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Lady luck is against Barnoldswick Town
Danny Morton is in acrobatic action for Barnoldswick Town at Newcastle Benfield. Picture: Pete Naylor
Newcastle Benfield 3, Barnoldswick Town 1
Barnoldswick Town struggled for a squad for this FA Vase second qualifying round tie, only having two substitutes in Joel Melia and Kevin Richardson.
Chris Ridehalgh, Matthew Cavanagh, Daniel Boyle, Jake McEneaney, Harry Thompson, Neil Chapman were all unavailable. However, there was Michael Cruz, an end-of-week signing from Colne.
The match started tentatively, with both teams probing for weaknesses. It came as a surprise therefore when Newcastle took the lead after ten minutes.
A ball played over Town’s defence found Stephen Baptist running onto it just outside the Town area. He quickly moved into the penalty box before drawing Town keeper Jake Chadwick off his line and slipping it past him.
However, Town equalised after 17 minutes, Kieran Lee crossing from the Newcastle right and Mark Threlfall helping the ball on at the near post.
It fell invitingly to Aaron Hollindrake near the penalty spot, and he quickly swivelled on his right foot before sending a left-foot shot low to the left of Jake Cunningham in the Newcastle goal.
There was a let off for Town within a minute of equalising, though, when James Luccock was unmarked at the far post six yards out but headed wide.
Newcastle were beginning to look the stronger team now, Luccock crossing from midway in the Town half but it was inches too high for Newcastle top scorer Paul Brayson.
Good work by Samuel Howell after 37 minutes saw a Threlfall shot go agonisingly wide of the post with Cunningham beaten but Newcastle regained the lead two minutes later.
A corner taken on the Town right was headed in by an unmarked Stephen Baptist on the six-yard line.
Just before half-time, Town had a great chance to equalise. A Threlfall shot was charged down, the ball rebounding towards Connor Smith and Howell around the penalty spot. But they got in each other’s way, Howell screwing the ball wide.
Newcastle should have increased their lead three minutes into the second half, Chadwick making a double save at almost point-blank range inside the Town six-yard area to deny Luccock and Steven Bowey.
A lot of the play was confined to midfield until the 60th minute when Luccock crossed deep inside the Town penalty area, Brayson miskicking in front of goal, allowing Chadwick to make a good save.
Town, and most of the people in the ground, thought that they had equalised after 63 minutes, Talbot hitting a back pass that went past Cunningham towards his goal at pace.
The home keeper cleared, as most people thought (and Newcastle Benfield's keeper later admitted), after the ball had crossed the line. The officials, however, waved play on.
Chadwick had to be alert again as Brayson put in a fierce cross, saving well at the near post.
Town could have equalised after 70 minutes, Neil Stansfield trying to put a cross in with his foot when a header from six yards out would have surely done the trick had it been on target.
With seven minutes left, Bill Williams found himself with the ball at his feet on Benfield’s six-yard line, and struck his shot well but straight at Cunningham, the ball going round a post for a corner.
Two minutes later, Threlfall found himself with only Cunningham to beat but dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Newcastle had the last chance, Luccock slipping the ball past Town’s keeper to make the game safe.
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