(Away), NSC R1, 29/10/05
Won 2-1 (Preen, Douglas)
Replacing the arranged league fixture at home to Jarrow Roofing,
was this Northumberland Senior Cup Round 1 tie at Walker Central.
A Saturday kick-off was required because the Monkchester Recreation
Ground does not have floodlights. This fact also necessitated
an earlier 1.30pm kick off time. Bedlington made another emergency
goalkeeping signing, with former Terrier Peter Guthrie rolling
back the years to take his place in goal. Skipper John Milner
returned to action after a recent minor operation, and James
Lang replaced Paul Robinson, who is serving a 5 week suspension
following his red card against Tow Law in September. The Teams:
Walker Central: Wilson, Robinson, Robertson, Hutchinson,
Monaghan, P Mills, Percival, Morrow, Garwood, Ojo, I Mills.
Subs: Smith, Gate, Rodgerson, Graham, Clark.
Bedlington Terriers: Guthrie, Morton (Shandran), Atkinson,
Harmison, Kitchen (Cockburn), Keegan, Milner, Lang, Preen, Douglas,
McAlindon (Gibb). Subs not used: Bryce, Watson.
Ref: Bob Lockhart
The visitors got off to a stunning start, taking the lead inside
25 seconds. The ball found its way to Douglas on the left just
inside the Walker half, and when Preen made an unchallenged
run through the middle, Douglas played his colleague in with
a simple ball, leaving Preen to finish past Wilson with aplomb.
In the 11th minute, McAlindon rode two challenges to burst into
the area, only for his strike to goal to be blocked by a desperate
A minute later, Douglas fired narrowly wide from the edge when
feeding from some neat passing play orchestrated by McAlindon.
However, the home side got back on level terms against the run
of play in the 14th minute. Garwood was in possession on the
edge of the Bedlington area, and although he was initially dispossessed,
the two centre-backs left the loose ball for each other allowing
Garwood to nip in and easily slot home past Guthrie into the
corner. A goal of comical proportion, although there were no
smiles present on the faces of the Bedlington contingent.
Just before the 20 minute mark, Ojo wasted a glorious chance
to give his team a shock lead when he was played through clear
on goal, only to hit a weak first time shot straight at Guthrie.
Percival was cautioned for an accidental elbow into the face
of Atkinson minutes later. This incident led to a free-kick
which in turn saw Bedlington regain the lead. The kick was hit
up the left wing, and when 3 Walker players misjudged the flight
of the ball, it allowed Atkinson to make progress to the goal
line where he struck a left foot cross to the far post. Morton
was well placed to knock his header back across goal and Douglas
was on hand to bundle the ball home into an empty net from 2
yards to notch his 12th goal of the campaign.
Just past the half hour mark, Morrow lashed over from 20 yards
for the home side when under heavy pressure from Harmison. The
Terriers could have extended their lead shortly after when after
a McAlindon cross from the right had eluded the head of Harmison,
the loose ball fell to Milner and he spun and hit his effort
over the bar from close range. In the last action of the half,
Walker should really have been back on level terms. When Keegan
rather unfortunately slipped while in possession of the ball,
Ian Mills pounced to run clear, only to side-foot wide of the
right hand upright.
Ten minutes into the second half, Walker made a substitution,
but it was 56 minutes gone in the game before the next action
of note. Morrow was put clear on goal, but in hitting a weak
shot from 15 yards could not even make Guthrie work. Moments
later, Bedlington made a double change in an effort to inject
fresh momentum, with Kitchen and Morton being replaced by Cockburn
and Shandran. Soon after this, the home side made another change.
Preen was denied on 70 minutes, when after finding space on
the left and cutting into goal, his powerful shot was brilliantly
tipped over the bar by Wilson in the Walker goal. Bedlington
keeper Guthrie responded in kind a minute later, when sub Gate;s
shot from the edge was wickedly deflected off Atkinson towards
the top right corner. However, Guthrie defied the ageing process
by acrobatically springing full stretch to touch the ball around
for a corner.
With 13 minutes remaining, Preen was fouled on the right edge
of the Walker area. McAlindon's free-kick found Milner's head
at the back post, and although Wilson got a hand to the ball,
it fell inviting to Preen at the near post, only for him to
lash against the frame from a yard out. Into the last ten minutes,
Shandran was cautioned for kicking out at a Walker player, and
then the home side made their final change of the game, as did
Bedlington with 2 minutes remaining, with Gibb replacing McAlindon.
Bedlington had two more glorious chances to extend their lead
before the final whistle. Atkinson fed Shandran on the left,
and he shifted it past his marker before crossing to the 6 yard
line , where a defender missed making contact completely, only
for Cockburn to spurn an open goal by firing over the bar. And
then in the final seconds, Shandran beat his man again, shooting
from 15 yards only for Wilson to make another excellent save
by tipping over the bar for a corner.
Bedlington now advance into the second round (quarterfinal)
of the competition they last won 2 season ago. And after making
a difficult trip to Billingham Town on the Tuesday night, on
Saturday sees them entertain an in form Chester-le-Street Town
side at Welfare Park.
Sunderland Nissan (Home), ANL, 22/10/05
Won 4-3 (McAlindon, Douglas*3) [Photos]
Bedlington were forced into an emergency goalkeeping signing
the day before this game, with Stephen Watson joining from Ryton
to fill the vacancy caused by injuries to both Michael Robinson
and Gareth Powell. Otherwise it was an unchanged side for the
third game running, as Bedlington looked to extend their unbeaten
run to fourteen games, and restore their six point lead at the
top of the table in the wake of Blue Star's victory over Durham
City the previous night. The Teams:
Bedlington Terriers: Watson, Morton, Atkinson, J Harmison,
Kitchen, Keegan, P Robinson, Walklate (Lang), Preen (Shandran),
Douglas, McAlindon (Cockburn). Subs not used: Gibb, Bryce.
Sunderland Nissan: Caffry, Little, Milner, Halliday(c),
Reay, N Moan, Butler, Lumsdon, Sankey, Stewart, Lund. Subs:
Canavan, Leonard, Constantine, G Moan, Cudlip
Ref: Mr P Stalker.
Bedlington got off to a dream start, taking the lead in only
the third minute of play. McAlindon found the ball at his feet
more than 25 yards from goal, and with seemingly no danger to
the visitors, he fired a superb shot past the helpless Caffry
in to the top corner of the goal, for what was a truly stunning
effort. Nissan had claimed a handball against McAlindon in the
build-up to his strike, and the persistence of these protests
led to a caution for dissent to Paul Milner.
As has been the way with Bedlington in the last couple of seasons
though, they let their opponents quickly back into to a game,
with a disastrous defensive passage of play. The equaliser came
in the sixth minute, when a ball over the top was chased down
by one-time Bedlington transfer target Stephen Stewart, and
although Kitchen seemed to have it under control as he tried
to shepherd the ball back to his keeper, the lack of communication
between him and new boy Watson meant that Kitchen decided to
clear the ball to safety. Unfortunately the veteran defender
completely mishit his clearance, leaving Stewart with a simple
tap in to an unguarded net.
After a quiet period, at the quarter way mark in the game, Robinson
advanced with ball from his own half unchallenged, and progressed
to within 25 yards before hitting an effort just wide of the
post. Past the half hour point, McAlindon found Douglas down
the right wing, and the on-form forward cut in towards goal
and hit a driven cross which was blocked. Back at his feet,
he tried again, the ball skidding to the six yard area where
McAlindon got a touch but not goalwards and the ball ran out
for a goal-kick.
On 36 minutes, Nissan made an enforced change, with Canavan
replacing Neil Moan. Within a minute Bedlington forced a corner
from the left, and Robinson's effort swung high, and bounced
on top of the bar before being cleared to safety. Nissan captain
Halliday led a quick counterattack, his cross from the right
being deflected to Stewart, and his overhead kick back across
goal was headed over by Sankey from 12 yards.
The home side made the visitors pay for that miss within a minute
(39 minutes). From Morton's throw-in, McAlindon rode a challenge
to feed Robinson. His quick-thinking ball over the defence saw
Douglas beat the offside trap to run on goal where he composed
himself before sliding the ball past Caffry to restore the Terriers
lead. Three minutes from the interval, Stewart's corner from
the right swung towards the top corner, but Morton was on hand
to clear off the line.
The respite was temporary, however, as Nissan levelled for the
second time in the final action of the first half. Stewart tormenting
the Bedlington defence exposing their lack of pace, and as he
burst through to goal, he was tripped by a mistimed Kitchen
tackle. The referee had no option to award a penalty, which
Halliday duly dispatched with the minimum of fuss to Watson's
right. So, the half ended with the score level, despite the
home side being dominant throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Bedlington made another dream start to the second half, taking
the lead within 20 seconds of the kick off. When the ball was
hit forward, Douglas pounced on a defensive slip to run in,
round the keeper and slot into the empty net from an acute angle.
Halliday came close to restoring parity for the visitors within
minutes, but his shot from the edge of the area struck the bar
and bounced out of play. Stewart saw a 25 yard shot rise just
over the bar a minute later.
Robinson surged down he left before hit a superb curling left
footed cross to Preen on the penalty spot. His diving downward
header drew an incredible save from Caffry as he clawed the
ball one-handed over the bar. However, the flag had already
been raised for offside against Preen so the heroics were all
A nervy Bedlington performance almost inevitably encouraged
a third Nissan equaliser, which arrived in the 55th minute.
The ball fell kindly to Lund after Stewart tried to find a way
through the Bedlington defence, and he lashed a shot from 20
yards into the top corner, past Watson's despairing dive. However,
the Terriers were determined to remain on top and took the lead
for the fourth times within two minutes of the equalising goal.
McAlindon's ball down the left to Preen saw the defender misjudge
the flight of the ball, and the Bedlington forward chested the
ball into stride before playing a perfect cross between Caffry
and his defender where Douglas had a simple tap in from six
yards for his third of the the game. This was his 11th goal
of the season so far, in only 14 appearances (including 4 as
sub), and his 7th in the last 3 games.
Bedlington made their first change of the game with 20 minutes
remaining, Shandran replacing the hard-working Preen. Minutes
later, Nissan came agonisingly close to another equaliser. Lund
raced clear down the left, and his driven shot/cross evaded
both the despairing dive of Sankey and the far post as it ran
out of play. The Terriers made a second substitution, with Lang
replacing Walklate. Stewart went close again for the visitors
almost immediately, but he headed wide at the far post.
Bedlington then made their final change, with Cockburn replacing
McAlindon, as they sought to freshen legs against a resurgent
Nissan who obviously had confidence that they could still get
something from the game. With 5 minutes remaining, the Bedlington
dugout were furious with the referee when he missed an alleged
punch by Sankey on Keegan, yet booked both players and awarded
Nissan the free-kick!
Last Bedlington chance of the game saw Shandran win possession
in midfield and then pass left to Atkinson, his low cross to
the near post saw Cockburn get a touch that diverted its path
to wrong foot Caffry. However the Nissan keeper did well to
fling a foot out and stop a certain goal, and the danger was
cleared. In injury time, Nissan saw their final opportunity,
when Butler hit the roof of the net with an attempted chip.
Last action of the game however, saw Morton red-carded for an
alleged attempted headbutt on a Nissan player. Given what had
already been missed minutes earlier the home fans, players and
officials were outraged at the decision. This late incident
somewhat overshadowed the victory and fine hat-trick performance
of hero Keith Douglas. The poor overall performance by the referee
in the game ensured a rough reception as he left the field of
The positive thing though is that Bedlington maintained their
unbeaten run with another win. However, the fact is this was
a nervous performance against a struggling team, and to concede
3 goals at home will be considered disappointing by the management.
A defensive improvement will be required by the time we face
some of the leading title challengers in the coming weeks.
Horden C.W. (Away), ANL, 15/10/05
Won 1-0 (Preen)
Bedlington made the journey down the A19 to another Welfare
Park, this time home of hosts Horden C.W., looking to extend
their long unbeaten run to a hopefully lucky thirteen. Bedlington
had the luxury of naming an unchanged side to the one that had
so comprehensively routed Thornaby away on Tuesday previous.
Horden's line-up included ex-Terrier Andy Bowes (jnr). The Teams:
Horden C.W.: Naisbett, Roulston, Hyson, Dixon, Bowes,
Stephens, Ainsley, Bell, Devine, Ure, Atkinson. Subs: Pearson,
Allen, Woodhouse, O'Riordan, Franks.
Bedlington Terriers: M Robinson, Morton, Atkinson, J
Harmison, Kitchen, Keegan, P Robinson, Walklate, Preen, Douglas,
McAlindon. Subs: Milner, Gibb, Cockburn, Shandran, Lang.
First chance of note after a quiet opening to the game, saw
Bedlington take the lead in the 11th minute. From a throw-in
on the left, Douglas found Atkinson, and his cross saw Preen
steal in at the near post, to head down and goalwards. Naisbett
in the Horden goal made a fantastic save and even deflected
Preen's follow up effort for a corner. From Robinson's kick,
Preen was found in an identical position, only this time his
header was slotted into the back of the net. Douglas went close
a minute later to doubling the lead, but his 25 yard drive was
saved to Naisbett's left.
Bedlington pushed forward against a Horden side that looked
like a team struggling at the wrong end of the table. Douglas
fed on to a long ball to break clear, and when the combined
attentions of two defenders dispossessed him, the ball ran to
Preen, only for his shot to be charged down. The ball ran loose
again, this time to Robinson on the edge of the area, and he
played a superb chip over the keeper which landed on top of
the bar, before it was cleared to safety.
The game fell into a quiet period during which Bedlington controlled
the game without actually creating anything significant in terms
of efforts on goal. This lasted until the 36th minute, from
Morton's ball, McAlindon dummied to let it run to Douglas inside
the area, and he turned and hit a shot just wide of the right
hand post. Two minutes later, Hyson was cautioned for a foul
on Preen, and just before the interval, Morton was also booked
for a bad foul, and end a generally forgettable half in which
Bedlington were deserving leaders, if not exactly inspiring.
The second half began in a similar manner, with the visitors
domination play. On 48 minutes a ball into Preen saw the forward
play a clever flick into the path of Douglas, but he could only
hit wide from 15 yards. Next, Atkinson found space down the
left, and hit a dangerous cross which Douglas dived to meet
but to no avail. In fact he was penalised and cautioned for
using his hand in attempting to control the ball.
As the half progressed it seemed that the home side began to
develop more confidence going forward, while Bedlington grew
increasingly more nervous and defensive. Jason Ainsley almost
scored a freak equaliser when his cross from the left flew over
Bedlington keeper Michael Robinson's head, but fortunately also
past the far post. Bell was booked for Horden after a foul on
Just short of the hour mark, the hosts made their first change
of the game, replacing Dixon with Pearson. On the hour mark
itself, Bell turned past his marker and struck a low shot from
25 yards which bounced of Robinson's chest, and was cleared
behind for a corner, which came to nothing. Bedlington hit back
with Douglas skinning his marker on the right, before cutting
in and laying a pass to McAlindon, whose shot was blocked by
a desperate lunge. Minutes later, Walklate found the head of
Preen from his right sided cross, but the forward's effort went
wide of the post.
Bedlington made a double change by replacing the front pair
of Preen and Douglas with Shandran and Milner respectively in
an attempt to freshen up the attack. The change almost paid
instant dividends within two minutes when the visitors should
have doubled their lead and made the result beyond doubt. Shandran
broke towards the Horden goal, then laid a pass into Robinson
to the right on the area. He in turn pulled the ball back to
McAlindon on the edge, and his scuffed shot fell to Milner on
the edge of the six yard box, only for the Terriers all-time
leading marksman to slice over under heavy challenges of two
This close shave stung the home side into action, and with 18
minutes remaining Devine found space in the Bedlington area,
only for Robinson to quickly advance and brilliantly block his
effort when a goal seemed certain. Devine was the danger man
again a minute later when a cross from the left found him with
his back to goal. He flicked the ball up and hit an overhead
which beat both Robinson and fortunately also the left hand
post. Sub Pearson lashed wide a glorious chance from 12 yards
minutes later before Bedlington made their final change, replacing
a tiring McAlindon with Lang.
With ten minutes remaining, an incident occurred which outraged
both Bedlington officials and fans. When Naisbett's poor clearance
feel to the feet of Shandran, and he played a quick ball to
put Milner clear, the Horden keeper clearly brought Milner down
out side his area with defenders struggling to recover. Instead
of the expected red card, the referee showed only yellow, clearly
adjudging that a defender had recovered so that Naisbett was
not the last man. Consensus was that the Horden keeper was a
very lucky man to remain on the field of play.
Horden took heart from this decision and put fierce pressure
on the Bedlington goal for the remainder of the game. Both Devine
and Pearson hit shot from the edge just wide of the angle of
the Bedlington goal, and in the final minute Pearson ran on
to a flick to hit a half volley that just shaved the left hand
post. But Bedlington did hang on to secure another three excellent
points at a ground at which few rarely get a positive result.
With results going their way on the day, it saw Bedlington extending
their lead at the top of the table, showing that they are turning
into being the team to beat this season. Bedlington hope to
continue this outstanding run on Saturday, which sees the visit
of promoted Nissan Sunderland to Welfare Park, in a 3pm kick-off.
Thornaby (Away), ANL, 11/10/05
Won 5-1 (Robinson, Douglas*4)
No report as such for this game, but here are the teams and
a brief description of the game, courtesy of Tommy Grant from
Thornaby: Swann, Shaw, Harrison, Lynch, Mohan, Larkin,
Cossavella, Oliver, Campbell, Storr, Jamison. Subs: Swift, Wood,
Granycombe, Kinnair, Revely.
Bedlington: M Robinson, Morton, Atkinson, J Harmison,
Kitchen, Keegan, P Robinson, Walklate, Preen, Douglas, McAlindon.
Subs: Milner, Gibb, Lang, Bryce, M Harmison.
"An EXTREMELY close first half
where both teams could and should have scored at least a couple
of goals apiece,but both teams spurned chances. It really did
look like one of those games where a single goal would be the
But then KEITH DOUGLAS happened
to us. Two well taken goals by him in the first few minutes
of the second half rocked Thornaby on their heels a little.
Confidence seemed to ebb a little, restored 10 minutes or so
into the second half by an absolute CRACKER of a 25 yard
drive by Steve Larkin which I doubt ANY keeper could
have got to (so don't blame Robinson for that) only to be taken
away from us again by a speculative shot which Adrian Swann
seemed to have in his grasp,only for the ball to slip through
his arms and under his body (which seemed to happen in slow
Thornaby appeared very deflated by that and didn't really threaten
too much as a result. Douglas third goal came from a penalty.
I didn't see the incident unfortunately, but was told by our
own guys that it was a stonewaller (as they say). He slotted
it away nicely, and popped up later for another pretty well
taken goal 10 minutes or so from the end of the match.
All in all, I'd have to say that
we had no arguments about the result. Based on the second half
performance the better team on the night deservedly won, and
probably by the right margin too. Credit where it's due - good
luck Bedlington, a very well drilled and confident outfit"
(THANKS AGAIN TOMMY FOR PROVIDING THAT REVIEW)
Brandon United (Home), ANL, 08/10/05
Won 5-0 (Preen, Keegan, Atkinson, Robinson*2)
Bedlington entertained bottom of the table Brandon United, who
had recorded only one win in eleven league games, in stark contrast
to the hosts ten game unbeaten run coming into this game. Only
one change was made to the side that had defeated Billingham
Town, with Paul Robinson returning to the starting line-up in
place of Tony Shandran, who was carrying a slight injury and
was given a place on the bench. The Terriers knew that a victory
combined with the right result for Newcastle Blue Star could
see them return to the top of the table, a position not occupied
for some considerable first time by the Northumberland side.
Bedlington: M Robinson, Morton (Bryce), Atkinson, J Harmison,
Milner(c) (Kitchen), Keegan, P Robinson, Walklate, Preen (Lang),
Douglas, McAlindon. Subs not used: Gibb, M Harmison.
Brandon United: Poskett, Rand (Weir), Barnfather, Turton,
Nattress, Howe, Hawthorne, Richardson(c), K Shoulder, Johnson
(Ebdon), McMullen. Subs not used: A Shoulder, Peacock.
Bedlington almost scored on ten minutes, when McAlindon ran
on to Robinson's clever reverse ball, but his finish hit the
wrong side of the goal frame for a goal kick. Atkinson broke
down the left minutes later, but his dangerous cross to the
far post evaded all. The visitor's first opportunity came after
18 minutes. Skipper Richardson's free kick from the right was
headed out only as far as Shoulder and his header back to goal
saw Robinson in the Bedlington nets make a superb one handed
save at full stretch. The ball stayed in play, however, and
when knocked back in to the area, Shoulder again was on hand
to help it on its way, this time bouncing agonisingly over the
Just past the quarter way mark, Brandon pushed forward and were
denied by the quick thinking Robinson who blocked at the feet
of Shoulder after Johnson's flick had out him through. Within
a minute, Bedlington were attacking when McAlindon's cross-field
ball found Atkinson in acres of space. He lashed a left-footed
shot which Poskett did well to get behind and save at the second
attempt. Three minutes later, Bedlington really should have
taken the lead when Robinson played a neat 1-2 move with Douglas,
and when he received the return inside the area, he blasted
wide with the goal at his mercy.
Just past the half hour point, McMullen went close with a 25
yard shot over the bar, and he went even closer moments later
when Johnson's chest down from a long ball fell nicely for the
Brandon forward, only to lash his effort wide. This period of
the game saw the visitors dominating the midfield, with the
forward trio in particular playing excellent one touch football
and showing clever movement which was stretching the Bedlington
rearguard to its maximum.
So it was somewhat harsh, and much against the run of play that
Bedlington took the lead in the 37th minute. When Douglas was
fouled on the right, McAlindon's free-kick into the area was
chested down by Milner into the path of Preen, and he struck
the ball from 12 yards past Poskett for the opening goal of
the game. This seemed to both perk the Terriers up, and deflate
the visitors, as the home side doubled their lead five minutes
before the break.
Walklate was fouled on the left just inside their opponents
half, and Harmison's long free-kick to the right edge of the
area was headed down by Keegan. After a scramble the ball ended
back at the feet of Keegan and he turned and shot home from
15 yards for his second goal of the season. And Bedlington scored
a third goal in injury time before the break with a goal both
well-constructed and immaculately finished.
Preen picked up Milner's clearance from defence in his own half
before feeding McAlindon. He hit it forward to the surprisingly
well advanced Atkinson in space, and he shifted past a defender
before placing a exquisite chip from 20 yards over Poskett into
the top left corner of the goal. A fantastic goal which almost
marked an unlikely conclusion to the half, a three goal lead
which could hardly have been imagined just ten minutes earlier.
There was still time before the whistle for Brandon's Barnfather
to go close from 25 yards
Bedlington came out in the second half with all guns blazing,
completely dominating for the 45 minutes. Brandon were not able
to recover from the triple blow late in the first half, which
was certainly harsh on the balance of play, but typical of the
luck endured by a struggling side. Four minutes into the half,
Robinson hit a cross first time from McAlindon's pass, into
Preen facing away from goal. The Terriers forward showed his
mobility by quickly spinning and firing to goal, only for Poskett
to make a tremendous save low to his left.
Although dominating possessing, the home side then had to wait
until the hour mark for to carve out the next chance, when Milner's
defence-splitting pass to Harmison on the right of the penalty
area, and his driven shop was palmed away to safety. The fourth
goal inevitably came though on 63 minutes. With seemingly no
danger apparent when Robinson picked up a loose ball from 25
yards out, he proved all wrong by cracking his left-footed effort
past the full stretch Poskett into the top corner for another
With the points safe, Bedlington decided to rest captain Milner
and replaced him with veteran Sam Kitchen. Douglas was next
to threaten the beleaguered Brandon goal, when chased a long
ball and with the keeper off his line, saw his clever lob crash
down on the bar and away to safety. A minute later, Bedlington
were pushing again, with Preen making progress down the right
wing, cutting in to goal, shifting past a covering defender
before hitting an effort that Poskett only part blocked. Picking
the loose ball up wide, he decided to hit from an unlikely angle
and Poskett saved, ignoring the two unmarked Bedlington players
waiting for a tap in.
There were then a series of player changes. On 72 minutes, Brandon
made their first change with Ebdon replacing Johnson, and two
minutes later, Bedlington made their final changes with Bryce
and Lang replacing Morton and Preen respectively. The changes
in personnel made absolutely no difference to the course of
the game, and the home side duly notched up a fifth goal in
the 77th minute, when Paul Robinson beat the offside trap to
run clear, and with Poskett advancing from goal, cleverly chipped
over his head and the ball bounced once before crossing the
line. With 9 minutes remaining, Brandon made a second change,
with Weir replaced Rand in defence.
Robinson almost secured a hat-trick when his reverse flick from
a cross by Atkinson glided over the Brandon keeper but bounced
just wide of the far post. He went close again two minutes later,
when his free-kick from the edge of the area from a foul on
Keegan, deflected of a head in the wall, and shaved the far
post with Poskett helpless. Douglas had the perfect opportunity
to finish the scoring in the final minute when Atkinson's diagonal
ball put him clear, but his weak attempted lob was held easily
by the overworked Brandon keeper.
The referee duly brought the game to a close, and all those
at Bedlington were left happy with a scoreline which had seemed
very unlikely little at the half hour mark. In fact the satisfaction
was increased by the fact that Bedlington did indeed go top
of the table on goal difference because of Blue Star gaining
only a point in their game at Shildon. Next up for the Terriers
was a tough game away at surprise challengers Thornaby, followed
by another away game at Horden on Saturday.
Billingham Town (Home), ANL, 01/10/05
Won 2-1 (Preen, Douglas)
Bedlington welcomed visitors Billingham Town to Welfare Park
for an eagerly anticipated clash of two sides expected to make
a push for the title this season. With Town having played fewer
games than the rest of their rivals, it meant that they were
placed in the bottom half of the League table, even though like
Bedlington they had lost only one game up to this point.
Bedlington fielded the strongest team available to them, with
only Robbie Cockburn a continuing absentee through injury, and
boosted by the return for Gareth McAlindon who had missed the
last game because of a prior commitment. They were looking to
continue an unbeaten run which would be stretched to ten league
games if they were at least able to avoid defeat against their
Teesside visitors - a run which started after their opening
day defeat at Morpeth Town in mid-August. The teams:
Bedlington: M Robinson, Morton, Atkinson, J Harmison,
Milner(c), Keegan, Walklate (Gibb), Douglas, Preen, Shandran
(P Robinson), McAlindon. Subs not used: Kitchen, M Harmison,
Billingham Town: Collier,
Livingstone, Scott, Ward, Abel, Hutchinson, Emms, Burton, Clarke,
Huggins, McKie. Subs: Wilson, Osmond, Walkington, Robson, Tucker.
Ref: B Parry
After a quiet opening to the game,
the visitors were the first side to threaten a breakthrough
just past ten minutes. When Morton slipped on the ball, quick
thinking put McKie through on goal, where Terriers keeper Robinson
made excellent ground to block at the forward's feet. The loose
ball fell to Burton, but his first time effort at the unguarded
goal was sliced well wide of the post. Home fans had to wait
until the 18th minute before their team created anything of
note. McAlindon's corner from the right saw Harmison at the
far post head it back to the edge of the area, where Walklate
Bedlington were slowly asserting their control over the game
and created a further two opportunities at the quarter way mark
in the game. First, Preen cleverly headed from a long ball into
the path of Atkinson, who controlled before hitting a dipping
half volley from fully 30 yards just the wrong side of the bar.
Then moments later, Preen found space to get his shot in from
an acute angle but evaded both keeper and the far post.
The pressure finally paid off when Bedlington took the lead
in the 26th minute. Morton's quick throw to Shandran down the
right, saw the skillful forward knock the ball from the byline
to the near post where Preen was on hand to smash the ball into
the roof of the net to give the home side a well-deserved lead.
The lead should have been doubled ten minutes later when Douglas,
in acres of space on the edge of the area, spun and hit a hurried
shot that did not trouble the opposition goal.
Within moments of this chance, Billingham should have been back
on level terms. Huggins found space down the right wing, and
his cross to the penalty spot saw Clarke head tamely into the
arms of Robinson when completely unmarked. Bedlington had the
final chance of the half, when Harmison's ball down the right
put Douglas clear, and when he cut in to goal, instead of picking
out a team mate to apply the finish, he could only miscue his
effort into the grateful arms of Collier.
Within 8 minutes of the restart, Bedlington doubled their lead.
Atkinson won the ball in midfield with a well-timed tackle,
and then made progress down the left wing before hitting a beautifully-flighted
left foot cross on to the head of Douglas, and his placement
was perfect as it glided past Collier into the top corner of
the Billingham goal. Bedlington then almost conceded an embarrassing
goal, when a poor clearance by Robinson from the edge of his
area fell at the feet of Emms, and his first time 40 yard effort
was saved under the posts by the recovering Bedlington keeper
to spare his own blushes.
Both sides made their first changes
around the hour mark, with Bedlington replacing an unusually
quiet Shandran with Paul Robinson, and Billingham replacing
Livingstone with Osmond. The game went through a quiet period
before Billingham went close to reducing the deficit with 20
minutes remaining, but Robinson did well to block at the feet
of Clarke. The lead was halved with just under 15 minutes to
go. McKie played a wonderful defence-splitting pass to put Huggins
clear on goal, and he shrugged of the challenges of two Bedlington
defenders before sliding the ball past Robinson into the back
of the net.
Preen went close to restoring the two-goal advantage when his
shot from the left edge of the area flew just over the bar,
but the final ten minutes was characterised by an increasingly
edgy Bedlington backing off and encouraging the visitors to
attack in search of an unlikely equaliser. Clarke hit just over
the bar when Huggins free-kick from half way had been cleared
to him, and then moments later, McKie hit wildly and wide when
another poor headed clearance landed at his feet on the edge
of the area.
With five minutes to go, Bedlington made a second change, with
Walklate being replaced by Gibb in an attempt to see the game
out by providing a more physical look to the team. Yet the visitors
still almost got their second goal, and were only denied by
Robinson's brilliant one-handed save low at his right hand post
from Clarke's well-struck effort. Bedlington hung-on to earn
all three points, and deservedly so, despite the late nerves.
With many of their rivals in FA Vase action, this victory put
Bedlington up into second place, two points behind leaders Newcastle
Blue Star, but having played two games more. Next up for the
Terriers is yet another home game this Saturday, against Brandon
United. Supporters should note that despite that England game
the same day, this match still has a 3pm kick off time