Benfield managed to get back to winning ways on Wednesday evening on a very cold night in Penrith, following a 2-1 win at Frenchfield.
Penrith were out for blood following a tough 9-0 away loss at high-flying Hebburn Town, and they had made 6 changes to their squad following the defeat.
The first five minutes was all Penrith, with them playing a route-one approach in the early stages, that did cause some issues for the Benfield back line.
As the game approached the eighth minute, Penrith got their reward for the intensity that they had employed in the first few minutes, as a great through ball from the Penrith midfielder found the number 9 Brown, who managed to slot it past Andy Grainger into the far bottom corner.
Penrith continued in the same vein, with the home team’s number 9 firing another shot towards the Benfield shot stopper, but a vital slide in the 18 yard box from Brad Varga prevented Penrith from doubling their lead.
Benfield’s first chance came in the 12th minute, as Peter Glen-Ravenhill came close before it was cleared in the nick of time.
This was a sign of better things to come however, as Benfield continued to mount pressure and test the Penrith back line, this time with Cyril Giraud testing the Penrith keeper.
Penrith continued to mount more pressure on Benfield, to try and put the game out of sight in the first half, however the Penrith forwards were being denied on the final ball, either by poor shooting or good saves from Grainger.
On the 33rd minute, Alex Nisbet had to receive some treatment on the pitch, and later came off for Jake Turnbull.
Following the injury break, Benfield attacked the Penrith final third for the remaining ten minutes of the first half. Eventually in the 41st minute, Benfield managed to bring the scores level. An exquisite ball from Giraud found Jake Turnbull on the right hand side, and as it was drilled square the Penrith number 5 bundled the ball into his own net.
For the remaining minutes of the first half, Benfield went after the lead, and even though they didn’t get it, they finished the first half on top in terms of possession.
As the second half commenced, Benfield received an early corner that only just bobbled wide of the post. The next five minutes of the first half were characterized by a lot of end-to-end play, with both teams looking like they good get ahead.
In the 57th minute, Benfield finally took the lead. Peter Glen-Ravenhill managed to tap the ball in at the far post following a fantastic Paul Brayson volley that had taken the keeper out of the equation.
From this point, Benfield never really looked back. The next real opportunity for Benfield to put the game out of sight came in the 66th minute, as Cyril Giraud fired a thunderbolt at goal from inside the 18 yard box, forcing a spectacular save from the Penrith keeper.
Abu Salim and Jake Turnbull were the next players to be in and amongst it, but the Penrith keeper continued to have a good second half, as he managed to deny Salim twice in two one-on-one situations.
Benfield continued a long period of dominance in the second half, with Jake Turnbull repeatedly tearing up the Penrith back line, and it seemed only a matter of time before Benfield were going to secure the three points for good. The unfortunate event came in the 74th minute, as Jake Turnbull had to receive treatment for his ankle. In the 75th minute, the change was made that saw Dan O’Reilly come on for Turnbull.
Dan O’Reilly was incredibly quick off the mark, and Benfield won a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area, following a blistering run down the left from the Irishman.
Tensions were running high in the final ten minutes, and this tension eventually reached a climax in the 82nd minute, as the home team went down to ten men, after their number 8 was sent off.
Only a few moments later in the 85th minute, Benfield were awarded a penalty after Dan O’Reilly was taken down in the 18 yard box. Paul Brayson had the opportunity to sign, seal and deliver the three points, but the penalty was blasted onto the crossbar.
The final few minutes saw Benfield control possession in an attempt to run the clock down, and this was working until the final few moments, when Penrith managed to pick the ball up in midfield, drive it into the 18 yard box, before narrowly missing the goal at the far post.
All in all, it was a very well deserved 3 points on the road at Penrith, setting the Lions up nicely for their away game at Billingham on Saturday.