Three defensive blunders were to blame for all the goals that Bedlington Terriers conceded against Whitley Bay as they lost 3-1 at Hillheads on Saturday.
Sam Norris capitalised upon John Pendlebury’s mistake and slotted home for the first on 41 minutes, before Adam Shanks doubled the lead under a minute later.
Liam Hudson prodded home from close range a minute before the break for Bedlington, but Norris killed any hopes of salvaging anything with his second late in the game, sealing all three points for the hosts.
Bedlington went into the game knowing a third win in-a-row would lift them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, but both sides took some time to settle after Chris Youldon blazed over early on.
The Terriers’ first opening came when Marc Walton’s shot deflected off the back of a defender and into the path of Hudson in the box. But Whitley keeper Andrew Jennison managed to get the slightest of touches to Hudson’s shot to ensure the ball went wide of the post.
Chances were certainly few and far between for the majority of the half, but some clever play from Danny Capewell created an opening on 34 minutes. He drove past Norris and managed to slide the ball into Tony Stephenson, but again, Jennison was quick to close the forward down and cut out the threat.
Whitley’s first good opening brought the first goal as Pendlebury played the ball into the path of Norris, who opened up his body and made no mistake with the finish.
Things went from bad to worse when Jack Errington went to play the ball back, but Shanks was quickest, intercepting and finding the far corner off the post.
The deficit was halved before half-time when Walton’s superb free kick could only be parried back into the danger zone by Jennison and Hudson lofted the ball in from close range.
Straight after the restart Bay came close to restoring the two-goal advantage when Youldon had another chance, but he could only head the in-swinging corner over the bar.
Jonathan Wright was brought on in place of Capewell on the hour to give the Terriers more options going forward, which give them a lift as they pushed higher and started to go forward with more intensity.
The attack-minded play almost came off 12 minutes from the end when Hudson headed Paul King’s corner just wide before Walton fired straight at the keeper after beating the offside trap.
Wright’s blistering pace was on full show when he left his man for dead, but his first-time attempt to loft the ball over the keeper was picked out as Jennison managed to get a glove on to the ball.
Time was ticking away and so was Bedlington’s chances of salvaging anything from the game, but all hopes were ended when Whitley scored their third with, arguably, their second opening of the second half.
Norris chased down Errington and managed to steal the ball from the defender before slotting past Peter Denton at the near post from a tight angle.
A long hit from Walton in the second minute of additional time caused serious problems for Jennison, but after the corner was cleared the game came to its close.
The next challenge for Andy Ferrell’s men comes in the form of local rivals Ashington on Boxing Day.
The Wansbeck Derby will take place at Welfare Park with an 11am kick-off.
Whitley Bay: Jennison, Gibson, McDonald (Day 46), Anderson (Williamson 68), Lumsden, Bramley, Norris, Bertram, Shanks, Youldon, Bell. Subs not used: Gladstone, Day, McFarlane.
Terriers: Denton, Nellis, Pendlebury, Errington, Stoneman, Capewell (Wright 61), King, Ferrell (Drane 46), Walton, T Stephenson (Baxter 75), Hudson. Subs not used: McGlen, M Stephenson.