Terriers bite back to claim point at North Shields
North Shields endured their second frustrating result in the space of five days as they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation battlers Bedlington Terriers in front of their own fans at the Daren Persson Stadium.
Robins manager Graham Fenton rung the changes after the disappointing 3-1 defeat at Seaham Red Star in midweek, with full backs Jack Donnison and Marc Lancaster both restored to the starting line-up.
Gary Ormston and Peter Glen-Ravenhill were added to the squad, having missed Tuesday night’s defeat in County Durham, while Chris Bannon replaced Sean McCafferty between the sticks.
Shields came out of the traps with early intent with Gareth Bainbridge looking particularly keen in attack.
A scuffed volley and a chance towards the near post both failed to hit the target, and partner Ryan McGorrigan drew a simple first save of the game from Terriers stopper Dan Staples.
Bedlington had set out their stall to repel the Robins attack, opting to deploy a back five while Shields looked keen to exploit the left flank in particular, Lancaster and Dean Holmes finding plenty of space to cause havoc out wide.
But for all the hosts’ build-up play, the final ball was often found wanting.
Andy Ferrell’s visiting side did possess a threat in the form of Jonathan Wright.
It was the former Heaton Stannington forward who beat the home defence to the ball on halfway, playing in Michael Baxter. The winger cut inside and angled a shot at goal, but a fine block from man of-the match Curtis Coppen nullified the threat, before captain Jack Errington headed over from a corner.
North Shields stepped it up again thereafter, peppering the Terriers’ box with a succession of crosses, none of which fell kindly to a red shirt at the vital moment.
Glen-Ravenhill and McGorrigan both saw shots blocked at close quarters by the dogged rearguard before the ball was belatedly scrambled to safety.
Having scored twice in three games, Bainbridge looked likely to get on the scoresheet once more, and came within a lick of paint of doing so as the half hour approached.
The impressive Ormston played a tidy one-two with Holmes and whipped a cross towards the near post, where the number nine bundled the ball onto the woodwork, a grateful Staples reacting quickly to gather moments later.
Despite Shields’ dominance in the first half, Bedlington could have headed into half-time with a narrow lead to protect.
Wright managed to evade the attention of three markers and squeeze a curling shot away from the edge of the area, but Bannon reacted well to tip the shot over the crossbar.
He had to be similarly alert when dealing with a dangerous Marc Dummett corner, touching the in-swinging delivery onto the woodwork.
Normal service resumed after the break as the hosts began on the front foot, and once again were left ruing their luck in front of goal. A Michael McKeown cross was sent over Staples and towards the back of the net by Bainbridge, but his looping header was cleared off the line by Keelan Nellis.
Bainbridge drilled wide and both Glen-Ravenhill and Holmes could not unduly test Staples as Shields searched for that elusive opener.
The Terriers remained dangerous on the counter, and looked certain to score when Dummett found the prolific Marc Walton in the area, however, Bannon was quick to read the situation, rushing out to block the former Newcastle United trainee’s goalbound volley.
The Bedlington left back, older brother of Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett, was perhaps a touch fortunate not to concede a penalty kick before the hour mark, a slide on McGorrigan after the ball was played by the latter going unpunished by referee Mick McDonough.
Substitute Daniel Wilson headed over and Bainbridge had one shot blocked and lashed another wide as the hosts toiled to little avail in front of goal.
With 16 minutes left on the clock, North Shields finally broke down the most stubborn of defences via a set piece.
McKeown was again the provider, lofting a high cross into the area where Bainbridge eluded the attention of Dummett to ghost in at the back post, nodding a header past Staples to the delight of the Daren Persson crowd.
Shields were expected to claim a narrow but deserved victory, but Bedlington restored parity just six minutes later.
Substitute Liam Hudson forced Bannon to parry behind, and this time the goalkeeper could not keep out another in-swinging Dummett corner, Marc Walton doing enough on the line to prevent the Shields stopper from getting to the ball.
The hosts went in desperate search of a late winner, but the Terriers remained resolute.
Another goalbound shot from Bainbridge was blocked amidst an almighty goalmouth scramble as Shields poured forward.
The Robins legend was wiped out on halfway by Errington, previously booked for scything down substitute Dan Wilson when striding into space on halfway.
Although Jordan Summerly was played in behind the defence a moment later, the referee was reluctant to play the advantage, and another late opportunity went begging.
Holmes stung the palms of Staples with a fierce drive, and saw a tamer shot easily smothered by the goalkeeper as the final minutes ebbed away, with Shields left to rue their misfortunes once more in the final third.
The latest in a long line of consecutive home games sees North Shields face another stern test in midweek. North Yorkshire outfit Marske United are the visitors on Wednesday evening, the mouth-watering tie pitting the incumbent FA Vase holders against the current Northern League champions.
North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Lancaster, McKeown (Richardson), Parker, Coppen, Glen-Ravenhill (Summerly), Ormston, Bainbridge, McGorrigan (Wilson), Holmes. Subs not used: Hughes, Brooking.
Match highlights can be viewed online at NSFCTV,