HAVING seen the recent impressive form come to an end against FA Vase holders Whitley Bay, Bedlington Terriers FC were looking to build on the good comeback against Consett and the victory away to local Wansbeck rivals Ashington when travelled to The Ron Grieg Stadium to face Billingham Town on Saturday.
The Terriers were unable to start with the same 11 from the Ashington game as full back John Brackstone had a groin injury, so he could only take a place on the bench with Ben Christensen coming in to replace him.
The first half started in a scrappy manner with neither side able to control possession and create any clear cut chances until the 22nd minute.
Then a long through ball saw Chapman beat the offside trap with the ball bouncing just in front of the keeper. His attempt was well saved by Billingham stopper Briggs, who had rushed out to confront him and had managed to get his body in the way to prevent the goalbound effort.
The second chance fell the way of the Terriers shortly afterwards when a long sweeping cross from Chris Carr was headed goalbound by the league’s top scorer Alex Benjamin, coming in from the left hand side in front of his marker.
He glanced his header towards the left hand side of the goal only to again find Briggs diving and catching the ball cleanly.
Billingham almost found themselves in the lead when a weaving run through the Terriers defence by Cossavella saw his effort hit the bar before being cleared. A warning of what was to come.
The game’s only goal came when Butterworth was allowed to cut inside from the right, this time the frame of the goal did not come to the Terriers’ rescue with the ball finding the bottom left hand corner past Newton.
Just before half-time, Steven Baptist, on loan from Gateshead, was replaced by Peter Snowdon.
Baptist had earlier taken a knock, the change meaning Snowdon partnering Carr in the centre of defence with the experienced Stuart Elliott pushing up to midfield.
The second half started as uneventful as the first, with the home side in the lead and able to sit back, while Bedlington were unable to create any chances of note.
In a surprise move, leading scorer Benjamin was withdrawn and replaced by Richard Hodgson, with the side pushing for an equaliser while Christensen was replaced by Brackstone.
Terriers almost levelled on 63 minutes when a corner from the left was swung over, headed up by the defender and was punched by the keeper only to be swung back in to Hodgson, unmarked at the back post, but he was unable to direct his header towards goal.
Bedlington captain Stuart Elliott was shown a yellow card and was perhaps lucky to have not been sent off on 80 minutes after an off the ball incident.
A run down the right wing from Anthony Shandran saw him beat two defenders in the box before firing an effort which was well blocked by Chris Dunwell.
Billingham Town made their first change of the day with Flockett replacing Laing after 82 minutes.
They then made a double substitution with only two minutes of normal time left with Boynton and Johnson coming on to replace Butterworth and Roberts.
Billingham Town’s sponsors Motif8 voted Dunwell as the man of the match for the home side with Mark Convery taking the honours for the visiting Terriers
Having created the better chances, Billingham Town deserved the three points, although they were forced to hold on at times late on with some late blocks and goalmouth scrambles keeping the Terriers at bay.
Throughout the game, however, Bedlington were poor and did not test the keeper with shots on target.
Bedlington Terriers: Newton, Phillipson, Christensen (Brackstone 60), Elliott, Carr, Baptist (Snowdon 44), Chapman, Convery, Benjamin (Hodgson 60), Shandran, Stewart. Subs not used: Morton, Dugdale.