Green Lane beckons once more for an inharmonious Redcar Athletic, as mid-table counterparts, Newcastle Benfield, make the trip south.
Palpable expectations for the Steelmen’s success fell flat after a lacklustre start to the campaign, and once again it’s back to the Redcar seafront with the promise of sparking better form.
Momentum has proved hard to come by for Gary Forster’s men, in part due to adverse weather, which has again seen Athletic sidelined for a frustrating two week period.
Redcar have seen little action since the promise of a thrilling cup double, blasting past ten-man Thornaby over a month ago, before seeing the tables turned upon them by a spirited Silsden AFC.
With the humiliating Isuzu FA Vase defeat still raw, the Steelmen will hope to dust off the cobwebs and rekindle their sporting flair, a task not so simple with Newcastle Benfield on the other side of the halfway line.
The Lions have twice visited Green Lane, and have returned to Tyneside on each occasion by far the happier.
Here’s everything you need to know about Newcastle Benfield, and this afternoon’s enticing match-up…
WHO ARE YA?
Based in the Newcastle suburb of Walkergate – north of Walker proper – Brunswick Village FC joined the Northern Football Alliance in 1988.
In the space of just a year, the club experienced wholesale change, moving to their current home at Sam Smith’s Park, whilst adopting the Benfield name.
Sam Smith’s Park, the home of Newcastle Benfield. (Photo: Ash Stone)
The Lions won the Northern Football Alliance Premier Division for the second time in 2003, earning back-to-back promotions to reside in the Northern League Division One, where they’ve since remained.
Benfield have once won the title in their 19 year stay, clinching a league-and-cup-double with two victories over a very sorry Penrith.
Having turned down another promotion, the Tynesiders are now seeking to return to those staggering heights, but face the same challenges of inconsistency as the Steelmen.
With experienced striker Paul Brayson at the helm, and leading the line, the Lions are hoping to mount a climb towards the top six in the latter stages of the season.
The only thing consistent about Redcar Athletic is inconsistency.
Having notched twelve goals without reply heading into a monumental Isuzu FA Vase tie, the Steelmen crashed out with barely a whimper, before late heartbreak in the Lake District compounded their misery.
In retrospect, it’s hard to comment on Redcar’s form, as torrid weather conditions have broken the last month and hampered any momentum.
The stinging defeat to Carlisle – Athletic’s last outing – was already a fortnight ago, with both a re-arrangement and a postponement robbing valuable minutes in the meantime.
The Tynesiders come into the contest by far the fresher, but to no avail.
Benfield have faced a fruitless run since dismantling Penrith in the Lakes a month ago, snatching a point down the road in neighbouring Guisborough, whilst tasting defeat at the hands of the two promoted outfits, Boro Rangers, and Birtley Town.
Their overall form isn’t too dissimilar from our own, a club who posses the talent, but sometimes lack the execution, and thus sit much lower than their play deserves.
For both, this afternoon presents an opportunity to spark a streak of success, but unfortunately, history is not on Redcar’s side…
Did you know: Redcar Athletic have never beaten Newcastle Benfield. The two clubs have faced four times competitively, with the latter winning on both visits to Green Lane. Who knows, history might be made on the Redcar seafront this afternoon.
LAST TIME OUT
Newcastle Benfield’s last visit to the ‘Theatre of (Ice) Creams‘ proved an afternoon to forget.
Trailing to an Alfie Conway opener, the Lions roared into life with a stellar six goal showing, condemning Redcar to their heftiest defeat of the season.
WATCH | Redcar Athletic 2-6 Newcastle Benfield
The Steelmen made the return trip toward the end of last season, targeting a spot in the top six, despite ongoing injury concerns.
Newcastle Benfield dominated the play in the first period, unlucky to be level come the restart, where Redcar boasted the Lion’s share.
Missed opportunities in the dying embers forced the two to settle for a goalless stalemate, but an avidly entertaining one at that.
To the relief of the man celebrating his Redcar anniversary – Gary Forster – the suspension drama is almost over.
Both club captain, Anthony Bell, and Brad Mills would have been available on Tuesday night should the weather have permitted, and both should be involved in the squad this afternoon.
Forster’s only enforced absentee remains shot-stopper Jack Norton, whose return isn’t guaranteed after repeated offences.
In other news, Liam O’Sullivan’s place on the transfer list has been relinquished, as the forward signed a new contract with the club – to the delight of the fans – on Thursday night.
The fullback is a doubt for the initial XI due to a lurking injury, and should be the only worry on that front.
From programmes to admission, here’s all of your matchday information as Newcastle Benfield swap the Tyne for the Tees…
Fans can begin to make their way through the turnstiles at 1:30pm this afternoon, ahead of kick-off at 3:00pm.
Entry will cost £7 for adults, £4 for concessions, and £2 for u16s, and can be paid cash or card.
Memberships are once again valid for this fixture.
Our new and improved ‘By the Sea’ matchday programme will be on sale as usual at the ground, and can be purchased from the turnstile for just £2.
The Steelmen’s bar will be open as usual, serving drinks before, during, and after the match.
Fans are advised that the bar is currently operating as a card only venue.
The club are once again collecting for the Redcar Area Food Bank, and any donations are both welcome and appreciated.
Let’s help make our area a better place, ourselves.
There will be no live music in the bar this afternoon.
Fancy a bite to eat?
As usual, the food will be provided by none other than Smokin’ Joe’s, who will be serving up their viral Hot Dogg and more from their pop-up stall in our FanZone.