Newly promoted side Pickering Town were the visitors to Sam Smith’s Park for the first home game of the season. Benfield started brightly and should have scored in the 3rd minute when a cross from Aiden Haley found Cameron Gascoigne who miss-hit a good opportunity resulting in the ball being cleared away.
Only 8 minutes had passed before the opening goal arrived, with Pickering scoring on their first attack. A cross from the right found the head of Bobby Rye who gave Benfield ‘keeper Andrew Grainger no chance of saving, making the score 1-0 to Pickering Town.
A quarter of an hour had passed when the next goal arrived, and it was Benfield who got the equaliser! A long through ball found Eddie Thomas advancing in on goal, and with his shot being well saved by Pickering goalkeeper Jack Norton the Benfield midfielder was able to drive home the rebound to level things up – Score 1-1. The game was scrappy, but in the 18th minute a shot by Benfield’s Eddie Thomas brought about another good save from the Pickering goalkeeper. The half hour-mark was approaching when Benfield had a half-chance from a corner which found the head of Ryan McGorrigan. He saw his header saved by Jack Norton.
The clock ticked on to the 35th minute when Benfield should have gone ahead after a scramble in the Pickering penalty area saw the ball arrive at the feet of Nick Green, who should have done better than shooting wide of the goal. Benfield were starting to look the more dangerous of the two teams, and in the 37th minute it took a good save by Pickering keeper Jack Norton to deny Ben Dib-Fuller after he received a long pass from Liam McNamara.
This was the last happening of anything worth writing about up until the halftime whistle, leaving the score 1-1.
A half chance went the way of Benfield in the fourth minute of the second half after a cross into the near post found Ryan McGorrigan, but good defending saw Pickering’s Liam Love clear the ball to safety. 10 minutes of the second half had then passed on when Pickering had a great opportunity to get their second goal. A corner was floated into the penalty area, and Benfield’s Liam McNamara pull back Bobby Rye, resulting in the referee Mr. Schofield awarding a penalty to the visitors.
Up stepped Jamie Thornton to take the penalty, driving strongly towards goal only to see Benfield ‘keeper Andrew Grainger bring off a brilliant save to keep the score at 1-1. Pickering were to rue the missed chance of going ahead, as within a minute Benfield got their second goal of the game.
Ben Dibb-Fuller broke quickly away after the penalty, advancing well into the Pickering half before squaring the ball to Cameron Gascoigne who drove the ball low into the net, making the score 2-1 to Newcastle Benfield.
This seemed like a catalyst for more attacks by Benfield and in the 58th minute a pass from Dibb-Fuller found Gascoigne who saw his shot deflected for a corner. Pickering were indebted to their goalkeeper Jack Norton in the 63rd minute who brought off a fine save after an overhead kick by Benfield’s Ryan McGorrigan.
An equaliser should have been on the cards when a brilliant scoring chance went by in the 70th minute. A long free kick driven down the middle of the pitch saw Benfield’s goalkeeper Andrew Grainger rush out to try and clear the ball along with Liam McNamara missing the ball and leaving Cameron Wilson with a glorious opportunity to equalise. With an open goal in front of him, Wilson missed the target much to the dismay of his team-mates.
Despite Benfield being lucky in not having conceded another goal it was their turn to have a goal scoring chance when a ball into the box was well controlled by Ryan McGorrigan and hit only to see Pickering keeper Jack Norton save his shot.
With five minutes remaining, Pickering were indebted again to Jack Norton who, after a good build up and 20 yard shot by Leighton Watts which destined for the top corner, made yet another save.
Time was running out, and in the 88th minute a great cross from Pickering’s Axel Turner barely evaded Bobby Rye, much to the relief of the Benfield team, leaving the full time score 2-1 to Benfield.
Man of the Match … Layton Watts.