This was Benfield’s first meeting of the season against our nearest neighbours Whitley Bay, a good crowd was expected with the game being played on a Friday evening, and no other Northern League games being played.
Benfield’s goal keeper Alfie Gordon was soon called into action in the second minute saving well for a corner from a strong effort by Whitley Bay’s striker Cameron Brewis. It was then the turn of Whitley Bay’s goalkeeper Dan Lister two minutes later to show off his goalkeeping ability saving well from a Dennis Knight effort.
It wasn’t long before a goal was scored and it went to Benfield in the 7thminute, a great long pass from Brad Varga found team mate Eddie Thomas, who then played the ball to LAYTON WATTS, after advancing forward he hit a twenty yard drive past the diving Whitley Bay goalkeeper Dan Lister, to make the score 1-0 to Benfield.
Whitley Bay goalkeeper Dan Lister was again called into action on the ten minute mark saving a good effort from Dennis Knight after a quick build up from Newcastle Benfield. Twelve minutes had passed when panic defending from Benfield some how saw the ball cleared for a corner and from this the ball bobbled around in the Benfield penalty area before going for another corner which was then cleared away from danger.
Sixteen minutes had elapsed when the second goal of the game came and it went to the visitors Whitley Bay, a move down the Benfield right wing saw the ball fizzed across the penalty area to find SEAN TAYLOR unmarked and he made no mistake in his shooting chance, giving the Benfield goalkeeper Alfie Gordon no chance of saving making the score 1-1. Play was pretty even for the next ten minutes in what was a good quality game, but the home team came close to a second goal when Dennis Knight got on the end of a cross from Dibb-Fuller, to volley just over the bar.
Whitley Bay then came close to taking the lead on the half hour mark when a fine cross to the far post by Elliott Day found the head of Lewis Orrell, who saw his on target header cleared off the line by Benfield’s Cameron Gascoigne.
The play then flowed backwards and forward, with both teams playing neat controlled football without causing a great concern to either goalkeeper. Fourty one minutes had gone by when a quick fire counter attack by Whitley Bay’s Michael Hall saw him brought down in the Benfield penalty area with the referee awarding Whitley Bay a penalty. Up stepped Harvey Neary to drive the ball low and hard to the bottom corner, only to see Benfield’s goalkeeper Alfie Gordon bring off a brilliant save leaving the score at 1-1. Whitley Bay were to rue the missed penalty as within two minutes, Benfield regained the lead when a pass from Cameron Gascoigne found DENNIS KNIGHT, who saw a well hit drive deflected past the outstretched arms of Whitley Bay goalkeeper Dan Lister giving him no chance of saving. This made the score 2-1 to Newcastle Benfield which was the score at halftime.
Only five minutes had surpassed when Benfield got a third goal of the game, it came when a long ball out of the Benfield defence found DENNIS KNIGHT, who then advanced into the Whitley Bay penalty area, to be up ended by Whitley Bay’s Scott Lowery. Benfield were then given a penalty and it is sometimes said that if you have been fouled for the penalty you should not take the kick, this was contradicted however as DENNIS KNIGHT got up to drive the ball low into the bottom left corner making the score 3-1 to Newcastle Benfield.
Neither keeper had been under the cosh with regard to having to make many saves but it was the Benfield keeper who was next into action leaping well to parry a Whitley bay corner out of danger away from the Benfield goal.
The hour mark was approaching when Whitley Bay got a controversial goal after what looked like obvious elbow into the face of the Benfield keeper Alfie Gordon, the foul was not given with the ball dropping at the edge of the Benfield penalty area to find CAMERON BREWIS who drove the ball into the top corner of the net making it 3-2.
Another ten minutes had passed by, when a Benfield break down the right saw an effort from Dennis Knight cleared for a corner from which came a second corner which came to nothing. Despite having been two goals down at one stage, credit must be given to Whitley Bay for their gung ho attitude in trying to get an equalising goal, and they were rewarded in the 73rd minute. A corner out on the Whitley Bay right wing was floated into the middle of the Benfield six-yard box with the Benfield goalkeeper Alfie Gordon flapping at the ball and not making a great deal of contact, allowing ELLIOTT DAY the opportunity to fire the ball into the Benfield net, making the score 3-3.
Five minutes of normal time were left when Benfield were awarded a free kick, with Ben Dibb-Fuller hitting a firm shot at goal with Whitley Bay goalkeeper Dan Lister making a decent save. The 1st minute of added on time saw a dangerous cross into the Benfield penalty area, but a foul on Sam Reid relieved the pressure on the Benfield goal.
Benfield were nearly gifted all three points with two minutes of extra time being played, it came when Benfield were awarded a freekick out on the right wing. The ball was floated into the centre of the penalty area with the Whitley Bay keeper coming out to punch the ball, but he missed the ball with it dropping at the feet of Archie Leonard, who saw his effort deflected for a corner. The corner came to nothing being cleared for a throw in, which also came to nothing, but then came the final whistle, with the score level at 3-3.
MAN OF THE MATCH………….LAYTON WATTS