Newcastle Benfield



Report by Billy Montague

Wednesday 8th August 2018 Ebac Northern League – First Division

Final Score: Newcastle Benfield 0 Dunston UTS 0


Dunston UTS made the short trip to The Sam Smith’s Stadium to play their second game of the new season

against the much fancied Newcastle Benfield in the Ebac Northern League First Division. Both teams enjoyed outstanding away victories in their opening matches, Benfield snatching a superb win at highly rated Sunderland

RCA and Dunston UTS getting the better of a very strong West Auckland Town.


Manager Chris Swailes named an unchanged starting eleven and his substitutes included new signing Aiden

Haley who had just returned from holiday. The Benfield squad included ex-Dunston players James Martin,

Richard Slaughter, Joe Hailes and Dale Pearson.


Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Evans, Martin, Laidler, Robson, Scott, Orrell (McCarthy), Slaughter, Brayson,

McEvoy (Devlin), Holmes (Pearson). Subs not used: Hailes, Nisbet.


Dunston UTS: Dryden, Marrs, Halliday, Stafford (Haley), Grant-Soulsby, Hall, Thear (Elliott C), Pearson,

Fitzpatrick, Brooks (Heslop), Elliott J. Subs not used: Capewell, Nellis.


On a bright but breezy evening both teams made a rather tentative start to the game as the unpredictable playing surface caused some problems. Though the pitch looked fine before the game, the slightly long grass made a

quick passing game difficult and both sides cancelled each other out in the early stages.


The first 20 minutes brought plenty of effort but clear goal-scoring opportunities were at a premium. Dunston were having the better of the possession but were finding it hard going as they faced a strong home defence and a stiff breeze in their faces. Benfield made a good break on 20 minutes but Dylan McEvoy ruined good approach play by shooting well wide of Karl Dryden’s goal.


Dunston almost grabbed the lead on 23 minutes when Liam Brooks was released into the left side of the box and

made ground before sending a powerful shot across the goal but the excellent Andrew Grainger made a superb

save to parry wide. Jack Elliott latched onto the loose ball but was unable to cash in as his effort was blocked by defender Joe Robson. In the next minute the home side went close after a good run by the speedy Jake Orrell

saw Paul Brayson almost get a vital touch at the far post. Dunston went back on the attack with Liam Thear forcing

a weak clearance from inside the home box and Liam Marrs latched onto the ball before unleashing a shot which

flew wide of goal.


On the half-hour mark Liam Brooks was fouled a couple of yards outside of the box but Mark Fitzpatrick lifted the

free-kick over the bar. 5 minutes later Jack Elliott made a great run past a couple of defenders on the left but was eventually forced out by full-back Rhys Evans. Dunston continued to press but found keeper Grainger equal to all

of their efforts. Right on half-time a wicked bounce saw the ever-dangerous Paul Brayson break clear on goal but

Karl Dryden advanced to pull of a magnificent save at the predatory striker’s feet.


Half Time Score: Newcastle Benfield 0 Dunston UTS 0


Dunston may have had the better of the possession in the first-half but they could have fallen behind with that very

late chance. They came out for the second-half in resolute fashion and created the first chance when Liam Thear

made a clever run in the right channel before fizzing in a low diagonal shot which Mark Fitzpatrick only narrowly

missed as he attempted to deflect past Grainger.


Benfield went close on 49 minutes when a leftwing corner was swung over and Craig Scott got on the end to send

in a good header that was deflected wide. In the 53rd minute Jake Stafford almost did the trick at the other end but

his low drive flashed across goal and scraped past the far post after a Michael Pearson corner. On the hour mark,

the referee harshly awarded a free-kick to Benfield after a blatent dive on the edge of the Dunston box. Paul

Brayson took the kick and was unlucky to see his dipping effort strike the top of the crossbar and bounce over.


A minute later Dunston built a good attack on their left which saw Dan Halliday released into the box but his

excellent low cross was fortunately deflected by a defender straight into the grasp of the grateful Grainger who did

well to gather. Another accurate Brayson free-kick was bundled high and wide by substitute Dale Pearson in the 68th minute before Karl Dryden made another excellent save from a Joe Robson header after a corner four minutes later.


On 78 minutes some good play by Dunston substitute Scott Heslop saw him get the better of home central defenders Scott and Robson before his low shot flew just past the post with Grainger scrambling across his line.


In the 80th minute, another non-decision by the referee after a clear foul on a Dunston defender led to an amazing

scramble in the visitors’ box.


The ball bobbled around in the six-yard box with several Benfield players having a stab at it but each time their efforts were somehow blocked and the danger was eventually cleared. Dunston ensured that there would be no more close shaves in the final ten minutes and aside from a wayward effort from substitute Jack Devlin in the 86th minute, keeper Karl Dryden remained relatively untroubled until the referee blew the final whistle after five minutes of added-time.


Full Time Score: Newcastle Benfield 0 Dunston UTS 0


Dunston’s Man of the Match: Karl Dryden – Karl had a rather quiet first 44 minutes then was called upon to pull

off a brilliant save to preserve his clean-sheet at half-time. The second-half proved to be much more testing and he pulled off some great stops to earn a precious point against a very good Benfield side. Other good performances came from Jake Stafford, Liam Marrs and Michael Hall on a night when the team worked hard but were not on top

form on a difficult playing surface.

  Karl Dryden Dunston's Man of the match  
  Newcastle Benfield