Late Benjamin header earns Terriers point
By Andrew McDonnell
Alex Benjamin scored an injury-time equaliser to earn Bedlington Terriers a crucial point against Sunderland RCA which elevates them up off the bottom of the table.
Joseph Melvin gave the hosts the lead after six minutes, but they were pegged back when Mason Stephenson tapped in at the back post 11 minutes later.
RCA regained the lead against the run of play through Jack Pounder, but Benjamin leapt in the dying embers of the game to head home Marc Dummett’s cross.
The game came close to being postponed after heavy downfall overnight, but the game was one of two to go ahead in the league, but it was the visitors who started the better.
Paul Stoneman’s back-pass was intercepted by Melvin, but the striker slipped when he was about to pull the trigger, however, he redeemed himself seconds later.
RCA’s striker found the ball at his feet when Danny Capewell slipped when trying to clear, Melvin’s shot found the back of the net off the back of a defender.
Bedlington appeared to settle after that with Kallum McGlen firing wide, after good build-up play, before Stephenson’s shot was saved low by James Talbot.
Walton beat the offside trap on 17 minutes, and after he gunned towards goal from almost the half-way line, he cut back, leaving the defender behind, and had his shot saved.
However, the strikers shot was saved into the path of the on-coming Stephenson, who made no mistake with a tap-in at the back post to level the game.
Sunderland were unbeaten in 13 games coming into the game, but it was bottom-side Bedlington that were created the clear-cut chances.
Lance McGlen’s long throw was header out as far as Walton, who smashed his shot at goal, but Talbot, who is on loan from Sunderland, produced a fantastic reaction stop.
Andy Ferrell’s men picked up where they left off before the break, the midfielder tried an audacious lob, seeing the keeper off his line, but Talbot recovered and stopped the effort.
Stephenson came inches away from giving the hosts a well-deserved lead in the game on 57 minutes, but the youngsters shot went agonisingly wide of the post.
RCA were second best for quite some time, their first shot of the second-half came after Walton forced the keeper into a low save just past the hour mark.
The visitors’ first chance fell to defender Glen Lane at the back post, but his finish was to be desired about, slicing over the bar and out of the ground.
Bedlington were made to rue those missed chances as the visitors then took the lead on 73 minutes, Stoneman slipped as he attempted to clear the danger.
This allowed substitute Jack Pounder to latch onto the ball and rifle it into the roof of the net, meaning adversity was staring the Terriers in the face once again.
Kevin Gordon almost doubled Sunderland’s lead moments later, but the midfielder’s went wide of the far post to the relief of the keeper.
Bedlington managed to get another foothold in the game after the visitors restored their lead, Ferrell was spraying passes around the park as his side looked for another equaliser.
Time was running out and the four minutes of injury-time was seconds away from ending, one final attack was allowed and it proved to be decisive.
After Ferrell stopped Stephen Callen from doing anything at one end, an attack broke out from the back when Peter Denton handed Dummett the ball.
The full-back carried the ball into the opposition half and his terrific pin-point cross was headed back across goal and in by Benjamin for his first goal since his return.
Bedlington equalised with the final kick of the game to earn a point which lifts them up off the bottom of the table, with an important fortnight coming up for the Terriers.
Terriers: Denton, L.McGlen (Drane 68), Dummett, Anjos (Laviers 82), Stoneman, Capewell, Stephenson, Ferrell, Walton, Benjamin, K.McGlen
Subs Not Used: Harvey, Nairn
Sunderland RCA: Talbot, Richardson, Lane, Buchanan, Drysdale, Hope, Gordon, Proctor (Brown 86), Melvin (Pounder 62), Callen, Charlton (Larkin 62)
Subs Not Used: Harkess, Carr
Referee: Rebecca Welch
Rating: 9 out of 10