Terriers dominant in Wansbeck Derby
By Andrew McDonnell
Marc Walton fired the Terriers ahead on 28 minutes (Credit: Chris Chambers: CJC Photo)
Bedlington Terriers increased their chances of survival with a 2-0 win in the Wansbeck Derby against neighbours Ashington at Welfare Park.
Marc Walton gave the hosts the lead after 28 minutes with a 35-yard finish, but the forward seen red midway through the second-half.
The Colliers had a men advantage for 22 minutes, but it was the Terriers who sealed the win thanks to Jonathan Wright’s strike in injury time.
Bedlington manager Andy Ferrell set his side a target of 40-points for the season in his quest to stay in the division, and they certainly began the game as he’d have hoped.
Both the Terriers and the Colliers settled quickly in the contest, but it wasn’t until the 18th minute when the first opening of the game came about.
Danny Capewell flicked on Marc Dummett’s deep free-kick, which Conor Grant collected well, and the Terriers were showing the positive side to their game.
Ashington began to grow into the game as skipper Andrew Johnson and Damien Stevens both fired over the bar after some good play on the edge of the area.
The Colliers may well have gone ahead after Johnson got to a through ball ahead of the advancing Dan Staples, the forward found Stevens, but his shot was easily collected by the keeper.
Bedlington made their opponents rue the missed opportunity and they went to the other end and broke the deadlock in extraordinary fashion.
A long ball from the back was headed out by Colliers keeper Grant, but only out as far as Walton who fired into the empty net from 35-yards.
Jonathan Wright caused all sorts of problems with his pace and should have doubled the home sides advantage two minutes later, but Grant saved down to his left.
Johnson and Andrew Bulford were restricted to half chances, which both sailed wide, in the closing stages of the half before Wright was denied once again by the keeper.
The tables reversed at the beginning of the second-half, Steven Harmison’s men came out on top as they hunted for a quick equaliser.
Stevens missed the target for the third time in the game and the Terriers rode the wave of pressure applied on them.
Wright and Walton both came close before Tony Stephenson, who used to play for the Colliers, produced the move of the match.
It was a great run by the playmaker before he found Wright with the outside of his boot, but the forward’s lob went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Just as the Terriers started to find a foothold, once again, in the match, adversity hit as Walton was sent off for a challenge on Ben Christensen.
However, despite having a man advantage, it was the Terriers’ new signing Marcus Brown who came close to scoring on his debut for the club.
The nifty forward headed on a free-kick, and it appeared to be nestling into the bottom corner, but teammate Capewell got in the way and blocked the effort near the goal line.
Nevertheless, Ferrell’s men continued to look comfortable in the game, despite being down to 10-men, and after Harmison headed over at one end, Brown should have killed the game off at the other.
Paul King found the forward bursting through, and after shrugging off the challenge of Michael Dixon, Brown was denied down low by Grant.
There was a goalmouth scramble as the game entered injury time, Bulford’s shot was blocked bravely and Josh Grey could only fire over from distance.
However, the game was put to bed in the second minute of injury time with a stunning turn and finish from Wright.
The Terriers held the game up well, and the forward peeled away and left James Harmison in knots before he found the top corner with a brilliant finish.
Newcastle Benfield are the visitors at Welfare Park on Wednesday evening before Ferrell’s men travel to play Seaham Red Star next Saturday.
Terriers: Staples, Nellis, Dummett, Allen (Brown 68), Capewell, Errington, T.Stephenson (Drane 85), King, Walton, Wright, Hudson (Baxter 81)
Subs Not Used: Anjos, Johnson
Ashington: Grant, Taylor (B.Harmison 62), Grey, Dunn (Downey 46), J.Harmison, Christensen (Scott 77), Stevens, Dixon, Bulford, Oliver, Johnson
Subs Not Used: Baines, Weldon
Referee: Lindsey Robinson
Rating: 8 out of 10