Newcastle Benfield 2 Bishop Auckland 3 – Ebac Northern League Division One

….or in this case, one team’s misfortune is another team’s opportunity.

With just over five minutes to go, Benfield looked well set to claim all three points, they just couldn’t close the game out.  Meanwhile, Bishop Auckland were rewarded for their persistence and determination.

I plead guilty to stating the obvious, but the goals were the best part of the match, with quality somewhat missing in between the strikes – passing, movement and other shots not up to what both these sides can produce.

Bishop Auckland made the better start to the game only to fall behind to a goal in the 7th minute when Reece Noble got on the end of a ball in from the left.  He seemed as surprised as anyone when the ball went into the top right hand corner of the net, leaving keeper Nick Liversedge rooted to the spot.

Despite the goal, Bishops had the better of the play for 20 minutes – Darren Richardson putting a header wide and full back Ryan Robinson attacking down the right, while Benfield looked disjointed.  Paul Brayson had their next meaningful chance only for Liversedge to get the slightest of touches to the No. 9’s shot, with the keeper producing a good punch out to clear the danger for the subsequent corner.

The two sides then started to trade chances – Richardson given time and space to hit a shot from more than 20 yards out that he put over the bar and Benfield captain Mark Turnbull able to ghost past a couple of defenders, with his header also going just over.

That trend continued in the second half, with Brayson and Richardson having chances, followed by Andrew Johnson and Chris Winn for Bishops.

Benfield stretched their lead in the 55th minute, with Cyril Giraud (who looked the most nimble player on the pitch) found an opening and placed the ball low, left and into the net, choosing precision rather than blasting it.

Bishops got themselves back in the game in the 61st minute.  Kyle Fryatt knocked the ball across to Jamie Marshall who struck the ball hard to make it 2-1.

Another goal for Benfield would probably have sealed the game.  They came close, but not close enough to converting opportunities:  A Brayson shot booted clear by Robinson close to his goal line, a Giraud effort cleared by Marshall and then a Peter Glen-Ravenhill shot stopped by Liversedge after the Benfield No. 11’s first touch took him wide right.  Apart from the goal, Bishops were failing to really test Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger, in part because Benfield got plenty of men behind the ball when the visitors attacked.

The game was then turned on its head with two late goals.

In the 39th minute Morris produced a thumping shot into the roof of the net to level it up and then in the 88th minute Lewis Scorgie carelessly tripped Bishops substitute Billy Harland in the box and captain Michael Hoganson despatching the spot kick to grab the win and seal the comeback.

Mike Snowdon