Benfield pulled Billingham Town apart away from home at the weekend, as they ran out 5-0 winners on a cold Saturday afternoon in Teesside.
Billingham started quickly as they got a good chance in the Benfield 18 yard box, but the Billingham number 11 was denied in the 18 yard box by Brad Varga.
Benfield instantly responded in the best way possible. A fantastic run by Aiden Haley from midfield allowed him to charge into the 18 yard box and slot the ball into the bottom left corner of the Billingham goal. Benfield took the lead in impressive style.
Billingham were able to enjoy a slightly longer spell of possession in the Benfield half following the goal, but Benfield were able to keep the home side at bay, and were able to counter them instantly, with Paul Brayson receiving the ball in space, but the ball bobbled away from him as he went to take the shot.
Cyril Giraud was next to be busy in the Billingham final third, however a number of good saves from the Billingham Town shot stopper helped to prevent the Lions doubling their lead.
Moments later, ex-Benfield player Gee Baltazar was presented with a golden opportunity to bring the game level. The attacker squared a fantastic ball across the 6 yard box, but late change to the Benfield squad Alfie Gordon did well to get down low to intercept the ball.
Just over five minutes later, Benfield managed to take a stronger hold on the game. Once again, it was Aiden Haley who managed to create the play that led to goal, as a through ball to Paul Brayson in the near left corner of the 18 yard box gave Brassey the chance to fire the ball into the far post. Benfield were in firm control.
The next 15 minutes were relatively quiet, and just as the half was about to end, Gee Baltazar got another big chance in the Benfield box, but Alfie Gordon exhibited his determination to keep the clean sheet.
As it seemed that the half time whistle was just about to blow, Cyril Giraud did fantastically well to strike the ball into the bottom left corner of the Billingham net, to put the game even further out of sight for the Lions. The half-time whistle blew, and Benfield led the home side 3-0.
The second half was nothing short of dramatic. In just the 51st minute, the Billingham number 9 was shown the red card, after kicking Joe Robson off the ball. Joe Robson subsequently went into the book on a yellow card as well.
From this moment, Benfield continued to look threatening, and reacted to the sending off in a positive way. Aiden Haley managed to capitalise on a horrific defensive error, but the Billingham keeper had the instinct to make a huge save, and to prevent any further humiliation for the home side.
The Town keeper’s efforts were short-lived however, as in just the 63rd minute, Peter Glen-Ravenhill made it four as a looping header went over the Billingham number one, neatly cushioning itself into the bottom right corner.
Benfield still weren’t done, and just one minute after Dan O’Reilly had come on for Paul Brayson, the Irishman picked the ball up following a goalkeeping mishap, and poked the ball into an empty net, ensuring that Billingham had absolutely no way back into the game.
Some later changes to the Benfield line-up saw Lewis Scorgie and Laquan Esdaille come on for Mark Turnbull and Aiden Haley. Benfield then looked close to making it six, as there were handball claims in the Billingham penalty area.
The final piece of drama in the match came in the 85th minute, as following a bad reaction to a referee decision, Dan O’Reilly was shown an instant red card, meaning that both squads would finish the match with ten players on the pitch.
Despite the late drama, it was a fantastic performance from the Benfield lads, creating some important momentum for our upcoming home games versus Sunderland RCA and Guisborough Town. Tickets are available online at ticketsource.co.uk