Last season saw the second string side beat Benfield 2-1, at the semi-final stage of the competition and at the same ground with goals from Mark Doninger and Wesley Baheng. Newcastle Benfield sit in 8th place in the Northern League and have a spattering of former YTs of various professional clubs (including United) on the books, including one who’s a physio at the town.
At a blustery Whitley Park, Benfield took an early lead, when a speculative shot from Shaun Bell was carried over the fingers of Robinson and went in off the underside of the crossbar, to put the Northern League side 1-0 up. The wind did it’s best to spoil the game but the youngsters of Newcastle tried to combat it with good interplay, though Benfield largely kept them at bay initially.
It wasn’t until early in the second half that the young Magpies got back on level terms when Shane Ferguson, dropped the ball into box and a mishit from McLaughlin fell kindly to right back Leadbitter who finished at the keeper’s near post. Newcastle brought on Nile Ranger shortly after, but the scored remained 1-1 at full-time, and as the two teams went into extra-time it seemed like the first half of extra-time would also see nobody adding to the goal tally, but with seconds of the half remaining, Nile Ranger took the ball inside the box and turned well before striking well past Grainger who had no chance.
The Newcastle youngsters seem happy enough with the one goal advantage but though they looked tired, Benfield continued to press and got what their efforts deserved, when former Newcastle academy player Chris Carr headed them back into the game at 2-2. But the reserves weren’t finished and it was heartbreak for Benfield as LuaLua’s class and pace made the difference and he drove his shot across the keeper into the corner to make it 3-2. And two minutes later to add insult to injury, Nile Ranger did well to tee up Shane Ferguson who put the outcome beyond doubt. The the final whistle blew shortly after, and our man on the ground headed off for a pint at his local.
Us – Robinson, Leadbitter, Taylor, Tozer, Grieve, Lough, McLaughlin, Danquah, LuaLua, Donaldson, Ferguson
Subs – Henderson, Page, McGorrigan, Morris, Ranger
Newcastle Benfield – Grainger, Forsyth, Paterson, Dugdale, Leighton, Carr, Antony, Bell, Young, Nicholson, Morris
Subs – P Buzzeo, Rowntree, Bangura, S Buzzeo, Tait
Att – tbc