Blyth Spartans 2-4 Morpeth Town
Morpeth Town reached the Third Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time this century, upsetting perennial giant killers Blyth Spartans 4-2 at Croft Park in the process.
Michael Chilton’s early brace, followed by a sublime Luke Carr finish, gave the Highwaymen a shock 3-0 lead at the break.
But a goal from Dan Maguire early in the second half, followed by an own goal by Jordan Fry led to a nervy final 20 minutes for Town.
Substitute Liam Henderson allayed any fears of a late equaliser in injury time, restoring ‘Peth’s two goal lead to close out the tie and secure a trip to Vanarama National League North side Altrincham.
Nick Gray and Dave Malone made three changes from the side that lost to Penrith mid-week, Chris Swailes, Keith Graydon and Luke Carr returning to the fold.
But it was veteran striker Chilton who stamped his authority on the game early doors with a quickfire double.
With six minutes played, the visitors won a corner on the left. A short routine saw Ben Sayer play a one-two with Carr before hitting a low cross through the six-yard area where Chilton was waiting to stab home.
The second followed within three minutes, Stephen Forster latching on to a Spartans clearance, hitting an unmarked Chilton just left of centre in the penalty area with first time cross on the volley.
The striker managed to lob the onrushing Adam McHugh with the outside of his right foot, a delicate finish.
As to be expected, the hosts began to fight back and put pressure on the Morpeth backline, but Morpeth addeda third when Chris Reid’s pass into the feet of former Blyth midfielder Paul Robinson. He laid the ball off to Sayer, who in turn found Carr on the right and he curled a delightful strike into the top left hand corner.
Tom Wade’s side came out for the second half with more vigour and gusto, and pulled a goal back in the opening exchanges through Maguire.
Blyth were now in the ascendancy, attacking almost at will, yet struggled to break down a defiant Town back four.
With 20 minutes remaining, Spartans pulled another goal back through the unfortunate Fry. Substitute Luke Armstrong picked up the ball on the right byline, crossing low past Dryden onto the shin of Fry who could do nothing but watch the ball hit the back of the net.
As Spartans continued to throw men forward, Morpeth provided the telling counter in the first minute of injury time, Henderson finding the net from the edge of the area to complete a fine afternoon’s work for the visitors.
* Morpeth reward for beating Spartans is a trip to Vanarama National League North side Altrincham in the Third Qualifying Round.
Altrincham are perennial giant-killers in the competition, having beat football league opposition on 17 occasions, the most by any non-league outfit.
Their cup heroics include a 1-0 win over current Championship side Barnsley in last season’s first round.