LATE strikes from Paul Brayson and Andy Ferrell gave Bedlington Terriers all three points in a close game at Glamal Stadium on Wednesday night against Billingham Synthonia.
The Terriers took the lead through an exquisite Brayson strike on 51 minutes before some defensive mishaps let the home side back into the game.
Bedlington created the early chances with striker Anthony Shandran breaking the offside trap only to be denied brilliantly by Moody in the Synners goal.
A series of corners followed but they were cleared easily by the home side.
A controversial decision by the official brought the next opportunity for Bedlington.
Keeper Moody was adjudged by the referee’s assistant to have handled the ball deliberately outside the area as Brayson charged down the keeper.
Although it appeared Moody had caught the ball inside the area the official’s gave a free kick and the referee showed Moody a yellow card, another questionable decision with a straight red being the norm for preventing a goalscoring opportunity.
Brayson took aim from the free kick but fired over the bar.
Shandran then suffered an ankle injury and was forced off in what proved to be the turning point of the first half.
From then on Bedlington looked disjointed and Synthonia tried to take advantage only to find Terriers keeper Kevin Morton in exceptional form.
Gardener had the first chance after he ran through the Bedlington backline, but fired just wide.
On 40 minutes a Synthonia corner was poorly cleared and the ball fell at the feet of Jameson who hit a powerful effort at goal only to see Morton make a superb diving save.
Bedlington had a penalty appeal turned down just before the half when McWilliams appeared to handle in the area. The referee was not moved, and soon blew the half-time whistle.
The Terriers started the second half with a fresh impetus and took the lead on 51 minutes.
A long ball from the back saw Brayson battle with the Billingham defenders before chipping the Synners keeper from 20 yards with a spectacular finish.
Bedlington almost made it two when Brayson broke away once more, but his cross was turned behind by a last gasp challenge as Phil Bannister waited at the back post for a tap-in.
Billingham levelled on 62 minutes, somewhat against the run of play.
Gardener and Crossen broke down the left hand side of the Bedlington defence before Gardener broke into the area. A last ditch tackle by Stuart Elliott seemed to have cleared the danger but Gardener kept the ball in play and found Shane Wilby on the penalty spot and he hit a first time shot past Morton to make it 1-1.
The game became scrappy after the equaliser, with Billingham having the better of the chances.
Crossen nearly created a carbon-copy of Synners’ first goal on 72 minutes, but this time no one could get on the end of the cross.
Billingham nearly picked up a second once more whe Morton made a diving stop to a shot destined for the top right corner of the net.
As the game seemed to be heading to a draw, Bedlington got a somewhat fortuitous second.
As the visitors broke on the counter a Synners defender played the Bedlington line onside as he returned to play after being down injured.
Ferrell picked out Brayson who fired home to restore the Terriers lead on 87 minutes.
Billingham went gung-ho after that, sending Moody up for a corner.
But Bedlington broke away once more and found Brayson on halfway, where he rolled the ball to Ferrell who shot from 45 yards into an empty net to secure the win.
Bedlington: Kevin Morton, Craig Baxter, Stuart Elliott, Kris Gate (Keiran Wrightson), Adam Wilkinson, Andrew Leason, Mark Convery , Andy Ferrell, Paul Brayson, Anthony Shandran (Phil Bannister), Steven Baptist (Colin Morton).