Albion twice came from behind to continue their blistering away form thanks to a Jack Cooper brace & a first RACA goal for Joe Shepherd.
Both sides came into this clash on the back of midweek victories, but Albion were forced to field an unfamiliar back line with David Below, Callum Turnbull and Jack Moody all unavailable with Adam Dobson & Liam Barker both making the starting XI for the first time this season.
In uncomfortably warm conditions, it was the Terriers who started the brighter with Cameron Fenton forcing Ryton keeper David Hansen into a good save, his shot being palmed out for a corner in the first minute. The hosts were to make the most of the corner as from the cross, Leighton Hopper found the ball at his feet & he duly prodded home, and for the the first time this season RACA failed to score the first goal in a match. There was no panic in the Ryton ranks from the early bombshell and created a good chance on 11 minutes but Scott Jasper's shot was blocked, the ball running out wide to Sam Norris who drilled in a low cross that was well smothered by Terriers keeper Callum Corkhill.Two minutes later and Albion were awarded a free kick; Jack Cooper lined it up and once again had a keeper clutching at thin air as his 30 yarder sailed into the net to restore parity. It was end to end stuff & Bedlington were back on the attack again with Mackenzie Sharpe on a jinking solo run but his low shot was dealt with by Hansen. A better chance came Sharpe's and the Terriers' way when referee Mr Kavanagh awarded a harsh penalty for handball & Sharpe slotted home from the spot to make it 2-1 to the men in red. That soft award was followed by another that the home fans thought soft too as Jasper was fouled in the Bedlington box. In the absence of Turnbull it wasCooper who stepped up to the plate and fired past Corkhill to make it 2-2. Four goals and just 26 minutes on the clock! The hosts nearly regained the lead on 35 minutes when Adam McGuinness' looping header had to be acrobatically tipped over by Hansen & then on 44 minutes a Terriers attack saw a tantalising cross come in & for once the Albion defence were at sixes and sevens. Fenton was unmarked & he threw himself at the ball knowing any contact would surely send the net rippling, but he just couldn't make contact & the half finished all square.
HT BEDLINGTON TERRIERS 2 RACA 2
Despite the heat, the second half continued to be played at a fast tempo, scrappy at times but exciting as both sides drove forward only to be thwarted by solid defences. On 52 minutes, Hansen had to be alert as Kevin Westphal drove in a ball from the touchline that took a terrific swerve mid-flight that the keeper could only palm upright around the six yard area, but as the Bedlington forwards closed in for the kill, the ball was somehow hoofed to safety. Then two minutes later it was Albion on the offensive & it was made to count, Cooper crossing the ball from the right & Joe Shepherd nodded home what was to be the winning goal. The Terriers were still pressing for an equaliser and in the 62nd minute created a fine team move that saw Hopper bring out another good save from Hansen while Sharpe drilled his follow up just wide. Jasper could have put the game to bed on 71 minutes, as the home defence seemed to admire the cross which the RACA skipper put just over the bar. The game continued end to end in what was probably a better spectacle for the neutral rather than a supporter as either stout defending or a wayward final ball brought the moves to a close. But Albion hung on to claim all three points and keep the 100% away record going, while in the Cooper household it's Cooper junior who has the bragging rights with his brace against the side Cooper senior is assistant manager of. After a hectic start to the season it's a nice break to the next game which is the first cup tie of the season as we host Birtley Town in the E. Armstrong Cup on Wednesday week.
FT BEDLINGTON TERRIERS 2 RACA 3