Shields take a point on the road
North Shields made the short journey west yesterday to face-off against Newcastle Benfield in a 7th vs 6th clash.
The game was off to a rocking start for the Robins as from the kick-off, the hosts played the ball wide to the right only to be dispossessed by the North Shields flank, who quickly forced the ball down the line and into Wilson. A deflected shot from the number nine fell to the feet of Paul Van-Zandvliet who tucked the chance away comfortably.
Shields continued to put the pressure on the hosts, as a mere five minutes later Ryan Carr delivered a cross perfectly onto the head of Wilson. The header however was fired straight at goalkeeper Alfie Gordon’s chest, who stopped the shot and prevented the ensuing fumble from the Shields shirts bearing down.
In the 7th minute a smooth passing move through the centre of the pitch fell to Cam Cunningham who finished the chance however was denied by the raised flag of the linesman.
Ten minutes was how long it took for Benfield to take their first effort of the game. Fullback Mark Turnbull who was finding space wide on the left drove forwards and unleashed a strike that sailed just wide of the right-hand post.
From the following goal kick the Robins made their way quickly down the right-hand side, linking well and finally pulling a ball back to Van-Zandvliet who fired towards goal but once more the goalkeeper was equal to the effort.
The 18th minute was Shields’ next chance, a lofted through ball found Callum Smith who unleashed a left footed strike that agonisingly struck the side netting.
As the game rolled into the 20th minute a confidence was flowing through the Shields frontline and a smooth passing move worked the attack into the Benfield box ultimately finding Wilson, who’s shot was desperately smothered and sent out for a corner.
In the 25th minute, an unusual venture into the visitors half proved fruitful for Benfield, as Aidan Haley set himself up for a right-footed strike, which flew through a mass of bodies, hitting goalkeeper Olly Marshall and bounding in.
The game trudged into the 30th minute and the hosts were getting back into the game, retaining possession better and finding joy on the left-hand side with Turnbull continuing to be left unchallenged on the left-hand side.
A half chance fell to Wilson in the 32nd minute, as the front man chested down a high ball, span and hit the shot first time. The shot was once more blocked by the charging Benfield defence however and Shields were forced to start again.
The first booking of the game occurred in the 33rd minute. A professional foul by Carr on Turnbull to prevent a counterattack.
The freekick from Carr’s booking was squandered by the visitors however and attack turned to defence in the blink of an eye. The Shields left hand flank moving forward with pace and purpose to deliver a ball into Wilson who couldn’t convert.
The final chance of the half arrived in the 34th minute, as a ball from the left-hand side found a free Carr head in the box. The attacking midfielder however was underneath the ball and the header looped agonisingly over the bar.
The second half kicked off and Shields again came racing out of the blocks, only four minutes it took for the Robins to take the lead once more. Cunningham was picked out at the back post with an excellent looping cross from the right and the youngster nodded home with ease.
The lead was even shorter lived than the first however, as almost immediately after veteran poacher Paul Brayson was free at the back post and fired a powerful header past a hopeless Marshall in the Shields net.
The 66th minute saw the first changes for the visitors, Carr and Wilson making way for Hird and Leonard.
Paul Van was fashioned a half-chance after an out-swinging cross landed on his head, the nod however was wide.
In the 83rd minute Jamie Norvell excellently dribbled past two defenders and worked a yard in the box. The right-footed strike disappointingly flew wide of the mark, however.
The last notable contribution to the game arrived in the 88th minute, as Jack Walker was sent off after denying a clear goalscoring opportunity to the hosts as they burst beyond the Shields backline. The ensuing freekick was taken by Brayson and was struck well to the goalkeepers left, however Marshall was equal to it and the game staggered to a close.
Full Time: Newcastle Benfield 2-2 North Shields
Officials: Alex Clark – Mark McMahon – Stephen Birkett