BEDLINGTON Terriers’ traumatic season hit a new low on Saturday afternoon as they lost 3-2 against Sunderland RCA at Welfare Park.
Before kick-off it was apparent goalkeeper Jack Norton was a no show, meaning cash-strapped Bedlington were forced to put right back Craig Baxter between the posts.
Things went from bad to worse as Terriers gave away two penalties, both converted by former player Jamie Clarke, and a late goal to substitute Josh Home-Jackson.
Mark Doninger and Chris Carr got consolations for Terriers.
After a scrappy start, it was Bedlington who were in the ascendency.
On 12 minutes Paul Brayson fashioned a chance for Doninger in the penalty area.
The midfielder saw his shot well saved by Craig Shields but the rebound fell to Dylan Williamson who rolled the ball back to Doninger, who tried to poke home but the ball was cleared off the line.
Brayson was once more the creator on 18 minutes as Bedlington broke through midfield. Thirty yards out he rolled the ball left to Williamson who took a touch before firing a right footed effort at goal, only to be denied by the legs of Shields.
The opening goal came as the clock ticked towards the half hour mark.
After a defensive mistake Clarke broke behind the Terriers centre backs and tried rounding Baxter, only to be clipped by the stand-in keeper. The referee showed Baxter a yellow card before Clarke stepped up and rolled the ball into the bottom right hand corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.
It was the first chance of any note for the visitors.
Bedlington almost replied within six minutes as Mark Convery picked out Doninger in the penalty area.
Doininger turned and chipped Shields but a covering defender managed to head the ball behind for a corner.
RCA should have doubled their lead right on half-time as a Shields goal kick was misplayed by Steven Stewart, allowing Gary Shaw to break in behind the backline and face Baxter one-on-one. The winger tried chipping the keeper but Baxter had it covered and easily claimed.
Early in the second half another defensive slip, this time by Phil Cave, allowed Elliott Cutts to get in behind the defence once more down the left. The midfielder hit a rocket of a left footed shot towards the top left hand corner, but Baxter denied him with a tip over the bar.
The referee was left with a huge decision on 63 minutes.
It seemed Cave had brought down a striker as the last defender on his way to a one-on-one with Baxter. Neither the referee nor the assistant called it up and play went on.
Soon after the ball went out of play and the RCA players surrounded the official, with Cutts booked for his over zealous appeal.
Within a minute Bedlington had pulled level.
A long ball from the back found Brayson in the penalty area. Despite being fouled the striker managed to roll the ball off to Doninger who hit home from 20 yards with his right foot.
The referee then booked the defender for the foul on Brayson.
As Bedlington began to rise to the challenge, the referee awarded a second penalty to the visitors, this time for a foul by Chris Carr.
Clarke once more hit his effort low to the right, with Baxter again going the wrong way.
It became 3-1 on 83 minutes. A long ball forced Baxter out of his goal on the right hand edge of the box. Neither he nor Stewart were able to clear the ball and Josh Home-Jackson stole in and rolled the ball into the open goal.
Bedlington scored a late consolation in injury time as Carr found himself in the visitor’s penalty area. The defender performed an overhead kick and bundled the ball home, making it 3-2 with almost the last kick of the game.
Bedlington Terriers: C Baxter, S Stewart, P Cave (K Dobson), C Carr, A Leeson, C Morton, M Convery, M Doninger, P Brayson, D Williamson (M Brittain), S Baptist.