Benfield edge West in five-goal thriller

West Auckland Town 2-3 Newcastle Benfield

West Auckland Town remain without a win in Division One after suffering a devastating defeat at home to Newcastle Benfield.

Goals from Matthew Parker and a brace from Frenchman Cyril Graud twice cancelled out consolations from Amar Purewal as West slipped to 16th in the Northern League Division One table.

Brian Atkinson made three changes from the FA Cup defeat to Bridlington Town as Jamie Cobain, Ross Colquhoun and Purewal were replaced by Daniel Mitton, Joe Hillerby and Alex Francis.

In a repeat of the Northern League Cup final in which West were victorious 4-3 on penalties on that occasion, Benfield looked for revenge and were on the front foot eight minutes in when they opened the scoring courtesy of a well-worked team move as Guillerme Baltazar found Peter Glen-Ravenhill out wide, who’s delivery from the left was met by Parker – the defender finished emphatically past Tom Flynn from the edge of the box with a wonderful swirling effort in the far corner.

Following a disgruntled start, West pressed for an equaliser and they came close in the 24th minute, when Anthony Bell’s right-sided cross picked out Adam Burnicle in the middle though the former Shildon and Morpeth Town striker could only fire his shot straight at Andrew Grainger.

As the half wore on, chances were at a premium and when West did attack, Benfield’s rock-solid defence were in the way to deal with the threat.

Despite trailing, West began the second half with more intent and Francis, Burnicle and Bell all showed promising signs with half chances but frustratingly none of which failed to find the target.

On 57 minutes, Stuart Elliott’s side dealt another blow when Graud doubled their advantage following a slight bit of fortune as his strike inside the area took a wicked deflection, giving Flynn next to no chance.

Substitute Purewal offered West a glimmer of hope in the 72nd minute, collecting Hillerby’s looping pass and delivering a composed finish past an advancing Grainger before Benfield extended their two-goal cushion moments later and sealed the victory as Graud’s venomous strike nestled in the top corner to set the visitors on their way to a first win of the season.

Before the full-time whistle, referee Christopher Joyce showed David Dowson a straight red card for dissent and West would go on to add a late consolation as Purewal bundled home with a tap in from Adam Mitchell’s corner after a goalmouth scramble.

Next up, West entertain North Shields at the Wanted Stadium on Saturday afternoon (15:00pm).

West Auckland – Flynn, Hegarty, Price, Mitton, Hunter(Cobain, 69), Mitchell, Hillerby, Francis, A. Bell (c)(Dowson, 65), Fisher, Burnicle (Purewal, 65)

Subs not used – Colquhoun, M. Bell

Goals – Purewal (72, 89)

Newcastle Benfield – Grainger, Baltazar, Parker, Turnbull (c), Novak, Varga, Richardson (Russell, 87), Haley, Brayson, Graud, Glen-Ravenhill

Subs not used – Gordon, Kanda, Knight, Laidler,

Goals – Parker (8), Graud (57, 74)

Referee – Christopher Joyce

Attendance – 154

Report by Harry Connor Crowe

Picture by Andy Mitchell.

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