Stephenson Brace Hands Terriers First Win
By Andrew McDonnell
Mason Stephenson scored a brace inside the first eight minutes of the game to help Bedlington Terriers record their first win of the season, beating Whitley Bay 2-1 at Welfare Park.
The Terriers were quick out the blocks and scored their first inside three minutes, Stephenson then bagged his second five minutes later, tapping home after lobbing the keeper.
A late penalty from Adam Shanks wasn’t enough for the visitors as the Terriers showed resilience to close out the remainder of the game.
After Saturday’s impressive display against title-favourites Shildon, Bedlington made just the one change, and they continued where they left off and were out the taps like lightning.
Supporters wouldn’t have even had time to get comfortable in their seats before the first goal went in, the Terriers produced a penetrating attack.
Kallum McGlen found Liam Hudson, who held off the defenders challenge well before finding Stephenson at the back post for a tap-in to give the home side the lead.
The saying goes, you’re at your most vulnerable when you have just scored, and that was almost the case soon after, Shanks beat the offside trap, but his shot looped and hit the top of the crossbar.
However, the Terriers had their second of the game after eight minutes, Michael Laws attempted to head a long through-ball home, but made a huge mistake.
Stephenson showed determination and latched upon the poor header, and then simply lobbed the oncoming keeper, before tapping home into an empty net.
Whitley had two chances in the following four minutes, both falling to Laws, the defender almost redeemed himself, but both chances were squandered and hit off-target.
Hudson had the opportunity to extend Bedlington’s lead even further, but after K.McGlen found the striker with a well-places through-ball, he hit across goal and wide.
Some excellent inroads were made from the off, and an end-to-end affair calmed down after twenty minutes, this was after debutant Otte made a superb stop with his legs to deny Alex Kempster.
The game levelled out, but the Terriers maintained control in the midfield and played the game at the pace that they desired.
Last weekend’s performance against Shildon was certainly carried on into this game, and new signing Dave Berry may well have made it three-nil going in at the break.
His free-kick, from 25-yards out, drew Andrew Jennison into making a one-handed save to tip the midfielder’s brilliant effort just over the bar.
The second-half started lively, but the first chance came on the hour when Shanks whipped in a dangerous free-kick, only for Otte to make his presence known and punch the cross clear.
Dean Briggs, who has impressed massively since joining on loan, produced a majestical run, skipping through challenges, and was denied by a low save from Jennison.
Bedlington’s German goalkeeper was called upon again, this time Shanks turned in the box and fired his shot at goal, but the keeper was able to get down well to save.
The intention was clear with 20 minutes to go, hold out for the first victory of the season, Otte produced a superb one-handed save to deny Richard Flynn, but the offside flag was raised anyway.
Whitley were handed a lifeline with 10 minutes to go when Marc Dummett fouled inside the box to give away a penalty, and Shanks slotted it into the corner sent the keeper the wrong way.
Chaos erupted two minutes after the penalty, it was a game of human pinball inside the Terriers penalty area, with two goal-saving blocks being made to deny the visitors.
Former Bedlington forward Stephen Young blazed over from outside the area, and the game was ended when Otte was out like a whippet to a through ball, clearing to ensure the win.
The Terriers now go into Saturday’s game with second-bottom West Allotment Celtic off the back of a win and with the confidence to go on and push for another.
Terriers: Otte, Skidmore (Harvey 72), Dummett, Berry (Buzzeo 67), Gourley, Nellis, S.Walton, Briggs, Hudson, Stephenson (McBride 79), K.McGlen
Subs Not Used: Laviers, Ferrell
Whitley Bay: Jennison, Day (Norris 17), McDonald, Anderson (Richardson 46), Laws, Flynn (Young 81), Hughes, Bertram, Shanks, Gibson, Kempster
Subs Not Used: Reid, Lumsden
Referee: Michael Andrews
Assistants: Michael Green and Jonathan Urwin