Bedlington Terriers’ battle against relegation took a downturn after a 1-0 home defeat to Billingham Synthonia ended their three-match unbeaten run.
A lack of quality in the final third proved to be their downfall.
The game, played on a dreadful surface, was hard fought throughout with the young Terriers side over the 90 minutes having more than their fair share of possession but were unable to capitalise on chances created against a Billingham side who had scored ten goals in the last two matches.
The Teessiders had much the better of the opening period with lively winger Kris Hughes always a threat with a number of dangerous crosses.
It was Hughes to set up the game’s only goal after 17 minutes when he outstripped his marker to deliver a cross that saw striker Fred Woodhouse get up well to plant a header high into the net.
James Harmison and Leason did well to stem the early Billingham attacks and as the half progressed the home side gained a foothold into the game.
They missed a glorious chance to equalise in the 27th minute when the pacey Dylan William picked up through ball from Colin Morton to fire in a low cross that found Dave Brown, who looked a sure scorer only for visiting keeper James Briggs to take the ball off the striker’s feet.
Within a minute the impressive Hughes broke clear to pick out McGowan who fired narrowly past the post.
After the break the home side gained the momentum with Billingham having to defend, and it was Briggs again in action, brilliantly turning a Harmison free kick for a corner.
In a desperate bid to find the equaliser, Terriers threw on three subs, one of which, Andrew Mogwo, made a big impact with his close control and forward runs, and after good work he was unlucky to see a goalbound effort flash past the post.
Bedlington continued to create openings in the later stages but lacked the killer finish to gain a share of the spoils they richly deserved
The club have a real battle on the their hands to avoid relegation with another difficult game at the Welfare against high flying Guisborough on Saturday.
Terriers chairman Ronan Liddane refused to be downbeat after the latest reverse.
He said: “After the game the lads were really down after again giving it there all and were unfortunate in not getting at least a draw.
“We created a number of chances but we lacked that extra quality, however we have three new additions lined up this week to bolster the squad.
“We realise that we are a relegation situation and I am convinced we have enough talent to pull through”
Liddane also praised skipper Colin Morton who turned in another workmanlike performance in midfield.