An afternoon that started brightly ended in despair for Bedlington Terriers as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat at home to Penrith.
Jonathan Wright had put the hosts ahead after just two minutes, but poor defending allowed Kevin Connelly and Jonathan Murray to put the visitors ahead at the break.
Marcus Brown’s equaliser brought the home side level, but Paul King’s dismissal just seven minutes later was followed by Connelly converting the resulting free kick for what proved to be the winner.
Andy Ferrell’s men knew they had to take something from the game, and after the Cumbrians could only name the bare minimum XI, Terriers looked to take advantage from the off.
And they did just that as a quick throw-in from John Pendlebury found the feet of Wright, who, after turning his man, produced a carbon-copy goal to the one he scored against Ashington, curling past the keeper.
Further chances were created but not taken, in particular one three minutes later when an unmarked Michael Baxter headed straight at the keeper from close range.
Warning signs of a fight back were apparent when Connelly’s 35-yard effort whistled past the crossbar.
Terriers were working the ball well, but again they failed to take their chances, Ryan Drane blazed over inside the six-yard box and Baxter’s effort troubled the keeper.
Wright had two more chances either side of debutant Liam Mooney making a fine save, getting down quickly to Adam Main’s shot, and the follow-up from Grant Davidson failed to hit the target.
Just as Bedlington started to build up momentum and look for a second in the game, the visitors levelled with a spectacular effort.
Connelly was left to his own devices after picking up the ball, and after noticing the keeper off his line, he bent his shot up and over and into the top corner.
Things went from bad to worse after Mooney produced another fine save, but from the resulting corner, which should have been claimed, the ball was bundled in by Murray.
After the break the hosts should have levelled within minutes. Drane was put through but Aaron Taylor made himself big and produced a fantastic save.
Main and Murray both rued their missed chances within quick succession for the Cumbrians after some great interplay, and that was before Liam Hudson was brought down in the area.
The forward skipped past two players, and after it appeared that the defender’s trailing leg caught Hudson, the referee waved play on to the home supporters’ frustration.
Danny Capewell failed to hit the target with a glorious chance on 59 minutes. King’s deep free kick found the head of the defender, who had time to measure up, but the chance went inches wide.
Wright rattled the post from a free kick, and just when it looked like Bedlington’s luck had run out they found an equaliser.
A controversial call to award the hosts a corner was taken advantage of as the in-swinging delivery found the head of substitute Brown, who leapt above the rest and headed past the keeper.
The forward almost turned provider under a minute later when he slotted in Wright, who had a clear sight of goal, but the forward shot over the bar.
Adversity struck on 78 minutes when a horrendous free kick from King from the halfway line was pumped straight back up the field. It was two-on-two and Capewell could not clear the ball, which allowed Connelly a run at goal and he knocked it past King and went down under the challenge, forcing the referee to dismiss the midfielder.
Connelly stepped up from the resulting free kick and emulated the skill from his first goal of the afternoon, curling up and over the wall and into the corner.
The afternoon came to a close as Penrith held on for the win and Bedlington were made, once again, to rue their missed chances.
They now move on to Wednesday night’s make-or-break clash with Norton and Stockton Ancients, needing a win to stand a chance of avoiding relegation.
Bedlington Terriers: Mooney, Pendlebury, Dummett (T Stephenson 56), Johnson, Errington, Capewell, Drane (Brown 56), King, Wright, Baxter, Hudson (M Stephenson 68). Subs not used: Nellis, Anjos.