Shildon came from a goal behind to ease to a 6-1 victory against Bedlington Terriers in their FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie. Bedlington took an early lead thanks to Marcus Brown, but Shildon soon found their rhythm to dominate the tie, especially after Brown saw red halfway through the first half. Goals from Lewis Wing & Samuel Hodgson gave the hosts a half-time lead, before Shildon ran riot in a crazy five minute period in the second half. A hat-trick from David Ferguson plus a goal from Ben Wood all came in the blink of an eye as Bedlington went from a goal down to a mauling almost instantly.
The Northern League Division Two side stunned the home fans four minutes into the contest by taking a surprise lead. Kyle Oliver played a sublime through ball in behind the Shildon defence which invited Brown to go head to head with goalkeeper Nick Liversedge. Brown complimented his initial surge of pace with a guided finish into the far corner after Liversedge failed to smother the Bedlington attacker.
Shildon now knew they had a game on their hands, however any nerves were soon settled in the 14th minute as they levelled proceedings. Wing was the man to restore parity, as he guided a low free-kick round the wall into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. Some may say Dan Mullen in the Terriers goal should have saved Wing’s effort, but the ball bounced just in front of him to make the save slightly more tricky.
The Northern League champions were beginning to find their stride as they looked comfortable in possession, as well as seeing headers go over the bar from Anthony Bell & Michael Rae. The turning point in the match came in the 22nd minute when Brown was awarded a red card for a reckless late tackle on Hodgson. From thereon in, Bedlington failed to impose any sort of authority on the contest as Shildon began to take complete control.
Bell and Hodgson began to dictate play for the hosts after the sending off, with the former going close from 25 yards after his shot took a deflection behind. Ferguson was also playing an integral part in Shildon’s attacks, and he almost capped off a fine move shortly after the half hour mark. He strided forward before playing a one-two with Bell, and was unfortunate to miss the target as he guided his effort just wide.
Shildon were now knocking on the door at every opportunity, and they were a joy to watch too, as Bell nutmegged his man inside the area ahead of sliding the ball across the six-yard box for Dodds, who saw his shot deflected behind. Shildon did eventually find their reward for the bombardment of the Bedlington goal, thanks to a somewhat fortuitous strike from Hodgson. His effort from some 25 yards out took a wicked deflection over Mullen despite his best attempt to claw the ball away, but the shot looped up with more height than the keeper could deal with and trickled into the net. The hosts kept their best foot forward until the half time whistle, although they could not add to their advantage going into the break.
Shildon began the second half in rampant fashion with an array of chances coming Bedlington’s way. Wing had an effort blocked off the line, then Dodds nearly added to the scoresheet on two occasions with the visitors goal living a charmed life. Dodds firstly hit a venomous half-volley which produced a superb save from Mullen, then headed over at the far post after meeting a Wing cross. Mullen was well and truly keeping his side in the tie in the opening ten minutes of the second half, as he spared his team’s blushes once again to palm behind a good effort from Wing on the angle.
The game then reached the 64 minute mark which was significant as this was the starting point for Bedlington’s capitulation, where they conceded four goals in almost as many minutes. The first came from Ferguson who superbly curled his free-kick inside the near post off the underside of the bar from the right hand side of the area.
The next goal was a fine team goal as Bedlington were caught out at the back. Wing produced a great run down the right, before he centered the ball for Dodds. He then in turn slipped a perfect pass in behind the defence down the left wing for Ferguson, who added his second with a composed finish inside the near post.
The pressure was suddenly relentless as Harwood even found the time to smash an effort against the crossbar, before Wood made it 5-1 in the 66th minute after coming off the bench. This time Ferguson was the architect as he played the ball inside the box from the left wing for Wood to apply the simple finish. The incredible rally of goals was not over yet as Ferguson completed an incredible quickfire hat-trick. Wood was brought down in the box by Mullen when clean through which left the referee with no choice but to award a spot-kick. Ferguson stepped up to send Mullen the wrong way to astonishingly make it 6-1 in no time at all. Even though Bedlington were down to ten men, there can be no excuses for conceding four goals in such a short amount of time.
Although Shildon calmed down in terms of goals for the rest of the contest, they did have a few more chances to add another to the scoreboard. Paul Connor came off the bench and looked lively as he forced Mullen into a save with his legs, and Wood curled an effort around the far post after Bedlington failed to clear their lines, as the pressure was maintained by the hosts. Ferguson was almost unplayable in the second half, and he produced some impressive skill to advance to the byline before Wing finished the move with a shot into the side netting. With four minutes remaining there would be one final threat to the Bedlington goal with Mullen the saviour once again. Robson was a constant option down the left throughout the game, and he finally managed to have a strike at goal as he forced the keeper to dive down low to palm his well struck half-volley behind.
It was a superbly entertaining victory for Shildon, albeit versus ten men for the majority of the game, but their class showed on the day. They now face Kendal Town in the Preliminary Round on the 20th August.
Shildon: Liversedge, Harwood, Robson, Dodds (Doninger 69), Moore, Groves, Bell (Wood 57), Hodgson, Rae (Connor 65), Wing, Ferguson
Bedlington Terriers: Mullen, Egen, M. Stephenson, Oliver (Anderson 76), Stoneman, Bailes, King, T. Stephenson (Cairns 65), Scott (Allen 74), Wright, Brown