BEDLINGTON Terriers defeated local rivals Ashington 4-0 in the Wansbeck derby on Bank Holiday Monday at Welfare Park to maintain their 100 per cent record in five competitive games so far this season.
But it took an exceptional display by Terriers keeper Kevin Morton, plus strikes from Stuart Elliott, Steven Baptist and two more from top goal-scorer Paul Brayson, including a penalty, to earn the home side the three points.
Bedlington nearly scored within four minutes when a Steven Baptist header from a Mark Convery corner was cleared off the line by Ashington’s Paul Antony.
On ten minutes went close when Morton made an excellent save to deny Andrew Johnson after he headed goalwards Phil Cave’s corner.
On 24 minutes Bedlington took the lead through an unlikely source.
Stuart Elliott picked up the ball from Convery on the left hand side of midfield 40 yards out, and with Ashington’s defence failing to close him down he reached the penalty area and hit a right footed shot past keeper Karl Dryden at his near post.
Ashington almost replied immediately when the Bedlington defence gifted Marc Walton a run at the home side’s goal, but again Morton was up to the challenge, and seconds later the keeper was in action again, saving well from Callum Little.
Phil Bannister almost doubled the Terriers lead on 31 minutes after an excellent cross from the left by Elliott. Bannister headed goalwards, but Dryden tipped the ball over.
But Bedlington did make it 2-0 minutes. After a long ball forward from the back, Bannister took the ball down before laying the ball off to Brayson and he slotted home from 12 yards.
Morton was in action twice more before the half ended, making tremendous saves to deny Johnson at point blank range then Little, tipping his shot away from goal after an excellent strike.
Bedlington began to dominate early in the second half but could not find a third goal. Both Brayson and Bannister forced Dryden into saves in the opening minutes.
Cave had a chance for Ashington on 58 minutes as his 30-yard free kick was creeping into the corner of the net until Morton made another diving save to his right.
On 65 minutes, Ashington once more were denied by Morton. This time a Cave corner was met by the head of Craig Scott and the keeper pulled off an outstanding save.
The game was put to bed on 74 minutes on the counter-attack. Andy Ferrell received the ball on halfway and quickly found Brayson on the right wing. He ran to the by-line before playing the ball across the six-yard box and Baptist finished a first time effort into the top right hand corner.
There was still time for Bedlington to score once more as Brayson broke away only to be brought down by Cave for a penalty. Brayson put the spot kick into the bottom left hand corner of Dryden’s goal.
Bedlington: K Morton, C Baxter, S Elliot, S Bowey, A Wilkinson (J Novak), A Leason, M Convery (K Wrightson), A Ferrell, P Brayson, P Bannister (C Morton), S Baptist.
Ashington: K Dryden, G Williams, P Cave, P Antony, L Aitkin, C Scott, L Storey (G Bainbridge), J Taylor, M Walton, A Johnson, C Little (M O’Dea).
Attendance - 320.