NEWCASTLE BENFIELD v NORTH SHIELDS
EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Only one point separated the two teams with our nearest opponents North Shields on 16 with two games in hand over Benfield, so a close game was anticipated.
The Robins got off to a fantastic start by opening the scoring in the first minute, a smart move down the left wing saw a fine cross finished at the far post by Paul Vanzandvliet who had the simple task of side footing the ball home making the score 1-0 to North Shields.
The visitors were the livelier team and they came close to getting a second goal when a dangerous long cross in the eleventh minute saw Benfield keeper Alfie Gordon having to bring off a sharp save.
Although North Shields were in control, the home team were gradually starting to get back into the game and came close after a Benfield corner was only half cleared to the edge of the penalty area, where Ritchie Slaughter volleyed the ball wide of the North Shields goal. The game was starting to settle down with both teams having an even amount of the ball, although it was Benfield who came close to getting an equaliser in the nineteenth minute. It happened when a run and a cross shot from Jake Turnbull saw the Robins keeper Oliver Marshall being alert to the danger and producing a good save.
Then, the twenty-sixth minute of the game produced the second goal of the match and to the delight of the Lions supporters it went to the home team, a swift move down the left wing found Benfield striker Paul Brayson who played a pass to Aiden Haley, who then drove the ball past the Robins goalkeeper Oliver Marshall for the equalising goal making the score 1-1.
This goal seemed to turn the home team up a notch, and a couple of minutes later a move involving Ritchie Slaughter and Jake Turnbull saw a dangerous cross into the North Shields penalty area but unfortunately for Benfield none of their strike force could get on the end of the pass.
Although the home team were gradually coming more into the game, North Shields still looked a dangerous force and had it not been for a brilliant block by Jake Turnbull, the visitors would have seen Dan Wilson get them a second goal. It was Wilson again two minutes later who almost put his team into the lead, with halftime approaching a great run down the Benfield right wing by goal scorer Paul Vanzandvliet saw him produce a brilliant cross into the near post with Benfield keeper Alfie Gordon being alert to the task and saving from North Shields striker Dan Wilson. This left the score at 1-1, which was the score when the whistle went for halftime.
Although not as quickly as the opening goal in the first half it only took six minutes for North Shields to get their second of the game, a cross from Cameron Cunningham looked like an easy take for Alfie Gordon in the Benfield who but he missed the ball and it found the back of the Benfield net making the score 2-1 to the visitors.
The lead didn’t last long however as within a minute Benfield equalised when a fine cross into the North Shields penalty area found the head of Paul Brayson who placed the ball wide of the North Shields keeper Oliver Marshall making the score 2-2.
The game was being played at a good pace and it looked as if it could go either way, it nearly went the way of the home team in the fifty-eighth minute after a pass down the left from Brayson found Connor Walker, who hit a shot on target only to be denied by the visitor’s keeper Oliver Marshall.
It was then the turn of North Shields to come close to getting a third goal when substitute Jack Norvell showed good control and hit his shot from a tight angle just wide of the Benfield far post.
Time was running out with only five minutes left on the clock but the drama had not yet finished, Paul Brayson gained possession and attempted a cross shot at goal only to be thwarted by North Shields defender Chris McDonald.
Newcastle Benfield were then denied an opportunity to get the winning goal, in the eighty-sixth minute Benfield’s Lennon Mills was clear on goal only to be brought down by North Shields player Anthony Myers who was the last man, the referee Alex Clarke immediately blew for a free kick to Benfield showing an instant red card to North Shields defender Jack Walker.
From the free kick the Robins keeper Oliver Marshall made a good save for a corner which came to nothing. The game then petered out, leaving the score at 2-2 from an entertaining game.
Man of the Match … Aiden Haley
Reporter: Allan Young