A visit to Teesside for the second time in four days was on the menu for Newcastle Benfield, with Thornaby F.C. being the hosts.
Benfield’s goalkeeper Andrew Grainger was soon called into action in the 4th minute making a save from Steven Roberts who got on the end of a cross from Luke Hogan.
Two minutes later, following a scrappy move, Benfield’s Ryan McGorrigan saw his shot force a good save from Thornaby ‘keeper Quinaceo Hunt for a corner. It was the turn of the home team’s Mason McNeil in the fifteenth minute to cause concern to Benfield, when he struck a well hit shot to bring out the best of Benfield’s Grainger in stopping it.
The 16th minute brought a goal, and it went to Newcastle Benfield. It seemed like a lifetime before the ball found its way into the net after being cleared off the line three times before the ball fell to Aiden Haley on the edge of the penalty area where he drove the ball past Thornaby keeper Quinaceo Hunt giving him no chance. This made the score 1-0.
Little had been seen in an attacking sense from the home team, with Benfield carving out chance after chance, and in the 20th minute the first of many chances went by. Firstly, Connor Walker had a shot blocked with the ball falling to Ryan McGorrigan who had his shot blocked before the goal-scorer Aiden Haley had another effort cleared away to safety.
25 minutes had elapsed when a pass from Benfield’s Aiden Haley found team mate Ben Dibb-Fuller who saw his well hit shot saved by Thornaby keeper Quinaceo Hunt. Then half an hour had passed with the ball falling into the possession of Ryan McGorrigan, but although his effort was on target it never tested the keeper, deflecting for a corner.
Benfield were so much on top but missing goalscoring chances. They had already had 4 good goalscoring opportunities but the final pass or the shots were poor, allowing Thornaby to stay in the game in the first half.
With having all these chances, Benfield could rue the missed scoring opportunities and a fluke goal could make it level, although it remained 1-0 at half time.
Thornaby were lucky to stay with eleven men as Steven Roberts committed three quick fouls in a row with only 6 minutes of the half gone. The second goal of the game almost came in the 55th minute when a 20 yard drive by Benfield’s Lewis Leech went inches wide.
Benfield were getting plenty of shooting chances and came close to getting another goal when a strong effort from Ben Dibb-Fuller brought a good save from the Thornaby goalkeeper. Although Benfield were a goal up, it was squeaky-bum-time with them not making the most of their goalscoring opportunities. This was confirmed in the 72nd minute when Benfield had substitute Gerard Richardson one-on-one with the goalkeeper, and although the Thornaby keeper saved the shot it was a poor effort.
Another weak effort from a Benfield player came in the 83rd minute when a through-ball put substitute Paul Brayson in with a scoring chance which was eventually wasted, leaving a nervous Benfield team. Eddie Thomas was then the culprit going in on a 1 on 1 situation with the Thornaby keeper who saved his effort, again missing a chance to solidify a good win.
Time was running out for Thornaby, but they were given a slight piece of hope when Newcastle Benfield was reduced to ten men, having substitute Layton Watts sent off in the 88th minute. This was the third player sent off with Thornaby previously having had Famara Jatta for two yellow cards and Steven Roberts a straight red.
The victory should have been sealed with a second goal for Benfield when, with time running out, Eddie Thomas was put clear in a 1 on 1 situation. Again the scoring opportunity was missed leaving the score 1-0 when the final whistle blew.
Man of the Match … Nick Green.