Ebac NORTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION 1 LEAGUE CUP
6 April 2022
NEWCASTLE BENFIELD v NEWTON AYCLIFFE
Newton Aycliffe were the opponents having already played Benfield once this season in the league and winning 3-1 so a difficult task was up for the Lions. Aycliffe were well positioned in the league with 59 points and in sixth position so a tough game was predicted with both teams looking to qualify for the semi-final and have something to aim for rather than let the league fixtures run out.
As early as the first minute Benfield thought they had a good goal scoring opportunity when a great long pass from Ritchie Slaughter found team mate Ryan McGorrigan who advanced forward only to realise the linesman’s flag had gone up for him being offside. It was McGorrigan again in the fourth minute who saw his strong shot being blocked after he controlled a long free kick.
Play was on an even keel between both teams and in the fifteenth minute the referee Lewis Reynolds played a good advantage for Benfield after a foul by Aycliffe’s fullback Liam McNamara. From that advantage Paul Brayson advanced forward to strike a drive from 20-yards just over the Newton Aycliffe crossbar.
Twenty-four minutes had passed when a strong run by Benfield‘s Ryan McGorrigan saw his shot on goal blocked with Aycliffe’s captain Aaron Brown being alert to the danger and clearing the ball away out of danger. Although no goals had been scored on this strong windy night it wasn’t for the want of trying and in the twenty-eighth minute the first goal of the game almost arrived. It came when a mistake by an Aycliffe defender saw him lose the possession of the ball with Benfield striker Paul Brayson swooping onto the ball to hit a strong drive with the Newton Aycliffe goalkeeper Adam Pickford making a good save tipping the ball away for a corner.
It was then the turn of Newton Aycliffe to come close to getting the first goal in the thirty-fifth minute, after picking up a loose ball Joe Ferguson advanced forward to unleash a strong shot which went just wide of the Benfield far post. Five minutes later Newton Aycliffe were awarded a free kick 30-yards from the Benfield goal, up stepped Aycliffe’s central defender Jake Petitjean who then put it 30 yards over the Benfield crossbar much to the amusement of the Benfield supporters. This left the score at 0-0 which it remained at halftime.
Although no goals were scored in the first half it only took five minutes of the second half for the opening goal which went to Newcastle Benfield. Connor Walker played a strong pass into Paul Brayson who showed great control of the ball playing the ball into the middle to find Ryan McGorrigan who confidently drove the ball into the to make it 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
A minute later and it was the turn of Aycliffe to come close to an equaliser when a great shot from John Howard produced an equally great save from Benfield goalkeeper Andrew Grainger saving the ball giving away a corner. Both teams were committed to getting thru to the next round by fair means or foul and the referee was busy thru out with six cautions three to each team.
Benfield goal scorer Ryan McGorrigan was in involved with most of the good aspects of the Benfield play and came close to his second goal when a pass from Paul Brayson was quickly controlled by him with a well struck shot well saved by Aycliffe goalkeeper Adam Pickford.
Connor Walker after being yellow carded in the forty-ninth minute for not retreating 10-yards at a freekick was unlucky in the fifty-fourth minute when a confused Aycliffe keeper Adam Pickford thought he was a centre forward dribbling the ball which he lost to Walker who from a very tight angle put the ball wide of the goal.
From the goal kick Newton Aycliffe got an equalising goal, John Howard gained possession and advanced forward to hit a strong low 20 yard drive bringing a good save from the Benfield keeper but he couldn’t hold on to the ball and Aycliffe’s Jake Petitjean stepped forward to put the ball into the net to make the score 1-1.
This equaliser seemed to gen up the Aycliffe team and they were looking more confident and likelier to getting the next goal and in the sixty-ninth minute Ben Dibb-Fuller played a fine pass to John Howard but his weak effort wasn’t of any concern to the Benfield keeper. It was the turn of Joe Ferguson to concern the Benfield defence after his well hit shot on target was deflected for a corner which was cleared away from danger.
Although play was pretty even possession wise it was Newton Aycliffe who were looking the most dangerous and likely to score next and so it proved correct. A brilliant cross from the left wing in the seventy-ninth minute by Joe Ferguson found John Howard who powered in a header to make the score 2-1 to Newton Aycliffe.
Time was running out for Benfield when in the eighty-ninth minute they won a corner after a good move down the right wing, although the ball was headed cleared out to the edge of the Aycliffe penalty area it found Benfield’s Lewis Leech who crashed a left foot half volley into the Northallerton net via the post to make the score 2-2 and on to penalties.
From the penalties Andrew Grainger made two brilliant saves and AYCLIFFE missed one scoring one leaving the final winning score 3-1 on penalties with Benfield progressing to the semi-final. Aycliffe didn’t take the final penalty as they were already beaten.
Man of the Match … Ryan Mcgorrigan.
Hero of the Match … Andrew Grainger.
Reporter: - Allan Young.