A DRAB affair at Dr Pit Welfare Park on Wednesday evening saw Bedlington Terriers and Newton Aycliffe play out a goal-less draw, with scoring opportunities at a premium in the bitterly cold conditions.
The home side were first to create a threat on goal when on ten minutes the tireless Dylan Williamson, making his first league start up front, won a corner which Phil Cave whipped in to the near post where Richard Pell met only to see his header sail over the bar.
It took until the 22nd minute for either side to actually get an effort on target.
Paul Brayson picked up the ball just outside the area on the left hand side and he managed to evade three tackles before squaring to Williamson on the edge of the area, but his shot was saved by the legs of Shane Bland and away to safety.
The highlight of the first half came from the foot of Stuart Given. The Newton Aycliffe left back took a free kick after Shaun Reay was fouled on the edge of the area. Given took a one step run up and clipped the ball over the wall and onto the top of the bar, although Kevin Morton looked to have the effort covered.
Minutes before half-time, Aycliffe danger man Daniel Lambert nearly gave 18th placed visitors the lead.
The winger picked the ball up on the right hand side of midfield, broke into the penalty area and hit a curling shot with his right foot towards the top right hand corner, only to see the curl on the shot take it wide.
Bedlington made a fast start to the second half, almost scoring within a minute of the restart.
Substitute Steven Stewart, who had replaced the injured Richard Pell, played a deep through ball to the on-rushing Williamson, who beat Bland to the ball, but his toe poke rolled agonisingly wide of the right upright.
After the fast start, the game fell back into the same mould as the first, Bedlington having a lot of possession but wasting it by playing aimless long balls from the back.
Aycliffe were happy to sit back and play the defensive game, giving Bedlington nothing in the final third.
On the hour mark, Steven Baptist picked up a knockdown on the edge of the area and unleashed a left footed strike at goal. The Aycliffe defence managed to get a body block on the strike, but the ball fell to Stewart who cut inside two before hitting a thunderbolt at goal. Bland once more got his legs in the way before an offside Brayson brought an end to the move.
Steven Stewart once more forced the keeper into action on 64 minutes. After a long ball from the back the Newton Aycliffe defence cleared the ball to the edge of the area, Stewart chested down before smashing a right-footed effort towards the top left hand corner, but Bland once more came to the visitors rescue, tipping the ball over the bar.
Bedlington dominated the final ten minutes, forcing a series of corners.
From one, Cave found Brayson at the back post and the striker headed back across goal towards the top corner only to see John Close nod the ball off the line.
A minute later it was Mark Convery floating in the set-piece, and Williamson on the end of the cross at the back post. This time the striker’s header was claimed on the line by Bland.
Colin Morton almost sealed all three points in injury time after another long ball from the back, this time from Convery. Morton broke free of the defender and headed the ball six yards out but was narrowly wide of the right hand post.
With an impending winding-up order, it is possible this was the last game for Bedlington Terriers, and if it is, it ended on a dull note.
Bedlington: K Morton (J Norton 45 mins), C Baxter, P Cave, C Carr, R Pell (S Stewart 45 mins), A Leeson, M Convery, C Morton, P Brayson, D Williamson, S Baptist (M Brittain 76 mins)