Bedlington Terriers dominate Wansbeck derby to beat Ashington
Bedlington Terriers increased their chances of surviving their Northern League relegation battle with a 2-0 win in the Wansbeck Derby against neighbours Ashington at Welfare Park.
Marc Walton gave the hosts the lead on 28 minutes with a 35-yard finish, but the forward saw red midway through the second half as the home side were reduced to ten men.
The Colliers had the numerical advantage for the final 22 minutes, but it was the Terriers who sealed the win thanks to Jonathan Wright’s strike in injury time.
Bedlington manager Andy Ferrell set his side a target of 40-points for the season in his quest to stay in the division, and they began the game as he had hoped.
But it was not until the 18th minute before the game’s first opening. Bedlington’s Danny Capewell flicked on Marc Dummett’s deep free kick, which Conor Grant collected well.
Ashington began to grow into the game as skipper Andrew Johnson and Damien Stevens both fired over the bar after some good play on the edge of the area.
The Colliers may well have gone ahead after Johnson got to a through ball ahead of the advancing Dan Staples, and the forward found Stevens but his shot was easily collected by the keeper.
Bedlington made their opponents rue the missed opportunities and they broke the deadlock in extraordinary fashion.
A long ball from the back was headed out by Colliers keeper Grant, but only out as far as Walton who fired into the empty net from 35 yards.
Jonathan Wright caused all sorts of problems with his pace and should have doubled the home side’s advantage two minutes later, but Grant saved down to his left.
Johnson and Andrew Bulford were restricted to half chances, which both sailed wide, in the closing stages of the half before Wright was denied once again by the keeper.
The tables were reversed at the beginning of the second half as Steven Harmison’s men probed for a quick equaliser.
Stevens missed the target for the third time in the game as Bedlington rode the pressure.
Wright and Walton both went close before Tony Stephenson, who used to play for the Colliers, produced the move of the match.
It was a great run by the playmaker before he found Wright with the outside of his boot, but the forward’s lob went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Just as the Terriers started to find a foothold, once again, in the match, adversity hit as Walton was sent off for a challenge on Ben Christensen.
However, despite being a man down, it was Bedlington’s new signing Marcus Brown who went close to scoring on his debut.
The nifty forward headed on a free kick and it was heading for the bottom corner but team-mate Capewell got in the way and blocked the effort near the line.
Nevertheless, Ferrell’s men continued to look comfortable in the game, and after Harmison headed over at one end, Brown should have killed the game off at the other.
Paul King found the forward bursting through, and after shrugging off the challenge of Michael Dixon, Brown was denied down low by Grant.
There was a goalmouth scramble as the game entered injury time, with Bulford’s shot being bravely blocked and Josh Grey could only fire over from distance.
However, the game was put to bed in the second minute of injury time with a stunning turn and finish from Wright.
The Terriers held the game up well, and the forward peeled away and left James Harmison in knots before he found the top corner with a brilliant finish.
Newcastle Benfield are the visitors to Welfare Park on Wednesday evening before Ferrell’s men travel to play Seaham Red Star on Saturday.
Terriers: Staples, Nellis, Dummett, Allen (Brown 68), Capewell, Errington, T Stephenson (Drane 85), King, Walton, Wright, Hudson (Baxter 81). Subs not used: Anjos, Johnson
Ashington: Grant, Taylor (B Harmison 62), Grey, Dunn (Downey 46), J Harmison, Christensen (Scott 77), Stevens, Dixon, Bulford, Oliver, Johnson. Subs not used: Baines, Weldon.