ON a frozen Monday night, Bedlington Terriers sent a reminder to the Northern League of their quality on the football field.
After a run six games without a win, the home side put FA Vase semi-finalists Shildon to the sword in an 8-1 drubbing.
The visitors scored within the first four minutes of the start, but from then on it was all Bedlington, who hit the back of the net a total of 11 times during the 90 minutes, with three goals chalked off for offside.
Sam Garvie broke for the visitors in the opening minutes of the game, running in behind the back line of Bedlington. The winger hit an initial strike at goal, with Kevin Morton denying the Shildon man with his legs, only to see Garvie nick the rebound away from him as the keeper brought the winger down.
Adam Johnston took the penalty, calmly chipping the ball into the left hand corner, over the dive of Morton.
Bedlington replied within a minute, however, as a Shildon mishap gifted Terriers a goal.
Phil Bannister hassled the visitors centre-back, stealing the ball from his feet and rolling a pass to strike partner. Paul Brayson broke away from his man in the penalty area and coolly slotted home to equalise.
The home side began to threaten from every opportunity.
Richard Pell was next to get an effort on goal as he leaped above everyone from a Martin Brittain corner, but his effort flew just wide.
On 18 minutes, Bedlington took the lead through the magnificent Mark Doninger.
Brittain was the architect, pinging a cross from the left to the right hand side of the penalty 12 yards out. Doninger hit a thunderous strike on the half volley into the top left hand corner for a stunning goal.
Bannister picked up Bedlington’s third with an excellent left footed finish.
Brayson was the creator as he backed in to the Shildon centre half before rolling to Bannister on the penalty spot. On the turn, and falling backwards, he managed to curl the ball low into the bottom left hand corner.
Two minutes later Andrew Leeson added his name to the score-sheet as the Terriers went 4-1 up.
Brittain took a right wing free kick and found the head of Doninger, who powered an effort of the crossbar. The ball pin-balled around the penalty area before Leeson stabbed home.
The goal of the game came on 32 minutes.
A long ball from the back was headed on by Bannister to Doninger who saw the keeper off his line from 40 yards out. The midfielder hit a controlled lob over Keith Finch and into the top right hand corner.
Doninger thought he had his hat-trick as the clock ticked into first half injury time.
Brayson received the ball with his back to goal 30 yards out. With a flick of the outside of his right boot he took two defenders out of play and found Doninger behind the back line. The midfielder then chipped Finch again from 15 yards, hitting the back of the net only to see the assistant holding his flag up.
The second half brought more goal-scoring opportunities for the home side.
On 58 minutes it was Brayson who was denied by the offside flag as he lobbed the keeper from 20 yards after an excellent ball from Doninger.
Six minutes later Doninger was denied his hat-trick for a second time by the assistant as he ran in behind the defence to meet a long ball before slotting home past Finch.
The game calmed down at that point, with Bedlington introducing three youth products - Kyle Dobson, Robbie Eastway and Josh Laverick, all of whom looked excellent on the night.
It was not until the last eight minutes before Doninger completed his hat-trick.
After missing the initial header from Eastway’s cross, Doninger was in the right place at the right time to glance Brittain’s shot from the left edge of the penalty area, away from the dive of Finch.
Doninger got his fourth and Terriers’ seventh with three minute remaining.
Brittain was again the provider as his 20-yard shot was fumbled by Finch into the path of Doninger who stabbed home.
From the restart Bedlington completed the rout, with Doninger playing in Brittain who chipped the keeper from 25 yards to make it 8-1.
The visiting goalkeeper must be questioned for getting beat so many times by lobs and chips, being found of his line time after time.
But all credit went to Bedlington who won their first game since February 2.
Bedlington: K Morton, Baxter, Loughborough, C Morton, Pell (Laverick 83), Carr (K Dobson 63), Doninger, Leeson, Brayson, Bannister (Eastway 63), Brittain. Subs not used: C Dobson, Jones. Man of the match: Mark Doninger.