BEDLINGTON Terriers crashed to a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday night against Billingham Town, just 48 hours after their best performance of the season saw them win 8-1.
Goals either side of half time by Glen Butterworth and James Risborough saw the away side clinch three crucial points as they fight off relegation.
It was a tough ask for Bedlington, who were playing their third game in the space of just five days due to fixture congestion, and it showed early as Billingham created most of the play, without really testing Kevin Morton in the Bedlington goal.
Town had a golden chance within five minutes.
After some great interplay down the left hand side, the ball was rolled across the area to find Harrison Davies who hit his shot left footed, but sliced the ball well wide when it was easier to hit the target.
The first twenty-five minutes went without incident other than that one Billingham effort, but as the clock struck 27 minutes, the Terriers created their first chances.
Paul Brayson managed to find Mark Doninger on the right wing with a cross field ball.
The midfield clipped the ball over one defender before unleashing a powerful left foot half volley at goal.
Hodgson saved with his feet, but the ball rebounded back to Doninger, who lobbed a left footed effort within inches of the left hand upright.
Two minutes later is was Brayson trying his luck from the edge of the penalty area.
The striker picked up a poor clearance by the visiting goalkeeper before trying to chip the stranded ‘keeper, but got just too much on it and it dropped over the bar.
Billingham delivered a warning shot to the home side on the half hour mark, when they really should have scored.
Davies broke over halfway and in behind the Terriers defence.
The winger galloped into the penalty area before sliding a cross to an unmarked Josh MacDonald 10 yards out who fired wide when it was easier to score.
Five minutes later, the visitors took a deserved lead in scrappy fashion.
After a cross from the right wing, the ball bounced around the penalty area before rolling to the edge of the box, just left of centre.
Glen Butterworth lined up the shot and hit a low left footed strike into the bottom left hand corner, a well-controlled finish from the central midfielder leaving Morton no chance.
The half petered out from there, with Billingham looking the more likely to add to their lead.
Neil Saxton’s team talk seemed to have done the trick in the opening few minutes of the second half, as Bedlington put pressure on Hodgson’s goal.
Doninger hit a curling effort with his left foot from the right hand corner of the 18 yard box within a minute of the restart, only to see Hodgson get a fingertip to the strike and divert it over,
From the resulting corner, taken by Martin Brittain, Doninger met the cross with his head three yards out, but couldn’t keep his header down.
But after the initial spell from Bedlington, the game fell into the same routine as the first, with Billingham looking more threatening.
Nicholas Martin broke away from Richard Pell and rumbled towards goal.
The striker took aim from the right hand side 12 yards out, but Kevin Morton was there to block with his legs.
Ten minutes later it was Morton again who saved Bedlington’s blushes.
A corner was cleared by the home side, but only to MacDonald on the edge of the area who hit a low left footed effort towards the corner. Morton, who must have seen the strike late, just managed to get a hand down and divert the ball wide.
Billingham were not to be denied a second, and they took advantage from more tired Bedlington defending at a corner.
After a Davies corner, the ball rattled round the penalty area, eventually falling at the feet of centre-back James Risborough, who hit a cracking left foot striker into the top left hand corner.
From then on Bedlington looked disjointed, with the fixture congestion seeming to have got to the players legs. The last twenty minutes saw no chances created for either side, and the visitors walked away with the spoils on a cold day at Welfare Park.