Jordan Fry’s late header proved to be the killer blow for Bedlington Terriers as they were edged out by FA Vase finalists Morpeth Town at Welfare Park on Easter Monday.
Sean Taylor had handed the visitors a deserved lead on 25 minutes, but Jonathan Wright’s wonder strike on 72 minutes gave the hosts hope.
However, as with the reverse fixture back in September, Morpeth scored a winner in the final ten minutes when Jordan Fry headed in at the back post.
The result means Bedlington have it all to do in their final seven games of the season, and after Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final against North Shields, they face Sunderland RCA in the league.
Andy Ferrell’s men went into the game with ambitions of carrying on Saturday’s second half performance in the win over Norton and Stockton Ancients – and they started brightly.
Liam Hudson found himself with a clear passage to shoot at goal after the ball broke fortunately for him, but former Terrier keeper Karl Dryden pushed the ball over the bar.
But the visitors started to find their feet and went close through Dan Taggert, whose shot was well saved by Ryan Beal, and then James Novak and Ben Sayer.
The Highwaymen kept pressing and looking for the opening goal, and they broke the deadlock on 25 minutes.
Sayer struck after latching upon a poor clearance, and after his shot was palmed straight back into the danger area, the oncoming Taylor tapped home for the opener.
Bedlington’s keeper was almost left red-faced again ten minutes later when Fry attempted an audacious lob, but Beal recovered and managed to get a glove to the ball.
Taylor may well have had his second of the game shortly after, but Beal was on hand to trap the effort with his legs.
Terriers then finished the half strongly. Hudson was gifted possession just outside the Morpeth box, but instead of lobbing the ball over the keeper, who was in no-man’s-land, he shot straight at Dryden.
The Highwaymen controlled the game after the break but looked like they were playing within themselves, although they went close twice.
A quick free kick caught the home defence flat-footed, but after Taylor drove a brilliant cross across the box, Beal produced a fantastic reflex save to deny Fry, who was two yards away.
The hosts knew they needed something from the game in the fight to stay in division one, and a double substitution was made on 57 minutes, with Michael Baxter and Lee Johnson coming on for Ryan Drane and Marc Allen.
Bedlington’s first chance of the second half was not until the 67th minute when Wright’s free kick from 25 yards out whistled past the post.
However, the forward was gifted another opportunity from a set-piece, this time from a good 30 yards from goal.
Wright, who scored a hat-trick on Saturday, stepped up and curled the ball with pace into the top corner for the equaliser.
This gave the hosts a lift and they were not settling for just a point as they pressed for a winner.
But it was Morpeth who managed to capitalise on some questionable marking from a corner only minutes after a Steven Anderson effort just went over the bar.
A quick corner was taken and Fry took advantage of the time and space allowed, heading home the cross at the back post just nine minutes from the end.
The Highwaymen saw the game out professionally and ensured all the points would be going back to Craik Park.
Ferrell’s men have it all to do now if they are to avoid relegation, and it looks like the points that have been dropped throughout the season from positive positions could come back to haunt them.
Bedlington Terriers: Beal, Pendlebury, Ferrell, Allen (Johnson 57), Dummett, Errington, M Stephenson, King, Hudson, Wright, Drane (Baxter 57). Subs not used: T Stephenson, Bartlett, Nellis.
Morpeth Town: Dryden, Henderson, Novak, Sayer, Reid, Hiftle, Taylor (Carr 64), Graydon, Taggert (Patton 46), Anderson, Fry. Subs not used: Harrison, Jewels.