SECOND from bottom South Shields battled their way to victory on a sunny afternoon at Welfare Park as Bedlington Terriers’ season continued in an inconsistent vein.
Two goals inside the first 15 minutes saw relegation threatened Shields take all three points, despite a Terriers onslaught in the second half.
Carbon Copy goals from Shields pair Adam Burnicle and Andrew Thompson gave the visitors a two-goal lead going in to the half before Phil Bannister reduced the deficit within two minutes of the restart.
Terriers opened the game the brighter and were millimetres away from taking the lead.
Mark Doninger advanced towards the by-line where the midfielder cut back onto his left foot before curling a shot off the inside of the upright and back towards the keeper who gratefully claimed the loose ball.
Within 60 seconds, however, the home side were a goal down thanks to some poor defending.
Johnathon Wightman broke down the right before playing a ball across the edge of the area where Burnicle was left unmarked and he controlled the ball well before coolly slotting past Kevin Morton.
Eight minutes later Barrie Smith crossed and found Andrew Thompson at the back post and he guided home a low effort left footed.
At 2-0, the home fans began to get restless as Bedlington struggled to mount any pressure on the visitors goal.
Both teams played long ball after long ball which did nothing to encourage those watching from the sidelines.
Bedlington probably shaded possession, but did nothing with it.
Just before half-time Bannister forced James Winter into his first save of the game as the striker bundled a Martin Brittain corner towards goal.
In the opening seconds of the second half, Brittain, this time from a free kick after a Chris Feasey foul on Craig Baxter, hit in a cross from the right and the ball pin-balled around the penalty area before Bannister stabbed home to half the deficit from six yards out.
Within a minute Bedlington could have been level.
Brittain broke down the left before cutting inside and hitting a shot that was deflected into the path of Mark Doninger, who hit his effort onto the crossbar. His blushes were spared, however, as the offside flag was raised.
Another corner produced another golden chance on 50 minutes.
Brittain swung in a ball from the left and Bannister beat his man to the near post, heading goalwards only to see keeper Winter tip the ball over the bar for another Bedlington corner.
Bannister seemed to be on a one man mission to get something out the game for the Terriers.
From another Brittain corner, the ball again bounced around the penalty area and Bannister’s first effort was blocked by a defender before his second was blocked by the goalkeeper.
A few minutes later it was Andrew Leeson squandering a golden chance.
Brittain’s corner from the left was aimed to the back post where Leeson was left unmarked, but he could only head his effort into the ground and over the bar from five yards out.
With only three youth players on the bench, Terriers had to pursue an equaliser with those on the field, meaning Richard Pell was moved up for the final ten minutes.
This almost paid dividends when Colin Morton launched a long ball over the Shields back line and Pell broke free. The tall centre half hit a right footed effort from ten yards past the goalkeeper and onto the left hand upright.
Despite 45 minutes of unrelenting pressure, South Shields held on for a vital three points and a third successive win to boost their hopes of survival.
Bedlington host Consett next Saturday, which will be the Terriers’ penultimate home game of the season.
Bedlington: K Morton, Baxter, Dobson, C Morton, Pell, Leeson, Doninger, Convery, Brayson, Bannister, Brittain. Subs not used: Ure, Loughborough, Jones.