Morpeth Baptist Church 0 Stockton Churches Portrack 1 Andy Walker Trophy
MORPETH faced a daunting challenge in this quarter-final tie as they came up against a Stockton team second in the Premier League, who had won 6-1 on their previous visit to Pegswood.
On a bright but frosty morning, the pitch passed an early inspection and the game kicked off with a number of spectators present to cheer on the home team.
The first half, though, was dominated in terms of possession and chances by Stockton. It was only thanks to a string of excellent saves by MBC keeper and man-of-the-match Cooper that the game remained goalless.
MBC were more physical in the challenge than normal and the defence were keeping a good line. As a result, the lively Stockton forwards were caught offside on a number of occasions and became increasingly frustrated as save after save kept the score goalless at half-time.
MBC started on the front foot in the second half, despite playing directly into a blinding sun.
After a slick passing move straight from the kick-off, midfielder Johnson fired a shot just over.
Another attempt from the same player also just missed the target.
But 15 minutes into the second half the away team took the lead as the strong number seven used his pace and strength to beat the last defender and fire in the opening goal (0-1).
MBC were having much more possession in the second half and were showing the confidence and ability to keep the ball and pass it around.
Johnson had a free header in the box that he couldn’t control and direct on target. Moments later, an excellent curling shot from the same player was just tipped over the bar.
There were nervous moments at the back for MBC but a combination of some excellent last-ditch defending and further good saves from Cooper meant the away team could never be comfortable.
In the final moments, a deep free-kick from Bird cleared the defence but Chambers, who had stolen in at the back-post, blazed over.
MBC were out of the cup but if they can translate this sort of performance into the league, they should start earning some wins and good results.
Team: D Cooper, M Richardson, T Brown, B Dewhirst, P Fletcher, S Bird, T Lavender (L Tanney), R Garbutt, D Johnson, A Carmichael (C Snowball), M Chambers. Unused sub: A Haxell.