Thornaby were the visitors to Sam Smith Park with Newcastle Benfield expected to win this game. Thornaby nearly opened the scoring as early as the second minute, when a poor pass from Joe Robson was intercepted by Thornaby’s Dan Chapman, and only a strong tackle by Nick Green saved the day. The next five minutes was scrappy with both teams giving the ball away, and it was in the sixteenth minute before anything of note occurred.
Thornaby’s Joe Smith went on a good attacking run, before hitting a well struck shot bringing the best out of the Benfield goalkeeper Alfie Gordon, who produced a fine save. It was Benfield’s turn to come close to getting a goal with the clock showing twenty-two minutes; strong play by Benfield captain Joe Robson saw him play the ball through to Paul Brayson, who saw his well struck chip shot bring a fine save for a corner, from the Thornaby goalkeeper Robert Dean.
Good defending in the twenty-seventh minute by Dale Elgie saw him head the ball for a corner from a dangerous cross from Benfield’s Connor Walker. Although play had been pretty even, with no easy scoring chances, a goal did arrive in the twenty-eighth minute and it went to Thornaby. Thornaby’s captain Joe Pickett gained possession and advanced forward on a good run, before driving the ball from 20 yards into the bottom corner of the net to make the score 1-0.
The game continued up to the thirty-ninth minute when poor play by Benfield’s Kyle Errington allowed a cross into Benfield’s near post to be well defended away to safety by Joe Robson leaving the score at 1-0 which was also the halftime score.
After the half time break Benfield brought on substitute Dennis Knight for the second half and he had a scoring chance in the fifty-first minute when he should have hit the ball with his right foot instead of using his left foot which produced a weak shot on goal.
Four minutes later scrappy play by the Benfield defence allowed Thornaby’s Phil Caley a half chance at shooting, but he was tackled just as he was about to shoot at goal, to the relief of the Benfield supporters. A minute later and it was Benfield’s scoring opportunity when Aiden Haley played in Kyle Errington who crossed the ball to find the head of team mate Dennis Knight who headed the ball wide of the goal.
Benfield were starting to get more into the game and only three minutes later should have got an equalising goal, a strong run by substitute Ben Dibb-Fuller saw him in a shooting position which he declined passing the ball to Paul Brayson who was left with an open goal but a weak shot on goal was saved.
Whilst Thornaby were not attacking much, they were defending well and not giving many opportunities to the Benfield forwards, but that changed in the seventy-fifth minute when a brilliant 50-yard attacking run by Thornaby’s Joe Smith saw his final effort blocked by Benfield defender Liam McNamara.
Ten minutes were left on the clock when Newcastle Benfield got an equalising goal, it came when Joel Green found Dennis Knight, who played the ball inside to Paul Brayson who then rolled the ball into Ryan McGorrigan, who hit a low drive past the Thornaby keeper Robert Dean making the score 1-1.
The eighty-eighth minute should have seen a second goal for Thornaby, when a cross gave substitute Charlie Hindson a great scoring opportunity, but he hit a wild shot over the Benfield crossbar.
Then it was the turn of Benfield to miss a scoring chance in the second minute of added time, when Joel Green gained possession from a long throw in, but he shot wide of the mark, leaving the final score at 1-1.
Man of the Match … Joel Green.
Reporter: – Allan Young.