Benfield just one win from the title

FOLLOWING another eventful day, Newcastle Benfield will clinch the championship if they win at Penrith tomorrow night.

FOLLOWING another eventful day, Newcastle Benfield will clinch the championship if they win at Penrith tomorrow night.

Consett had the title within their grasp, especially when they enjoyed a two-goal lead at Whitley Bay on Saturday.

But the Seahorses roared back to win and the hopes of the Steelmen now rest on Penrith.

For 45 minutes it looked as if Consett were on their way to claiming the title for the first time in their history.

Steve Johnson was an early marksman for the visitors and Adam Emson added a second goal before the interval.

Paul Chow reduced the arrears and when Phil Bell equalised, it was all to play for.

And it was FA Vase finalists Whitley who triumphed with a late goal from Chris Moore.

Newcastle Benfield knew that they had to defeat West Allotment Celtic and hope that Consett failed.

The Tynesiders easily met their objective, romping to a 5-1 victory and were elated to learn of Consett’s defeat.

Man-of-the-match Ian Graham and Kevin Leighton quickly had Benfield two goals ahead but when David Colvin scored a good goal, it was all to play for.

Three goals in the space of nine early second-half minutes ended the game as a contest.

Graham, Michael Chilton and Dean Nicholson all struck to keep their side in the championship frame.

Although Penrith lost at Ashington, they are a different proposition on their own patch and Benfield will not find it easy in a game they must win.

Dean Douglas twice had the Cumbrians ahead at Woodhorn Lane but an own goal by Wayne Robertson kept the Colliers in the game.

There were only five minutes remaining, however, as Gary Cook levelled and in the last minute Gareth Bainbridge struck the winner.

Until last week, Spennymoor Town were favourites for the title but the best they can hope for is runners-up position.

Two goals by Anthony Hulme earned them the points against Morpeth Town, who led through Neil Maddison.

Sunderland Nissan were strong contenders for honours until the inclement weather caused a long lay-off and they took some time to get back into gear.

They have finished the season strongly, however, and hit relegated Northallerton Town for six as the goals flowed from Anthony Chapman, with a hat-trick, Daniel Hindmarsh, Lee Owens and Richard Hodgson.

Stephen Allison claimed a consolation for Northallerton, who drop into Division Two along with Seaham Red Star and West Auckland Town, the latter beaten at Tow Law Town.

Alex White and Lee Hamilton scored in the last 15 minutes.

Last season, Brandon United finished a poor bottom of Division Two but they have made remarkable strides and end this campaign in the top six after winning at Stokesley SC, courtesy of Afelobi Shekoni and Stephen Fothergill.

MALCOLM PRATT

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer