Town (Home), Friendly, 06/08/05
by Jeff King
The Terriers final warm-up game before the
season commences saw ambitious Second Division side Northallerton
visit Welfare Park and on the evidence of the 90 minutes it
is the visitors who look better prepared for the season ahead.
However, Bedlington were missing
Robbie Cockburn, Dean Gibb, John Ludlow, John Milner and Steven
Preen who were all on holiday plus Craig Bryce, Graeme Cairns
and Paul Dunn through injury and Gareth Powell because of work
Still the XI who took the field
could all lay claim to a starting place in next week's league
opener and should have been too strong for their lower league
It was the visitors who had the
first chance of a competitive first half but pre-season signing
Carl Chillingsworth failed to hit the target with only Michael
Robinson to beat. The Terriers responded under the prompting
of Paul Robinson and the calm influence of veteran Michael Cross
and began to assert some pressure.
Robinson produced a lovely jinking
run to take him past three defenders but his low shot from just
inside the area was well held by Town keeper Sam Dobbs. Dobbs
did even better later in the half producing a marvellous one
hand reaction save to keep out Tony Shandran's 10 yard half
However, in truth a blank score
sheet at half time came as no surprise as although both sides
had threatened the quality of play in the final third was missing
and neither goal keeper had a great deal to do.
The second period was almost a non-event
as anything the Terriers tried invariably broke down at the
business end of the field and they were unable to breakthrough
a resolute Northallerton defence. As the game wore on it was
the visitors who looked the stronger and began to get on top.
Michael Robinson had to be at his
athletic best to turn over a 20-yard Chillingsworth drive before
Northallerton grabbed the only goal of the game with ten minutes
remaining. A long ball out of defence saw Robinson have to come
from his box to clear.
Unfortunately his clearance only
fell to the feet of John Ryan who chipped the ball from fully
thirty yards back over the stranded Robinson and in to an empty
net. The Terriers shorn of substitutes simply didn't have the
energy to produce a late rally and the game ended with Northallerton
taking an unexpected win from their travels.
Clearly after the game joint manager
Tony Lowery had more of an eye on the game seven days hence
than on what he had just seen. "I've told the lads that
today was not good enough but they have to put it behind them.
We'll have two hard training sessions this week, hopefully one
or two back and even possibly a new face or two. We know Morpeth
will be a hard game and we have to lift ourselves but I'm sure
we'll be ready."
Ready is exactly what Bedlington
must be as they face a daunting first ten days competitive action.
The game next Saturday at Craik Park, Morpeth will be followed
on Wednesday 17th August with the Terriers first home league
game against West Allotment Celtic, kick-off 7:30 p.m.
Bedlington then face Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics twice in
the space of four days. The vitally important F.A. Cup Extra
Preliminary Qualifying tie takes place on Saturday 20th August
at Benfield and then the Terriers are due to return to the same
ground on Tuesday 23rd August for an Arngrove Northern League
It all amounts to a tough start
for a Bedlington outfit that is much changed from the side and
squad who ended last season at Welfare Park.
JOHN MILNER'S TESTIMONIAL MATCH
Milner's Past & Present
Terriers Select v North East Legends Select
Won 4-3 (Milner*2, Bond, Middleton)
by Jeff King
Thankfully the poor weather of the
previous few days relented and John's big day was played out
on a dry and reasonably warm day. The teams taking part were
shorn of a few of the promised names but there was still plenty
of talent on display for the crowd to enjoy. One of those thanks
to the generosity of the English Cricket Board, being paceman
Steven Harmison who was able to line up in the Terriers side
alongside brother James and Uncle Mel.
John's side lined up as follows :-
Gareth Powell - Steve Harmison - Martin Pike - Warren Teasdale
- James Harmison - Gary Middleton - Micky Cross - Steve Boon
- Richie Bond - John Milner & Mel Harmison.
On the bench John had Tommy Ditchburn - Sam Kitchen - Lee Boyle
and Gareth McAlindon
For The Legends we had :-
Kevin Carr (ex-Newcastle) - John Anderson (ex-Newcastle) - Derek
Bell (ex Newcastle and former Gateshead F.C. Manager) - Mick
Tait (ex Hartlepool/Darlington and ex Blyth Spartans Manager)
- Gary Bennett (ex Sunderland) - Martin Gray (ex Sunderland)
- Alan Shoulder (ex Newcastle) - Ian Bogie (ex Newcastle &
Bedlington) - Paul Baker (ex Hartlepool and Bedlington and another
former Blyth Spartans manager) - Jeff Wrightson (ex Newcastle)
& Brian Atkinson (ex Sunderland)
Micky Horswill a member of the Sunderland 1973 cup winning side
was joined on the bench by Dion Raitt from Durham City and the
side was managed by Joe Allon (ex Hartlepool and Newcastle).
It was excellent to see so many ex-Terrier legends back together
again to honour John and whilst the makeup of The Legends side
was not quite what was expected they still had several well
known names and faces in their ranks who showed they still had
quite a bit of footballing ability in their boots.
The crowd was treated to an entertaining match that finally
ended with a 4 - 3 win for the "home" side who had
taken the lead early on through a good finish from Richie Bond
who celebrated his return to Welfare Park in characteristic
understated fashion. However, there is no truth in the rumour
that the watching Terriers officials moved in with a contract
offer after the game !
Martin Gray brought the Legends level with a neat chip over
Gareth Powell after controlling John Anderson's diagonal through
ball. And it was 2 - 1 to the Legends at the at the break after
Micky Cross was harshly penalised for a foul on Paul Baker who
showed all his ex-professional know how to win the spot-kick
and then expertly stepped up to send Powell the wrong way with
In the second period Alan Shoulder rolled back the years with
an immaculate chip from 20 yards to increase the lead to 3 -
1 before Bedlington came storming back. Kevin Carr was forced
in to two fine saves to keep out Milner but shortly after he
left the field and the Terriers took advantage. Mel Harmison
provided the cross for Milner to tuck away his first and then
Gary Middleton set-up the Testimonial man for a trademark header
at the back post to level the scores.
Fittingly late on John had a hand in the winner as he set-up
Middleton for a tap-in to secure the spoils went to Bedlington
although the real winner on the day was Milner himself who enjoyed
his deserved day in the limelight.
The only disappointing aspect of a thoroughly entertaining day
was the poor response from the Bedlington public. Without taking
anything away from those who did attend the attendance was disappointing
especially when considering the excellent service and success
John has given to the Town's football side.
Shankhouse (Home), Friendly, 27/07/05
Won 4-1 (Walklate, Shandran, Douglas*2)
By Neil Douglass
The Terriers were able to welcome back Steven Preen, Sam Kitchen,
James Lang, James Harmison, Keith Douglas and Steven Walklate
following the defeat to Washington 4 days earlier but were forced
to reckon without their two first team keepers, several other
first teamers and new signing Paul Robinson. The hosts were
therefore forced to play youngster Chris Appleby in goals for
his first ever appearance in a Terriers shirt.
The match got underway with the
worst possible opening for Bedlington, Shankhouse taking the
lead within 20 seconds of the whistle. A James Harmison ball
to Kitchen put the latter under pressure, the challenge in the
air from Hogg presented Simon Muckle with a free run on goal,
he coolly went on to round Appleby and slot home the early opener.
Bedlington were finding it hard
to get going in the opening stages and their only effort of
note came from a Keith Douglas free kick who saw his low effort
saved, not quite the outcome he had the previous week from the
The game went from bad to terrible
for Bedlington just before half time, Paul Dunn who missed last
season due to a cruciate ligament injury appeared to have a
recurrence of that injury and was stretchered off the pitch,
James Lang replacing him. It remains to be seen just what the
damage is and we can only hope it is a muscle injury and not
the ligament again, we all had high hopes of seeing Dunny have
a marvelous season and it is the last thing anyone would wish
on the lad, we all hope he makes a very speedy recovery.
At half time Bedlington made several
substitutions to liven things up and it worked a treat. Within
minutes of the restart one of those subs Shandran powered a
Walklate (another sub) cross goalwards, Coleman in the visitors
goal pulling off an instinctive save to tip the ball onto the
bar and over.
Bedlington drew level on 50 minutes,
just after O'Neill had spurned a glorious Shankhouse chance
when he dragged a shot well wide of goal. The leveller came
courtesy of Shandrans skill and Walklates clinical finishing,
the former dancing past three defenders to square the ball unselfishly
to Walkalte just inside the box and he placed his shot beyond
the reach of the 'keeper and into the net.
Coleman was needed again to turn
a brilliant Douglas free kick to the top corner around the post
but he was helpless in the 62nd minute when Bedlington finally
took the lead. A deep Walklate cross looked all day to be Colemans
but Shandran somehow leapt above the 'keeper to send a backwards
header over Coleman and into the empty net.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining
Keith Douglas got the goal that he had been threatening when
he was sent through by Shandran, the midfielder went on to produce
a well placed low finish which went in via the post, the 'keeper
having no chance. The scoring was wrapped up 9 minutes later
when that man Shandran again caused havoc at the back, showing
some outrageous skill to leave himself one on one with the 'keeper.
At the last minute his touch deceived him on the bobbly pitch
and the ball rolled away from him, but he was still able to
recover enough to prod the ball past the keeper and into the
path of Douglas who had the simple task of putting the ball
into the empty net.
With Lang and Shandran both going
close in the final stages, Shankhouse were fortunate the scoreline
wasn't worse, something their battling first half performance
didn't deserve. So another good win for Bedlington as their
pre season campaign rolls on, only the news about Paul Dunn
dampened the atmosphere, a cruel blow for the gifted defender,
news will follow once the club is fully aware of the details.
Washington (Home), Friendly, 23/07/05
Lost 2-1 (Freeman)
By Neil Douglass
A severely depleted Terriers side welcomed second division Washington
to Welfare Park with the hosts looking to continue their fine
pre season campaign to date. With big wins over Swarland, Kenneck
Ryhope and Walker Central already under their belts, Washington
would prove a much sterner test.
The starting line up was missing
several big Terrier names, missing were Steve Preen, Sam Kitchen,
Robbie Cockburn, Steve Walklate, Michael Robinson, Colin Morton,
Keith Douglas, James Harmison, James Lang and Justin Keegan
(although he made it for the second half following a dash from
the airport). This shortage of players meant that John Milner
was forced to play the game with a stomach injury, one week
before Welfare Park will welcome a host of stars for his testimonial.
Included in the line up was Jamie
Lewis (ex NUFC, Doncaster, Notts Forest), Paul Robinson (brother
of Michael and someone the management are very keen to get signed
up), Michael Robinson (ex Gateshead, Whitley Bay and Morpeth)
and new signing Julian Freeman (ex Slimbridge). On the bench
was joint manager Tony Lowery, who was there only incase of
emergency, youngster Andy Wylam and Dean Gibb.
The Terriers have made impressive
starts in the other pre-season games but it was Washington who
had the first chance within 3 minutes, Andrew Lumsden seeing
his shot tipped wide by Gareth Powell. Bedlington took a little
bit of time to get going and it took until the 18th minute for
them to get a good chance, Freeman seeing his acrobatic effort
from a Shandran cross deflected wide.
Shooting up the slope, Bedlington
took the lead in the 18th minute, Julian Freeman found himself
in space in the box and lifted a delicate lob from 16 yards
over Lenny French and into the net for his first goal in Terrier
colours. Minutes later and John Milner had a Thiery Henry-esque
back heel goal disallowed for offside.
Peter Kirkham wasted a glorious
chance to equalise before half time when he contrived to miss
an open goal, Lewis sliding in well to deflect the weak goal
bound shot around the post.
The second half saw Bedlington make
the one change with Keegan replacing Dean Gibb in defence and
with Washington having plenty of fresh legs to make an impact
it was this that would turn the game in favour of the guests.
On the hour mark Dom Rice gave the Terriers a warning with a
drive from the corner of the box which stung the fingers of
Powell but well collected at the second attempt.
Dean Gibb made a return in place
of John Milner and it was the veteran striker who had a good
chance at the other end just before the equaliser came. French
parried a shot from a scramble in the box, the loose ball fell
to Gibb and it took a strong hand from the 'keeper to turn the
Straight up the other end Washington
went and Rice pulled out an excellent finish, lifting a shot
from the edge of the box over the defence and past Powell for
a deserved leveller. And it was Rice who won the game for Washington
in the 77th minute, a right foot curler from the same spot as
his first goal arced beautifully past Powell and into the top
corner, a goal worthy of winning any game.
With the Bedlington players having
been on their last legs for the previous 15 minutes or so, it
was no surprise to see them not push for the equaliser and the
only other chance of the game came when the impressive Andrew
Potter saw Powell get a hand on his low shot with Lewis following
up to clear off the line.
So whilst most people would have
raised an eyebrow at the result, both teams can be pleased with
an excellent workout and Bedlington can be safe in the knowledge
that when it comes down to the serious business in a months
time, they will have at least 10 more players to call upon.
Walker Central (Home), Friendly, 20/07/05
Won 7-3 (Douglas*2, Shandran*2, Gibb, Cockburn, P. Robinson)
By Jeff King
The goals continued to flow for The Terriers
as they kept up their 100% pre-season record with a win over
ex-Bedlington player and Newcastle "Master" Ian Bogie's
Northern Alliance outfit. Once again the game gave Bedlington
the opportunity to look at a few triallists as well as providing
valuable match sharpness for the more established members of
The starting XI saw Gareth Powell
in goal, Colin Morton and James Harmison in defence and Keith
Douglas in midfield make their pre-season bows. They were joined
by Jamie Lewis in central defence making a bid to earn a place
in the Terriers squad this season and it was also encouraging
to see the likes of Dean Gibb, Robbie Cockburn and James Lang
on the bench.
In both of the previous friendlies
Bedlington have made a flying start and this game proved no
different. With the game in to its fourth minute Douglas announced
his return with a fantastic drive from 30 yards that flew in
to the top corner of the net past the helpless Chris Banner.
It was two goals inside the first 15 minutes for both Bedlington
and Douglas. Julian Freemen was upended just outside the box
after getting on the end of Paul Robinson's astute pass. As
Banner attempted to sort out his wall and defence, Douglas took
full advantage of the gap at the near post and cheekily curled
the ball around the wall and in to the open net.
A fine start became even better
on 20 minutes when a neat home move saw the ball find Paul Robinson
inside the area and he calmly rounded keeper Banner and tapped
in to an empty net. However Walker got back in to the game within
four minutes when a neat ball down the line saw Lee Garwood
get clear of the home defence to coolly chip the ball over the
The game settled down after the
opening burst and although Bedlington pushed hard and created
one or two openings no further goals were registered as the
half closed. At the interval both sides made changes and it
was the visitors changes that proved the more effective as they
pulled level within ten minutes of the restart.
Both were very similar goals with
different scorers. Garwood notched his second when put clear
through he gave half time substitute Michael Robinson no chance
in a one on one confrontation. Robinson again found himself
one on one moments later with 17 year-old Lee York who belied
his years with and accomplished finish to bring his side level.
Bedlington should have gone back
in front midway through the half when Tony Shandran was upended
in the box and a penalty resulted. Paul Robinson took the kick
but produced one of those efforts, which look great if they
go in but awful if they don't. This time it was awful as Banner
did not fall for his chip down the middle and saved easily.
With 15 minutes to go Bedlington
did break though again and set up a very profitable end to the
game. Shandran put Freeman clean through and he was only denied
by a fine save from Banner. Walker failed to clear P. Robinson's
corner and when the ball fell to the veteran substitute Gibb
he lashed it home via a deflection from 10 yards.
In to the last ten minutes and a
great breakaway move from the Terriers saw Douglas feed Shandran
who picked out Cockburn's run in to the box and the speedy striker
smashed the ball on the run high in to the top corner with his
left foot. Walker were clearly tiring and were hit again.
Morton's 40-yard daisy cutter of a pass was controlled well
by Shandran who advanced in to the box before slotting past
the helpless Banner. The scoring was completed in the last minute
when M. Robinson's long kick downfield was taken well by Shandran
as it dropped over the defence and he fired it high in to the
net to make the final score 7 - 3 to the home side.
So, the Terriers go rampaging on.
Three pre-season games have now seen three wins and twenty four
goals scored. No one though at Welfare Park is getting carried
away with the wins as all were games Bedlington were expected
to win. However, the manner of the victories has been impressive
and some entertaining football has been played. The second half
of this game saw Bedlington come under pressure for the first
time and the defence looked shaky as Walker levelled. However,
the response was excellent and another comfortable victory recorded.
Kennek Ryhope (Home), Friendly, 16/07/05
Won 7-2 (Preen, Dunn, Ludlow, Cockburn, Freeman*2, Milner (pen))
By Jeff King
Bedlington made it 17 goals in two pre-season
games as they followed up Wednesday's 10 - 0 drubbing of Swarland
with another convincing win against Arngrove Northern Second
Division side Kennek Ryhope. A game played in blistering heat
did however see the Terriers concede a couple of goals but served
as yet another step forward in their pre-season training.
There were several changes from
the side that played at Swarland. Michael Robinson continued
in goal but Paul Dunn playing his first game since his cruciate
ligament injury last September and Craig Bryce came in to the
three man back line alongside Captain John Milner, to replace
the unavailable Mel Harmison and Sam Kitchen. In midfield there
was a start for Graham Cairns and Michael Cross who replaced
James Lang and acting Manager Dean Gibb. Robbie Cockburn switched
to the left flank and there was another opportunity for Paul
Robinson to stake a claim for a first team shirt. Up front John
Ludlow and Steven Preen retained their places alongside ex-Slimbridge
F.C. striker Julian Freeman who completed the XI in place of
A tougher encounter was envisaged
as Kennek Ryhope are looking to challenge for promotion to the
top flight of the Arngrove Northern League this season. However,
it was the Terriers who swung in to action first and opened
the scoring after only 4 minutes. Paul Robinson displayed great
footwork to create space on the right and his cross to the back
post saw Preen arriving late to steer a close range header past
the helpless Chris Trotter.
Fifteen minutes later and the first
division side doubled their advantage. Cross played an incisive
ball through the Ryhope defence and young John Ludlow showed
good pace and strength to hold off Dave Leonard's challenge
before coolly slotting the ball past the advancing Trotter.
Although two goals to the good this was a sterner test for the
Terriers as Ryhope contributed to an entertaining open game.
Just after the half hour the small
crowd were treated to a beauty of a goal as Dunn signalled his
return. Picking up P. Robinson's square pass he advanced forward
and as no-one closed him down he drove a terrific left shoot
in to the top corner from 25 yards to make it 3 - 0. A spirited
Kennek side however got back temporarily in to the game three
minutes before the break. Lively winger Ian Watson got the wrong
side of the home defence and Bryce attempting to recover the
ground brought him down just outside the box. Watson got up
to curl the 20-yard free kick past a static M. Robinson.
However within a minute the three
goal cushion was restored with a lovely goal. Cairns clipped
a great ball down the right flank and Freeman timing his run
well was able to look up and deliver the perfect cross for Cockburn
to rise at the far post and head past Trotter.
It had been an encouraging half
for the Terriers and it got better as within nine minutes of
the restart they made it 5 - 1. Bedlington were awarded a free
kick on half way and Milner chipped a ball over the top for
Freeman to beat the offside trap and hook it past Trotter from
12 yards. Two minutes later it was six. Freeman released Preen
who went down under the challenge of Paul Wardle just inside
the box. Milner stepped up for the resultant penalty and drove
the kick low in to the corner past the right hand of the diving
On 68 minutes the Terriers conceded
a sloppy second goal. Watson played a ball in to the box and
although M. Robinson called for the ball he was beaten to it
by Chris Davison who bundled it home.
The final twenty minutes were played at a much lesser pace as
the heat took its toll. However Bedlington did have one goal
left for the fans and it came four minutes from the end. A neat
header from Gibb found Cockburn whose pass put Freeman in on
goal and the striker notched his second of the afternoon with
a neat finish.
After the game acting manager Dean
Gibb said he was well pleased with some of the football that
his side had played going forward and the clinical finishing
they had shown. It had been another good workout for the players
as they strive towards full fitness and although they had conceded
two goals he was pleased with the afternoons work.
Swarland FC (Away), Friendly, 13/07/05
Won 10-0 (Preen*5, Shandran, Gibb, Lang, Ludlow, Freeman
By Jeff King
The Terriers began their pre-season schedule
with an emphatic and comfortable win against the North Northumberland
outfit. In a game where Bedlington had several new faces to
parade it was the veterans who took centre stage at the kick-off.
Coaches Mel Harmison and Dean Gibb
both started in a Terriers side playing a 3-4-3 formation. Harmison
was joined at the back by Sam Kitchen and John Milner. The midfield
quartet consisted of Robbie Cockburn on the right, Gibb and
trialist Paul Robinson in the centre and James Lang on the left.
Robinson is the older brother of keeper Michael and had been
released by Tranmere Rovers towards the end of last season.
Up front the established strikers of Tony Shandran and Steve
Preen were joined by new signing John Ludlow making his first
appearance in a Terriers shirt since his move from Blue Star.
The substitutes included Craig Bryce,
Graham Cairns in his first outing since breaking a leg and Julian
Freeman who played for Sittingbourne in the Kent League last
season, a league that yielded F.A. Carlsberg Vase winners Didcot
The Terriers were soon in to their
stride and produced a four-goal blast inside the first 20 minutes
to lay down their marker for the night. The goal feast was started
by Gibb with a chip over the keeper after Robinson had played
him in and further strikes from Preen 2, Shandran and a lovely
half volley from Lang saw Bedlington well in control at the
Half time substitutions saw Preen,
Ludlow, Harmison and Gibb replaced by Bryce, Cairns, Freemen
and young Tucker as the Terriers gave everyone a run. The changes
took time to settle in but Freemen despite lacking fitness looked
a useful replacement. However, it was not until Preen and Ludlow
returned to the fray in place of Lang and Shandran that the
Terriers picked up the scoring. Preen helped himself to a second
half hat-trick, including two lovely headers, taking his game
tally to five and unselfishly laid on a first Terriers goal
for Ludlow. Freeman also capped a useful 45 minutes with a goal
as Bedlington comprehensively emphasised the difference between
the two sides.
Whilst a 10 - 0 score line against
weak opposition hardly gives cause for celebration there were
a few plus points to take from the evening. It had been an excellent
workout for those involved and as one senior player put it "better
than just training". Freeman looked as if he may develop
once he gets some training under his belt and Robinson in midfield
looked a creative passer in the best Bedlington Terriers traditions.
So, an encouraging work-out for
the Arngrove Northern League side who know that it was a nice
way to start their preparations for the bigger tasks that lie