After a 1-1 game at Sam Smith’s Park, another equally as tough game was anticipated in this F.A. cup replay. Only 1 minute had passed when Benfield had a strong appeal for a penalty after it looked like Ryan McGorrigan had been pulled back, but the referee Sam Ross denied the appeal.
It only took 7 minutes of the match to pass by before the first goal of the game arrived, and it went the way of the home team. Benfield had four chances to clear the ball away to safety, but failed to do so allowing Shildon’s fullback Aiden Heywood the opportunity to crash the ball home into the top corner of the Benfield net with the Benfield keeper having no chance of saving, making the score 1-0 to Shildon.
The 12th minute almost brought a second goal to the hosts when a goal kick was flicked on to find Dean Thexton who saw his strong 25-yard drive just clear the Benfield crossbar. The 18th minute arrived when Benfield came close to an equaliser after a great ball down the line by Joe Spencer was crossed into the Shildon penalty area causing confusion, with desperate defending coming out on top with the ball being cleared to safety.
Shildon were on top but it was the visitors who came close to getting the next goal when a 20-yard shot by Cameron Gascoigne flew just wide of the Shildon goal. The second goal of the game came in the twenty-second minute, with the home team adding to their first goal. A free kick was played out to the right wing to be crossed to find the head of Michael Sweet with his bullet header flying past Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger to make the score 2-0 to Shildon.
Although Benfield were 2-0 down, the play remained level for the next 15 minutes, and Benfield came close to getting a goal back after a strong effort from Connor Walker was deflected for a corner. A minute later with 38 gone, Newcastle Benfield got a deserved goal back. A long ball down the left flank was controlled by Ben Dibb-Fuller before he crashed the ball past Shildon keeper Alex Curran making the score 2-1 to Shildon.
It was Dibb-Fuller again in the 41st minute who came close to an equalising goal when he received a great long pass by team-mate Connor Walker before seeing Shildon keeper Alex Curran bring off a good save. The next 3 minutes brought a scoring chance to both teams, firstly in the 43rd minute when good play down the right by Benfield’s Cameron Gascoigne saw his dangerous cross just evade the diving header from Edward Thomas by inches. It was then the turn of Shildon to come close to getting a third in the 44th minute, when a corner was dropped by Benfield goalkeeper Andrew Grainger who then made amends making a good save from Shildon’s Dean Thexton.
This left the score at 2-1 to Shildon which was the half time score.
After a halftime chat by the Benfield Manager Col Stromsy, Benfield were hoping quickly that they would get an equaliser. Unfortunately, that was not to be and in fact they went another goal down in the first minute of the second half. A bread and butter cross to Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger from a Shildon free kick looked like an easy take, but to his dismay he dropped the ball, allowing the Shildon player Billy Greulich -Smith the opportunity to volley the ball into the net from six yards to make the score 3-1.
Within another 3 minutes Benfield found themselves 3 goals down. Poor defending down the Benfield right with scrappy play by both teams saw the ball eventually fall into the possession of Michael Sweet who drove the ball into the Benfield goal making the score 4-1 to Shildon.
Shildon were now in complete control, and only a good save by Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger in the 52nd minute denied a fifth goal after a long pass found goal scorer Michael Sweet. After a good move in the 57th minute, Benfield came close to getting a second goal with a effort by Ben Dibb-Fuller going wide of the goal.
Although Benfield were trying hard to reduce the score, it was in fact a strong drive from Michael Sweet which produced a fine save by the Benfield keeper tipping the ball onto the cross bar to the relief of the Benfield team denying the Shildon striker a hat-trick.
With Benfield trying to reduce the score, gaps were left in the defence and from a corner Shildon player Jack Vaulks saw his effort go inches over the cross bar. In the 81st minute, Benfield came close to a second goal when a cross from the right found the head of Dibb-Fuller with his effort flying over the cross bar.
With time starting to run down, Benfield were eventually rewarded with a second goal in the 85th minute. A good flowing move ended with a strong low drive by Eddie Thomas which beat Shildon’s’ keeper Alex Curran to make the score 4-2 to Shildon. This finished the final score.
Man of the Match… Ben Dibb-Fuller.