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Saturday 26th October 2013 ko 19.00

Northern League Division One

NEWCASTLE BENFIELD 2 (Stephenson 29 Brayson 31)

MORPETH TOWN 1 (Chilton 35)

Att 328

Entry £5

Programme £1

Teamsheet 10p

Badge £3.50

Chicken Curry & Rice £2

It may have been less than a mile from Team Northumbria to Sam Smith’s Park, but the whole feel of the area changed completely between the two grounds. I’m sure nightfall had something to with it, but Benfield’s home looks like a traditional football ground, and one that could grace a league higher up the footballing pyramid.

Looks are deceiving, the club has only been around since 1988, and with Northern Alliance outfit Newcastle East End next door I wonder how many hoppers pondered whether a fifth game could have been squeezed in? It wasn’t a long-lived thought, it would have been too much- four is enough!

Where the club unquestionably got it absolutely right is their catering. As I mentioned in my previous article, hoppers have grown bored with endless burgers, so something imaginative tends to be popular. I was stood before kick-off behind the near goal and overheard a hopper….

“They’re doing chicken curry and rice..” and within a few seconds a group of us made a beeline for the catering. I’ve seen it before, price to sell and be imaginative and the catering is a real money-spinner. I hope the club made a small fortune!

The teamsheets sold well for 10p, and while I am a sucker for them I do wonder how profitable they are for clubs, after all if you sell 50 that’s still only a fiver! Still, if they’re popular perhaps that’s enough reason to do them if its not a problem to the club to print them, and they’re accurate!

The game was decent coda to a fine event. The first half saw Benfield race into a two-goal lead through Tony Stephenson and former Cheltenham Town forward Paul Brayson. Morpeth answered rapidly back through Michael Chilton, and at half time it was set-up for a barnstorming second-half.

Sadly that didn’t happen, as Morpeth came back at Benfield, but not enough to equalise, although few there would have begrudged them a point. But the second half at the last game of any groundhop, tends to be for those last conversations, and farewells until next time.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the participant clubs for a hugely enjoyable day. The highest praise though should go to Harvey Harris. Heaven knows these events aren’t easy to put together, and people are quick to criticise when even the smallest thing goes awry. I managed to grab a quick word with him before I started the 5 hour drive back to Oxford, and was pleased to see him much more relaxed than he was at Penrith back in August.