Bannister brace boosts Bedlington against West Auckland

Bedlington Terriers' Phil Bannister.
Bedlington Terriers' Phil Bannister.

BEDLINGTON Terriers got their league campaign back on track with a 4-2 victory over high flying West Auckland Town on Wednesday night at Welfare Park.

Two first half strikes by Phil Bannister and a goal from Paul Brayson gave the home side a three-goal lead at half-time.

And although former Terrier Chris Carr pulled a goal back in the second half, Andy Ferrell restored the three-goal lead before an injury time second for Auckland from Matthew Moffat.

West Auckland created the first chance of the game on five minutes when a corner came in from the right wing, with Craig Hubbard getting on the end of it only to put his strike wide.

Soon after Bedlington created their first chance of the game when Carr brought down Kris Gate on the right hand corner of the penalty area. Carr was yellow carded for the incident and Brayson’s free kick was blocked in the area.

The Terriers took the lead on 13 minutes through Bannister.

Bedlington keeper Kevin Morton hit a long ball forward and Bannister won the header with Brayson then winning the second ball before setting up his strike partner Bannister who fired into the bottom right hand corner of Mark Bell’s net.

Bannister was the catalyst for Bedlington’s next effort. After picking up an errant back pass by Carr, he ran down the right before rolling the ball across the area to Brayson, who tried to beat one man too many as Carr recovered to clear.

The home side created another clear cut chance two minutes later. This time it was Brayson who pounced on another poor ball out by the West Auckland defence to beat two players on the edge of the box before playing in Gate on the right wing, but he hit a first time shot high and wide of Bell’s goal.

Craig Hubbard played a delightful chipped pass over the Bedlington backline on 20 minutes, but as John Campbell tried to latch on to the pass, Morton came out and claimed the ball just before Campbell could reach it.

West Auckland laid siege the Bedlington goal in the following minutes. A series of corners were forced by the away side and from the second Carr’s header was cleared off the line by Gate for another corner.

Elliot Gardener then forced Morton into a brilliant diving save one minute later as he hit a rasping 25-yard half volley towards the left hand corner of the Bedlington goal.

Then Gardener was again unlucky in the following minutes as he hit another 25-yard effort which struck the crossbar.

The game calmed down after this attacking spell by West Auckland and did not liven up until shortly before the interval when Andy Ferrell played the ball to Steven Baptist on halfway.

Baptist ran at the defence, running past two defenders before playing to ball into the feet of Brayson who ran on to the pass, beat two defenders to the ball and slotted it home right-footed passed Bell.

It was 3-0 in first half injury time as Brayson once more beat the defence down the right after an exceptional pass by Kris Gate. Brayson hit a first time cross towards the penalty spot where Bannister was waiting to volley into the top right hand corner of the net.

West Auckland came out with a fresh impetus in the second and only some great defending kept them at bay.

Campbell broke behind the Bedlington defence down the left and as he was taking aim, Adam Wilkinson dived in front of the shot and the ball was cleared.

West pulled one back on 62 minutes after some poor defending from a long throw-in.

As the ball came in, no one challenged Carr for the header and his looping effort was left by Morton and the ball hit the left hand upright and went in.

West Auckland nearly picked up a second four minutes later when they won a free kick just outside the Terriers area.

Stuart Banks hit a right-footed effort but Morton was up to the challenge as he palmed the ball wide. The ball was played back in for Matthew Moffat to head over the bar from five yards out.

The game was put beyond doubt in the 73rd minute when Ferrell got Bedlington’s fourth.

Bannister won the ball off Neil Patterson before finding Brayson and the striker ran across the Town defence before finding Gate on the right wing. He moved forward before rolling a pass back to on-running midfielder Ferrell, who hit a left-footed effort into the top left hand corner.

The game petered out from their as Bedlington shut up shop.

It was not until injury time that West got their second, a goal identical to their first, with a long throw-in being missed by the Terriers and Hubbard got on the end of it with his touch finding Moffat in the six-yard box to convert.

This was a big win for Bedlington after a difficult run in the league against quality opposition.

The Terriers will look to continue their goal scoring form on Saturday as they take on Billingham Synthonia at Welfare Park.

Bedlington: Kevin Morton, Craig Baxter, Phil Cave, Kris Gate, Adam Wilkinson, Andrew Leeson, Colin Morton, Andy Ferrell (Kieron Wrightson), Phil Bannister (Lawrence McKenna), Paul Brayson, Steven Baptist (Steven Bowey).

Man of the match – Phil Bannister.

A video of the game can be seen here on www.NorthernLeagueFootball.co.uk