Bedlington Terriers were sent crashing out of the Northern League Cup at the hands of Guisborough Town thanks to a brace from striker Nathan Mulligan at Welfare Park.
A goal each for strikers Nathan Steel and Mulligan, gave the visitors a 2-0 lead after 27 minutes, but a Stephen Young penalty on the stroke of half time, after Leon Carling was dismissed, made it 2-1 going in at the break.
Mulligan then bagged his second of the game in the 72nd minute when he saw his free-kick sail into the top corner. James Risbrough added a fourth seven minutes later which inevitably ended all hopes of a Terriers fight back.
The officials were at the centre of attention throughout the game with some controversial calls which also lead to two of the visitors’ goals either side of half-time.
The resignation of Ian Skinner on Sunday night will not have helped the homes side’s preparations for the game, nevertheless, it was them who started on the front foot.
Signs of the departure didn’t show in the eleven men that took to the field because they looked rejuvenated and full of confidence.
Bedlington’s fast start in the game was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Dylan Williamson by Andrew May, this was after clever build up play.
Williamson’s strike-partner Jordan Nellis stepped up confidently, but put the penalty wide of the post and the early Bedlington pressure was not capitalised on.
Guisborough came into the game top of the form table, but their first goal came against the run of play. Benjamin Jackson squared the ball across to the feet of Steel, who tapped the ball into an empty net after a cleaver counter attack.
The game then levelled out with Guisborough simply soaking up the pressure and looking to catch their opponents on the break.
However, Bedlington were still pressing high and looking to find an equaliser, but the game was very open and it was a case of one attack after the other from both sides.
A controversial second goal for Guisborough saw a clever break rounded off with a clinical finish from Mulligan for his first of the night, however, the officials missed a foul on Stephen Young prior to the goal.
The home side still battled on and looked for a pathway back into the game, but they build-up play was not capitalised on by the front men as time-and-time again they were stopped in the final third.
Sam Walton and Williamson both had long-range efforts saved well by keeper Nick Liversedge, who was the difference between the two teams the last time they met, but Williamson was then brought down in an off-the-ball incident by Carling.
The referee missed the incident, but after conferring with his official he awarded the penalty and sent off the offender. This time Young stepped up in place of Nellis slotted the penalty into the corner giving the keeper no chance of saving it.
Going in at the break behind, Bedlington must have felt disappointed be 2-1 down, the chances created were simply not taken and in football games you get punished, just like the two goals they conceded during the first half.
They were still upbeat after the interval and caretaker manager John McDonald set the side up in the second half to press high and to push more men forward in an attempt to get back into the game.
Just three minutes into the second half Williamson had a great opportunity to get an equaliser after Nellis had played a long cross-field ball to him, but he lingered on the ball and scuffed his shot.
Williamson was again at the heart of Bedlington’s chances, he skipped past two defenders, cleverly slotted the ball under the keeper only to find that Guisborough defender May cleared the ball off the line.
Bedlington’s vulnerability on the counter attack was clear to see for all 103 people in attendance, and when they pushed more players forward searching for an equaliser it seemed a matter of time before their opponents caught them on the break.
In the 72nd minute Mulligan scored his second of the game when he superbly bent his free-kick, which was controversially awarded, round the wall, past keeper Luke Glasper into the corner of the net.
The home side’s body language never changed even when the Highwaymen’s third goal went in, but this was Guisborough’s first chance of the half and they punished Bedlington for not taking their chances.
Nevertheless McDonald still told his players to push for a goal to get back into the game, however, again they were punished for leaving two men to defend when they pushed forward.
Mulligan was involved again in the goal, but this time the supplier for Risbrough, who latched onto the through ball and bent the ball round Glasper for his sides fourth of the game.
The fourth goal killed Bedlington off and the tempo of the game dropped drastically, and the final ten minutes simmered out with just a chance for Nellis, whose shot went high and wise, which summed up his night.
Guisborough now go on to face Ashington, who are now managed by former Ashes hero Stephen Harmison, in the next round of the Northern League Cup.
Bedlington Terriers: Staples, Harvey (Scott 59), Dobson, Davison, Dunn (K.Nellis 84), Little, Keenan, Walton, Young, J.Nellis, Williamson Subs not used: Walmsley, Watson
Guisborough Town: Liversedge, Martin, Mitchinson (McWilliams 13), Carling, May, McPhillips, Gill, Jackson, Steel (Round 70), Mulligan, Risbrough Subs not used: Bythway, Dixon, Smith