We go again on Tuesday
Reds have it all to do again on Tuesday after being held to a draw in the First Round (Qualifying) of the Emirates FA Cup.
Despite many of the squad getting their first taste of the best knock-out competition in the world, it was disappointing that Reds could not complete the job at the first attempt. They enjoyed enough possession but lacked that bit of quality in the final third and Benfield certainly deserve a second chance.
Niall Cowperthwaite appeared to enjoy his fiftieth appearance in a Workington shirt as he marked the occasion with his first goal for the club.
After a tight, even first half the game was more open after the break and, although Workington opened the scoring and threatened to double their lead, they didn’t seize the opportunity and Benfield’s dogged resistance was rewarded with a well worked equaliser.
The Cumbrians had the ball in the net inside two minutes but Teesside official, James Bancroft disallowed the goal. Benfield goalkeeper, Matthew Bancroft, no relation to the man in black, came to collect a Cowperthwaite cross and ran into the stationary Sam Joel. He spilled the ball which rolled into the net.
But Bancroft favoured Bancroft and the early ‘goal’ was disallowed.
Benfield responded with their first sortie forward and Dennis Knight’s shot was beaten away by Reds’ skipper, Aaran Taylor.
There was twenty minutes on the clock before the visitors registered their first effort on target and it was debutant, Nathan Dryden, who almost got the break through. Released by Conor Tinnion, Dryden, who had been on reserve team duty just hours before his senior bow, hit the shot firmly enough from twenty yards but Bancroft dealt with the situation without too much concern.
Tinnion then sent over a corner from the right only for Cowperthwaite to meet the ball and guide a delicate flick narrowly over the bar.
Dale Pearson looked a threat for Benfield but two clever runs came to no avail.
Knight’s clever dribble looked like being rewarded with the first goal until Matty Douglas’ perfectly timed tackle averted the danger.
Knight then sent an audacious forty yard shot goal-wards but Taylor read the situation and caught the ball.
Soon after the restart, Douglas came to Workington’ rescue again, this time thwarting Jake Orrell with another timely intervention.
Reds then enjoyed their best spell of the game.
Cowperthwaite dragged a shot wide at the far post after Dryden supplied the assist before Bancroft was forced into action. Joel and Scott Allison played a neat one, two with the former’s crisp shot gathered by the Benfield ‘keeper.
The opening goal arrived after fifty seven minutes and although a scrappy affair it was a significant moment for Cowperthwaite. He was on hand to side foot home his first ever goal for the club from close range after an almighty scramble in the Newcastle box. Tinnion’s original shot was blocked, Allison couldn’t get the ball from under his feet and a kind ricochet fell to Cowperthwaite who scored.
That man Knight, a former Newcastle United and Barnsley player, came close to an equaliser almost immediately. Following Tinnion’s foul on Rhys Evans, Knight was only inches wide with the subsequent free kick.
And the homeside grabbed a deserved equaliser after seventy seven minutes. Allison lost possession on the halfway line and the ball found a way to veteran Paul Brayson on the right. His perfectly weighted assist across the face of goal was swept home by Pearson.
Tinnion couldn’t replicate his free-kick heroics from the Matlock game, sending the ball over the bar from the edge of the area after Evans’ foul on Joel set up the opportunity.
Neither side could fashion a winner in the later stages so it’s back to Cumbria for the second instalment.
Newcastle Benfield Bancroft, Evans, Martin, Nisbet (Holmes, 65), Turnbull, Grieve, Orrell (Scott, 64), Slaughter, Knight, Robson (Brayson, 70), Pearson. Substitutes – Hailes, Heaney, Armstrong, Laidler (not used).
Workington Taylor, Maguire, Mellen, Wordsworth, Douglas, Hubbold, Dryden (Brown, 67), Cowperthwaite, Allison (Mossop, 85), Joel, Tinnion. Substitutes – Tidy, Miller, Harker, Rowntree, Casson (not used).
Referee James Bancroft, Norton
Bookings: Evans (Newcastle Benfield), Tinnion (Workington)