangerous cross to safety but they were not to be outdone as within a minute in the sixty-ninth they got an equalising goal, the ball could have been cleared to safety but it bobbled about before being scrambled into the net by West Auckland’s Jacob Owen making the score 2-2.
In the seventy-third minute Benfield’s Dennis Knight had an audacious effort from the halfway line which just cleared the Crook Town crossbar but the visitors were not to be deterred and kept on coming in order for a winner.
With this in mind Benfield had to be on their toes making sure not to concede a winning goal and the visitors came close when a low cross into the Benfield penalty area was just booted to safety. The game was drifting towards a draw with only five minutes left on the clock but what did they know?
Dennis Knight played a forty-yard cross field pass to Paul Brayson who controlled the ball advanced forward and hit a left foot shot past Ronan Makepeace into the net making the score 3-2 to Newcastle Benfield.
This wasn’t the end of the action as in the eighty-sixth minute a couple of West’s defenders got a bit heated and aggressive with referee Alex Clarke having to calm them down. Eighty nine minutes saw both goalkeepers produce two excellent saves, firstly a fine effort from Crook's Jamie Tumilty was well saved by Benfield’s Andrew Grainger then it was the turn to of Ronan Makepeace to save his team from going further behind when after an excellent move from Benfield when he made a fine save from Dennis Knight. This was the end of the action with Benfield winning 3-2.
M.O.M … PAUL BRAYSON
Reporter Allan Young.