Daniel Staples’ first-half error proved to be decisive as Bedlington Terriers lost 1-0 at Newcastle Benfield.
Paul Brayson made the most of the keeper’s error three minutes before half-time, when Mark Turnbull’s cross was dropped at the feet of the Northern League’s top-scorer for a simple tap-in.
Despite a dominant performance in the second half, Bedlington could not find a way of getting back into the game.
The closest they came was in the 65th minute when Lee Scott’s strike hit the foot of the post.
Bedlington went into the game on the back of their first win under new manager Gary Innes, but they were on the back foot straight away when Benfield pressed during the opening exchanges.
The home side made a quick start, pressing high and attacking from the outset, but a chance for Brayson and his strike-partner Chris Youlson failed to hit the target after good build-up play.
Bedlington managed to weather the early storm and finally break-out for an attack of their own, as Scott played a neat pass through to Andrew Keenan but his shot was deflected over.
Innes’ side’s first real chance came half an hour in and fell to leading scorer Jordan Nellis. Stephen Young chested down a long ball from Kyle Dobson and then Nellis struck the ball low, but the keeper managed to parry the effort round the post.
Brayson, who was at Welfare Park for two seasons, proved to be a tricky customer, holding the ball up well, creating chances for his fellow strikers and also testing the keeper.
However, his goal just before half-time came courtesy of Staples’ error as he tapped the loose ball home from two yards out.
Manager Innes said: “I told him (Staples) that it doesn’t happen often, he had a brilliant game last week against Billingham Synthonia and he hardly makes mistakes.”
The home side would have felt that they deserved to go in at the break ahead by more than one.
Bedlington almost fell further behind within the first two minutes of the second half as another former Bedlington man, Stephen Baptiste, saw his shot saved well.
Innes’ team-talk at half-time was clear as he wanted his side to press more and create more chances.
The Terriers were unremitting in their search for an equaliser with the roles reversed from the first half. Benfield were now the side under pressure.
Innes’ last throw of the dice came with 20 minutes to go when he brought on Ryan McGorrigan, and his strike seven minutes later almost justified the manager’s decision to bring him on as Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger pulled off a fingertip save to deny the substitute.
Bedlington lacked composure in the final third throughout the second half, and the problem was not crating chances, but the struggle to test the keeper once they created them.
McGorrigan attempted an audacious attempt in additional time but it sailed over the bar and Newcastle Benfield held on in until the final whistle to secure victory.
Bedlington drop down one place to 14th but go into next week’s clash against league leaders West Auckland Town in fine spirits after a dominating second half display.
Bedlington Terriers: Staples, Harvey, Dobson (Walmsley 58), Dunn (Watson 53), Little, K Nellis, Keenan (McGorrigan 70), Davison, Scott, Young, J Nellis Subs not used: C Morton.