Newcastle Uni seal Benevolent Bowl

Dan Simmonite

Newcastle University clinched the Scott’s Les Todd Benevolent Bowl on Friday night as they overturned an AFC Killingworth side who had only previously lost once all season.

Killy took the lead just two minutes in through Leighton Hopper and looked in control despite Uni’s Keith Douglas levelling the score before half time.

Straight after the break Joe Besford put Killy ahead, but an equaliser 10 minutes later from Joshua Ferguson spun the game on its head as the students then excelled in the later stages with goals from Niza Chilufya and Conrad Zylko to secure a 4-2 victory at Whitley Park.

After claiming their second successive County Cup, manager Neil Baistow said: “It’s hard to retain a trophy, and we are delighted to do it.

“It’s also nice to beat them (AFC Killingworth) in a final with a few people watching and I think we were well deserved winners.

“I think this time we took our chances at key points, as opposed to Killingworth missed a couple early on.”

Both sides were backed by goal scoring prowess on the night, but Killy’s 38-goal striker Malcolm Morien was kept quiet by the tight-knit Uni defence.

Baistow explained: “He (Malcolm Morien) is always a threat and even at 4-2 we couldn’t switch off because give him half a chance and he is liable to put one in the back of the net.
“But at the same time, we have got Niza [Chilufya] at the other end who popped up with another goal.”

The Benevolent Bowl coup adds to their George Dobbins League Cup triumph and gives the students a chance of a treble-winning campaign as they approach the business end in the Northern Alliance Premier Division.

Uni currently occupy top spot, however ironically, it’s Killy who can spoil the party if they can make use of their games in hand.

Baistow added: “Hopefully we are still within a shout of the league, but Killingworth are undoubtably favourites.

“We have a few games left and we know we have to win them all to put the pressure on them.”

Whatever happens at the end of the season the are odds are in favour of the students playing Northern League football next season; a prospect which excites Baistow.

He added: “Hopefully we progress, we need a more regular challenge of tougher games.

“We want to go up and enjoy without playing with any pressure as I think everyone wants to beat us in this division.

“People won’t know a lot about us so fingers crossed we go up and enjoy the ride.”