September 5 2017: Brayson favour


The guy atop the blog is Paul Brayson, back in his Cardiff City days. The technical department couldn’t find anything more recent. Hardly changed has he?

The insatiable old lad’s in action for Newcastle Benfield at Newton Aycliffe tonight and has particular reason to look forward to Benfield’s FA Cup tie at home to Ashton United on September 16. It’s his 40th birthday.

“We were hoping to get the BBC along but then Darlington drew South Shields,” says Benfield programme editor Ian Cusack.

Though renowned as what folk these days call a fox in the box – and has anyone noticed that Shildon now have a striker called Reynard? – Bracer scores some spectacular efforts, too.

His goal in Saturday’s tie at Whitley Bay, at which the crowd was 608, would have been shown forever on Match of the Day, they reckon.  Tonight’s accustomed effort is from  three yards; he’d have been proud of Alex Nisbet’s 30-yard thunderbolt, Benfield’s fourth.

Benfield also have Steve Bowey, who’s 43, and top goalkeeper Andrew Grainger who seems to have been around for ever but is but a bairn of 34. He’s on holiday – not even old enough for Saga – so Dan Nimmins makes an impressive debut between the sticks.

All, of course, must bow to the marvellous Derek “Darkie” Gair, still kitted out and in the Benfield box – though not, it should be said, as a sub. Derek age is exactly the same as tonight’s crowd. The crowd’s between 79 and 81.

Aycliffe’s disappointing start to the season is compounded when Stuart Banks puts a late penalty astonishingly high and wide. Before last Saturday he’d never been known to miss from the spot. Now there’ve been two in successive games.

“If the Oak Tree was still open it would have knocked a pint off the bar,” says Aycliffe chairman Alan Oliver. The Oak Tree was getting on half a mile away.

Benfield win 4-1. Afterwards I spend half an hour in the Tuesday evening folk club in the clubhouse. A chap’s singing “You’re only as old as the woman you feel.”

Theme song, anyone?