WEST AUCKLAND v NEWCASTLE BENFIELD EBAC NORTHERN LEAGUE 31/7/21
The moment supporters were waiting for eventually came with the start of the 21-22 season with Benfield travelling to West Auckland, the visitors handed a debut to Cameron Gascoigne. After all the fine warm weather we have had the first game of the new season started on a dark dank day but got off to a dynamic start for the visitors, within three minutes the visitors were a goal up. Benfield fullback Jake Turnbull supplied a fantastic cross onto the head of the Benfield legend Paul Brayson who supplied the finishing touch making it 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
Before the home supporters had time to recover and get into their seats they found their team two goals down, a pass from Ritchie Slaughter in the fifth minute found debutant Cameron Gascoigne who after controlling the ball shot at goal with his effort taking a deflection and wrong-footing West Auckland goalkeeper Decklan Greenwood before it nestled in the Auckland net making the score 2-0 to the visitors.
The first yellow card of the season came in the eighth minute when Benfield player Kane Evans committed a foul on the halfway line and the referee Mr. David Holmes deemed it bad enough to show him a yellow card. The match was only eleven minutes old when another goal was scored but this time it went the way of the home team, a cross from the left wing found Adam Thompson in a crowded Benfield penalty area, there were calls for a handball against the West Auckland player but the referee David Holmes deemed it wasn’t and the ball was deflected into the Benfield net making it 2-1. Another three minute went by when West Auckland had a loud appeal for a penalty but again referee Mr Holmes declined to give it leaving the score at 2-1 to Newcastle Benfield.
Only sixteen minutes had elapsed when the fourth goal of the game came and again it went to the visitors, goalkeeper Andrew Grainger played a fine pass to Cameron Gascoigne, and this resulted with his fine effort going in off the far post making it 3-1 to Newcastle Benfield.
The score line didn’t seem to deter the home team and it took two fine saves from the Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger to deny the home team from equalising, in the twentieth minute, firstly he denied West Auckland’s Arron Thompson then he produced an equally as good a save to deny Adam Mitchell leaving it 3-1 to the visitors. On the half hour mark It took another good save from the Benfield keeper to keep the home team from reducing the score line, Adam Mitchell combined with David Dowson but the Benfield shot stopper was up to the situation.
Although they were two goals down the home team were still up for the game and again came close in the thirty-second minute when a free kick on the edge of the Benfield penalty area taken by Jordan Lavery again who again saw goalkeeper Grainger up to the task making another fine save. Despite Benfield under pressure for a period of time it was in fact them that got the next goal in the thirty-fourth minute, a freekick on the half way line was taken by Ritchie Slaughter who found Paul Brayson after controlling the ball he produced a delightful lob shot over the head of Greenwood making the score 4-1.
West Auckland decided with five minutes to halftime that they had nothing to lose so they went on the attack and came close in the forty-first minute to scoring, they came closer in the forty-third minute when good play by Anthony Bell found David Dowson who saw his strong drive crash off the Benfield cross bar and away to safety leaving the score at 4-1 which was the score at halftime.
The goals kept coming and it was in the fifty-fifth minute of the game that West Auckland had a bit of good fortune when a shot by Andre Bennett was deflected past Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger making the score 4-2. The game then calmed down for a short while and it wasn’t until the seventy-third minute when any action of note occurred, a cross from Paul Brayson found Cameron Gascoigne who saw his effort go inches past the Auckland post. Seventy-eight minutes had elapsed when a half chance was created after a corner was only half cleared to James Novak who created a scoring chance for Paul Brayson with his effort clearing the cross bar.
The game was coming to a close with Benfield looking comfortable but that all changed when the ball was lost in midfield in the eighty-sixth minute breaking into the possession of West Auckland number 7 Adam Mitchell who scrambled the ball home making the score 4-3. This left a tense time for Benfield and it took a great save from Grainger in the eighty-eighth minute to deny the hosts an equaliser but Benfield survived with the final whistle going for a Benfield victory 4-3.
MAN OF THE MATCH … Cameron Gascoigne.
Report by Allan Young.