BEDLINGTON Terriers fans had high expectations of returning from Cumbria with three points when they visited Penrith on Saturday, especially as their opponents were languising 19th in the league.
The Terriers line-up showed no changes from the 3-0 win over Marske.
Before the match, there was a minute’s silence for Pc David Rathband, who was a former Northern League referee and linesman.
The early stages were scrappy with neither team able to keep possession or string any passes together, and it was an unattractive first ten minutes with no clear chances.
But the first opening brought Penrith a goal on 11 minutes.
A right wing cross to the back post was headed clear but only as far as Clasper, lurking on the edge of the box, and he unleashed a powerful right foot shot that flew through a crowd of players and past the unsighted Craig Pickering.
Bedlington found the Penrith defence well marshalled by skipper Alan Gray and were restricted to half chances and missed opportunities.
Penrith almost doubled their lead on 16 minutes.
A long ball saw striker Coleman clear, and with Pickering well out of his goal, Coleman tried to lob the keeper only to see his effort bounce a couple of yards harmlessly wide.
The let off proved to be a wake-up call for Bedlington.
In the 24th minute assistant referee Kyle stumbled and badly twist his ankle.
There was a lengthy stoppage as he was given treatment and eventually replaced by an official from the Penrith team.
Once play resumed there was more urgency from Bedlington and the passes started to find their men, with possession almost completely under the control of the Terriers.
On 30 minutes Stuart Elliott found himself free 25 yards out, and he tried his luck but could not keep his drive down.
Terriers immediately came on the attack again and it was Tony Shandran who picked up possession out on the right flank, cut across the box onto his left foot and struck a fine shot only to see it rise and clear the bar.
Play switched to the other end on 33 minutes and Penrith striker Coleman dragged an effort wide when he should have hit the target.
Bedlington finally got back on level terms on 36 minutes.
Steve Baptist pumped a left wing free kick into the box and, with pressure from Chris Carr, goalkeeper Holland dropped the ball and Carr made no mistake from two yards out.
Bedlington almost went ahead three minutes later when Shandran again tested Holland from distance but the keeper was up to the task and tipped the powerful shot over the bar.
From the subsequent corner, the ball was fired deep to the back post where Carr came steaming in but he could not control his header and it narrowly cleared the bar.
The Terriers were on top but could not convert their superiority into goals.
But almost straight from the second half kick-off they went in front. And it was leading scorer Shandran who got it.
A long diagonal pass into the inside left channel was picked up by the striker and he took the ball in his stride and from just inside the area shot across the keeper and into the right hand corner of the net – his 150th goal for Bedlington Terriers.
An injury to John Brackstone’s hamstring forced management duo Tony Lowery and Keith Perry into making a change, Glen Robson being the replacement on 53 minutes.
Soon after, the lively Robson set up a great chance when he tricked his way to the by-line on the right and fired a great ball into the penalty area but as it fizzed across the face of goal, there was nobody in a red shirt to apply the finishing touch.
Another change for Bedlington came on 66 minutes as the tiring Baptist was replaced by Colin Morton.
There was almost calamity for Bedlington on 70 minutes as the defence and goalkeeper got into a right mess.
An incorrect shout for the keeper to come and collect allowed Coleman to steal in on a through ball but he could only prod his chance wide with Pickering stranded.
Robson had a chance on 79 minutes to extend Bedlington’s lead when he found himself with space in front of goal but could only plant his firm header into the arms of goalkeeper Holland.
A minute later and another chance fell to Robson, this time he could only drag his shot wide when well placed.
This profligacy in front of goal would prove costly on 89 minutes with danger man Coleman seizing onto a loose ball in the area and this time making no mistake as he fired past Pickering for the equaliser.
A heart breaker for Bedlington but they only had themselves to blame as they should have had the game wrapped up.
With the referee adding on six minutes there was still everything to play for with both Shandran and Robson having great chances to steal the win.
However, time ran out with neither side able to get the crucial goal and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
A valuable point for Penrith in their struggle to avoid relegation and certainly two points dropped by Bedlington who dominated for long periods without producing the goals to match their supremacy.