Chilton hat-trick sees off Celtic’s challenge

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West Allotment Celtic 2 Morpeth Town 3 Ebac Northern League, Division One

Morpeth came out on top in an entertaining encounter on Friday night thanks to a Michael Chilton hat-trick.

The Highway Men had plenty of confidence after their Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final win over Newcastle United Reserves earlier in the week and they enjoyed plenty of possession in the early exchanges without threatening the Allotment goal.

But they fell behind on 15 minutes when the ball was played in to Reid, whose turn and low shot beat Town keeper Niall Harrison via a slight deflection (1-0).

Morpeth responded well and Keith Graydon had long-range drives blocked before Shaun Bell volleyed well over the crossbar following a good move. The equaliser came when Chilton got ahead of a defender after a long clearance by Harrison and lifted the ball over Celtic keeper Mullen. The well-executed lob hit the underside of the bar, however Chilton forced the rebound into the net despite the centre-half’s best efforts to keep it out (1-1).

Central midfielder Ben Sayer went close to putting Town into the lead, firing just off target, Graydon almost scored at the wrong end, he inches away from heading Kallum McGlen’s teasing delivery into his own net, and Reid failed to double his tally when he missed a good chance at close range.

The Highway Men soon had a great chance to take the lead on 37 minutes when Chilton latched onto Kallis’ misguided backheel in the Allotment area, leading to intended recipient Pendlebury bringing down the forward.

Despite Mullen getting a firm hand to the spot-kick, Chilton’s penalty found the net (1-2).

Morpeth could not cling onto the lead before the half-time whistle. The hosts worked the ball into the area following a quick counter-attack and McGlen beat the keeper, but not the covering Sean Taylor with a low effort (2-2).

However, Bell reacted quickest, speeding after the loose ball and crossing for Reid, whose powerful diving header gave Harrison no chance in the Town net.

In the early stages of the second half, Chilton went close to getting his hat-trick, somehow failing to poke Taylor’s whipped delivery into the net from six yards out.

Both sides went for the winner in the final ten minutes and Michael Hall powered a free header just wide, but The Highway Men, looking for their third victory in a week, were to prevail.

David Hiftle’s pin-point delivery into the box was met by Chilton, who was initially denied by a superb Mullen stop, but Kallis failed to clear his lines, allowing Morpeth’s leading scorer to fire home from close range

The impressive Taylor almost made it four in stoppage time, shooting wide when well placed to grab a goal of his own.

Morpeth Town line-up: Harrison, Hiftle, Novak, Sayers (Forster), Grieve, Hall, Taylor, Graydon (Fry), Taggert (Anderson), Chilton, Bell. Techflow Group Qatar man-of-the-match: Michael Chilton.

Morpeth are at home to Penrith on Saturday. Kick-off at Craik Park is 3pm.