Benjamin hat-trick as Pont beat leaders
League leaders Birtley were somewhat fortunate to come away with a point from the game at Ponteland only three weeks ago with an equaliser ten minutes from time, but another close contest was expected in this return fixture at Wreckenton.
Pont got an early breakthrough when Benjamin hammered the ball home after excellent play between Ethan Bewley and McDermott who both found shots blocked with only three minutes on the clock.
However, five minutes later Birtley were level. Ford was adjudged to be holding in the box as he was jumping with Steven Telford and the referee pointed to the spot.. Telford struck the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner.
Pont then had further chances, with Benjamin hitting the post in one attack.
They managed to get their noses back in front when Benjamin out on the left crossed into the danger zone where Ethan Bewley nipped in front of his marker to head home.
On 25 minutes United scored again through Benjamin. Good play between McDermott and Havelock-Brown ended with the ball being released to Benjamin on the left. The striker beat the full back before advancing towards goal and although keeper Phil Mills got a strong hand on the shot he couldn’t prevent the ball entering the goal.
Pont played some breath-taking football at times and deservedly led 3-1 at the break.
Pont started the second half in the ascendency and after Ethan Bewley was tripped in the penalty area. Benjamin converted from the spot to complete his hat-trick.
The visitors continued to attack and bainbridge was unlucky when he lobbed the keeper, only to see the ball strike the top of the bar.
But the teenager got his reward his play deserved five minutes from time when he headed in the fifth after good work by Bewley, who rounded the keeper twice before dinking the ball into the area.
This was another good all round performance from a Ponteland side growing in confidence week by week. The defence without Jones was solid, the midfield without the injured Satterthwaite played the ball quickly and the two Bewley Brothers are a constant threat with the speed and trickery. Benjamin has brought a different dimension to the team and McDermott is another who can bring people into play and yet be a threat himself whether he plays up front or drops into mid field.