Bedlington Terriers’ young side gave an excellent account of themselves against a vastly experienced Spennymoor Town who, on balance of play, were made to work for their 5-1 victory.
But Terriers now find themselves in a real dog fight if they are to avoid relegation to division two.
Sean McCaffrey returned in goal after missing the previous week’s heavy defeat at Consett.
The home side, who are firm favourites to lift the FA Vase for a second successive year, found the young Terriers side difficult to break down and were stunned in the 25th minute when Paul Watson broke clear to hammer in a tremendous shot that flashed high into the net to give Bedlington the lead.
Minutes later they were fortunate not going two down when the lively Dylan Williamson left his marker to fire in a shot that cannoned off the upright.
However, three goals in a devastating seven-minute spell put Spennymoor in command with poor defending proving fatal as the first came in the 38th minute when Liam Henderson was allowed time to volley home.
Within minutes Chris Mason out-jumped the defence to head in a second.
Then further disaster struck when top scorer Gavin Cogden headed home a Lewis Dodds cross on the stroke of half-time.
After the break Spennymoor piled on the pressure, adding a fourth in the 50th minute with Henderson grabbing his second of the match, and in the dying minutes Andrew Johnson hit number five.
However, Bedlington can be encouraged by their overall performance against a vastly experienced Spennymoor side .
Manager Keith Perry, back in charge after a recent illness, said: “I could not fault the effort they gave against a very good side packed with quality.
“We have a fight on our hands to avoid the drop but if they produce this kind of display I am confident we will be OK.”
Coach Tony Burgess was equally pleased with the team’s performance.
He said: “A great start with the Paul Watson strike, and then Williams’ effort coming off the upright would have given Spennymoor something to think about, but take nothing away from them they are a quality side and not many teams will worry them.
“Basic errors cost us dearly in the firsts half when we looked solid, but hopefully the lads will learn from that and we can face Hebburn on Saturday with a great deal of confidence.”