Winsford United 1 Morpeth Town 0 FA Vase Second Round
A FIRST-HALF penalty was enough to knock Morpeth out of the FA Vase on Saturday, writes James Hanson and David McMeekan.
On a heavy playing surface, the visitors were first to show.
Dominating midfield and utilising the flanks, the Highway Men took the game to their opponents.
Andrew Keenan’s delivery from a left-wing free-kick was headed just over by Steven Anderson.
Michael Hall had the Highway Men’s best chance of the first half. Winsford failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Hall who could only volley wide from six yards out.
The home side were convinced they should have had a penalty when Brian Matthews’ shot was parried away by Jak Wells.
Andy Hurst had two chances at the rebound, one hit the post and the other was blocked by Hall.
The home side’s hand-ball appeals were turned down.
Moments later, Christopher Lunn’s 20-yard half-volley forced a good save from Winsford goalkeeper Andy Jones, who acrobatically turned the ball over the bar.
Although it was Morpeth who were having all the chances, the North West Counties side took the lead nine minutes before the end of the half.
Hurst’s shot was blocked by Wells but when the ball fell back to Hurst he went down under a challenge from Hall and the referee pointed to the spot.
Hurst picked himself up to take the spot-kick and Winsford’s top scorer sent Wells the wrong way to net his 16th goal of the campaign.
Buoyed by this goal, the team from Cheshire could have scored again soon afterwards, but Wells saved bravely at the far post.
The second half was dominated by Morpeth and they pushed Winsford all the way.
But they ultimately failed to score for the first time in nine games.
Anderson was causing the opposition back four real problems.
He had two shots from distance within two minutes but both were well saved by Jones.
Wing-back Shaun Henderson put in an impressive shift as he drove Town forward.
Lunn then got away down the left and pulled the ball back to a wide-open Michael Chilton, but the substitute slipped and scuffed his shot wide.
Hall saw a header crash back off the crossbar, Paul Dunn’s header was cleared off the line and Chilton and Lunn forced the Winsford keeper to save on his line.
Morpeth Town: Wells, Henderson, Walmsley (Wilson), Grant, Hall, Hiftle (Wright), Dines, Dunn, Anderson, Lunn, Keenan (Chilton).
Rusty’s Taxis man-of-the-match: Shaun Henderson.
l Morpeth Town’s next match at Craik Park is against Seaham Red Star in the Ebac Northern League Division Two on Wednesday. Kick-off is 7.30pm.