Bedlington Terriers...2 Longhoughton Rangers...3
BEDLINGTON and Longhoughton U9s put together a wonderful five-goal bouquet to place before the FA Vase encounter between Bedlington Terriers and Sunderland RCA.
Welfare Park, home of Bedlington Terriers, was bathed in glorious late autumnal sunshine as the two teams took to the field on Saturday.
This friendly fixture was given added meaning as it was the first game to be officially timed by Bedlington’s new electronic scoreboard.
Its digital edifice stood tall above the pitch, testament to the Terriers’ American sponsor, Rich’s, and the scoreboard read three minutes and three seconds when Longhoughton’s first meaningful attack ended in a Gareth Rickaby cross/shot fizzing wide of the Terriers’ goal.
Longhoughton were unlucky not to be the first of the teams to register on the aforementioned scoreboard when Thorsten Robinson hit the post but, surprisingly, considering their lack of early possession, it was the Terriers who scored first.
An expansive Longhoughton cross-field pass was intercepted by a direct Terriers attack and the resulting goalmouth scramble saw Bedlington hit the post three times before the ball was swept into the Longhoughton net (1-0).
Bedlington almost added to their lead but Niall Murtagh, Longhoughton’s goal keeper, reacted smartly to palm the ball away from his near-post.
The first quarter of the match, however, ended with Longhoughton getting back on even terms.
First Roan Brayson eluded his marker on the left and sent in a low shot which had the opposition keeper scurrying across his goal to palm the shot past the post.
Then Joseph Cormack found Brayson again in space and this time his mazy run ended with a shot drilled into the Terriers’ right-hand corner of the net (1-1).
Longhoughton started the second quarter in the same mood with which they had finished the first.
This time it was Sam Dover driving down the left flank and his cross into the box was touched under the sprawling keeper and into the net by Longhoughton’s Lewis Fairbairn (1-2).
Dover was enjoying a glorious spell of penetrating possession and the Bedlington scoreboard read 17 minutes and 10 seconds when another Dover cross saw Fairbairn notch his second and Longhoughton’s third goal of the afternoon (1-3).
Longhoughton entered the third quarter threatening to cut loose and score further goals against a struggling Bedlington side.
Cormack was at the centre of everything Longhoughton were producing and he resembled a young Ferenc Puskas as he pushed slide-rule passes through the Bedlington serried ranks.
Yet the fourth Longhoughton goal did not arrive, although it came close to arriving as Cormack passed the ball to Rickaby who played the ball back inside for Fairbairn to unleash a screamer of a shot which evaded the diving Terriers’ keeper yet thumped against the Bedlington cross bar and away.
The crowd gave an audible gasp, seemingly shocked at the shooting power produced by a mere eight-year-old, but before they’d settled, it needed an acrobatic diving header by Longhoughton’s Thorsten Robinson to avert a threatening Bedlington attack.
Fairbairn’s audacious attempt seemed to spark Bedlington back into life and it needed a brilliant tackle by Zac Stephenson to thwart a Bedlington attack.
If Bedlington had moved the ball quicker they would have had four attackers running unopposed toward the Longhoughton goal, but this was made irrelevant due to Stephenson’s decisive actions.
The final quarter began with Bedlington striking the left-hand post of the Longhoughton goal.
Then Joe Archbold was forced to deflect away a well-struck Bedlington attempt at goal.
The resulting corner saw Murtagh make a great reflex save before Rickaby shepherded the ball off the Longhoughton goal line and away.
Longhoughton responded to Bedlington’s increased attacking prowess by redoubling their own attacks.
Robinson hit the side netting and then Brayson beat two Bedlington defenders before forcing the Bedlington keeper into an excellent save. This was followed by Joe Archbold finding Rickaby on the right wing and his great cross was headed just wide by Stephenson.
Yet it was Bedlington who scored the next goal.
The ball fell kindly for a Bedlington midfielder and his run on goal was met by an equally good finish into the corner of the Longhoughton goal. Fortunately for Longhoughton, this goal proved to be the last (2-3)
The new scoreboard read that Bedlington had scored twice yet their guests had scored three. Longhoughton Rangers had claimed another victory and it had been recorded in glorious digital detail.