Non-league football: New boy Benjamin makes a winning start for Grove
Unibond Division One South
Kidsgrove Athletic 5
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: Trevor Benjamin is pictured in action for his new club against Brigg Town. Grove went on to win the match comfortably. Photo: NEIL HULSE.
Brigg Town 2
KIDSGROVE Athletic unveiled former Leicester City striker Trevor Benjamin in their starting line-up as they won their first league game in 10 with an emphatic 5-2 win over bottom club Brigg Town.
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The 30-year-old had a hand in two Kidsgrove goals, as well as conceding a penalty in the second half, and revealed his delight at getting off to a winning start.
"I wanted to get back to enjoying the game, and I feel I can do this here. The team has good individuals, and we are hoping we can now kick on from this result," said Benjamin.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side as Liam Shotton cut in from the left, and his drive forced a good save from Leigh Cook.
Tim Sanders almost opened the scoring for Athletic on 11 minutes, but his rasping right-footed free-kick was superbly tipped on to the bar by Cook.
Sanders did get on the scoresheet four minutes later, as Craig Dove's powerful run into the box was halted by keeper Cook, and the referee pointed to the spot. The winger stepped up, and sent Cook the wrong way, stroking the ball low into the left corner.
Benjamin was involved just before the 20-minute mark, as his flick found Sanders inside the box, but his shot was well blocked by Cook.
Kidsgrove grabbed a deserved second seven minutes before the break, with Benjamin laying the ball on to Sanders, whose deep cross found the head of Danny Skelton and he headed across Cook and into the net.
They went in search of a third early in the second half, when Shotton beat one defender on the edge of the box, but his audacious outside-of-the-foot drive just cleared the crossbar.
Brigg's first meaningful effort on goal came on 51 minutes, as Stuart Longbone's volley flew well wide from the edge of the box.
Kidsgrove did make it 3-0 just before the hour mark, when Mitch Shenton's cross found Benjamin, who laid the ball into the path of Shotton, who slotted into the far corner of the net.
Having not scored in open play before the match since his return from Nantwich Town, Shotton scored again two minutes later when Sanders's long ball put him clear on goal. His initial effort was blocked by Cook, but the ball looped back into his path to simply nod home the fourth.
Brigg were handed a lifeline with just over 15 minutes left, as Benjamin was adjudged to have pushed Scott Hellewell in the area. Nathan Would stepped up, and calmly slotted low into the right corner of the net.
Town were given a glimmer of hope in the first minute of stoppage time as poor marking let substitute Steve Davis free in the area, and he played it on to another sub, Steve Housham, who tapped home from six yards.
The goal seemed to shock Kidsgrove back into life, and they rounded off the scoring in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Shenton's long ball found sub Jimmy Dunn, who ran clear and rounded Cook to tap home.
Kidsgrove Manager Peter Ward was delighted with the result.
He said: "Today everything went right for us. In the end we have created enough chances to win the game by seven or eight goals. Liam Shotton was outstanding for me, he's worked hard and got his reward, and you could see the pressure lift off him when the first goal went in."
He added: "The situation with Trevor has been going on since Thursday as he was actually registered for Hednesford, but hadn't played, but we just got the clearance out of the way just before the deadline this morning.
"I was pleased with his performance, and he can only get better, he is a major signing for this club."
KIDSGROVE: Intihar, Smith, Shenton, Schwarz, Reeves, Talbot, Sanders, Dove, Shotton, Benjamin, Skelton. Subs: Matranga, Miller, Moss, Bridge, Dunn.