Bedlington Terriers suffered their fifth consecutive defeat as they were edged out 1-0 in a close game with Dunston UTS at Welfare Park on Saturday.
Manager Ian Skinner made two changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Guisborough Town.
The opening affair was one-sided and Dunston were on the front foot from the offset, going close to breaking the deadlock after just 90 seconds when Lee McAndrew shot narrowly wide.
Nevertheless, Dunston took the lead with their next attack just a minute later as McAndrew squared the ball to strike partner Daniel Wilson for an easy tap in past Bedlington keeper Daniel Staples.
A poor start from the home side could have been made worse when Daniel Halliday latched onto a poor clearance but his shot was inches over.
In the opening ten minutes the difference certainly showed on the heavy pitch due as Bedlington had no answer to the pressure put on them.
It took 20 minutes for Bedlington, who showed a distinct lack of play between the midfield and strikers, to register their first attempt on Liam Connell’s goal, but Jordan Nellis’ shot was easily saved.
Just after the half hour mark, a Dunston corner was headed out to the feet of winger Nicholas Kane who struck a fierce volley just over the crossbar.
The resounding pressure eased and Terriers managed to pull together their only real break of the game, a 30-yard solo run by Nellis was almost finished off, however, the backtracking defender managed to get a critical deflection on the ball to see the shot go behind for a corner.
The resulting set-piece was cleared to Sam Walton who struck a powerful volley just wide of the top left-hand corner.
In the second half was like a whole new team came out in place of the Bedlington side that struggled to string passes together in the opening 45 minutes.
Chances fell their way. Nellis almost rounded off another fine solo run and minutes later Lee Scott hit his shot first time but over the bar.
The home side should have wiped out Dunston’s lead in the 55th minute. Striker Dylan Williamson, who was making his return to the side, almost drew his side level after volleying Scott’s flick-on low to the keeper’s right, but it was parried round the post by Connell.
Skinner’s men were certainly fighting back and looking for the equaliser, however, they looked vulnerable when the opposition were attacking because of the extra men they were sacrificing forward. But both Williamson and Nellis had chances to score.
Frustrations for the home team flared when Dunston keeper pulled back Nellis and Connell was booked for a cynical challenge on the Terriers’ striker when the home supporters felt a red card was more appropriate.
Dunston’s only real major chance of the second half came when substitute Daniel Smith broke down the right before cutting inside the defender and drilling a low ball across the six-yard box with no team-mate there to finish it off.
Approaching the 90 minute mark, Williamson’s shot come off the hand of a Dunston defender in the box and every Bedlington player appealed for a penalty. But the referee waved away the appeals.
Four minutes were added on but no more real chances fell either team’s way.
Bedlington more than rectified a poor first half display with a hard-working performance in the second half which saw them push Dunston all the way to the finish.
The result sees the Terriers slip to 13th in the table whilst title chasing Dunston climb up to fifth.
Bedlington: Staples, Walker, Dobson, Davison, Little, Dunn, Williamson, Blandford, Scott (Young 75), Nellis, Walton (McGorrigan 75). Subs not used: Walmsley, Harvey, Keenan.