Walton fires Terriers to crucial league win
By Andrew McDonnell
Marc Walton fired Bedlington Terriers to their first away win of the season as managed to hold on for a crucial victory over Durham City at Belle Vue Stadium.
Walton rewarded the visitors for a dominant and swift start to the game, slotting Keelan Nellis’ through ball into the bottom corner.
It was chances galore in the second-half, but the Terriers managed to hold on to their lead until the final whistle for their first league clean-sheet of the season.
After crashing out the Senior Cup through the week, Andy Ferrell made five changes to the team for, what was, a must win game against a side that they beat earlier in the season.
The Heaton Stannington game was well and truly behind the Terriers after a bright start to the game and they broke the deadlock on 10 minutes.
Nellis pressed high and found Walton after dispossessed Aiden Haley, the striker, after Liam Hudson let the pass run through his legs, found the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Thomas Colgolidge headed over before Nathan Lawrence missed a great opportunity to get back level, hitting his effort wide from inside the box.
Bedlington came close to doubling their lead twice in quick succession, firstly on 25 minutes when Tony Stephenson’s header had to be dealt with by Thomas Flynn.
The second chance came two minutes later when Danny Capewell headed Paul King’s corner down, but Nellis, who tried to help the ball on its way, cleared the ball over the bar.
Durham found their feet around the half-hour mark, but despite having a lot of the ball, they struggled to create chances, with the Terriers looking resolute at the back.
Jack Dancey’s two strikes were dealt with, but the hosts carried on where they left off after the break with Peter Denton dealing with Alex McGrath’s ferocious strike.
McGrath forced Denton into a low save on 52 minutes before King found Capewell at the other end, but the defenders’ header was well seen by Flynn in the Durham goal.
King had a chance of his own when Hudson played the midfielder through two minutes later, but he could only slice his shot wide despite being in acres of space.
Walton had two chances of his own, making it four great opportunities, to double the advantage in the game, in the space of five second-half minutes.
The forward found himself through on goal, but Flynn, yet again, kept the Terriers at bay and it was City who then found themselves pressing higher and higher searching for an equaliser.
Substitute Kyle Patton crossed in for the three Durham players in the box, but the wind caught the ball and it came within inches of flying into the far corner.
The hosts struggled to break down the visitors for the majority of the game, and another long effort was easily covered after Ross Stead found the gloves of Denton.
Kallum McGlen’s in-swinging corner was headed wide by Nellis at the back post before Bedlington should have killed the game off in the second minute of injury-time.
Durham were caught out too far forward, and King found himself through on goal again, but he attempted an audacious lob over Flynn that could only find the roof of the net.
The Terriers held on for a valuable three points which sees them climb up off the bottom of the table and bridge the gap to safety to only three points now.
They now have an important run of games, starting on Wednesday with third-bottom West Auckland Town in the Northern League Cup and then Newcastle Benfield next Saturday in the league.
Durham City: Flynn, Stead, Bakhti, Haley (Patton 64), Archer, Dancer (Allen 90), Carr, McGrath (Cummings 54), Colgolidge, Lawrence, Allen
Subs Not Used: Williams, Watson
Terriers: Denton, Nellis, Pendlebury, Errington, Stoneman (McGlen 65), Capewell, King, Ferrell, Walton (Anjos 80), Hudson, T.Stephenson (Drane 76)
Subs Not Used: M.Stephenson, Nairn
Referee: Matthew Dicicco
Rating: 9 out of 10