Ebac Northern League First Division
The Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium
Saturday 8th October 2022
Newcastle Benfield make the long journey over to Cumbria on Saturday afternoon as Carlisle City provide the opposition in an Ebac Northern League First Division Fixture (15.00 kick off).
Carlisle City secured their place in the first division of the Ebac Northern League at the end of last season after an amazing run saw the Cumbrians pip Heaton Stannington to the Division 2 title on goal difference, although the Stan would also ultimately achieve promotion via the play offs.
The “Sky Blues” have adapted to the higher division really well and sit comfortably tucked in amongst the leading clubs after 13 games. To Cumbrian observers the start to the season is not unexpected with the experienced James Nichols controlling operations from the dugout.
City have won 5 of their first 13 league fixtures with the same number of draws and only 3 games ending in defeat. Carlisle who play their home fixtures at the old northern league home of Gillford Park have won twice on their own patch (Seaham Red Star 2-0 & Northallerton 2-1), although both victories were back in August. Meanwhile there have been three draws in CA1, all of which ended 1-1 (Sunderland RCA, Ashington and Whitley Bay). The only side to leave Cumbria with maximum points so far were Guisborough Town who won 2-0 back in mid September.
With leading sides having already failed to leave this part of Carlisle with maximum points this season, the clubs hard working committee and management team will be hoping a fortress situation continues to develop as the club work towards their longer term ambitions.
Carlisle City were most recently in action on Tuesday evening when they made the relatively short trip (for them) to Penrith but a 0-0 stalemate meant Cumbrian bragging rights were shared until the teams meet again in January.
For Benfield, the management team will be looking for a positive reaction after Tuesday evenings bitterly disappointing defeat to neighbours Heaton Stannington. There is certainly no panic setting in after what has largely been an encouraging opening period to the season but all connected with the group will be hoping for no repeat performances in what is a very busy October.
Away from Sam Smith’s Park the lads have 2 victories, 2 draws and 2 defeats in the league and have generally put in some solid performances on their travels.
With both clubs recording steady starts, a close encounter is anticipated, however after Tuesday evening, all travelling Lions will be hoping the long journey home along the A69 is a happier one than the short journeys home in midweek.
Benfield have no suspensions to contend with and longer term injuries will not have recovered in time for this trip, therefore the travelling squad is likely to be similar to those selected on Tuesday. However, the management team may look to freshen up the starting 11 after assessing any bumps and bruises from midweek and after deciding whether to change personnel in any tactical shift.
Our visitors also have no suspensions to consider but like the Lions, a midweek fixture may result in the management team making changes to the starting 11. Vastly experienced Dan Kirkup, a familiar face on the east side of the A69 is part of the City back line and should feature.
The Three Rivers Health & Safety Consultancy Stadium, Petteril Bank Road, Carlisle, CA1 3AF
After Saturday we enter the Northumberland Senior Cup on Tuesday evening (11th) as we head north to Bedlington Terriers in the first round (19.45).
Our next league fixture is next Saturday (15th) as the fixture computer sends us back to Cumbria but this time we head down the M6 to Penrith (15.00 ko).
Focussing on Tuesday, Benfield beat Bedlington back in pre-season at Sam Smith’s Park (4-2) but this will be a completely different affair under the Doctor Pit Park lights with the Terriers in fine form so far this season.