BEDLINGTON Terriers FC had just enough to secure victory against a determined West Auckland side who finished with only nine men in a game marked by their increasing anger at the performance of the match officials.
Six yellow cards, two red and another for assistant manager Paul Foster made it an interesting afternoon, albeit rarely for the right reasons.
Chances were few and far between in the opening half, although Moffat for the visitors hit the frame of the goal, and they were left furious when they had a clear penalty appeal denied because the referee’s assistant indicated that the foul had occurred outside the area.
Their anger was further compounded by the fact the set-piece amounted to nothing.
It was the home side who finally made the breakthrough with five minutes of the half remaining.
A seemingly straightforward clearance from a ball hit to the edge of the West area saw the defender completely miss his attempt, allowing Mark Convery to pounce and place a square pass to Anthony Shandran. Although his initial effort was well blocked by goalkeeper Mark Bell, he made no mistake with the follow up.
However, the Terriers were unable to hang on to the lead as they conceded a poor goal in the dying seconds of the half.
A cross from the left to the far post was knocked back into the danger zone, and Moffat, the one man you would not want to give time on the ball, was allowed just that. Although the Terriers keeper got a partial block, the shot had enough pace on it to evade the defender on the line and level the scores.
An already ill-tempered game exploded in the second half, and in controversial circumstances.
In a challenge with Shandran, West defender Andrew Green caught the Terriers striker with an elbow to the head.
To most observers it looked completely accidental, but the assistant who had made the big call on the penalty appeal in the first half called the referee over and the result of their discussion was a red card for the unlucky player.
There was a huge outburst of anger, with Bedlington players almost getting involved, before Green finally trudged off the pitch looking much aggrieved.
West assistant manager Foster was also giving his marching orders, again after consultation between the same assistant and referee, as the game threatened to turn ugly.
The home side regained the lead midway through the half, and again it was Shandran – his ninth in his last eight appearances.
A ball up from Ben Christensen saw Steven Stewart head it into the path of the striker who ran into the area before slotting low past Bell at his near post.
The visitors were reduced to nine men when after half of their team had already been cautioned, Mark Stephenson was given his second yellow of the afternoon.
If Bedlington thought the rest of the game was going to be comfortable they were sadly mistaken as West continued to fight for every ball.
Although the hosts did create a couple of chances, it was the nine men who came closest to scoring and snatching an unlikely point in the process.
A quick counter attack saw Moffat break clear on goal, only for his fine strike to hit the frame for the second time in the afternoon and the danger was eventually cleared.
The Terriers would have been glad to have won all three points, but it certainly was not a comfortable afternoon, and they knew they had been in a battle, regardless of the two-man advantage in the final stages.
With a league double header against Spennymoor in their next two games, they will know that they will have to up their performance levels considerable to get anything from the team that has knocked them out of all three cup competitions this season.
The first ‘leg’ of the double header comes this Saturday, with the journey down to the Brewery Field, then on Wednesday, April 13, the Terriers return the hospitality as the Moors visit Welfare Park.