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Sunderland RCA 3 Newcastle Benfield 2

Submitted by Rob Jones on Sunday, 1 September 2019
Saturday, 31 August 2019
Northern League 1

Ross McNab on the attack during the first half of the match.

For more photos from the match please click here.

For Newcastle Benfield's match report please click here.

Newcastle Benfield were the visitors to “LGV Park” for this EBAC Northern League match. Both teams have had similar starts to the season having lost only one match and both progressing in the FA cup so a tight competitive match was expected.

The RCA management team had to make a late change when Ross Preston pulled up in the warm up and had to be replaced by Sam Lilley. Sam’s place on the bench was taken by Connor Slack who is on Work Experience from Sunderland AFC.

The teams lined up as follows:

SRCA: Dean, Allen, McNab, Lilley, Swansbury ©, Callen, Leonard, D Elliott, Davison, O’Neill, Moan. Subs: Slack, Ezard, Charlton, K Davis, Dorward.

Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Glen-Ravenhill, Parker, M Turnbull, Slaughter, Kanda, Richardson, Haley, Brayson, Giraud, Knight. Subs: Russell, Baltazar, Bowey, J Turnbull, S Elliott.

Benfield, with the advantage of the slope and the wind in the first half, kicked off and were straight on the attack, a long crossfield ball from Glen-Ravenhill found Knight on the left wing who crossed into the box but Swansbury was able to spot the run of Brayson and intercepted the ball to clear up field.

RCA were awarded a penalty in the 4th minute when Kanda fouled Elliott in the act of shooting after some excellent build up play by Moan and Callen. Elliott stepped up and duly despatched the spot kick into the net for his third goal of the season.

Within minutes the home team were back on the attack, Leonard cutting inside before forcing a corner off Parker, Moan's corner kick was met by Davison but cleared by M Turnbull for a throw in which was taken quickly by McNab to Callen and his cross was again met by Davison but went wide.

The visitor’s next effort came from a freekick after a rash challenge by O’Neill on the edge of the box. Knight took the kick and fired it high and wide of the target.

In the 16th minute RCA almost doubled their lead. Leonard won another corner on the right and Moan sent in a cross to the near post were O’Neill glanced in a header which Parker did well to head off the line.

As the game settled down, although RCA had more of the ball, there was little in the way of goalmouth action. In the 25th minute, Swansbury once again broke up a promising Benfield attack and played a sublime forward ball to Callen who controlled the ball, cut inside past his marker and fired in a shot which flew over the bar.

RCA looked to be getting some success down the right with Leonard and Allen combining well to put pressure on the left side of the Benfield defence.

On the half hour mark a quick flowing move saw Callen play the ball to Elliott who switched the ball out to Leonard, he laid the ball off to Allen who sent in a cross cum shot which drifted just wide of Grainger's far post and Callen was unlucky not to get on the end of it.

The “Lions” of Benfield having soaked up the pressure created their first shot on target when Haley played the ball forward to Brayson and Dean had to react quickly to save low down to his right.

It looked like the tide was turning as RCA came under pressure and a mistake in the defence allowed Brayson in, he took the ball past Dean but hit his shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

A Glen-Ravenhill long ball created the next chance for the visitors when Brayson again found space on the edge of the box, the striker turned quickly before hitting a low shot across the face of the goal but wide of the upright.

The same two players combined two minutes later to produce the best chance of the half, Richadson played the ball to the overlapping Glen-Ravenhill who sent in a wonderful cross onto the head of Brayson who directed his header downward but it somehow found its way into the arms of Dean via the goalkeeper’s legs.

The final minutes of the half saw RCA mount a series of attacks which came to nothing. No one in the clubhouse at half time could believe that the score was only 1 – 0 with the amount of chances created and goals were expected in the second half.

We were not disappointed. The second half started at a frenetic pace as Benfield went in search of an equaliser.

However it was RCA who had the first real chance of the half when Callen controlled a pass from Elliott and fired in a shot which was deflected for a corner by Kanda, from the resulting corner the ball found its way to Callen again but he shot wide.

At the other end it took a fantastic saving challenge by McNab to prevent Brayson from scoring when the Benfield striker latched onto a cross from Parker.

The game was really coming to life now as the game swung from end to end, Dean sent a long throw out to O’Neill who raced down the touchline before sending in a weighted cross which was met by Davison but he could only direct his header straight at Grainger.

A minute later and Callen found himself room on the left, he slipped past his marker to the bye line before cutting the ball back to Leonard whose first time effort was blocked by M Turnbull and cleared by Glen-Ravenhill.

The action was fast and furious and it was Benfield's turn to push forward, Richardson broke from midfield before crossing into the box for Giroud but Lilley was able to clear off the line.

Back at the other end and Leonard played the ball to Allen whose cross was met by Callen and saved by Grainger, he released the ball to Haley who played the ball forward to Brayson who had time and space to slot the ball past Dean in the RCA goal 1-1.

The hosts replied immediately and emphatically, from the kick off the ball was played to Moan who found Callen on the left, he played the ball inside to Leonard who struck a superb shot which rocketed into the net giving Grainger no chance. 2-1 to RCA.

Would the pace of this second half settle down, not likely, both teams were pushing men forward looking for goals. Another long throw out from Dean was picked up by Leonard who sent in a cross to K Davis, he cut inside before crossing to Davison but he shot wide.

The visitors responded through Haley, he took the ball past two midfield players before crossing into the box where the ever dangerous Brayson got another header on target and produced another save from Dean.

The pace of the game had not abated and it was starting to produce some very good fast paced football, the next chance fell to RCA when McNab intercepted a through ball, looked up and played an exquisite ball into the path of Davis, he rounded Grainger and with the goal undefended fired into the side netting.

In the 79th minute Benfield were awarded a controversial penalty when a Benfield player fell in the box, despite the protests of the RCA players the penalty decision stood and Knight stepped up and fired in the equaliser.

The game seemed to go flat for a period as both teams adjusted their style of play and there were a number of strange refereeing decisions which seemed to interrupt the flow of the game.

However in the 88th minute RCA regained the lead when Leonard showed great tenacity as he battled to win the ball back from Kanda inside the penalty area, the RCA winger having won the ball then had his cross blocked by Grainger and then won the rebound from Grainger before hooking the ball, while lying on the ground, past the keeper to Davison who fired into an empty net.

Benfield were not giving up without a fight and mounted a sustained attack on the RCA goal, Kanda hit a ferocious shot which cannoned of the post, then Baltazar had a shot saved by Dean.

Deep into injury time Brayson was sent clear by Haley, the Benfield striker hit a good shot which Dean did remarkably well to to get a hand to and tip onto the crossbar and away for a corner.

This was a proper non league game of football and the character shown by both sets of players was fantastic. They deserved the applause at the end and in all honesty it was a pity that one team had to lose.

Next up is Thornaby away on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 kick off 7.30pm.


fair report from the Benfield angle by my old friend and sparring partner Ian Cusack who himself admitted to being bemused by the referee's decision to award Benfield the penalty.