Following Thursday evening’s first pre-season fixture at Seaton Delaval the Lions swiftly returned to action on Saturday afternoon as AFC Killingworth provided the opposition at a sunny Sam Smith’s Park.
Although results at this stage are largely irrelevant, Stuart Elliott and his management team would have been hoping for a different outcome to the corresponding friendly last year when AFC Killingworth won 4-2.
The Lions started brightly and had a number of half chances in the early exchanges, however Hammond in the visitors goal remained largely untroubled. The early attacking intent from Benfield was to be rewarded though after 10 minutes when the lively Dan O’Reilly found space after good work from Paul Brayson and finished with great confidence from a central position.
Although our visitors were certainly playing their part in proceedings Andrew Grainger was largely untested as the half progressed, however, it was clear to see from how Killingworth were playing that Mark Rooke‘s side will be right up there in the Alliance Premier once competitive football returns.
With five minutes to go before half time Paul Brayson doubled the lead with a predatory finish after Killingworth were unable to clear their lines and from close range the Lions marksman was never going to miss the opportunity.
The second half was standard pre-season football with numerous changes and stop start passages of play, although both sides deserve huge credit for the standard of the game in such warm and testing conditions.
The victory was secured on the hour mark after Paul Brayson grabbed his second after good work from Richie Slaughter who having found space down the left picked out the Benfield number 9 who nonchalantly stroked home his second of the afternoon.
With further changes and a water break the contest became a little disjointed in the closing stages, however, there was still time for a fourth goal and a consolidation for Killingworth in the 89th minute. After a fine interchange between Soulsby and Bamborough, it was Lamb who calmly slotted home past Alfie Gordon. Having made an excellent block earlier after replacing Andrew Grainger, it was a shame for Gordon to concede so late on just as a clean sheet looked on, however no blame can be laid on the youngster for the goal.
Moments later the full time whistle went and both teams could reflect on an excellent workout ahead of further pre-season tests.
Next up for Benfield is West Allotment Celtic at Sam Smith’s Park on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately this match will be staged behind closed doors in line with current guidelines, however rest assured, updates will be provided throughout.