Match report: Newcastle Benfield vs Dunston FC
Dunston FC lose 0-1 in the dying stages of the game.
Dunston made the short trip to the East of of Newcastle for a behind closed door friendly to face Northern League side Newcastle Benfield.
The hosts clinched the win in the closing minutes of a lacklustre encounter, courtesy of a goal from veteran striker Paul Brayson.
Injuries to three of Dunston’s key players in this game; Michael Pearson jarring his ankle, Ursene Moaunda with a hamstring injury and recent signing Terry Galbraith having to come off with a calf injury, will no doubt create unwanted issues to Chris Swailes’ pre-season preparations.
Dunston had the Lion’s share of chances in the first half. Fitzpatrick firing wide having combined with Brooks and Mouanda. Galbraith fired a low volley wide as the visitors looked to move the ball around well.
A free kick on the edge of box was curled over the bar by Galbraith, whilst Benfield registered their first real effort on goal with 18 minutes on the clock, one time Dunston loanee Dan O’Rielly attempting a shot from distance with Connell off his line as Dunston lost possession in a dangerous position.
Adam Wrightson should have opened the scoring for Dunston, the winger doing well to dummy the defender, his shot lacked power and was drilled straight into the body of the Benfield keeper
Michael Pearson sustained an injury with only 30 minutes gone, bravely clashing into a tackle, the midfielder pulled away immediately with a jarred ankle. Heslop replacing him with Dunston changing shape.
Brayson registered Benfield’s first shot on target, drilling his effort straight at Connell with Dunston struggling to clear their lines.
Dunston were forced into making their second substitution of the game, Galbraith with a calf problem as he was replaced by a Callum Elliott.
With the hope that the second half produced more excitement than the first, this was not to be the case.
Jack Elliott replaced Liam Brooks out wide. Quickly into the action, the substitute flashing his shot just wide of the far post, intercepting a loose pass on the edge of the box.
Substitute Heslop was winning the vast majority of his challenges up top, trying to bring others into play. Winning a free kick on the edge of the area having turned well at the by-line, the resulting free flashing wide of the post.
Kanda missed a chance to put the home side into the lead, blazing his effort over the bar from close range having got onto the end of a powerfully drilled free kick which managed to find it’s way unchallenged to the back post.
Dunston’s injury problems continued on the hour mark. Ursene Mouanda, who had possibly been one of the better players on the park, constantly battling away in midfield, trying to prevent Benfield gaining any momentum and rhythm in the middle, was to go off with a hamstring injury.
The changes witnessed Benfield grow more into the game, with Dan O’Reilly creating a few problems for the Dunston defenders.
Dunston squandered a good chance to put themselves ahead, Jack Elliott firing over having combined well with Heslop.
Former Benfield man and current Dunston Captain Craig Scott headed over the Benfield bar with 10 minutes remaining as the game remained scoreless.
In the last minute of the game Benfield broke the deadlock, as Frenchman Cyril Giraud beat two players to drive to the by-line and pull the ball back to Paul Brayson, the veteran striker found himself in space to side foot his effort into the corner past Connell in the Dunston goal.
Dunston were punished for their inability to capitalise on the chances they creating. Arguably both side’s defences prevented any meaningful chances at goal as neither keeper was really tested throughout the game.
Friday night will see Dunston welcome Conference North side Blyth Spartans to The UTS Stadium, with a far better performance required by some players if they are to stake a place in Chris Swailes’ starting XI come the opening game of the season.