I haven’t been to many Northern League games this season that haven’t featured Easington Colliery. My first game back after being in Crete was between Ryhope CW and Dunston UTS but other than tonight, that was my only other Northern League game not featuring Easington. Mind, in November, we at Easington have a spell where we don’t have a game for three weeks so I’m sure to be going to some other games then! I was going to go to Seaham Red Star vs Consett last night but that was postponed at the weekend due to a problem at the ground. This game was meant to be played tomorrow night at Newcastle Benfield but a problem to their ground too meant that it was reversed with Synners being at home and brought forward by 24 hours. I was travelling down the A19 tonight without knowing which game to go to. It was either this game on Stockton Town vs Marske United but I went for this in the end. When Billingham Synthonia announced they’d be leaving Central Avenue at the end of last year, it came as a surprise to me. Playing at Norton is bound to be difficult for them.
Synthonia and Benfield share the points in 2-2 draw
Billingham Synthonia and Newcastle Benfield were both forced to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw at Norton Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
Synthonia led twice through a Jordan Jewson brace, but goals from Oliver Leedham and Dan Taylor rescued a point for Newcastle Benfield.
Synthonia started with Callum Hassan and Jewson leading the line, while Paul Brayson and Mark Donninger led the Newcastle Benfield attack.
The visitors started brightly and a Brayson free-kick was deflected not too far wide within the opening seven minutes.
Soon after, the man fired not too far wide of the top corner from 18 yards while Billingham Synthonia looked to find Hassan in all of their attacks.
In the 12th minute, a through ball did find Hassan and he beat the last defender before rounding the ‘keeper. However, the former Hartlepool United man was slightly off balance and by the time he managed to get a shot away, a defender was on hand to block his effort.
However, the Synners were to take the lead halfway through the first half. Good work down the right wing from Jewson found a bit of room and his low cross-cum-shot found a way through a host of bodies to hit the inside of the post and nestle into the net.
Hassan could have doubled the Teessiders lead four minutes later. Beating the offside trap with a perfectly timed run, the forward found himself in a race with the goalkeeper to reach the ball. Getting to the ball first, Hassan stabbed the ball beyond Benfield goalkeeper Andrew Grainger but it trickled agonisingly wide.
Synthonia’s David Hillerby tried his luck from long-range in the 37th minute and Grainger was forced to punch the moving effort before Hassan rounded the ‘keeper again but couldn’t find the target from a very tight angle.
It was a level first half on the whole, but Synthonia were definitely seeing the better of the chances.
Four minutes before the break though, Newcastle Benfield almost pulled level when a 20-yard effort crashed back off the post with Synthonia new signing Adrian Beblowski beaten.
Following the break, Newcastle Benfield pulled level with the first real chance less than four minutes in. An extended spell of pressure ended with Synthonia failing to clear their lines and the ball fell to Leedham who picked out the bottom corner.
Despite plenty of effort from both sides, there wasn’t a great deal of action early in the second half.
Kieran Edwards squandered a half chance while Donninger failed to find the target at the other end.
Synthonia’s first goal came halfway through the first half, and their second goal came exactly halfway through the second half too. Chris Salmon’s clever ball played Jewson in and the former Hartlepool United youngster made no mistake in slotting past Grainger.
With just shy of 10 minutes to play, Brayson looked as though he was pull Benfield level. The 40-year-old was played in and he attempted to dink the ball over Beblowski who had committed himself. However, the former Thornaby goalkeeper did very well to get a hand on it and his defence cleared.
But, Billingham Synthonia couldn’t hold out as Benfield did pull level in the 83rd minute. Captain Mark Turnbull drilled a low ball towards the back post where the slightest of touches from Taylor helped it on its way into the far corner.
Brayson took responsibility of two long-range free-kicks for Benfield in additional time but failed to find the target with either and the points were shared.
Full-time: Billingham Synthonia 2-2 Newcastle Benfield
Next up for me is Easington Colliery vs Ryton & Crawcrook Albion on Saturday.
Billingham Synthonia: Beblowski, Hillerby, Gavin, Seaton (c), Rowe, Nelson, Salmon, Edwards, Hassan, Jewson, Hume
Subs (all unused): Garton, Priestley, Breslin, Gibbs
Newcastle Benfield: Grainger, Turnbull (c), Novak, Nisbet (Convery, 83′), Scorgie, Dummett, Leedham (Taylor, 77’), McEvoy, Brayson, Donninger, Hailes
Unused subs: Nimmons, Bowey
Admission: £6 adults, £3 concessions
Can of Pepsi Max: 80p
Referee: Michael Andrews