Eight goal thriller at Borough Park
By Paul Armstrong
Reds and Benfield served up an eight goal cracker in this FA Cup First Round Qualifying replay ...
... but there were still a number of supporters accentuating the negatives when they trudged out of the ground.
Despite a first goal of the season from Scott Allison, excellent contributions from the trio of Max Brown, Lewis Tidy and Kieran Maguire (all playing their first match in the Cup at Borough Park), a handful of top-class saves from Aaran Taylor, some bright adventurous attacking football and a goal fit to grace the final at Wembley itself, you could have been forgiven for thinking that we had just been dumped out of the competition.
Yes, there are failings and we are far from the finish product but the team is evolving and there is a too much unwarranted criticism flying around at the moment.
We know there will be plenty of highs and lows in a season of rebuilding but let’s show some patience as the lads start to find their feet at this level.
Asked if he thought the game was a thriller, manager David Hewson responded, “For the neutral but probably not for either manager – that’s the FA Cup for you isn’t it, so up and down. I think first and foremost we have to be pleased that we are in the next round having obtained that all important victory tonight, however that came about.”
“A team of our experience and quality should be managing games a lot better in key areas but hats off to Benfield for giving it such a go,” he added.
We were only four minutes in when the goal rush started and although Allison maintained his good record in the competition by driving home the opener, the credit must go to Brown for his part in the build-up. He battled to regain possession and provided the perfect assist for Allison to drive past Matthew Bancroft.
The goalkeeper had little chance to keep out the first goal and was merely a spectator when beaten by Brown’s stunner six minutes later. A great first touch and swivel volley will, no doubt, be a Borough Park goal-of-season contender and a timely morale booster for the modest Brown.
It was then Benfield’s turn to display their attacking prowess but they couldn’t find a way past the outstanding Taylor.
First he stretched to catch Dennis Knight’s attempted lob then made a brilliant save to keep out a deflected free kick from the same player.
Dale Pearson was the next to be thwarted by Taylor and, like Knight earlier, couldn’t get the ball over the keeper’s outstretched finger tips when he got goal side of Reds’ rearguard.
Four minutes after the restart, Reds grabbed their third with an improvised cheeky back-heal from Sam Joel, a close range finish from a corner.
But instead of extinguishing the Benfield challenge, it re-ignited their enthusiasm. They deservedly reduced the arrears when Pearson finished in style after fifty eight minutes.
And they were back in contention on the hour mark when Joe Robson powered home a header via Pearson’s corner, with Reds’ poor marking a concern.
Had it not been for Taylor, the Northern League outfit might have levelled matters and, perhaps, gone in front. He made fine saves in quick succession to deny first the prolific Paul Brayson and Josh Scott.
Luck was against the Geordies in the eighty-eighth minute when, in attempting to clear Conor Tinnion’s teasing corner, defender Rhys Evans’ diving header flew into his own net. A similar incident at the other end resulted in Dan Wordsworth’s way-ward header going for a corner.
There was a special moment for Workington substitute, Sheldon Mossop, who grabbed his maiden Borough Park goal, and his first in the FA Cup, after eighty-nine minutes. Allison did ever so well to retain possession before rolling the ball into Mossop’s path and a crisp left foot strike managed to find a way past Bancroft and into the Derwent End net.
But Knight, an impressive performer over the two games, was credited with the visitors’ third goal, the eighth of what Hewson described as a ‘crazy game’.
His low shot went through a forest of legs and appeared to be swept into the net by Pearson.
Reds have never previously won by a 5-3 margin in nearly 300 FA Cup ties.
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Tidy, Mellen, Brown (Mossop, 87), Maguire (Dryden, 78), Allison, Joel (Hubbold, 65), Tinnion. Substitutes – Cowperthwaite, Miller, Harker, Casson (not used).
Newcastle Benfield Bancroft, Evans, Martin, Slaughter, Turnbull, Grieve, Orrell (Brayson, 68), Robson (Heaney, 82), Knight, Hailes (Scott, 51), Pearson. Substitutes – Laidler, Armstrong (not used).
Referee Chris Porter, Preston