Baptist strike deep into injury wins it for Bedlington

Bedlington Terriers' Steven Baptist.
Bedlington Terriers' Steven Baptist.
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A STEVEN Baptist goal deep into injury time secured Bedlington Terriers three points in a fiercely contested Northern League fixture at Hebburn.

A first half thunderbolt from Hebburn’s Jonny Davis was cancelled out by Bedlington super sub Lawrence McKenna before a goal apiece from Andrew Leeson and Scott Robson within 90 seconds set up the intense finish where Baptist clinched the win for the away side.

On a wet and windy night it was Bedlington that created the better of the early chances.

In the third minute Paul Brayson broke down the left after an excellent through ball, and switching the ball onto his favoured right foot 25 yards out., Brayson took a touch before hitting an effort wide of the Hebburn goal.

Bedlington went close again on nine minutes when Hebburn conceded a free kick.

The set piece was left to Kris Gate and his cross was glanced by Craig Baxter, but the right back failed to get enough on it and the effort went wide.

Hebburn’s first opportunity of the game came via a long ball from goalkeeper Dan Reagan.

The Terriers centre backs were caught out, allowing the Hebburn frontman to get behind the defence. It took some sharp work from keeper Kevin Morton to clear the ball in time.

Bedlington should have taken the lead on 21 minutes during a series of corners.

Initially Phil Bannister was played in down the right by Brayson and Gate, but the home side managed to deflect his shot behind for a corner.

From the second of these corners, Steven Bowey took a quick one to Bannister, and after completing the one-two on the byline, Bowey played a low cross through the six-yard box. Baptist air-kicked at the ball before it fell to Brayson, however, his effort was once more turned behind.

The next corner eventually fell to Stuart Elliott, whose pile driver was blocked by an on-rushing defender and the ball was cleared.

Hebburn’s first goal came against the run of play in the 28th minute.

After a decent move down the Hebburn left, the ball was rolled to Jonny Davis 35 yards out from goal. Davis took a touch before unleashing a right footed strike off the underside of the crossbar and into the Bedlington net.

The Terriers were close to responding immediately after being given another free kick just outside Town’s penalty area.

The referee allowed Brayson to take a quick one, which he curled towards the top right corner. Fortunately for the Hebburn keeper the strike went a whisker wide of his upright.

Hebburn should have doubled their lead on 41 minutes after a long ball put a striker in behind Bedlington’s back line. He rounded Morton but was unable to get the ball out of his feet and bundled it wide.

Bannister at the other end tried the same move after winning the ball in the Hebburn penalty area. The striker tried rounding the keeper, but was stopped by Regan

The 1-0 scoreline at the half did not reflect the balance of play, but no one could deny Hebburn were dangerous on the counter attack.

The weather worsened in the second half as Bedlington looked to get back on level terms.

The Terriers won yet another free kick on the edge of the Hebburn penalty area. Brayson took aim once more, hitting a right footed effort directly at Regan, who claimed comfortably.

Bedlington and Hebburn struggled to get to terms with the wet conditions, with players losing their footing regularly.

It was not until the 67th minute Bedlington got onto level terms, starting a crazy four minutes in the game.

Baxter and Bannister combined down the right wing to give the former space to run into the penalty area.

The right back bundled the ball across the box to substitute McKenna 12 yards out. Facing away from goal he turned on the ball and hit a left footed effort into the bottom right hand corner for an outstanding finish from the former Whickham Town man.

Bedlington took the lead three minutes later after Hebburn conceded another set-piece around their penalty area.

Gate whipped in a ball from the left and centre back Leeson headed powerfully home, his first goal of the season.

The visitors’ lead was short lived as Hebburn scored 90 seconds later.

Hebburn’s right back pulled a ball across the penalty area for substitute Scott Robson to hit a first time effort past Morton and into the right hand corner.

Hebburn gifted another chance to Bedlington on 74 minutes by fouling Bannister on the edge of the area.

This time Baptist took the free kick and hit a curling effort towards the top right hand corner, only to see Regan claw his effort away for a corner.

The home side should have possibly had a penalty on 82 minutes as Robson broke away once more, despite a suspicion of offside. He seemed to be seconds away from putting the hosts back ahead only to be powered off the ball by Adam Wilkinson.

Robson and the crowd looked to the referee, but he waved the cries away and gave Bedlington a goal kick.

Leeson was close to giving Bedlington the lead on 87 minutes.

Brayson and Bannister combined once more to allow Brayson to get a shot away from the right.

His effort rolled across the face of the goal only just missing the sliding Leeson at the back post, who was inches away from giving the Terriers the lead.

Four minutes into injury time Baptist broke through the Hebburn back line and tried to round Regan.

The keeper and the defence managed to clear the ball to the left, but Gate was their waiting and he put it back into the area for Baptist to beat Regan.

The Bedlington bench exploded with cheers with the sight of the rippling net.

The referee then sent off a member of the Hebburn Town coaching staff after numerous discussions with the bench throughout the game.

The final whistle soon followed with Bedlington taking the honours in a highly combative game of football.