Terriers End Shildon’s Title Dreams
By Andrew McDonnell
Bedlington Terriers ended the season on a high with a complete all-round performance as they held Shildon to a 1-1 draw at Welfare Park.
Hundreds of visiting fans turned up in expectance, but the strong defensive display from start to finish ensured that no celebrations were happening on Bedlington’s turf.
Lee Scott scored just before half-time after beating the offside trap which saw the hosts go in at the break with the lead.
Billy Greulich-Smith scored the equaliser with 25 minutes to go, but the Terriers, who had chances to go and clinch the victory, held on which prevented the Railwaymen lifting the trophy.
Bedlington came into the game second-bottom of the form table and winless in eleven games, and, as expected, the visitors went on the front foot from the outset.
It took just over a minute for the visitors to register their first shot on target, Lee Scroggins fired low, but Kevin Morton saved well down low.
However, the storyline of Shildon’s attack versus Bedlington’s defence almost turned on its head when Andrew Keenan flick-on from a corner was headed clear at the near post.
Although the visitors threatened, it was Bedlington who had the next big chance to go ahead after a quiet period in the game, but Jonathan Wright sliced his effort wide.
Daniel Moore and Mark Hudson had wasted attempts before Bedlington countered from the latter’s wasted effort just after the half-hour mark.
Scott beat the counter attack and latched upon Davison’s clever ball over the top, which caused the defence to stop, and the striker made no mistake and curled his shot round the keeper.
After both players and supporters were in shock, there was a moment of madness in the Terriers penalty area, Danny Sayer headed an effort off the line and onto the bar, and four chances were blocked by bodies thrown in the way.
It was desperate defending, but it was also resolute and stopped the visitors equalising, and Scott went through once again before the break, but his effort was tipped over the bar.
Former Terriers man Mark Doninger was brought off at half-time as the visitors looked to get back into the game quickly, but Bedlington’s solid performance continued form the kick-off.
Scroggins hit well over the bar from a corner, however, it was the home side that almost got another goal, substitute Adam Harvey worked the ball well down the flank, but Scott’s shot ended up going for a throw-in.
The Terriers almost doubled their lead on the hour, Jordan Nellis got the better of his man and after breaking through he shot early and the chance was gone.
Bedlington’s defensive wall was broken down after 65 minutes, Ben Wood floated a cross in, and after using his height to get above the defenders, Greulich-Smith scored the equaliser.
Wave after wave of attacks came from the Railwaymen, but Wood found his shot saved well, and once again Sayer produced a match-saving clearance when he cleared the cross over the bar from two-yards.
The visitors’ only real chance to speak of in the final ten minutes was the free-kick which went wide of the post after nobody managed to get on the end of the looping ball.
Although Gary Forrest’s men was the side producing the chances, it was Bedlington who found themselves with two clear-cut chances to seal all three points late on in the game.
Harvey’s curling attempt was well saved, and he turned provider when he played through Scott, but the out coming keeper put him off and the chance was gone.
After three minutes of nerve-wracking additional minutes, the game was over, Bedlington had held Shildon and their hopes of their first title in 75 years had gone.
A complete performance was rewarded and the elation was clear to see at the final whistle form every fan, player and staff associated with the Terriers.
The hosts finished the season in 17th place, with Shildon finishing second behind champions Marske United in the EBAC Northern League Division One.
Bedlington: K.Morton, K.Nellis, Sayer, Wright, Little, Walmsley, Watson, Davison, Scott, Keenan (Harvey 50), J.Nellis Subs Not Used: Ferrell, Glasper, Calvert, Young
Shildon: Graham, Harwood, Brackstone, Hudson (Atkin 77), Jones, Moore, Doninger (Emms 46), Scroggins, Connor, Wood, Greulich-Smith Subs Not Used: Rundle, Hodgson, Richardson
Man of the Match: Danny Sayer