Newcastle Benfield (h) Northumberland Senior Cup First Round
Newcastle 0 Benfield 0
Thelast Senior Cup meeting of these two sides finished in a 1-1 draw at Benfield back in January 2020, United advancing in a penalty shootout.
That was our most recent fixture in the competition before tonight, with the 2019/20 semi-final tie at Blyth Spartans postponed following the COVID pandemic that ultimately saw the Senior Cup cancelled that season - and not staged in 2020/21.
This victory sees The Magpies take their place in the Second Round draw for this season's competition, along with Ashington, Bedlington Terriers, Blyth Spartans, Heaton Stannington, Newcastle University, North Shields and either Morpeth Town or Whitley Bay.
Morpeth are the current holders, defeating North Shields 2-1 at Gallowgate back in April 2019.
48 hours after defeating Birmingham City at Whitley Park, United U23s were back in action at the same venue, facing neighbours Newcastle Benfield in the First Round of the Northumberland Senior Cup.
The Northern League side included SJP old boy Paul Brayson in the starting line-up, still playing at the age of 44 and with 15 league and cup goals to his credit this season. Also featuring for Benfield was Cameron Gascoigne - the 20 year-old nephew of Gazza.
United went close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute when Lucas de Bolle made his way into the box and tested Benfield 'keeper Andrew Grainger.
Four minutes later at the other end Connor Walker forced Max Thompson into a save from a similar distance, before Brayson centred from the right and Sam Walton looked a certain scorer but couldn't get a meaningful touch to nudge the ball over the line.
Having struggled to get going in the opening period, the home side clicked just two minutes after the break. Trialist forward Isaac Westendorf made progress down the United right and his low ball infield set up Stan Flaherty for a simple finish.
Benfield hit back just four minutes later when Brayson forced his way to the byline and threaded a low pass across the box that Walker forced in from close range.
Flaherty almost regained the lead for United on 55 minutes, evading the 'keeper but a defender was able to clear before the ball reached the goal.
And the same player went close again soon after; Josh Scott crossing from the left and Flaherty headed goalward but clearing the crossbar.
The former Arsenal trainee finally got his second of the game from the spot in the 72nd minute after his shot had been handled on the line - the referee choosing not to show any card to the defender.
It was then 3-1 on 79 minutes, de Bolle robbing James Novak just ovder
the halfway line before playing in Westendorf who confidently found the bottom corner to make