Terriers suffer relegation to Division Two after defeat
By Andrew McDonnell
Bedlington Terriers were relegated to the Northern League Division Two after a 4-2 defeat to Consett sealed their inevitable fate at Welfare Park.
Danny Craggs and Luke Sullivan handed the visitors a deserved two-goal lead in the game after a dominant first-half performance, which also saw Nathan Steel hit the bar.
Whatever was said at half-time in the Terriers dressing room worked, as Ryan Drane scored twice inside 19 second-half minutes to level the game.
Bedlington had the chance to give their very slim hopes of survival a boost in the closing 20 minutes, however, Consett scored twice in the final three minutes of the game.
With results going against them involving teams in and around Bedlington, they knew they had to win their remaining four games to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.
It was the visitors who started the brighter, but the Terriers went close when Tony Stephenson lobbed over the oncoming keeper, but the ball went wide of the post.
Consett took the lead shortly after on 17 minutes, Craggs lashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range after Josh Gray set up the forward with a cushioned pass.
The visitors went on to dominate proceedings, and went close on many occasions, and could have doubled the lead, but Steel crashed his shot against the bar.
Bedlington went two-down four minutes later, and the Steelmen did have their second of the game when questionable defending allowed Sullivan acres of space to carry the ball and pick his spot.
Consett had the ball in the net once more on 43 minutes, but Steel was ruled off side before Ryan Beal produced a brilliant save to deny Craggs from close range.
After a disappointing opening 45 minutes, Bedlington came out the blocks quickly and it took five minutes for the hosts to pull a goal back.
Mason Stephenson burst down the flank and cut back for Drane, who took a touch to send the defender the wrong way before firing into the net past a helpless Gareth Young.
The playmaker had another chance just 90-seconds later, but his first-time effort, after some great team play, lobbed just over the bar.
The game opened up and Consett had further chances to stretch their lead, including the goalmouth scramble that saw Craggs’ prod at goal roll agonisingly wide of the post.
Once again, Sullivan was allowed time to get his head up and run at goal, but he couldn’t replicate his goal in the first-half, as his shot sailed over the bar.
Bedlington made their opponents rue those missed chance as their next attack in the game ended up with them finding a crucial equaliser in the game.
After great presence from Liam Hudson, the forward dug out a dinked through ball, which was headed on by Michael Baxter, and Drane raced on and slotted calmly into the net.
However, just when the Terriers needed to press for another, Consett found another foothold in the game, and the closing 20 minutes started to die out.
This was until a deep free-kick, near the halfway line from Jordan Lavery was headed superbly into the net by Hawkins, who leapt above everyone in the penalty area.
Three minutes plus additional time remained, but with Newcastle Benfield drawing, Bedlington knew a draw wouldn’t be good enough to stay up.
And they were caught out going forward, Lavery darted into the box and shot at goal, and Beal pushed the ball out in front of him, which allowed Steel to prod home for a simple goal.
Bedlington’s fate was sealed when referee David Fitzpatrick blew the final whistle, and fans headed to the exits with heavy hearts.
It certainly won’t be a season that many-a-fan will want to remember, but Bedlington’s task now is to get back to Division One at the first time of asking.
Terriers: Beal, Ferrell, Dummett, Allen (Hudson 67), Errington, Pendlebury, M.Stephenson, Johnson, Walton (Baxter 64), Drane, T.Stephenson (King 83)
Subs Not Used: Summerville
Consett: Young, Slocombe, Lavery, Little, Hawkins, Gibbons, Sullivan, Smith, Steel, Craggs, Gray (Nellis 63)
Subs Not Used: Cummings, Stafford, Grant, Mordue
Referee: David Fitzpatrick