Morpeth Baptist Church 2 Whitley Lodge Baptist Church 6 North East Christian Fellowship Premier Division
IT was another home defeat by four goals, but this was a much-improved performance from Morpeth Baptist Church (MBC).
They competed well for the first half-hour against the top-of-the-table team, despite playing into a strong wind.
The defence looked more solid, helped by the return from injury of captain Brown, and a five-man midfield was working hard to compete for the ball – with Coiffait impressing on his debut.
A long delay for an injury to the visitors’ right-back seemed to disrupt the hosts as they conceded two goals before half-time.
The first was from a free-kick into the area that was headed in, the second was a fine strike by the Whitley forward.
MBC re-grouped at half-time and were soon right back in the game.
Lavender, following in from a shot that was fumbled by the keeper, smartly fired into the empty goal from a tight angle.
The home side were playing some tidy football and creating chances.
Man-of-the-match Tanney seemed to relish his lone centre-forward role, holding up play well and taking on defenders when he could.
From one of Coiffait’s many ‘Rory Delap-type’ throw-ins, Johnson was just unable to beat the keeper with his header.
The momentum of the game changed again though as MBC’s regular problems of dealing with set pieces resurfaced.
Elliott, somewhat harshly, had a free-kick awarded against him for handball on the halfway line.
From the cross a Whitley forward looped in a shot that beat the keeper.
The away side started to play some attractive football and a slick passing move from one end of the pitch to the other saw a shot bounce back off the post. From the resultant corner the ball was powerfully headed into the back of the net.
As the game became stretched in the final quarter, a couple of further clinical finishes put gloss on the scoreline for the away team.
To their credit, Morpeth continued to battle and they secured a consolation goal when Lavender’s corner curled in directly through a melee of players on the line.
Team: D Appleby, S Bird, T Brown, B Dewhirst (M. Curry), A Elliott, M Richardson (C Snowball), R Garbutt, B Lavender, D Johnson, L Coiffait, L Tanney. Unused subs: A Haxell, P Fletcher.