Honours even of a bog of a pitch

A LATE Andrew Bulford goal cancelled out Kris Gate’s 79th minute opener as Bedlington and Dunston battled out a draw on a bog of a Dr Pitt Welfare Park pitch on Saturday.

The game had been in doubt up until 10am on the day of the game before it passed an inspection.

Despite being given the go ahead, the pitch had a massive effect on the game, with simple passes being hard work.

Bedlington made the first chance when Phil Bannister ran on to a through ball. After battling off a defender, he managed to connect with his right foot only for his shot to go just wide of the left hand upright.

In a game of few chances the biggest threats came from set-pieces.

On 13 minutes, Adam Wilkinson was adjudged to have fouled Michael Dixon 25 yards from goal. Daniel Smith took the free kick for the visitors but curled a left footed effort just wide of the goal.

As the clock reached the half-way point in the first half, Chris Carr denied Bulford a shot on goal with a well-timed diving tackle in the penalty area.

At the other end, Steve Bowey found himself on the end of a Craig Baxter throw, but he was unable to control his half volley and his effort went well wide.

The best chance of the first half came with ten minutes remaining.

Bannister broke down the left before crossing into the six-yard box where Mark Doninger was waiting to steer goalwards only to be denied splendidly by a diving Liam Connell in the visitors goal.

The second half produced a similar brand of football, with neither side being able to keep the ball on the ground due to the pitch conditions.

As the game passed the hour mark, Bedlington stopper Jack Norton was forced into a diving save low to his right after Jack Burns hit a deflected effort towards the bottom left hand corner.

The Bedlington goal came with 11 minutes remaining thanks to two substitutes combining.

Paul Brayson broke down the right hand side, reaching the penalty area before clipping in a cross for Bannister. The striker controlled well before rolling the ball to the edge of the area where an on-rushing Gate hit a powerful effort into the left hand corner, with Connell standing still.

It could have been 2-0 four minutes later as Paul Brayson once more galloped down the right, hitting a pin-point cross on to the head of Bannister, who headed directly at the keeper from four yards out.

The visitors equalised with four minutes remaining.

Bulford managed to beat the offside trap and get on to a through ball. The striker kept his composure and managed to bundle the ball home off the legs of Norton.

A tough game played on a difficult pitch, but Bedlington will have been disappointed to concede late after taking the lead.

Bedlington: Norton, Baxter, Cave, Carr, Pell, Wilkinson, Convery, Doninger (Brayson), Bannister, Morton (Gate), Bowey (Baptist).

On Saturday Bedlington are away to Newcastle Benfield.